יֵ֣שׁ רָעָ֔ה אֲשֶׁ֥ר רָאִ֖יתִי תַּ֣חַת הַשָּׁ֑מֶשׁ וְרַבָּ֥ה הִ֖יא עַל־הָאָדָֽם׃ There is an evil I have observed under the sun, and a grave one it is for man:
אִ֣ישׁ אֲשֶׁ֣ר יִתֶּן־ל֣וֹ הָאֱלֹהִ֡ים עֹ֩שֶׁר֩ וּנְכָסִ֨ים וְכָב֜וֹד וְֽאֵינֶ֨נּוּ חָסֵ֥ר לְנַפְשׁ֣וֹ ׀ מִכֹּ֣ל אֲשֶׁר־יִתְאַוֶּ֗ה וְלֹֽא־יַשְׁלִיטֶ֤נּוּ הָֽאֱלֹהִים֙ לֶאֱכֹ֣ל מִמֶּ֔נּוּ כִּ֛י אִ֥ישׁ נׇכְרִ֖י יֹֽאכְלֶ֑נּוּ זֶ֥ה הֶ֛בֶל וׇחֳלִ֥י רָ֖ע הֽוּא׃ that God sometimes grants a man riches, property, and wealth, so that he does not want for anything his appetite may crave, but God does not permit him to enjoy it; instead, a stranger will enjoy it. That is futility and a grievous ill.
אִם־יוֹלִ֣יד אִ֣ישׁ מֵאָ֡ה וְשָׁנִים֩ רַבּ֨וֹת יִֽחְיֶ֜ה וְרַ֣ב ׀ שֶׁיִּהְי֣וּ יְמֵֽי־שָׁנָ֗יו וְנַפְשׁוֹ֙ לֹא־תִשְׂבַּ֣ע מִן־הַטּוֹבָ֔ה וְגַם־קְבוּרָ֖ה לֹא־הָ֣יְתָה לּ֑וֹ אָמַ֕רְתִּי ט֥וֹב מִמֶּ֖נּוּ הַנָּֽפֶל׃ Even if a man should beget a hundred children and live many years—no matter how many the days of his years may come to, if his gullet is not sated through his wealth, I say: The stillbirth, though it was not even accorded a burial,aStillbirths were cast into pits or hidden in the ground in no recognizable graves; cf. v. 4 end. is more fortunate than he.
כִּֽי־בַהֶ֥בֶל בָּ֖א וּבַחֹ֣שֶׁךְ יֵלֵ֑ךְ וּבַחֹ֖שֶׁךְ שְׁמ֥וֹ יְכֻסֶּֽה׃ Though it comes into futility and departs into darkness, and its very name is covered with darkness,
גַּם־שֶׁ֥מֶשׁ לֹא־רָאָ֖ה וְלֹ֣א יָדָ֑ע נַ֥חַת לָזֶ֖ה מִזֶּֽה׃ though it has never seen or experienced the sun, it is better off than he—
וְאִלּ֣וּ חָיָ֗ה אֶ֤לֶף שָׁנִים֙ פַּעֲמַ֔יִם וְטוֹבָ֖ה לֹ֣א רָאָ֑ה הֲלֹ֛א אֶל־מָק֥וֹם אֶחָ֖ד הַכֹּ֥ל הוֹלֵֽךְ׃ yes, even if the other lived a thousand years twice over but never had his fill of enjoyment! For are not both of them bound for the same place?
כׇּל־עֲמַ֥ל הָאָדָ֖ם לְפִ֑יהוּ וְגַם־הַנֶּ֖פֶשׁ לֹ֥א תִמָּלֵֽא׃ bCf. Prov. 16.26.All of man’s earning is for the sake of his mouth, cMeaning of Heb. uncertain; emendation yields “And if the gullet is not sated, 8what advantage has the wise man over the fool, he who knows how to get on in life over the pauper?”yet his gullet is not sated.
כִּ֛י מַה־יּוֹתֵ֥ר לֶחָכָ֖ם מִֽן־הַכְּסִ֑יל מַה־לֶּעָנִ֣י יוֹדֵ֔עַ לַהֲלֹ֖ךְ נֶ֥גֶד הַחַיִּֽים׃ What advantage then has the wise man over the fool, what advantage has the pauper who knows how to get on in life?-c
ט֛וֹב מַרְאֵ֥ה עֵינַ֖יִם מֵֽהֲלׇךְ־נָ֑פֶשׁ גַּם־זֶ֥ה הֶ֖בֶל וּרְע֥וּת רֽוּחַ׃ dMeaning of first half of verse uncertain.Is the feasting of the eyes more important than the pursuit of desire? That, too, is futility and pursuit of wind.
מַה־שֶּֽׁהָיָ֗ה כְּבָר֙ נִקְרָ֣א שְׁמ֔וֹ וְנוֹדָ֖ע אֲשֶׁר־ה֣וּא אָדָ֑ם וְלֹא־יוּכַ֣ל לָדִ֔ין עִ֥ם (שהתקיף) [שֶׁתַּקִּ֖יף] מִמֶּֽנּוּ׃ Whatever happens, it was designated long ago and it was known that it would happen; as for man, he cannot contend with what is stronger than he.
כִּ֛י יֵשׁ־דְּבָרִ֥ים הַרְבֵּ֖ה מַרְבִּ֣ים הָ֑בֶל מַה־יֹּתֵ֖ר לָאָדָֽם׃ Often, much talk means much futility. How does it benefit a man?
כִּ֣י מִֽי־יוֹדֵ֩עַ֩ מַה־טּ֨וֹב לָֽאָדָ֜ם בַּֽחַיִּ֗ים מִסְפַּ֛ר יְמֵי־חַיֵּ֥י הֶבְל֖וֹ וְיַעֲשֵׂ֣ם כַּצֵּ֑ל אֲשֶׁר֙ מִֽי־יַגִּ֣יד לָֽאָדָ֔ם מַה־יִּהְיֶ֥ה אַחֲרָ֖יו תַּ֥חַת הַשָּֽׁמֶשׁ׃ Who can possibly know what is best for a man to do in life—the few days of his fleeting life? ForeLit. “according to the shadow that”; cf. Qumran Aramaic betel and Syriac met·t·ol; and see 8.13. who can tell him what the future holds for him under the sun?