(The Scriptures)
The book of the Preacher, otherwise called Ecclesiastes
Chap. Lookup: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12

These are the words of the Preacher, the son of David, king of Jerusalem.
All is but vanity (sayeth the Preacher) all is but plain vanity.
For what else hath a man, of all the labor that he taketh under the Sun?
One generation passeth away, another cometh, but the earth abideth still.
The Son ariseth, the son goeth down, and returneth to his place, that he may there rise up again.
The wind goeth toward the South, and fetcheth his compass about unto the North, and so turneth in to himself again.
All floods run into the sea, and yet the sea is not filled: for look unto what place the waters run, thence they come again.
All things are so hard, that no man can express them. The eye is not satisfied with sight, the ear is not filled with hearing.
The thing that hath been, cometh to pass again: and the thing that hath been done, is done again, there is no new thing under the Sun.
Is there any thing, whereof it may be said: Lo, this is new? For it was long ago in the times that have been before us.
The thing that is past, is out of remembrance: Even so the things that are for to come, shall no more be thought upon among them that come after.
I myself the Preacher, being king of Israel and Jerusalem,
applied my mind to seek out and search for the knowledge of all things that are done under heaven. Such travail and labor hath God given to the children of men, to exercise themselves therein.
Thus I have considered all the things that come to pass under the Sun, and lo, they are all but vanity and vexation of mind.
The crooked can not be made straight, and the faults can not be numbered.
I communed|comoned| with mine own heart, saying: Lo, I am come to a great estate, and have gotten more wisdom, than all they that have been before me in Jerusalem. Yea, my heart had great experience of wisdom and knowledge,
for there unto I applied my mind: that I might know what were wisdom and understanding, what were error and foolishness. And I perceived that this also was but a vexation of mind:
For where much wisdom is, there is also great travail and disquietness: and the more knowledge a man hath, the more is his care.
Then said I thus in my heart: Now go to, I will take mine ease and have good days. But lo, that was vanity also:
in so much that I said unto laughter: thou art mad, and to mirth: What doest thou?
So I thought in my heart, to withdraw my flesh from wine, to apply my mind unto wisdom, and to comprehend foolishness until the time that among all the things which are under the Sun, I might see what were best for men to do, so long as they live under heaven.
I made gorgeous fair works. I builded me houses, and planted vineyards.
I made me orchards and gardens of pleasure, and planted trees in them of all manner fruits.
I made pools of water, to water the green and fruitful trees withal.
I bought servants and maidens, and had a great household. As for cattle and sheep, I had more substance of them, than all they that were before me in Jerusalem.
I gathered silver and gold together, even a treasure of kings and lands. I provided me singers and women which could play of instruments, to make man mirth and pastime. I gat me drinking cups also and glasses.
Shortly, I was greater and in more worship, than all my predecessors in Jerusalem. For wisdom remained with me:
And look whatsoever mine eyes desired, I let them have it: and wherein soever my heart delighted, or had any pleasure, I withheld it not from it. Thus my heart rejoiced in all that I did, and this I took for the portion of all my travail.
But when I considered all the works that my hands had wrought, and all the labours that I had taken therein: Lo, all was vanity and vexation of mind, and nothing of any value under the Sun.
Then turned I me to consider wisdom, error and foolishness, for what is he among men, that might be compared to me the king in such work?
And I saw that wisdom excelleth foolishness, as far as light doth darkness.
For a wise man beareth his eyes about in his head, but the fool goeth in the darkness. I perceived also that they both had one end.
Then thought I in my mind: If it happeneth unto the fool as it doth unto me, what needeth me then to labour any more for wisdom? So I confessed within my heart, that this also was but vanity.
For the wise are ever as little in remembrance as the foolish, and all the days for to come shall be forgotten, yea the wise man dieth as well as the fool.
Thus began I to be weary of my life, in so much that I could away with nothing that is done under the Sun, for all was but vanity and vexation of mind:
Yea I was weary of all my labour, which I had taken under the Sun, because I should be fain to leave them unto another man, that cometh after me
for who knoweth, whether he shall be a wise man or a fool? And yet shall he be lord of all my labours, which I with such wisdom have taken under the Sun. Is not this a vain thing?
So I turned me to refrain my mind from all such travail, as I took under the Sun:
For so much as a man should weary himself with wisdom, with understanding and opportunity, and yet be fain to leave his labours unto another, that never sweat for them. This is also a vain thing and a great misery.
For what getteth a man of all the labor and travail of his mind, that he taketh under the Sun,
but heaviness, sorrow and disquietness all the days of his life? In so much that his heart can not rest in the night. Is not this also a vain thing?
Is it not better then for a man to eat and drink, and his soul to be merry in his labour? Yea I saw that this also was a gift of God:
For who may eat, drink, or bring anything to pass without him? And why?
He giveth unto man, what it pleaseth him: whether it be wisdom, understanding, or gladness. But unto the sinner he giveth weariness and sorrow, that he may gather and heap together the thing, that afterward shall be given unto him whom it pleaseth God. This is now a vain thing, yea a very disquietness and vexation of mind.
Every thing hath a time, yea all that is under the heaven, hath his convenient season.
There is a time to be born, and a time to die; there is a time to plant, and a time to pluck up the thing, that is planted:
A time to slay, and a time to make whole: A time to break down, and a time to build up:
A time to weep, and a time to laugh: A time to mourn, and a time to dance:
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together: A time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing:
A time to win, and a time to lese: A time to spare, and a time to spend:
A time to cut in pieces, and a time to sew together: A time to keep silence, and a time to speak:
A time to love, and a time to hate: A time of war, and a time of peace.
What hath a man else (that doth anything) but weariness and labour?
For as touching the travail and carefulness which God hath given unto men, I see that he hath given it them, to be exercised in it.
All this hath he ordained marvelous goodly, to every thing his due time. He hath planted|plated| ignorance also in the hearts of men, that they should not find out the ground of his works, which he doth from the beginning to the end.
So I perceived, that in these things there is nothing better for a man, then to be merry and to do well so long as he liveth.
For all that a man eateth and drinketh, yea what soever a man enjoyeth of all his labor, the same is a gift of God.
I considered also that whatsoever God doth, it continueth for ever, and that nothing can be put unto it, nor taken from it: And that God doth it to the intent, that men should fear him.
The thing that hath been, is now: and the thing that is for to come, hath been afore time, for God restoreth again the thing that was past.
Moreover, I saw under the sun ungodliness in the stead of judgment, and iniquity in stead of righteousness.
Then thought I in my mind: God shall separate the righteous from the ungodly, and then shall be the time and judgement of all counsels and works.
I communed|comoned| with mine own heart also concerning the children of men: how God hath chosen them, and yet letteth them appear as though they were beasts:
For it happeneth unto men as it doth unto beasts, and as the one dieth, so dieth the other: yea they have both one manner of breath, so that (in this) a man hath no preeminence above a beast, but all are subdued unto vanity.
They go all unto one place, for as they be all of dust, so shall they all turn unto dust again.
Who knoweth the spirit of man that goeth upward, and the breath of the beast that goeth down into the earth?
Wherefore I perceive, that there is nothing better for a man, than to be joyful in his labour, for that is his portion. But who will bring him to see the thing that shall come after him?
So I turned me, and considered all the violent wrong that is done under the Sun: and behold the tears of such as were oppressed, and there was no man to comfort them or that would deliver and defend them from the violence of their oppressors.
Wherefore I judged those that are dead, to be more happy than such as be alive:
Yea him that is yet unborn to be better at ease than they both, because he seeth not the miserable works that are done under the Sun.
Again, I saw that all travail and diligence of labour was hated of every man. This is also a vain thing, and a vexation of mind.
The fool foldeth his hands together, and eateth up his own flesh.
One handful (sayeth he) is better with rest, than both the hands full with labor and travail.
Moreover, I turned me, and behold yet another vanity under the Son.
There is one man, no more but himself alone, having neither child nor brother: yet is there no end of his careful travail, his eyes can not be satisfied with riches, (yet doth he not remember himself, and say:) For whom do I take such travail? For whose pleasure do I thus consume away my life? This is also a vain and miserable thing.
Therefore two are better than one, for they may well enjoy the profit of their labour.
If one of them fall, his companion helpeth him up again: But woe is him that is alone, for if he fall, he hath not another to help him up.
Again, when two sleep together, they are warm: but how can a body be warm alone?
One may be overcome, but two may make resistance: A threefold cable is not lightly broken.
A poor child being wise, is better than an old king, that doteth, and can not beware in time to come.
Someone cometh out of prison, and is made a king: and another which is born in the kingdom, cometh unto poverty.
And I perceived, that all men living under the Son, go with the second child, that cometh up in the stead of the other.
As for the people that have been before him, and that come after him, they are innumerable: yet is not their joy the greater thorow him. This is also a vain thing and a vexation of mind.
When thou comest into the house of God, keep thy foot|Some read. For he is readier to hear (understand thy word) than to receive the sacrifices that fools give.| and draw nye,|Some read: rather to hear, than to give, as fools offering sacrifice.| that thou mayest hear: that is better than the offerings of fools, for they know not what evil they do.
Be not hasty with thy mouth, and let not thine heart speak anything rashly before God. For God is in heaven, and thou upon earth, therefore let thy words be few.
For where much carefulness is, there are many dreams: and where many words are, there men may hear fools.
If thou make a vow unto God, be not slack to perform it. As for foolish vows, he hath no pleasure in them.
If thou promise anything, pay it: for better it is that thou make no vow than that thou shouldest promise, and not pay.
Use not thy mouth to cause thy flesh for to sin, that thou sayest not before the angel: my foolishness is in the fault. For then God will be angry at thy voice, and destroy all the works of thine hands.
And why? Where as are many dreams and many words, there are also divers vanities: but look that thou fear God.
If thou seest the poor to be oppressed and wrongously dealt withal, so that equity and the right of the law is wrasted in the land: marvel not thou at such judgement, for one great man keepeth touch with another, and the mighty help themselves together.
The whole land also with the fields and all that is therein, is in subjection and bondage unto the king.
He that loveth money, will never be satisfied with money: and whoso delighteth in riches, shall have no profit thereof. Is not this also a vain thing?
Where as many riches are, there are many also that spend them away. And what pleasure more hath he that possesseth them, saving that he may look upon them with his eyes?
A labouring man sleepeth sweetly, whether it be little or much that he eateth: but the aboundance of the rich will not suffer him to sleep.
Yet is there a sore plague, which I have seen under the sun, (namely) riches kept to the hurt of him that hath them in possession.
For oft times they perish with his great misery and trouble: and if he have a child it getteth nothing.
Like as he came naked out of his mother's womb, so goeth he thither again, and carryeth nothing away with him of all his labour.
This is a miserable plague, that he shall go away even as he came. What helpeth him then, that he hath labored in the wind?
All the days of his life also must he eat in the dark, with great carefulness, sickness and sorrow.
Therefore me think it a better and fairer thing, a man to eat and drink, and to be refreshed of all his labour, that he taketh under the Sun all the days of his life, which God giveth him, for this is his portion.
For unto whom soever God giveth riches, goods and power, he giveth it him to enjoy it, to take it for his portion, and to be refreshed of his labour: this is now the gift of God.
For he thinketh not much how long he shall live, for so much as God filleth his heart with gladness.
There is yet a plague under the Sun, and it is a general thing among men:
When God giveth a man riches, goods and honour, so that he wanteth nothing of all that his heart can desire: and yet God giveth him not leave to enjoy the same, but another man spendeth them. This is a vain thing and a miserable plague.
If a man beget an hundredth children, and live many years, so that his days are many in number, and yet can not enjoy his good, neither be buried: as for him I say, that an untimely birth is better than he.
For he cometh to naught, and goeth his way into darkness, and his name is forgotten.
Moreover, he seeth not the Son, and knoweth of no rest neither here nor there:
Yea though he lived two thousand years, yet hath he no good life. Come not all to one place?
All the labour that man taketh, is for himself, and yet his desire is never filled after his mind.
For what hath the wise more than the fool? What helpeth it the poor, that he knoweth to walk before the living?
The sight of the eyes is better, then that the soul should so depart away. Howbeit this is also a vain thing and a disquietness of mind.
What is more excellent than man? Yet can he not in the law get the victory of him that is mightier than he:
A vain thing is it to cast out many words, but what hath a man else?
For who knoweth what is good for man living, in the days of his vain life, which is but a shadow? Or, who will tell a man, what shall happen after him under the Son?
A good name is more worth than a precious ointment, and the day of death is better than the day of birth.
It is better to go into an house of mourning, than into a banquet|bancket| house. For there is the end of all men, and he that is living, taketh it to heart.
It is better to be sorry than to laugh, for when the countenance is heavy, the heart is joyful.
The heart of the wise is in the mourning house, but the heart of the foolish is in the house of mirth.
It is better to give ear to the chastening of a wise man, than to hear the song of fools.
For the laughting of fools is like the crackling of thorns under a pot. And that is but a vain thing.
Who so doeth wrong, maketh a wise man to go out of his wit, and destroyeth a gentle heart.
The end of a thing is better than the beginning. The patient of spirit is better than the high minded.
Be not hastily angry in thy mind, for wrath resteth in the bosom of a fool.
Say not thou: What is the cause that the days of the old time were better, than they that be now? For that were no wise question.
Wisdom is better than riches, yea much more worth than the eyesight.
For wisdom defendeth as well as money, and the excellent knowledge and wisdom giveth life to him that have it in possession.
Consider the work of God, how that no man can make the thing straight, which he maketh crooked.
Use well the time of prosperity and remember the time of misfortune: For God maketh one by the other, so that a man can find nothing else.
These two things also have I considered in the time of vanity: that the just man perisheth for his righteousness' sake, and the ungodly liveth in his wickedness.
Therefore be thou neither too righteous nor over wise, that thou perish not:
be neither too unrighteous also nor too foolish, lest thou die before thy time.
It is good for thee to take hold of this, and not to let that go out of thy hand. For he that feareth God shall escape them all.
Wisdom giveth more courage unto the wise, than ten mighty men of the city.
For there is not one just upon earth, that doth good, and sinneth not.
Take not heed unto every word that is spoken, lest thou hear thy servant curse thee:
For thine own heart knoweth, that thou thyself also hast oft times spoken evil by other men.
All these things have I proved because of wisdom: For I thought to be wise, but she went farther from me than she was before,
yea and so deep that I might not reach unto her.
I applied my mind also to knowledge, and to seek out science, wisdom and understanding: to know the foolishness of the ungodly, and the error of doting fools.
And I found, that a woman is bitterer than death: for she is a very angle, her heart is a net, and her hands are chains. Who so pleaseth God shall escape from her, but the sinner will be taken with her.
Behold (sayeth the preacher) this have I diligently searched out and proved, that I might come by knowledge: which as yet I seek, and find it not.
Among a thousand men I have found one, but not one woman among all.
Lo, this onely have I found, that God made man just and right, but they seek divers sotylties,|subtleties or sodalities|
where as no man hath wisdom and understanding, to give answer there unto. Wisdom maketh a man's face to shine, but malice putteth it out of favour.
Keep the king's commandment (I warn thee) and the oath that thou hast made unto God.
Be not hasty to go out of his sight, and see thou continue in no evil thing: for whatsoever it pleaseth him, that doeth he.
Like as when a king giveth a charge, his commandment is mighty: Even so whom may say unto him: What doest thou?
Whoso keepeth the commandment, shall feel no harm: but a wise man's heart discerneth time and manner:
For everything will have opportunity and judgment, and this the thing that maketh men full of carefulness and sorrow.
And why? A man knoweth not what is for to come, for who will tell him?
Neither is there any man that hath power over the spirit, to keep still the spirit, nor to have any power in the time of death: it is not he also that can make an end of the battle, neither may ungodliness deliver him that meddleth withall.
All these things have I considered, and applied my mind unto every work that is under the Son: how one man hath lordship upon another to his own harm.
For I have oft seen the ungodly brought to their graves, and fallen down from the high and glorious place: insomuch that they were forgotten in the city, where they were had in so high and great reputation. This is also a vain thing.
Because now that evil works are not hastily punished, the heart of man giveth himself over unto wickedness.
But though an evil person offend an hundredth times, and have a long life: yet am I sure, that it shall go well with them that fear God, because they have him before their eyes.
Again, as for the ungodly, it shall not be well with him, neither shall he prolong his days: but even as a shadow, so shall he be that feareth not God.
Yet is there a vanity upon earth: there be just men, unto whom it happeneth, as though they had the works of the ungodly: Again, there be ungodly, with whom it goeth as though they had the works of the righteous. This me think also a vain thing.
Therefore I commend gladness, because a man hath no better thing under the Son, than to eat and to drink, and to be merry: for that shall he have of his labour all the days of his life, which God giveth him under the Son.
When I applied my mind to learn wisdom, and to know the travail that is in the world (and that of such a fashion, that I suffered not my eyes to sleep neither day nor night)
I understood of all the works of God, that it is not possible for a man, to attain unto works that are done under the Son: and though he bestow his labour to seek them out, yet can he not reach unto them: yea though a wise man would undertake to know them, yet might he not find them.
For all these things purposed I in my mind to seek out. The righteous and wise, yea and their works|servants| also are in the hand of God: and there is no man that knoweth either the love or hate of the thing that he hath before him.|which is albefore him|
It happeneth unto one as unto another: It goeth with the righteous as with the ungodly: with the good and clean as with the unclean: with him that offereth as with him that offereth not: like as it goeth with the virtuous, so goeth it also with the sinner: As it happeneth unto the perjured, so happeneth it also unto him that is afraid to be foresworn.|man sworn|
Among all things that come to pass under the Son, this is a mystery, that it happeneth unto all alike. This is the cause also that the hearts of men are full of wickedness, and mad foolishness is in their hearts, as long as they live, until they die.
And why? As long as a man liveth, he is careless: for a quick dog (say they) is better than a dead lion:
for they that be living, know that they shall die: but they that be dead, know nothing, neither deserve they anymore. For their memorial is forgotten,
so that they be neither loved, hated nor envied: neither have they anymore part in the world, in all that is done under the Son.
Go thou thy way then, eat thy bread with joy, and drink thy wine with gladness, for thy works please God.
Let thy garments be alway white, and let thy head want none ointment.
Use thy self to live joyfully with thy wife whom thou lovest, all the days of thy life, which is but vanity, that God hath given thee under the Son, all the days of thy vanity: for that is thy portion in this life, of all thy labor and travail that thou takest under the Son.
Whatsoever thou takest in hand to do, that do with all thy power: for among the dead, where thou goest unto, there is neither work, counsel, knowledge nor wisdom.
So I turned me unto other things under the Son, and I saw, that in running, it helpeth not to be swift: in battle, it helpeth not to be strong: to feeding, it helpeth not to be wise: to riches, it helpeth not to be suttle: to be had in favour, it helpeth not to be cunning: but that all lieth in time and fortune.
For man knoweth not his time, but like as the fish are taken with the angle and as the birds are catched with the snare: Even so are men taken in the perilous time, when it cometh suddenly upon them.
This wisdom have I seen also under the Son, and me thought it a great thing.
There was a little city, and a few men within it: so there came a great king and besieged it, and made great bulwarks against it.
And in the city there was found a poor man, (but he was wise) which with his wisdom delivered the city: yet was there no body, that had any respect for such a simple man.
Then said I: Wisdom is better than strength. Nevertheless, a simple man's wisdom is despised, and his words are not heard.
A wise man's counsel that is followed in silence, is far above the crying of a captain among fools.
For wisdom is better than harness: but one unthrifty alone destroyeth much good.
CHAP. 10
Dead flies that corrupt sweet ointment and make it to stink, are something more worth than the wisdom and honor of a fool.
A wise man's heart is upon the right hand, but a fool's heart is upon the left.
A doting fool thinketh, that every man doth as foolishly as himself.
If a principal spirit be given thee to bear rule, be not negligent then in thine office: for so shall great wickedness be put down, as it were with a medicine.
Another plague is there, which I have seen under the son: namely, the ignorance that is commonly among princes:
in that a fool setteth in great dignity, and the rich are sit down beneath:
I see servants ride upon horses, and princes going upon their feet as it were servants.
But he that diggeth up a pit, shall fall therein himself: and whoso breaketh down the hedge, a serpent shall bite him.
Whoso removeth stones shall have travail withal: and he that heweth wood, shall be hurt therewith.
When an iron is blunt, and the point not sharpened, it must be whet again, and that with might: Even so doth wisdom follow diligence.
A babbler of his tongue is no better than a serpent that stingeth without hissing.
The words out of a wise man's mouth are gracious, but the lips of a fool will destroy himself.
The beginning of his talking is foolishness, and the last word of his mouth is great madness.
A fool is so full of words, that a man can not tell what end he shall make: who will then warn him to make a conclusion?
The labour of the foolish is grievous unto them, while they know not how to go in to the city.
Woe be unto thee (O thou realm and land) whose king is but a child, and whose princes are early at their banquettes.
But well is thee (O thou realm and land) whose king is come of nobles, and whose princes eat in due season, for strength and not for lust.
Thorow slothfulness the balks fall down, and thorow idle hands it raineth in at the house.
Meat maketh men to laugh, and wine maketh them merry: but unto money are all things obedient.
Wish the king no evil in thy thought, and speak no hurt of the rich in thy privy chamber: for a bird of the air shall betray thy voice, and with her feathers shall she betray thy words.
CHAP. 11
Send thy vitailles|victuals| over the waters, and so shalt thou find them after many years.
Give it away among seven or eight, for thou knowest not what misery shall come upon earth.
When the clouds are full, they pour out rain upon the earth. And when the tree falleth (whether it be toward the South or North) in what place soever it fall, there it lieth.
He that regardeth the wind, shall not sow: and he that hath respect unto the clouds, shall not reap.
Now like as thou knowest not the way of the wind, nor how the bones are filled in a mother's womb: Even so thou knowest not the works of God, which is the workmaster of all.
Cease not thou therefore with thy hands to sow thy seed, whether it be in the morning or in the evening: for then knowest not whether this or that shall prosper, and if they both take, it is the better.
The light is sweet, and a pleasant thing is it for the eyes to look upon the Sun.
If a man live many years, and be glad in them all, let him remember the days of darkness, which shall be many: And when they come, all things shall be but vanity.
Be glad then (O thou young man) in thy youth, and let thine heart be merry in thy young days: follow the ways of thine own heart, and the lust of thine eyes: but be thou sure, that God shall bring thee into judgment for all these things.
Put away displeasure out of thine heart, and remove evil from thy body: for childhood and youth is but vanity.
CHAP. 12
Remember thy maker in thy youth, or ever the days of adversity come, and or the years draw nye, when thou shalt say: I have no pleasure in them
before the sun, the light, the moon and stars be darkened, and or the clouds turn again after the rain:
when the keepers of the house shall tremble, and when the strong men shall bow themselves: when the millers stand still, because they be so few, and when the sight of the windows shall wax dim:
when the doors in the streets shall be shut, and when the voice of the miller shall be laid down: when men shall rise up at the voice of the bird, and when all the daughters of music shall be brought low:
When men shall fear in high places, and be afraid in the streets: when the Almond tree shall be despised, the grasshopper born out, and when great poverty shall break in: when man goeth to his long home, and the mourners go about the streets.
Or ever the silver lace be taken away, and or the golden band be broken: or the pot be broken at the well, and the wheel upon the cistern:
Or dust be turned again unto earth from whence it came, and or the spirit return unto God, which gave it.
All is but vanity (sayeth the preacher) all is but plain vanity.
The same preacher was not wise alone, but taught the people knowledge also: he gave good heed, sought out the ground and set forth many parables.
His diligence was to find out acceptable words, right scripture, and the words of truth.
For the words of the wise are like pricks and nails that go thorow, wherewith men are kept together: for they are given of one shepherd onely.
Therefore beware (my son) that above these thou make them not many and innumerable books, nor take divers doctrines in hand, to weary thy body withal.
Let us hear the conclusion of all things: Fear God, and keep his commandments, for that toucheth all men:
For God shall judge all works and secret things, whether they be good or evil.

The ende of the boke of the Preacher, otherwyse called Eccleasiastes.