Bishops' Bible

Ecclesiastes 2

The vanity of human courses in the works of pleasure.

Ecclesiastes 2:1 Then sayde I thus in my heart: Nowe go to, I will take myne ease, and haue good dayes: But lo, that is vanitie also. Ecclesiastes 2:2 Insomuch that I saide vnto the man geuen to laughter, thou art mad: and to mirth, what doest thou? Ecclesiastes 2:3 So I thought in my heart to geue my fleshe vnto wine, and agayne to apply my mynde vnto wisdome, and to comprehende foolishnesse: vntyll the tyme that among all the thynges which are vnder the sunne, I myght see what were best for men to do so long as they liue vnder heauen. Ecclesiastes 2:4 I made gorgious faire workes: I builded my houses, and planted vineyardes. Ecclesiastes 2:5 I made me orchardes and gardens of pleasure, and planted trees in them of all maner of fruites. Ecclesiastes 2:6 I made pooles of water, to water the greene and fruitfull trees withall. Ecclesiastes 2:7 I bought seruauntes and maydens, and had a great housholde: As for cattel and sheepe, I had more substaunce of them then all they that were before me in Hierusalem. Ecclesiastes 2:8 I gathered together siluer and golde, and the chiefe treasures of kynges and landes: I haue prouided me men singgers and women singers, and the delites of the sonnes of men, as a woman taken captiue, and women taken captiues. Ecclesiastes 2:9 And I was greater and in more worship then all my predecessours in Hierusalem: For wisdome remayned with me. Ecclesiastes 2:10 And loke whatsoeuer myne eyes desired, I let them haue it: and wherin soeuer my heart delited or had any pleasure, I withhelde it not from it: Thus my heart reioyced in all that I did, and this was my portion of all my trauayle. Ecclesiastes 2:11 But when I considered all the workes that my handes had wrought, and all the labour that I had taken therin: lo all was but vanitie and vexation of mynde, and nothing of any value vnder the sunne.

Though the wise be better than the fool, yet both have one event.

Ecclesiastes 2:12 Then turned I me to consider wisdome, errour, and foolishnesse (for what is he among men that myght be compared to me the kyng in such workes?) Ecclesiastes 2:13 And I sawe that wisdome excelleth foolishnesse, as farre as light doth darknesse. Ecclesiastes 2:14 For a wise man hath his eyes in his head, but the foole goeth in darknesse: I perceaued also that they both had one ende. Ecclesiastes 2:15 Then thought I in my mynde, yf it happen vnto the foole as it doth vnto me, what needeth me then to labour any more for wisdome? So I confessed within my heart that this also was but vanitie. Ecclesiastes 2:16 For the wise are euer as litle in remembraunce as the foolishe: for the dayes shall come when all shalbe forgotten: yea the wise man dyeth as well as the foole. Ecclesiastes 2:17 Thus began I to be weery of my life, insomuch that I coulde away with nothyng that is done vnder the sunne: for all was but vanitie and vexation of mynde.

The vanity of human labour, in leaving it they know not to whom.

Ecclesiastes 2:18 Yea I was weery of my labour which I had taken vnder the sunne, because I shoulde be fayne to leaue them vnto another man that commeth after me: Ecclesiastes 2:19 And who knoweth whether he shalbe a wise man or a foole? And yet shall he be lorde of all my laboures which I with such wisdome haue taken vnder the sunne: This is also a vayne thyng. Ecclesiastes 2:20 So I turned me to refrayne my mynde from all such trauayle as I toke vnder the sunne, Ecclesiastes 2:21 Forsomuch as a man shoulde weery hym selfe with wisdome, with vnderstandyng and oportunitie, and yet be fayne to leaue his labours vnto another that neuer sweat for them: This is also a vayne thyng, and great miserie. Ecclesiastes 2:22 For what getteth a man of all the labour and trauayle of his mynde that he taketh vnder the sunne? Ecclesiastes 2:23 But heauinesse, sorowe, and disquietnesse all the dayes of his life? Insomuch that his heart can not rest in the nyght: This is also a vayne thyng.

Nothing better than joy in our labour; but that is God's gift.

Ecclesiastes 2:24 Is it not better then for a man to eate and drynke, and his soule to be mery in his labour? yea I sawe that this also was a gift of God. Ecclesiastes 2:25 For who wyll eate or go more lustyly to his worke then I? Ecclesiastes 2:26 And why? God geueth to the man that is good before hym, wisdome, vnderstandyng, and gladnesse: but vnto the sinner he geueth weerinesse, that he may gather and heape together the thyng that afterwarde shalbe geuen vnto hym whom it pleaseth God: This is nowe a vayne thyng, yea a very disquietnesse and vexation of mynde.

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