Yet when I reflected on everything I had accomplished 1 and on all the effort that I had expended to accomplish it, 2 I concluded: 3 “All these 4 achievements and possessions 5 are ultimately 6 profitless 7 – like chasing the wind! There is nothing gained 8 from them 9 on earth.” 10
Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun.
Thus I considered all my activities which my hands had done and the labor which I had exerted, and behold all was vanity and striving after wind and there was no profit under the sun.
But as I looked at everything I had worked so hard to accomplish, it was all so meaningless. It was like chasing the wind. There was nothing really worthwhile anywhere.
Then I took a good look at everything I'd done, looked at all the sweat and hard work. But when I looked, I saw nothing but smoke. Smoke and spitting into the wind. There was nothing to any of it. Nothing.
Then I saw all the works which my hands had made, and everything I had been working to do; and I saw that all was to no purpose and desire for wind, and there was no profit under the sun.
Then I considered all that my hands had done and the toil I had spent in doing it, and again, all was vanity and a chasing after wind, and there was nothing to be gained under the sun.
Then I looked on all the works that my hands had done And on the labor in which I had toiled; And indeed all was vanity and grasping for the wind. There was no profit under the sun.
Then I looked
on all the works
that my hands
and on the labour
that I had laboured
and, behold, all [was] vanity
and [there was] no profit
under the sun
|NET © [draft] ITL|
Yet when I
I had accomplished
and on all the effort
that I had expended
it, I concluded
: “All these
achievements and possessions are ultimately profitless
– like chasing
! There is nothing
them on earth.”
|NET © Notes||
1 tn Heb “all my works that my hands had done.”
2 tn Heb “and all the toil with which I had toiled in doing it.” The term עָמַל (’amal, “toil”) is repeated to emphasize the burden and weariness of the labor which Qoheleth exerted in his accomplishments.
3 tn Heb “Behold!”
4 tn The term הַכֹּל (hakkol, “everything” or “all”) must be qualified and limited in reference to the topic that is dealt with in 2:4-11. This is an example of synecdoche of general for the specific; the general term “all” is used only in reference to the topic at hand. This is clear from the repetition of כֹּל (kol, “everything”) and (“all these things”) in 2:11.
5 tn The phrase “achievements and possessions” does not appear in the Hebrew text, but is supplied in translation for clarity.
6 tn The term “ultimately” does not appear in the Hebrew text, but is supplied in the translation for clarity.
7 tn The parallelism with יִתְרוֹן (yitron), “profit; advantage; gain”) indicates that הֶבֶל (hevel) should be nuanced as “profitless, fruitless, futile” in this context. While labor offers some relative and temporal benefits, such as material acquisitions and the enjoyment of the work of one’s hands, there is no ultimate benefit to be gained from secular human achievement.
8 tn The noun יִתְרוֹן (yitron, “profit”) has a two-fold range of meanings: (1) “what comes of [something]; result” (Eccl 1:3; 2:11; 3:9; 5:8, 15; 7:12; 10:10) and (2) “profit; advantage” (Eccl 2:13; 10:11); see HALOT 452–53 s.v. יִתְרוֹי. It is derived from the noun יֶתֶר (yeter, “what is left behind; remainder”; HALOT 452 s.v. I יֶתֶר). The related verb יָתַר (yatar) denotes “to be left over; to survive” (Niphal) and “to have left over” (Hiphil); see HALOT 451–52 s.v. יתר. When used literally, יִתְרוֹן refers to what is left over after expenses (gain or profit); when used figuratively, it refers to what is advantageous or of benefit. Though some things have relative advantage over others (e.g., light over darkness, and wisdom over folly in 2:13), there is no ultimate profit in man’s labor due to death.
9 tn The phrase “from them” does not appear in the Hebrew text, but is supplied in the translation for clarity.
10 tn Heb “under the sun.”