Ecclesiastes 6

The Futility of Life

There is an evil which I have seen under the sun, and it is widespread [a]among mankind: a person to whom God has given riches, wealth, and honor, so that his soul lacks nothing of all that he desires, yet God has not given him the opportunity to [b]enjoy these things, but a foreigner [c]enjoys them. This is futility and a severe affliction. If a man fathers a hundred children and lives many years, however many [d]they may be, but his soul is not satisfied with good things and he does not even have a proper burial, then I say, “Better the miscarriage than he, for a miscarriage comes in futility and goes into darkness; and its name is covered in darkness. It has not even seen the sun nor does it know it; yet [e]it is better off than that man. Even if the man lives a thousand years twice, but does not see good things—do not all go to one and the same place?”

All a person’s labor is for his mouth, and yet [f]his appetite is not [g]satisfied. For what advantage does the wise person have over the fool? What does the poor person have, knowing how to walk before the living? What the eyes see is better than what the soul [h]desires. This too is futility and striving after wind.

10 Whatever exists has already been named, and it is known what man is; for he cannot dispute with the [i]one who is mightier than he is. 11 For there are many words which increase futility. What then is the advantage to a person? 12 For who knows what is good for a person during his lifetime, during the few [j]years of his futile life? He will [k]spend them like a shadow. For who can tell a person what will happen after him under the sun?


  1. Ecclesiastes 6:1 Lit upon
  2. Ecclesiastes 6:2 Lit eat from it
  3. Ecclesiastes 6:2 Lit eats it
  4. Ecclesiastes 6:3 Lit the days of his years
  5. Ecclesiastes 6:5 Lit more rest has this one than that
  6. Ecclesiastes 6:7 Lit the soul
  7. Ecclesiastes 6:7 Lit filled
  8. Ecclesiastes 6:9 Lit goes after
  9. Ecclesiastes 6:10 Or Him who
  10. Ecclesiastes 6:12 Lit days
  11. Ecclesiastes 6:12 Lit do