Then I looked on all the works that my hands had wrought, and on the labour that I had laboured to do: and, behold, all was vanity and vexation of spirit, and there was no profit under the sun.
Then said I in my heart, As it happeneth to the fool, so it happeneth even to me; and why was I then more wise? Then I said in my heart, that this also is vanity.
For there is no remembrance of the wise more than of the fool for ever; seeing that which now is in the days to come shall all be forgotten. And how dieth the wise man? as the fool.
Therefore I hated life; because the work that is wrought under the sun is grievous unto me: for all is vanity and vexation of spirit.
Yea, I hated all my labour which I had taken under the sun: because I should leave it unto the man that shall be after me.
Then I looked on all the works that my hands had wrought: and, behold, all was vanity and vexation of spirit, and there was no profit under the sun.
For there is no remembrance of the wise more than of the fool for ever.
I hated all my labour: because I should leave it unto the man that shall be after me.
Ecclesiastes is a most interesting book. There is not another volume in all of scripture that is so pessimistic and fatalistic. The Preacher describes a world where consequence does not match behavior, where the good and the evil meet the same fate, where the lazy prosper and the hardworking remain desolate.
And quite frankly, the world he sees is not inaccurate. For while we have some level of control over our fate, it is minimal at best. So much is left to chance and whim. At some point or another we all come to the same realization: “life isn’t fair!”
And that is correct. Life is not fair. How could it be? We live in a fallen world, where injustice and imbalance will forever hold sway. This is a very hard pill for us to swallow, for it is in our nature to believe in order and balance. It takes a breaking for us to finally accept that the world does not match what our hearts know it should be.
And this is the entire point of Ecclesiastes, to show the hopelessness of the material world. If there was no God, if there was no heaven, if there was no measuring of justice and recompense in the hereafter, if this world were truly all that there was…then things would be very bleak indeed.