There is an evil which I have seen under the sun, and it is heavy upon men: a man to whom God giveth riches, wealth, and honour, so that he lacketh nothing for his soul of all that he desireth, yet God giveth him not power to eat thereof, but a stranger eateth it; this is vanity, and it is an evil disease. If a man beget an hundred children, and live many years, so that the days of his years be many, but his soul be not filled with good, and moreover he have no burial; I say, that an untimely birth is better than he. For it cometh in vanity, and departeth in darkness, and the name thereof is covered with darkness; moreover it hath not seen nor known the sun; this hath rest rather than the other. Yea, though he live a thousand years twice told, Yet hath he seen no good: do not all go to one place? All the labour of man is for his mouth, and yet the appetite is not filled. For what advantage hath the wise more than the fool? what hath the poor man, that knoweth to walk before the living? Better is the sight of the eyes than the wandering of the desire: this also is vanity and a striving after wind.
"Whatsoever hath been, the name thereof was given long ago, and it is known that it is man: neither can he contend with him that is mightier than he. Seeing there be many things that increase vanity, what is man the better? For who knoweth what is good for man in life, all the days of his vain life which he spendeth as a shadow? for who can tell a man what shall be after him under the sun"? (vers. 1- 12).
What a contrast is this life of "days" and "vanity" and "shadow" with life eternal, now given in Christ to the believer and the bright hope of being with Him Who is its source and fulness where He is, and we shall have its perfect unhindered expansion and display in its proper heavenly sphere! But all was veiled then. Now life and incorruption Christ has brought to light through the gospel.