Previous Verse Next Verse


I said to my heart, “Come now,

Go to footnote number

I will test you

Go to footnote number

with levity, to see

Go to footnote number

what is good,”

but look,

Go to footnote number

it is also like a vapor.

Go to footnote number


I said to myself in my innermost being, “I urge you to go down this path with me, for I will put to the test your desire to be entertained, to see if it is worthwhile.” But no, like everything else, I found

it is like a vapor.



The word usually means “go to” but it can also mean “come now,” or “I urge you, I plead with you.”


What is being put to the test is not mirth itself, but Solomon’s desire for it. There was a struggle inside him, with part of him wanting entertainment and a relief from the serious side of life. If I am right that his favorite wife died relatively young, he was seeking relief from the dark cloud of depression that dogged him constantly. So he decided to put to the test the idea that the pursuit of levity would prove helpful and satisfying. This does not require that he started doing things only for the sake of entertainment; it could have been a mental exercise where he evaluated his previous experiences with levity and pleasure, and he concluded that they do not truly satisfy. Keep in mind that he had not yet turned his back on God, so he was still trying to do things the right way, although he was struggling against anger and resentment.


Some translations say something like, “therefore enjoy yourself,” but that is an unnatural rendering of this verb which means “to see.” Also the word “good or pleasing” that follows the verb “to see” does not convey the same idea as the word “mirth and frivolity,” which are being put to the test.


This as an interjection which is actually the command to “look!” It is the familiar “behold” used in the KJV. I choose to use different ways to communicate the meaning of this word depending on its context, but it always has the emphasis of amazement.


This fits a handful of the possible meanings of a vapor, expressed with the acrostic PASSES, e.g. A: it Accomplishes nothing; S: it is Short-lived; and S, it is not Solid.