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The writer of Ecclesiastes repeatedly describes life, effort, and death as "worthless" or "vain". But I have heard many saying that the word "hebel" does not mean worthless, but rather hard to figure out, which seems to make sense. Which one is correct?

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    See the translations commended in the above link. Personally I find 'vapor' to be a really good match - that really changed the way in which I understood the whole book. 'Vapor' is light and momentary, and can be blown away or disappear easily. It captures that sense of meaninglessness and ephemerality fairly well. – Steve Taylor Apr 4 '17 at 8:05

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