Ecclesiastes 9
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1This, too, I carefully explored: Even though the actions of godly and wise people are in God’s hands, no one knows whether God will show them favor.1So I took all this to heart and concluded that the righteous and the wise, as well as their deeds, are in God’s hands. Man does not know what lies ahead, whether love or hate.
2The same destiny ultimately awaits everyone, whether righteous or wicked, good or bad, ceremonially clean or unclean, religious or irreligious. Good people receive the same treatment as sinners, and people who make promises to God are treated like people who don’t.2It is the same for all: There is a common fate for the righteous and the wicked, for the good and the bad, for the clean and the unclean, for the one who sacrifices and the one who does not. As it is for the good, so it is for the sinner; as it is for the one who makes a vow, so it is for the one who refuses to take a vow.
3It seems so wrong that everyone under the sun suffers the same fate. Already twisted by evil, people choose their own mad course, for they have no hope. There is nothing ahead but death anyway.3This is an evil in everything that is done under the sun: There is one fate for everyone. Furthermore, the hearts of men are full of evil and madness while they are alive, and afterward they join the dead.
4There is hope only for the living. As they say, “It’s better to be a live dog than a dead lion!”4There is hope, however, for anyone who is among the living; for even a live dog is better than a dead lion.
5The living at least know they will die, but the dead know nothing. They have no further reward, nor are they remembered.5For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing. They have no further reward, because the memory of them is forgotten.
6Whatever they did in their lifetime—loving, hating, envying—is all long gone. They no longer play a part in anything here on earth.6Their love, their hate, and their envy have already vanished, and they will never again have a share in all that is done under the sun.
7So go ahead. Eat your food with joy, and drink your wine with a happy heart, for God approves of this!7Go, eat your bread with joy, and drink your wine with a cheerful heart, for God has already approved your works:
8Wear fine clothes, with a splash of cologne!8“Let your garments always be white, and never spare the oil for your head.”
9Live happily with the woman you love through all the meaningless days of life that God has given you under the sun. The wife God gives you is your reward for all your earthly toil.9Enjoy life with your beloved wife all the days of the fleeting life that God has given you under the sun—all your fleeting days. For this is your portion in life and in your labor under the sun.
10Whatever you do, do well. For when you go to the grave, there will be no work or planning or knowledge or wisdom.10Whatever you find to do with your hands, do it with all your might, for in Sheol, where you are going, there is no work or planning or knowledge or wisdom.
11I have observed something else under the sun. The fastest runner doesn’t always win the race, and the strongest warrior doesn’t always win the battle. The wise sometimes go hungry, and the skillful are not necessarily wealthy. And those who are educated don’t always lead successful lives. It is all decided by chance, by being in the right place at the right time.11I saw something else under the sun: The race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong; neither is the bread to the wise, nor the wealth to the intelligent, nor the favor to the skillful. For time and chance happen to all.
12People can never predict when hard times might come. Like fish in a net or birds in a trap, people are caught by sudden tragedy. Thoughts on Wisdom and Folly12For surely no man knows his time: Like fish caught in a cruel net or birds trapped in a snare, so men are ensnared in an evil time that suddenly falls upon them.
13Here is another bit of wisdom that has impressed me as I have watched the way our world works.13I have also seen this wisdom under the sun, and it was great to me:
14There was a small town with only a few people, and a great king came with his army and besieged it.14There was a small city with few men. A mighty king came against it, surrounded it, and built large siege ramps against it.
15A poor, wise man knew how to save the town, and so it was rescued. But afterward no one thought to thank him.15Now a poor wise man was found in the city, and he saved the city by his wisdom. Yet no one remembered that poor man.
16So even though wisdom is better than strength, those who are wise will be despised if they are poor. What they say will not be appreciated for long.16And I said, “Wisdom is better than strength, but the wisdom of the poor man is despised, and his words are not heeded.”
17Better to hear the quiet words of a wise person than the shouts of a foolish king.17The calm words of the wise are heeded over the shouts of a ruler among fools.
18Better to have wisdom than weapons of war, but one sinner can destroy much that is good.18Wisdom is better than weapons of war, but one sinner destroys much good.
Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.The Berean Bible (Berean Study Bible (BSB) © 2016, 2018 by Bible Hub and Berean.Bible. Used by Permission. All rights Reserved.
Ecclesiastes 8
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