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Ecclesiastes 8 (English Standard Version)

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Keep the King's Command

1 Who is like the wise? And who knows the interpretation of a thing? 1A man's wisdom makes his face shine, and 2the hardness of his face is changed. 2 I say:a Keep the king's command, because of 3God's oath to him.b 3 Be not hasty to 4go from his presence. Do not take your stand in an evil cause, for he does whatever he pleases. 4 For the word of the king is supreme, and 5who may say to him, "What are you doing?" 5 Whoever keeps a command will know no evil thing, and the wise heart will know the proper time and the just way. 6 For there is a time and a way 6for everything, although man's troublec lies heavy on him. 7 For he 7does not know what is to be, for 8who can tell him how it will be? 8 No man has power to 9retain the spirit, 10or power over the day of death. There is no 11discharge from war, nor will wickedness deliver those who are given to it. 9 12All this I observed while applying my heart to all that is done under the sun, when man had power over man to his hurt.

Those Who Fear God Will Do Well

10 Then I saw the wicked buried. They used to go in and out of 13the holy place and were 14praisedd in the city where they had done such things. This also is vanity. 11 Because 15the sentence against an evil deed is not executed speedily, 16the heart of the children of man is fully set to do evil. 12 Though a sinner does evil a hundred times and 17prolongs his life, yet I know that 18it will be well with 19those who fear God, because they fear before him. 13 But it will 20not be well with the wicked, neither will he prolong his days like 21a shadow, because he does not fear before God.

Man Cannot Know God's Ways

14 There is a vanity that takes place on earth, that there are righteous people 22to whom it happens according to the deeds of the wicked, and there are wicked people 23to whom it happens according to the deeds of the righteous. I said that this also is vanity. 15 And I commend joy, for man 24has no good thing under the sun but to 25eat and drink and be joyful, for this will go with him in his toil through the days of his life that God has given him under the sun. 16 When I applied my heart to know wisdom, and to see 26the business that is done on earth, how neither 27day nor night do one's eyes see sleep, 17 then I saw all the work of God, that 28man cannot find out the work that is done under the sun. However much man may toil in seeking, he will not find it out. Even though a wise man claims to know, 29he cannot find it out.
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