Ecclesiastes 9 (Lexham English Bible)

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The Same Fate—Death—Awaits Everyone

1 So all this I laid to my heart, and I concludeda that the righteous and the wise, as well as their deeds, [are] in the hand of God. So no one knows anything that will [come] to them, whether [it will be] love or hatred. 2 The same fate [comes] to everyone: to the righteous and to the wicked, to the good and to the wicked, to the clean and to the unclean, to those who sacrifice and to those who do not sacrifice. As [with] the good [man], so also to the sinner; [as with] those who swear an oath, so [also] those who fear oaths. 3 This [is] the {injustice}b that is done under the sun: the same fate [comes] to everyone. Also the hearts of {humans}c are full [of] evil; delusion [is] in their hearts during their lives, and then they die.

Death Deprives Humans of Everything in Life

4 Whoever is joinedd to all the living has hope. After all, even a live dog is better than a dead lion! 5 For the living know that they will die, but the dead do not know anything. They no longer have a reward, and even the memory of them is forgotten. 6 What they loved and hated, as well as what they desired, has already perished. They no longer have any share in what is done under the sun.

Enjoy Life While It Lasts

7 Go--eat your food with joy, and drink your wine with a merry heart! For God already has approved your deeds. 8 Always be clothed in white garments, and never let your head lack oil! 9 Enjoy life with the wife whom you love all the days of your vain life which he gives you under the sun, because this [is] your lot in life and in the toil with which you toil under the sun. 10 Whatever your hand finds to do--do [it] with [all] your might; for in Sheol--where you are going--no one works, plans, knows, or thinks about anything.

The Injustice of Time and Chance

11 I looked again and saw under the sun that the race [does] not [belong] to the swift, the battle [does] not [belong] to the mighty, food [does] not [belong] to the wise, wealth [does] not [belong] to the intelligent, and successe [does] not [belong] to the skillful, for time and chance befalls all of them. 12 For man does not know his time. Just as fish are caught in a cruel net and like birds who are seized in a snare, so also {humans}f are ensnared at a cruel time when it falls suddenly upon them.

Wisdom—Although Vulnerable—is Superior to Power

13 I have also seen this [example of] wisdom under the sun, and it [seemed] great to me. 14 [There was] a small city with few people in it. A great king came and besieged it, building great siege works against it. 15 Now, a poor wise man was found in it, and he delivered the city by his wisdom. 16 So I concluded that wisdom [is] better than might, yet the wisdom of the poor is despised, and his words are not heard.

Wisdom—Although Vulnerable—is Superior to Folly

17 The words of the wise are heard in peace [more] than the shouting of a ruler [is heard] among the fools. 18 Wisdom [is] better than weapons of war, but one sinner destroys much good.
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