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Ecclesiastes 8:2-12 (The Message)

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2 Do what your king commands; you gave a sacred oath of obedience. 3 Don't worryingly second-guess your orders or try to back out when the task is unpleasant. You're serving his pleasure, not yours. 4 The king has the last word. Who dares say to him, "What are you doing?" 5 Carrying out orders won't hurt you a bit; the wise person obeys promptly and accurately. 6 Yes, there's a right time and way for everything, even though, unfortunately, we miss it for the most part. 7 It's true that no one knows what's going to happen, or when. Who's around to tell us? 8 No one can control the wind or lock it in a box. No one has any say-so regarding the day of death. No one can stop a battle in its tracks. No one who does evil can be saved by evil. 9 All this I observed as I tried my best to understand all that's going on in this world. As long as men and women have the power to hurt each other, this is the way it is. 10 One time I saw wicked men given a solemn burial in holy ground. When the people returned to the city, they delivered flowery eulogies - and in the very place where wicked acts were done by those very men! More smoke. Indeed. 11 ecause the sentence against evil deeds is so long in coming, people in general think they can get by with murder. 12 Even though a person sins and gets by with it hundreds of times throughout a long life, I'm still convinced that the good life is reserved for the person who fears God, who lives reverently in his presence,
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