1 All this I took to my lev, explaining it all, that the tzaddikim, and the chachamim, and their works, are in the yad HaElohim; adam does not have da’as of whether it will be ahavah or sinah; all lies before him.
2 All things come alike to all; there is one mikreh (fortune) to the tzaddik, and to the rasha; to the tov and to the tahor, and to the tameh; to him that sacrificeth, and to him that sacrificeth not; as is the tov, so is the choteh; and he that sweareth, as he that feareth a shevuah (an oath).
3 This is a rah among all things that are done under the shemesh, that there is one mikreh (fortune) unto all; yea, also the lev of the bnei haAdam is full of rah, and holelot (madness) is in their lev while they live, and after that they go to the mesim.
4 For to him that is joined to all the living there is bitachon; for a kelev chai (living dog) is better than an aryeh hamet (dead lion).
5 For the living have da’as that they shall die; but the mesim do not have da’as of anything, neither have they any more a sachar, for the memory of them is forgotten.
6 Also their ahavah, and their sinah, and their kina, is now perished; neither have they any more a chelek l’olam in any thing that is done under the shemesh.
7 Go thy way, eat thy lechem with simchah, and drink thy yayin with a lev tov; for HaElohim now accepteth thy ma’asim.
8 Let thy garments be always white; and let thy head lack no shemen (ointment).
9 Live joyfully with the isha whom thou lovest all the days of thy chayyei hevel, which he hath given thee under the shemesh, all the days of thy hevel; for that is thy chelek in this life, and in thy amal (toil) which thou laborest under the shemesh.
10 Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy koach; for there is no ma’aseh, nor cheshbon, nor da’as, nor chochmah in Sheol, whither thou goest.
11 I returned, and saw under the shemesh, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the gibborim, neither yet lechem to the chachamim, nor yet osher to the intelligent, nor yet chen (favor) to the experts; but et (time) and pega (chance) happeneth to them all.
12 For haAdam also hath no da’as of his et (time, hour, but see Yn 13:1; 8:20; 7:30; 2:4 regarding the Moshiach’s knowledge of his hour); as the dagim that are caught in a metzodah rah (evil net), and as the birds that are trapped in the pach (snare), so are the Bnei HaAdam snared in an et ra’ah (evil time), when it falleth suddenly upon them.
13 This chochmah have I seen also under the shemesh, and it seemed gedolah (great) unto me:
14 There was an ir ketanah (little city), and few men within it; and there came a melech gadol against it, and besieged it, and built metzorim gedolim (huge siegeworks) against it.
15 Now there was found in it a poor chacham, and he by his chochmah delivered the city; yet no man remembered that same poor man.
16 Then said I, Chochmah is better than gevurah (strength); nevertheless the poor man’s chochmah is despised, and his devarim are not heard.
17 Divrei chachamim in quiet are more to be heeded than the shouting of the moshel (one ruling) among kesilim.
18 Chochmah is better than weapons of war, but one choteh destroyeth much good.