Ecclesiastes 8 MSG/NIV - Online Parallel Bible

 
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1 here's nothing better than being wise, Knowing how to interpret the meaning of life. Wisdom puts light in the eyes, And gives gentleness to words and manners. 1 Who is like the wise man? Who knows the explanation of things? Wisdom brightens a man's face and changes its hard appearance.
2 Do what your king commands; you gave a sacred oath of obedience. 2 Obey the king's command, I say, because you took an oath before God.
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. 3 Do not be in a hurry to leave the king's presence. Do not stand up for a bad cause, for he will do whatever he pleases.
4 The king has the last word. Who dares say to him, "What are you doing?" 4 Since a king's word is supreme, who can say to him, "What are you doing?"
5 Carrying out orders won't hurt you a bit; the wise person obeys promptly and accurately. 5 Whoever obeys his command will come to no harm, and the wise heart will know the proper time and procedure.
6 Yes, there's a right time and way for everything, even though, unfortunately, we miss it for the most part. 6 For there is a proper time and procedure for every matter, though a man's misery weighs heavily upon him.
7 It's true that no one knows what's going to happen, or when. Who's around to tell us? 7 Since no man knows the future, who can tell him what is to come?
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. 8 No man has power over the wind to contain it; so no one has power over the day of his death. As no one is discharged in time of war, so wickedness will not release those who practice it.
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. 9 All this I saw, as I applied my mind to everything done under the sun. There is a time when a man lords it over others to his own hurt.
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. 10 Then too, I saw the wicked buried--those who used to come and go from the holy place and receive praise in the city where they did this. This too is meaningless.
11 ecause the sentence against evil deeds is so long in coming, people in general think they can get by with murder. 11 When the sentence for a crime is not quickly carried out, the hearts of the people are filled with schemes to do wrong.
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, 12 Although a wicked man commits a hundred crimes and still lives a long time, I know that it will go better with God-fearing men, who are reverent before God.
13 and that the evil person will not experience a "good" life. No matter how many days he lives, they'll all be as flat and colorless as a shadow - because he doesn't fear God. 13 Yet because the wicked do not fear God, it will not go well with them, and their days will not lengthen like a shadow.
14 Here's something that happens all the time and makes no sense at all: Good people get what's coming to the wicked, and bad people get what's coming to the good. I tell you, this makes no sense. It's smoke. 14 There is something else meaningless that occurs on earth: righteous men who get what the wicked deserve, and wicked men who get what the righteous deserve. This too, I say, is meaningless.
15 So, I'm all for just going ahead and having a good time - the best possible. The only earthly good men and women can look forward to is to eat and drink well and have a good time - compensation for the struggle for survival these few years God gives us on earth. 15 So I commend the enjoyment of life, because nothing is better for a man under the sun than to eat and drink and be glad. Then joy will accompany him in his work all the days of the life God has given him under the sun.
16 When I determined to load up on wisdom and examine everything taking place on earth, I realized that if you keep your eyes open day and night without even blinking, 16 When I applied my mind to know wisdom and to observe man's labor on earth--his eyes not seeing sleep day or night--
17 you'll still never figure out the meaning of what God is doing on this earth. Search as hard as you like, you're not going to make sense of it. No matter how smart you are, you won't get to the bottom of it. 17 then I saw all that God has done. No one can comprehend what goes on under the sun. Despite all his efforts to search it out, man cannot discover its meaning. Even if a wise man claims he knows, he cannot really comprehend it.