Ecclesiastes 9 MSG/NIV - Online Parallel Bible

 
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1 Well, I took all this in and thought it through, inside and out. Here's what I understood: The good, the wise, and all that they do are in God's hands - but, day by day, whether it's love or hate they're dealing with, they don't know. 1 So I reflected on all this and concluded that the righteous and the wise and what they do are in God's hands, but no man knows whether love or hate awaits him.
2 It's one fate for everybody - righteous and wicked, good people, bad people, the nice and the nasty, worshipers and non-worshipers, committed and uncommitted. 2 All share a common destiny--the righteous and the wicked, the good and the bad, the clean and the unclean, those who offer sacrifices and those who do not. As it is with the good man, so with the sinner; as it is with those who take oaths, so with those who are afraid to take them.
3 I find this outrageous - the worst thing about living on this earth - that everyone's lumped together in one fate. Is it any wonder that so many people are obsessed with evil? Is it any wonder that people go crazy right and left? Life leads to death. That's it. 3 This is the evil in everything that happens under the sun: The same destiny overtakes all. The hearts of men, moreover, are full of evil and there is madness in their hearts while they live, and afterward they join the dead.
4 Still, anyone selected out for life has hope, for, as they say, "A living dog is better than a dead lion." 4 Anyone who is among the living has hope--even a live dog is better off than a dead lion!
5 The living at least know something, even if it's only that they're going to die. But the dead know nothing and get nothing. They're a minus that no one remembers. 5 For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing; they have no further reward, and even the memory of them is forgotten.
6 Their loves, their hates, yes, even their dreams, are long gone. There's not a trace of them left in the affairs of this earth. 6 Their love, their hate and their jealousy have long since vanished; never again will they have a part in anything that happens under the sun.
7 Seize life! Eat bread with gusto, Drink wine with a robust heart. Oh yes - God takes pleasure in your pleasure! 7 Go, eat your food with gladness, and drink your wine with a joyful heart, for it is now that God favors what you do.
8 Dress festively every morning. Don't skimp on colors and scarves. 8 Always be clothed in white, and always anoint your head with oil.
9 Relish life with the spouse you love Each and every day of your precarious life. Each day is God's gift. It's all you get in exchange For the hard work of staying alive. Make the most of each one! 9 Enjoy life with your wife, whom you love, all the days of this meaningless life that God has given you under the sun--all your meaningless days. For this is your lot in life and in your toilsome labor under the sun.
10 Whatever turns up, grab it and do it. And heartily! This is your last and only chance at it, For there's neither work to do nor thoughts to think In the company of the dead, where you're most certainly headed. 10 Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the grave, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom.
11 I took another walk around the neighborhood and realized that on this earth as it is - The race is not always to the swift, Nor the battle to the strong, Nor satisfaction to the wise, Nor riches to the smart, Nor grace to the learned. Sooner or later bad luck hits us all. 11 I have seen something else under the sun: The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant or favor to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all.
12 No one can predict misfortune. Like fish caught in a cruel net or birds in a trap, So men and women are caught By accidents evil and sudden. Wisdom Is Better than Muscle 12 Moreover, no man knows when his hour will come: As fish are caught in a cruel net, or birds are taken in a snare, so men are trapped by evil times that fall unexpectedly upon them.
13 One day as I was observing how wisdom fares on this earth, I saw something that made me sit up and take notice. 13 I also saw under the sun this example of wisdom that greatly impressed me:
14 There was a small town with only a few people in it. A strong king came and mounted an attack, building trenches and attack posts around it. 14 There was once a small city with only a few people in it. And a powerful king came against it, surrounded it and built huge siegeworks against it.
15 There was a poor but wise man in that town whose wisdom saved the town, but he was promptly forgotten. (He was only a poor man, after all.) 15 Now there lived in that city a man poor but wise, and he saved the city by his wisdom. But nobody remembered that poor man.
16 All the same, I still say that wisdom is better than muscle, even though the wise poor man was treated with contempt and soon forgotten. 16 So I said, "Wisdom is better than strength." But the poor man's wisdom is despised, and his words are no longer heeded.
17 The quiet words of the wise are more effective Than the ranting of a king of fools. 17 The quiet words of the wise are more to be heeded than the shouts of a ruler of fools.
18 Wisdom is better than warheads, But one hothead can ruin the good earth. 18 Wisdom is better than weapons of war, but one sinner destroys much good.