Ecclesiastes 9 NLT/NIV - Online Parallel Bible

 
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1 This, too, I carefully explored: Even though the actions of godly and wise people are in God's hands, no one knows whether or not God will show them favor in this life. 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 The same destiny ultimately awaits everyone, whether they are righteous or wicked, good or bad, ceremonially clean or unclean, religious or irreligious. Good people receive the same treatment as sinners, and people who take oaths are treated like people who don't. 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 It seems so tragic that one fate comes to all. That is why people are not more careful to be good. Instead, they choose their own mad course, for they have no hope. There is nothing ahead but death anyway. 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 There is hope only for the living. For as they say, "It is better to be a live dog 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 they will die, but the dead know nothing. They have no further reward, nor are they remembered. 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 Whatever they did in their lifetime -- loving, hating, envying -- is all long gone. They no longer have a part in anything here on 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 So go ahead. Eat your food and drink your wine with a happy heart, for God approves of this! 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 Wear fine clothes, with a dash of cologne! 8 Always be clothed in white, and always anoint your head with oil.
9 Live happily with the woman you love through all the meaningless days of life that God has given you in this world. The wife God gives you is your reward for all your earthly toil. 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 you do, do well. For when you go to the grave, there will be no work or planning or knowledge or wisdom. 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 have observed something else in this world of ours. The fastest runner doesn't always win the race, and the strongest warrior doesn't always win the battle. The wise are often poor, and the skillful are not necessarily wealthy. And those who are educated don't always lead successful lives. It is all decided by chance, by being at the right place at the right time. 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 People can never predict when hard times might come. Like fish in a net or birds in a snare, people are often caught by sudden tragedy. 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 Here is another bit of wisdom that has impressed me as I have watched the way our world works. 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 living in it, and a great king came with his army and besieged 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, wise man living there who knew how to save the town, and so it was rescued. But afterward no one thought any more about him. 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 Then I realized that though wisdom is better than strength, those who are wise will be despised if they are poor. What they say will not be appreciated for long. 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 But even so, the quiet words of a wise person are better than the shouts of a foolish king. 17 The quiet words of the wise are more to be heeded than the shouts of a ruler of fools.
18 A wise person can overcome weapons of war, but one sinner can destroy much that is good. 18 Wisdom is better than weapons of war, but one sinner destroys much good.