Ecclesiastes 8:12

12 Although a wicked person who commits a hundred crimes may live a long time, I know that it will go better with those who fear God, who are reverent before him.

Ecclesiastes 8:12 in Other Translations

KJV
12 Though a sinner do evil an hundred times, and his days be prolonged, yet surely I know that it shall be well with them that fear God, which fear before him:
ESV
12 Though a sinner does evil a hundred times and prolongs his life, yet I know that it will be well with those who fear God, because they fear before him.
NLT
12 But even though a person sins a hundred times and still lives a long time, I know that those who fear God will be better off.
MSG
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,
CSB
12 Although a sinner commits crime a hundred times and prolongs his life, yet I also know that it will go well with God-fearing people, for they are reverent before Him.

Ecclesiastes 8:12 Meaning and Commentary

Ecclesiastes 8:12

Though a sinner do evil an hundred times
That is ever so many times, a certain number for an uncertain; though he lives in a continued course of sin, being resolved upon the above consideration to give himself a swing to his lusts. The Targum renders it a hundred years; though be should live so long in sin, yet at last should be accursed ( Isaiah 65:20 ) . This and what follows are said to check the boldness and presumption of the sinner upon the patience of God; and to make the people of God easy under the delay of justice, and the prosperity of the wicked; and his [days] be prolonged:
or rather, "and he prolongs unto him" F15; that is, God prolongs unto him, not days only, but the execution of the sentence against his evil works; or defers his wrath and punishment; so Jarchi,

``and the holy blessed God prolongs to him, and does not take vengeance on him;''
and to this purpose is the Targum,
``and from the Lord is given to him space to return;''
yet surely I know;
from the word and promise, and from experience, having observed it in a multitude of instances, which have abundantly confirmed the truth; that it shall be well with them that fear God;
not with a servile but filial fear, with a holy, humble, fiducial, affectionate, and an obediential fear; not through any terrible apprehension of his majesty, his judgment, his wrath now and hereafter; but under a sense of his being and perfections, and especially his mercy, grace, and goodness: it is well with such persons in all things; with respect to things temporal they shall not want what is proper for them; and with respect to things spiritual they are interested in the love, grace, and mercy of God; have much made known to them; are remembered by him; the sun of righteousness rises upon them; the eye of God is on them, and his heart towards them, and his hand communicates every needful supply to them; and they are guarded, not only by his angels, but by himself; and it is well with them at all times; in times of public calamity they are either taken from it beforehand, or preserved in it; all afflictions are for their good; it goes well with them at death and judgment; and they will be happy both in the millennium state and in the ultimate glory, So the Targum,
``it shall be well in the world to come with them that fear the Lord;''
see ( Psalms 34:7-9 ) ( 31:15 ) ( Revelation 11:18 ) ; with this compare ( Isaiah 3:10 Isaiah 3:11 ) ; it is added, which fear before him:
whose fear is not hypocritical, but sincere and hearty; not in show only, but in reality; not the precepts of men, and as before them, but as the sight of God; having always a sense of omniscience and omnipresence before them; and especially this fear is exercised by them when they are his house, in the assembly of his saints, attending his word and ordinances: or "which fear at his presence"; which fills them with a holy awe, as wall as with joy and gladness. The Targum is,
``which fear before him, and do his will.''

FOOTNOTES:

F15 (wl Kyram) "et prolongans ei", Montanus; "et prolongat in Deus dies", Pagninus; so Mercerus, Junius & Tremellius, supply it; "et prorogat dei Deus poenam", Piscator; "et differt Deus iram suam propter illium", Vatablus.

Ecclesiastes 8:12 In-Context

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 When the sentence for a crime is not quickly carried out, people’s hearts are filled with schemes to do wrong.
12 Although a wicked person who commits a hundred crimes may live a long time, I know that it will go better with those who fear God, who are reverent before him.
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 There is something else meaningless that occurs on earth: the righteous who get what the wicked deserve, and the wicked who get what the righteous deserve. This too, I say, is meaningless.

Cross References 3

  • 1. S Deuteronomy 12:28; Ps 37:11,18-19; Proverbs 1:32-33; Isaiah 3:10-11
  • 2. S Exodus 1:20
  • 3. Ecclesiastes 3:14