1 Now, I have carefully thought about all this, and I explain it in this way: Righteous people and wise people, along with their accomplishments, are in God's hands. No one knows whether there will be love or hatred. 2 Everything turns out the same way for everyone. All people will share the same destiny, whether they are righteous, wicked, or good, clean or unclean, whether they offer sacrifices or don't offer sacrifices. Good people are treated like sinners. People who take oaths are treated like those who are afraid to take oaths. 3 This is the tragedy of everything that happens under the sun: Everyone shares the same destiny. Moreover, the hearts of mortals are full of evil. Madness is in their hearts while they are still alive. After that, they join the dead. 4 But all who are among the living have hope, because a living dog is better than a dead lion. 5 The living know that they will die, but the dead don't know anything. There is no more reward for the dead when the memory of them has faded. 6 Their love, their hate, and their passions have already vanished. They will never again take part in anything that happens under the sun. 7 Go, enjoy eating your food, and drink your wine cheerfully, because God has already accepted what you've done. 8 Always wear clean clothes, and never go without lotion on your head. 9 Enjoy life with your wife, whom you love, during all your brief, pointless life. God has given you your pointless life under the sun. This is your lot [in life] and what you get for the hard work that you do under the sun. 10 Whatever presents itself for you to do, do it with [all] your might, because there is no work, planning, knowledge, or skill in the grave where you're going. 11 I saw something else under the sun. The race isn't [won] by fast runners, or the battle by heroes. Wise people don't necessarily have food. Intelligent people don't necessarily have riches, and skilled people don't necessarily receive special treatment. But time and unpredictable events overtake all of them. 12 No one knows when his time will come. Like fish that are caught in a cruel net or birds caught in a snare, humans are trapped by a disaster when it suddenly strikes them. 13 I also have seen this example of wisdom under the sun, and it made a deep impression on me. 14 There was a small town with a few soldiers in it, and a powerful king came to attack it. He surrounded it and blockaded it. 15 A poor, wise person was found in that town. He saved the town using his wisdom. But no one remembered that poor person. 16 So I said, "Wisdom is better than strength," even though that poor person's wisdom was despised, and no one listened to what he said. 17 One should pay more attention to calm words from wise people than shouting from a ruler of fools. 18 Wisdom is better than weapons of war, but one sinner can destroy much that is good.
1 Dead flies will make a bottle of perfume stink, and then it is spoiled. A little foolishness outweighs wisdom [and] honor. 2 A wise person's heart leads the right way. The heart of a fool leads the wrong way. 3 Even when a fool goes walking, he has no sense and shows everyone else that he's a fool. 4 If a ruler becomes angry with you, don't resign your position. If you remain calm, you can make up for serious offenses. 5 There is a tragedy that I've seen under the sun, an error often made by rulers. 6 Foolish people are often given high positions, and rich people are left to fill lower positions. 7 I have seen slaves sitting on horses and influential people going on foot like slaves. 8 Whoever digs a pit may fall into it. Whoever breaks through a stone wall may be bitten by a snake. 9 Whoever works in a stone quarry may get hurt. Whoever splits wood may be injured. 10 If an ax is blunt and the edge isn't sharpened, then one has to use more strength. But wisdom prepares the way for success. 11 If a snake bites before it has been charmed, then there is no advantage in being a snake charmer. 12 A wise person's words win favors, but a fool's lips are self-destructive. 13 A fool starts out by talking foolishness and ends up saying crazy things that are dangerous. 14 He never stops talking. No one knows what the future will bring, or what will happen after [death]. Who can say! 15 Fools wear themselves out with hard work, because they don't even know the way to town. 16 How horrible it will be for any country where the king used to be a servant and where the high officials throw parties in the morning. 17 A country is blessed when the king is from a noble family and when the high officials eat at the right time in order to get strength and not to get drunk. 18 A roof sags because of laziness. A house leaks because of idle hands. 19 A meal is made for laughter, and wine makes life pleasant, but money is the answer for everything. 20 Don't curse the king even in your thoughts, and don't curse rich people even in your bedroom. A bird may carry your words, or some winged creature may repeat what you say.
1 Throw your bread on the surface of the water, because you will find it again after many days. 2 Divide what you have into seven parts, or even into eight, because you don't know what disaster may happen on earth. 3 If the clouds are full of rain, they will let it pour down on the earth. If a tree falls north or south, the tree will remain where it fell. 4 Whoever watches the wind will never plant. Whoever looks at the clouds will never harvest. 5 Just as you don't know how the breath of life enters the limbs of a child within its mother's womb, you also don't understand how God, who made everything, works. 6 Plant your seed in the morning, and don't let your hands rest until evening. You don't know whether this field or that field will be profitable or whether both of them will [turn out] equally well. 7 Light is sweet, and it is good for one's eyes to see the sun. 8 Even though people may live for many years, they should enjoy every one of them. But they should also remember there will be many dark days. Everything that is coming is pointless. 9 You young people should enjoy yourselves while you're young. You should let your hearts make you happy when you're young. Follow wherever your heart leads you and whatever your eyes see. But realize that God will make you give an account for all these things when he judges everyone. 10 Get rid of what troubles you or wears down your body, because childhood and youth are pointless.
1 Remember your Creator when you are young, before the days of trouble come and the years catch up with you. They will make you say, "I have found no pleasure in them." 2 Remember your Creator before the sun, the light, the moon, and the stars turn dark, [and] the clouds come back with rain. 3 Remember your Creator when those who guard the house tremble, strong men are stooped over, the women at the mill stop grinding because there are so few of them, [and] those who look out of the windows see a dim light. 4 Remember your Creator when the doors to the street are closed, the sound of the mill is muffled, you are startled at the sound of a bird, [and] those who sing songs become quiet. 5 Remember your Creator when someone is afraid of heights and of dangers along the road, the almond tree blossoms, the grasshopper drags itself along, [and] the caper bush has [no] fruit. Mortals go to their eternal rest, and mourners go out in the streets. 6 Remember your Creator before the silver cord is snapped, the golden bowl is broken, the pitcher is smashed near the spring, and the water wheel is broken at the cistern. 7 Then the dust [of mortals] goes back to the ground as it was before, and the breath of life goes back to God who gave it. 8 "Absolutely pointless!" says the spokesman. "Everything is pointless!" 9 Besides being wise, the spokesman also taught the people what he knew. He very carefully thought about it, studied it, and arranged it in many proverbs. 10 The spokesman tried to find just the right words. He wrote the words of truth very carefully. 11 Words from wise people are like spurs. Their collected sayings are like nails that have been driven in firmly. They come from one shepherd. 12 Be warned, my children, against anything more than these. People never stop writing books. Too much studying will wear out your body. 13 After having heard it all, this is the conclusion: Fear God, and keep his commands, because this applies to everyone. 14 God will certainly judge everything that is done. This includes every secret thing, whether it is good or bad.