Ecclesiastes 9; Ecclesiastes 10; Ecclesiastes 11; Ecclesiastes 12

1 I thought about all this and tried to understand it. I saw that God controls good people and wise people and what they do, but no one knows if they will experience love or hate. 2 Good and bad people end up the same -- those who are right and those who are wrong, those who are good and those who are evil, those who are clean and those who are unclean, those who sacrifice and those who do not. The same things happen to a good person as happen to a sinner, to a person who makes promises to God and to one who does not. 3 This is something wrong that happens here on earth: What happens to one happens to all. So people's minds are full of evil and foolish thoughts while they live. After that, they join the dead. 4 But anyone still alive has hope; even a live dog is better off than a dead lion! 5 The living know they will die, but the dead know nothing. Dead people have no more reward, and people forget them. 6 After people are dead, they can no longer love or hate or envy. They will never again share in what happens here on earth. 7 So go eat your food and enjoy it; drink your wine and be happy, because that is what God wants you to do. 8 Put on nice clothes and make yourself look good. 9 Enjoy life with the wife you love. Enjoy all the useless days of this useless life God has given you here on earth, because it is all you have. So enjoy the work you do here on earth. 10 Whatever work you do, do your best, because you are going to the grave, where there is no working, no planning, no knowledge, and no wisdom. 11 I also saw something else here on earth: The fastest runner does not always win the race, the strongest soldier does not always win the battle, the wisest does not always have food, the smartest does not always become wealthy, and the talented one does not always receive praise. Time and chance happen to everyone. 12 No one knows what will happen next. Like a fish caught in a net, or a bird caught in a trap, people are trapped by evil when it suddenly falls on them. 13 I also saw something wise here on earth that impressed me. 14 There was a small town with only a few people in it. A great king fought against it and put his armies all around it. 15 Now there was a poor but wise man in the town who used his wisdom to save his town. But later on, everyone forgot about him. 16 I still think wisdom is better than strength. But those people forgot about the poor man's wisdom and stopped listening to what he said. 17 The quiet words of a wise person are better than the shouts of a foolish ruler. 18 Wisdom is better than weapons of war, but one sinner can destroy much good.
1 Dead flies can make even perfume stink. In the same way, a little foolishness can spoil wisdom. 2 The heart of the wise leads to right, but the heart of a fool leads to wrong. 3 Even in the way fools walk along the road, they show they are not wise; they show everyone how stupid they are. 4 Don't leave your job just because your boss is angry with you. Remaining calm solves great problems. 5 There is something else wrong that happens here on earth. It is the kind of mistake rulers make: 6 Fools are given important positions while gifted people are given lower ones; 7 I have seen servants ride horses while princes walk like servants on foot. 8 Anyone who digs a pit might fall into it; anyone who knocks down a wall might be bitten by a snake; 9 anyone who moves boulders might be hurt by them; and anyone who cuts logs might be harmed by them. 10 A dull ax means harder work. Being wise will make it easier. 11 If a snake bites the tamer before it is tamed, what good is the tamer? 12 The words of the wise bring them praise, but the words of a fool will destroy them. 13 A fool begins by saying foolish things and ends by saying crazy and wicked things. 14 A fool talks too much. No one knows the future, and no one can tell what will happen after death. 15 Work wears fools out; they don't even know how to get home. 16 How terrible it is for a country whose king is a child and whose leaders eat all morning. 17 How lucky a country is whose king comes from a good family, whose leaders eat only at mealtime and for strength, not to get drunk. 18 If someone is lazy, the roof will begin to fall. If he doesn't fix it, the house will leak. 19 A party makes you feel good, wine makes you feel happy, and money buys anything. 20 Don't make fun of the king, and don't make fun of rich people, even in your bedroom. A little bird might carry your words; a bird might fly and tell what you said.
1 Invest what you have, because after a while you will get a return. 2 Invest what you have in several different businesses, because you don't know what disasters might happen. 3 If clouds are full of rain, they will shower on the earth. A tree can fall to the north or south, but it will stay where it falls. 4 Those who wait for perfect weather will never plant seeds; those who look at every cloud will never harvest crops. 5 You don't know where the wind will blow, and you don't know how a baby grows inside the mother. In the same way, you don't know what God is doing, or how he created everything. 6 Plant early in the morning, and work until evening, because you don't know if this or that will succeed. They might both do well. 7 Sunshine is sweet; it is good to see the light of day. 8 People ought to enjoy every day of their lives, no matter how long they live. But they should also remember this: You will be dead a long time. Everything that happens then is useless. 9 Young people, enjoy yourselves while you are young; be happy while you are young. Do whatever your heart desires, whatever you want to do. for everything you do. 10 Don't worry, and forget the troubles of your body, because youth and childhood are useless.
1 Remember your Creator while you are young, before the days of trouble come and the years when you say, "I find no pleasure in them." 2 When you get old, the light from the sun, moon, and stars will grow dark; the rain clouds will never seem to go away. 3 At that time your arms will shake and your legs will become weak. Your teeth will fall out so you cannot chew, and your eyes will not see clearly. 4 Your ears will be deaf to the noise in the streets, and you will barely hear the millstone grinding grain. You'll wake up when a bird starts singing, but you will barely hear singing. 5 You will fear high places and will be afraid to go for a walk. Your hair will become white like the flowers on an almond tree. You will limp along like a grasshopper when you walk. Your appetite will be gone. Then you will go to your everlasting home, and people will go to your funeral. 6 Soon your life will snap like a silver chain or break like a golden bowl. You will be like a broken pitcher at a spring, or a broken wheel at a well. 7 You will turn back into the dust of the earth again, but your spirit will return to God who gave it. 8 Everything is useless! The Teacher says that everything is useless. 9 The Teacher was very wise and taught the people what he knew. He very carefully thought about, studied, and set in order many wise teachings. 10 The Teacher looked for just the right words to write what is dependable and true. 11 Words from wise people are like sharp sticks used to guide animals. They are like nails that have been driven in firmly. Altogether they are wise teachings that come from one Shepherd. 12 So be careful, my son, about other teachings. People are always writing books, and too much study will make you tired. 13 Now, everything has been heard, so I give my final advice: Honor God and obey his commands, because this is all people must do. 14 God will judge everything, even what is done in secret, the good and the evil.