Ecclesiastes 9; Ecclesiastes 10; Ecclesiastes 11; Ecclesiastes 12

1 I thought about all of those things. I realized that those who are wise and do what is right are under God's control. What they do is also under his control. But a man doesn't know whether God will show favor to him. 2 Everyone will die someday. Death comes to godly and sinful people alike. It comes to good and bad people alike. It comes to "clean" and "unclean" people alike. Those who offer sacrifices and those who don't offer them also die. A good person dies, and so does a sinner. Those who take oaths die. So do those who are afraid to take them. 3 Here's what is so bad about everything that happens on this earth. Death catches up with all of us. Also, the hearts of people are full of evil. They live in foolish pleasure. After that, they join those who have already died. 4 Anyone who is living still has hope. Even a live dog is better off than a dead lion! 5 People who are still alive know they'll die. But those who have died don't know anything. They don't receive any more rewards. And they are soon forgotten. 6 Their love, hate and jealousy disappear. They will never share again in anything that happens on earth. 7 Go and enjoy your food. Be joyful as you drink your wine. Now is the time God favors what you do. 8 Always wear white clothes to show you are happy. Anoint your head with olive oil. 9 You love your wife. So enjoy life with her. Do it all the days of this meaningless life God has given you on earth. That's what he made you for. That's what you get for all of your hard work on earth. 10 No matter what you do, work at it with all your might. Remember, you are going to your grave. And there isn't any work or planning or knowledge or wisdom there. 11 Here's something else I've seen on this earth. Races aren't always won by those who run fast. Battles aren't always won by those who are strong. Wise people don't always have plenty of food. Clever people aren't always wealthy. Those who have learned a lot aren't always favored. God controls the timing of every event. He also controls how things turn out. 12 A man doesn't know when trouble will come to him. Fish are caught in nets. Birds are taken in traps. And people are trapped by hard times that come when they don't expect them. 13 Here's something else I saw on this earth. I saw an example of wisdom that touched me deeply. 14 There was once a small city. Only a few people lived there. A powerful king attacked it. He brought in war machines all around it. 15 A certain man lived in that city. He was poor but wise. He used his wisdom to save the city. But no one remembered that poor man. 16 So I said, "It's better to be wise than to be powerful." But people looked down on the poor man's wisdom. No one paid any attention to what he said. 17 People should listen to the quiet words of those who are wise. That's better than paying attention to the shouts of a ruler of foolish people. 18 Wisdom is better than weapons of war. But one sinner destroys a lot of good.
1 Dead flies give perfume a bad smell. And a little foolishness can make a lot of wisdom useless. 2 The hearts of wise people lead them on the right path. But the hearts of foolish people take them down the wrong path. 3 A foolish person doesn't have any sense at all. He shows everyone he is foolish. He does it even when he is walking along the road. 4 Suppose a ruler gets very angry with you. If he does, don't quit your job in the palace. Stay calm. That will overcome the effects of your big mistakes. 5 Here's something evil I've seen on this earth. And it's the kind of mistake that rulers make. 6 Foolish people are given many important jobs. Rich people are given unimportant ones. 7 I've seen slaves on horseback. I've also seen princes who were forced to walk as if they were slaves. 8 Anyone who digs a pit might fall into it. Anyone who breaks through a wall might be bitten by a snake. 9 Anyone who removes stones from rock pits might get hurt. Anyone who cuts logs might get wounded. 10 Suppose the blade of an ax is dull. And its edge hasn't been sharpened. Then more effort is needed to use it. But skill will bring success. 11 Suppose a snake bites before it is charmed. Then there isn't any benefit in being a snake charmer. 12 A man who is wise says gracious things. But a foolish person is destroyed by what his own lips speak. 13 At first what he says is foolish. In the end his words are very evil. 14 He talks too much. No one knows what lies ahead for him. Who can tell him what will happen after he is gone? 15 The work a foolish person does makes him tired. He doesn't even know the way to town. 16 How terrible it is for a land whose king used to be a servant! How terrible if its princes get drunk in the morning! 17 How blessed is the land whose king was born into the royal family! How blessed if its princes eat and drink at the proper time! How blessed if they eat and drink to become strong and not to get drunk! 18 When a man won't work, the roof falls down. When his hands aren't busy, the house leaks. 19 People laugh at a dinner party. And wine makes life happy. People think money can buy everything. 20 Don't call down curses on the king. Don't even think about doing it. Don't call down curses on rich people. Don't even do it in your bedroom. A bird might fly away and carry your words. It might report what you said.
1 Put your money into trade across the ocean. After a while you will earn something from it. 2 Give shares of what you earn to a lot of people. After all, you don't know what great trouble might come on the land. 3 Clouds that are full of water pour rain down on the earth. A tree might fall to the south or the north. It will stay in the place where it falls. 4 Anyone who keeps on watching the wind won't plant seeds. Anyone who keeps looking at the clouds won't gather crops. 5 You don't know the path the wind takes. You don't know how a baby is made inside its mother. So you can't understand how God works either. He made everything. 6 In the morning plant your seeds. In the evening keep your hands busy. You don't know what will succeed. It may be one or the other. Or both might do equally well. 7 Light is sweet. People enjoy being out in the sun. 8 No matter how many years a man might live, let him enjoy all of them. But let him remember the dark days. There will be many of them. Nothing that's going to happen will have any meaning. 9 Young man, be happy while you are still young. Let your heart be joyful while you are still strong. Do what your heart tells you to do. Go after what your eyes look at. But I want you to know that God will judge you for everything you do. 10 So drive worry out of your heart. Get rid of all of your troubles. Being young and strong doesn't have any meaning.
1 Remember the One who created you. Remember him while you are still young. Think about him before your times of trouble come. The years will come when you will say, "I don't find any pleasure in them." 2 That's when the sunlight will become dark. The moon and the stars will also grow dark. And the clouds will return after it rains. 3 Remember your Creator before those who guard the house tremble with old age. That's when strong men will be bent over. The women who grind grain will stop because there are so few of them left. Those who look through the windows won't be able to see very well. 4 Remember your Creator before the front doors are closed. That's when the sound of grinding will fade away. Old men will rise up when they hear birds singing. But they will barely hear any of their songs. 5 Remember your Creator before you become afraid of places that are too high. You will also be terrified because of danger in the streets. Remember your Creator before the almond trees have buds on them. That's when grasshoppers will drag themselves along. Old men will not want to make love anymore. Man will go to his dark home in the grave. And those who sob over the dead will walk around in the streets. 6 Remember your Creator before the silver cord is cut. That's when the golden bowl will be broken. The wheel will be broken at the well. The pitcher will be smashed at the spring. 7 Remember your Creator before you return to the dust you came from. That's when your spirit will go back to God who gave it. 8 "Meaningless! Everything is meaningless!" says the Teacher. "Nothing has any meaning." 9 The Teacher was wise. He gave knowledge to people. He put many proverbs to the test. He thought about them carefully. Then he wrote them down in order. 10 He did his best to find just the right words. And what he wrote was honest and true. 11 The sayings of those who are wise move people to take action. Their collected sayings really nail things down. They are given to us by one Shepherd. 12 My son, be careful not to pay attention to anything that is added to them. Books will never stop being written. Too much studying makes people tired. 13 Everything has now been heard. And here's the final thing I want to say. Have respect for God and obey his commandments. That's what everyone should do. 14 God will judge everything people do. That includes everything they try to hide. He'll judge everything, whether it's good or evil.
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