Ecclesiastes 8:1-17

8  Who is there like the wise one?+ And who is there knowing the interpretation of a thing?+ The wisdom of a man itself causes his face to shine, and even the sternness of his face is changed [for the better].+  I [say:] “Keep the very order of the king,+ and that out of regard for the oath of God.+  Do not hurry yourself, that you may go out from before him.+ Do not stand in a bad thing.+ For all that he delights [to do] he will do,+  because the word of the king is the power of control;+ and who may say to him: ‘What are you doing?’”  He that is keeping the commandment will not know any calamitous thing,+ and the wise heart will know both time and judgment.+  For there exists a time and judgment even for every affair,+ because the calamity of mankind is abundant upon them.+  For there is no one knowing what will come to be,+ because who can tell him just how it will come to be?  There is no man having power over the spirit* to restrain the spirit;+ neither is there any power of control in the day of death;+ nor is there any discharge in the war.+ And wickedness will provide no escape for those indulging in it.*+  All this I have seen, and there was an applying* of my heart to every work that has been done under the sun, [during] the time that man has dominated man to his injury.+ 10  But, though this is so, I have seen the wicked ones being buried,+ how they came in and how they would go away from the holy place+ itself and be forgotten in the city where they acted that way.+ This too is vanity. 11  Because sentence against a bad work has not been executed speedily,+ that is why the heart of the sons of men has become fully set in them to do bad.+ 12  Although a sinner may be doing bad+ a hundred times and continuing a long time as he pleases, yet I am also aware that it will turn out well with those fearing the [true] God,+ because they were in fear of him.+ 13  But it will not turn out well at all with the wicked one,+ neither will he prolong his days that are like a shadow,+ because he is not in fear of God.+ 14  There exists a vanity that is carried out on the earth, that there exist righteous ones to whom it is happening as if for the work of the wicked ones,+ and there exist wicked ones to whom it is happening as if for the work of the righteous ones.+ I said that this too is vanity. 15  And I myself commended rejoicing,+ because mankind* have nothing better under the sun than to eat and drink and rejoice, and that it should accompany them in their hard work for the days of their life,+ which the [true] God has given them under the sun.+ 16  In accord with this I applied my heart+ to know wisdom and to see the occupation that is carried on in the earth,+ because there is one seeing no sleep with his eyes, either by day or by night.+ 17  And I saw all the work of the [true] God,+ how mankind are not able to find out the work that has been done under the sun;+ however much mankind keep working hard to seek, yet they do not find out.+ And even if they should say they are wise enough to know,+ they would be unable to find out.+


“Over the spirit (breath).” Heb., ba·ruʹach; Gr., pneuʹma·ti.
Lit., “the owners of it.” Heb., beʽa·lavʹ.
“There was an applying.” In Heb. this is a verb in the infinitive absolute, indefinite as to time and impersonal.
Lit., “for the earthling man.” Heb., la·ʼa·dhamʹ.