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Ecclesiastes 9:1-18

9  For I took all this into my heart, and my heart saw all this, that the righteous and the wise and their doings are in God’s hands: neither love nor hate does man know about. 2*  Everything that has gone before them is nonsense, as there is one fate for all, for the right-doer and the wrong-doer, and for the clean and the unclean, and for the sacrificer and the nonsacrificer; the good man is like the sinner, the swearer like him who is afraid of swearing. 3  This is a bad thing in all that is done under the sun, that there is one fate for all; and also the hearts of mankind are full of evil, and they have craziness in their hearts through their lives; and afterward, to the dead, 4**  for who is there that has a choice As to all the living there is something to depend on; for a living dog is thereby better than the dead lion. 5  For the living know they are to die, but the dead do not know a thing, and no longer get any reward, because the memory of them is forgotten. 6  Both their love and their hate and their ardors are lost in the past, and they no longer have a part, forever not, in anything that is done under the sun. 7  Go, eat your bread in merriment and drink your wine with happy heart, because God has already given his approval to your doings. 8  At every time be your clothes white and oil not scanty on your head. 9  Gaze on life with a wife you love, all the days of your nonsensical life that God has given to you under the sun; all the days of your nonsense, because that is the portion you get by living and by your trouble that you take under the sun. 10  Everything that comes within your reach to do with your powers, do; because there is no action nor purpose nor knowledge nor wisdom in the world below, where you are going. 11*  I came back seeing under the sun that the race does not go to the swift nor the battle to the crack fighters, neither does bread go to the wise, neither do riches go to the longheaded, neither does popularity go to the knowing, because time and chance happen to all of them. 12  For man does not know his time either: like the fishes, that are gripped by a disastrous net, or like the birds, that are gripped by the trap, like them mankind are trapped in a disastrous time when it falls upon them suddenly. 13  This too I saw of wisdom under the sun, and it was great to me: 14  a small city, and few men in it, and there came to it a great king and surrounded it and built great towers against it; 15  but he found in it a wise poor man, and he preserved the city by his wisdom; but people did not remember that poor man. 16  And I say, wisdom is better than prowess, but the poor man’s wisdom is despised and his words are not listened to. 17  —Wise men’s words in quiet are heard better than the screams of a ruler among fools. 18*  Wisdom is better than weapons of battle. But one bungler brings the loss of a great deal of good.

Footnotes

9:2 Codd. and the wrong-doer, for the good and the clean and Var. and the wrong-doer, for the good and the bad and the clean and
9:4 Var. to the dead; because whoever is associated with all the living, there is
9:4 Lit. a living dog has that better than
9:11 Lit. the race is not to . . . neither is bread to the wise, neither are riches to the longheaded, neither is popularity to
9:18 Or one sinner Var. one slip or one sin