6 Here is 1 another misfortune 2 that I have seen on earth, 3
and it weighs 4 heavily on people: 5
2 God gives a man riches, property, and wealth
so that he lacks nothing that his heart 6 desires, 7
yet God does not enable 8 him to enjoy 9 the fruit of his labor 10 –
instead, someone else 11 enjoys 12 it! 13
This is fruitless and a grave misfortune. 14
3 Even if a man fathers a hundred children and lives many years –
even if he lives a long, long time, 15 but cannot enjoy his prosperity –
even if he were to live forever 16 –
I would say, “A stillborn child 17 is better off than he is!” 18
4 Though the stillborn child 19 came into the world 20 for no reason 21 and departed into darkness,
though its name is shrouded in darkness, 22
5 though it never saw the light of day 23 nor knew anything, 24
yet it has more rest 25 than that man –
6 if he should live a thousand years twice, yet does not enjoy his prosperity.
For both of them die! 26
7 All of man’s labor is for nothing more than 27 to fill his stomach 28 –
yet his appetite 29 is never satisfied!
8 So what advantage does a wise man have over a fool? 30
And what advantage 31 does a pauper gain by knowing how to survive? 32
9 It is better to be content with 33 what the eyes can see 34
than for one’s heart always to crave more. 35
This continual longing 36 is futile – like 37 chasing the wind.
10 Whatever has happened was foreordained, 38
and what happens to a person 39 was also foreknown.
It is useless for him to argue with God about his fate
because God is more powerful than he is. 40
11 The more one argues with words, the less he accomplishes. 41
How does that benefit him? 42
12 For no one knows what is best for a person during his life 43 –
during the few days of his fleeting life –
for 44 they pass away 45 like a shadow.
Nor can anyone tell him what the future will hold for him on earth. 46
7 A good reputation 1 is better 2 than precious 3 perfume; 4
likewise, 5 the day of one’s 6 death 7 is better than the day of one’s birth. 8
2 It is better to go to a funeral 9
than a feast. 10
For death 11 is the destiny 12 of every person, 13
and the living should 14 take this 15 to heart.
3 Sorrow 16 is better than laughter,
because sober reflection 17 is good for the heart. 18
4 The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning,
but the heart of fools is in the house of merrymaking. 19
5 It is better for a person to receive 20 a rebuke from those who are wise 21
than to listen to the song 22 of fools.
6 For like the crackling of quick-burning thorns 23 under a cooking pot,
so is the laughter of the fool.
This kind of folly 24 also is useless. 25
7 Surely oppression 26 can turn a wise person into a fool; 27
likewise, 28 a bribe corrupts 29 the heart. 30
8 The end of a matter 31 is better than its beginning;
likewise, patience 32 is better than pride. 33
9 Do not let yourself be quickly provoked, 34
for anger resides in the lap 35 of fools.
10 Do not say, “Why were the old days better than these days?” 36
for it is not wise to ask that. 37
11 Wisdom, like 38 an inheritance, is a good thing;
it benefits those who see the light of day. 39
12 For wisdom provides 40 protection, 41
just as 42 money provides protection. 43
But the advantage of knowledge is this:
Wisdom preserves the life 44 of its owner.
13 Consider the work of God:
For who can make straight what he has bent?
14 In times of prosperity 45 be joyful,
but in times of adversity 46 consider this:
God has made one as well as the other, 47
so that no one can discover what the future holds. 48
15 During the days of my fleeting life 49 I have seen both 50 of these things:
Sometimes 51 a righteous person dies prematurely 52 in spite of 53 his righteousness,
and sometimes 54 a wicked person lives long 55 in spite of his evil deeds.
16 So do not be excessively righteous or excessively 56 wise; 57
otherwise 58 you might 59 be disappointed. 60
17 Do not be excessively wicked and do not be a fool;
otherwise 61 you might die before your time.
18 It is best to take hold of one warning 62 without letting go of the other warning; 63
for the one who fears God will follow 64 both warnings. 65
19 Wisdom gives a wise person more protection 66
than ten rulers in a city.
20 For 67 there is not one truly 68 righteous person on the earth
who continually does good and never sins.
21 Also, do not pay attention to everything that people 69 say;
otherwise, 70 you might even hear 71 your servant cursing you.
22 For you know in your own heart 72
that you also have cursed others many times.
23 I have examined all this by wisdom;
I said, “I am determined 73 to comprehend this” 74 – but it was beyond my grasp. 75
24 Whatever has happened is beyond human 76 understanding; 77
it is far deeper than anyone can fathom. 78
25 I tried 79 to understand, examine, and comprehend 80
the role of 81 wisdom in the scheme of things, 82
and to understand the stupidity of wickedness 83 and the insanity of folly. 84
26 I discovered this: 85
More bitter than death is the kind of 86 woman 87 who is like a hunter’s snare; 88
her heart is like a hunter’s net and her hands are like prison chains.
The man who pleases God escapes her,
but the sinner is captured by her.
27 The Teacher says:
I discovered this while trying to discover the scheme of things, item by item.
28 What I have continually sought, I have not found;
I have found only 89 one upright 90 man among a thousand,
but I have not found one upright woman among all of them.
29 This alone have I discovered: God made humankind upright,
but they have sought many evil schemes.
8 Who is 1 a 2 wise person? Who knows the solution 3 to a problem? 4
A person’s wisdom brightens his appearance, 5 and softens 6 his harsh countenance. 7
2 Obey the king’s command, 8
because you took 9 an oath before God 10 to be loyal to him. 11
3 Do not rush out of the king’s presence in haste – do not delay when the matter is unpleasant, 12
for he can do whatever he pleases.
4 Surely the king’s authority 13 is absolute; 14
no one can say 15 to him, “What are you doing?”
5 Whoever obeys his 16 command will not experience harm,
and a wise person 17 knows the proper time 18 and procedure.
6 For there is a proper time and procedure for every matter,
for the oppression 19 of the king 20 is severe upon his victim. 21
7 Surely no one knows the future, 22
and no one can tell another person what will happen. 23
8 Just as no one has power over the wind to restrain it, 24
so no one has power over the day of his 25 death.
Just as no one can be discharged during the battle, 26
so wickedness cannot rescue the wicked. 27
9 While applying 28 my mind 29 to everything 30 that happens in this world, 31 I have seen all this:
Sometimes one person 32 dominates 33 other people 34 to their harm. 35
10 Not only that, 36 but I have seen the wicked approaching 37 and entering the temple, 38
and as they left the holy temple, 39 they
boasted 40 in the city that they had done so.
This also is an enigma. 41
11 When 42 a sentence 43 is not executed 44 at once against a crime, 45
the human heart 46 is encouraged to do evil. 47
12 Even though a sinner might commit a hundred crimes 48 and still live a long time, 49
yet I know that it will go well with God-fearing people 50 – for they stand in fear 51 before him.
13 But it will not go well with the wicked,
nor will they 52 prolong their 53 days like a shadow, 54
because they 55 do not stand in fear 56 before God.
14 Here is 57 another 58 enigma 59 that occurs on earth:
Sometimes there are righteous people who get what the wicked deserve, 60
and sometimes there are wicked people who get what the righteous deserve. 61
I said, “This also is an enigma.”
15 So I recommend the enjoyment of life, 62
for there is nothing better on earth 63 for a person to do 64 except 65 to eat, drink, and enjoy 66 life. 67
So 68 joy 69 will accompany him in his toil
during the days of his life which God gives him on earth. 70
16 When I tried 71 to gain 72 wisdom
and to observe the activity 73 on earth –
even though it prevents anyone from sleeping day or night 74 –
17 then I discerned all that God has done: 75
No one really comprehends what happens 76 on earth. 77
Despite all human 78 efforts to discover it, no one can ever grasp 79 it. 80
Even if 81 a wise person claimed 82 that he understood,
he would not really comprehend 83 it. 84