1So I reflected on all this and concluded that the righteous and the wise and what they do are in God’s hands, but no one knows whether love or hate awaits them.2All share a common destiny—the righteous and the wicked, the good and the bad, the clean and the unclean, those who offer sacrifices and those who do not. As it is with the good, so with the sinful; as it is with those who take oaths, so with those who are afraid to take them.3This is the evil in everything that happens under the sun: The same destiny overtakes all. The hearts of people, moreover, are full of evil and there is madness in their hearts while they live, and afterward they join the dead.4Anyone who is among the living has hope—even a live dog is better off than a dead lion!5For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing; they have no further reward, and even their name is forgotten.6Their love, their hate and their jealousy have long since vanished; never again will they have a part in anything that happens under the sun.7Go, eat your food with gladness, and drink your wine with a joyful heart, for God has already approved what you do.8Always be clothed in white, and always anoint your head with oil.9Enjoy life with your wife, whom you love, all the days of this meaningless life that God has given you under the sun—all your meaningless days. For this is your lot in life and in your toilsome labor under the sun.10Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the realm of the dead, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom.11I have seen something else under the sun: The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant or favor to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all.12Moreover, no one knows when their hour will come: As fish are caught in a cruel net, or birds are taken in a snare, so people are trapped by evil times that fall unexpectedly upon them.
Wisdom Better Than Folly
13I also saw under the sun this example of wisdom that greatly impressed me:14There was once a small city with only a few people in it. And a powerful king came against it, surrounded it and built huge siege works against it.15Now there lived in that city a man poor but wise, and he saved the city by his wisdom. But nobody remembered that poor man.16So I said, “Wisdom is better than strength.” But the poor man’s wisdom is despised, and his words are no longer heeded.17The quiet words of the wise are more to be heeded than the shouts of a ruler of fools.18Wisdom is better than weapons of war, but one sinner destroys much good.
English Standard Version
Death Comes to All
1But all this I laid to heart, examining it all, how the righteous and the wise and their deeds are in the hand of God. Whether it is love or hate, man does not know; both are before him. (De 33:3; Ec 8:14)2It is the same for all, since the same event happens to the righteous and the wicked, to the good and the evil, to the clean and the unclean, to him who sacrifices and him who does not sacrifice. As the good one is, so is the sinner, and he who swears is as he who shuns an oath. (Job 9:22; Ec 2:14; Zec 5:3; Mal 3:5)3This is an evil in all that is done under the sun, that the same event happens to all. Also, the hearts of the children of man are full of evil, and madness is in their hearts while they live, and after that they go to the dead. (Ec 1:17; Ec 9:2)4But he who is joined with all the living has hope, for a living dog is better than a dead lion.5For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing, and they have no more reward, for the memory of them is forgotten. (Job 14:21; Ps 31:12; Ps 88:5; Ps 88:12; Ec 1:11; Ec 8:10; Isa 26:14)6Their love and their hate and their envy have already perished, and forever they have no more share in all that is done under the sun.
Enjoy Life with the One You Love
7Go, eat your bread with joy, and drink your wine with a merry heart, for God has already approved what you do. (Ec 2:24)8Let your garments be always white. Let not oil be lacking on your head. (Ps 23:5; Re 3:4)9Enjoy life with the wife whom you love, all the days of your vain life that he has given you under the sun, because that is your portion in life and in your toil at which you toil under the sun. (Ec 2:10; Ec 6:12; Ec 7:15)10Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might, for there is no work or thought or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol, to which you are going. (Ec 9:5; Ro 12:11; Col 3:23)
Wisdom Better Than Folly
11Again I saw that under the sun the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to the intelligent, nor favor to those with knowledge, but time and chance happen to them all. (1Ki 22:34; 2Ch 20:15; Ec 2:14; Ec 4:1; Ec 4:7; Jer 9:23; Am 2:14; Ro 9:16)12For man does not know his time. Like fish that are taken in an evil net, and like birds that are caught in a snare, so the children of man are snared at an evil time, when it suddenly falls upon them. (Pr 7:23; Pr 29:6; Ec 8:7; Eze 12:13; Ho 7:12; Lu 21:34; 1Th 5:3)13I have also seen this example of wisdom under the sun, and it seemed great to me.14There was a little city with few men in it, and a great king came against it and besieged it, building great siegeworks against it.15But there was found in it a poor, wise man, and he by his wisdom delivered the city. Yet no one remembered that poor man. (2Sa 20:22; Ec 4:13; Ec 9:18)16But I say that wisdom is better than might, though the poor man’s wisdom is despised and his words are not heard. (Ec 7:19; Mr 6:2)17The words of the wise heard in quiet are better than the shouting of a ruler among fools. (Ec 4:6)18Wisdom is better than weapons of war, but one sinner destroys much good. (Jos 7:1; Ec 9:16)