Add parallel Print Page Options

Keep the Command of the King

Who is like the wise man and who knows the interpretation of a matter? A man’s wisdom (A)illumines his face and causes his (B)stern face to [a]beam.

I say, “Keep the [b]command of the king because of the (C)sworn oath [c]before God. Do not be in a hurry (D)to go from his presence. Do not stand in an evil matter, for he will do whatever he pleases.” Since the word of the king is powerful, (E)who will say to him, “What are you doing?”

He who (F)keeps a royal command (G)experiences no evil thing, for a wise heart knows the proper time and custom. For (H)there is a proper time and custom for every [d]matter, though a man’s trouble is multiplied upon him. If no one (I)knows what will happen, who can tell him when it will happen? (J)There is no man who has power to restrain the wind with the wind, and there is none who has power over the day of death; and there is no discharge in the time of war, and (K)wickedness will not provide escape to its masters. All this I have seen and given my heart to every work that has been done under the sun wherein a man has (L)power over another man to his calamity.

10 So then, I have seen the wicked buried, those who used to go in and out from the holy place, and they are (M)soon forgotten in the city where they did thus. This too is vanity. 11 Because the (N)sentence against an evil work is not executed quickly, therefore (O)the hearts of the sons of men among them are given fully to do evil. 12 Although a sinner does evil a hundred times and may (P)prolong his life, still I know that it will be (Q)well for those who fear God, who fear [e]Him openly. 13 But it will (R)not be well for the wicked man, and he will not prolong his days like a (S)shadow, because he does not fear [f]God openly.

14 There is vanity which is done on the earth, that is, there are (T)righteous men to whom it [g]happens according to the works of the wicked. On the other hand, there are (U)wicked men to whom it [h]happens according to the works of the righteous. I say that this too is vanity. 15 So I laud gladness, for there is nothing good for (V)a man under the sun except to eat and to drink and to [i]be merry, and this will join with him in his labor throughout the days of his life which God has given him under the sun.

16 When I (W)gave my heart to know wisdom and to see the endeavor which has been done on the earth (even though one (X)never sees sleep with his eyes day or night), 17 and I saw every work of God, I concluded that (Y)man cannot find out the work which has been done under the sun. Even though man should seek laboriously, he will not find it out; and (Z)though the wise man should say, “I know,” he cannot find it out.


  1. Ecclesiastes 8:1 Or change
  2. Ecclesiastes 8:2 Lit mouth
  3. Ecclesiastes 8:2 Lit of
  4. Ecclesiastes 8:6 Lit delight
  5. Ecclesiastes 8:12 Lit before Him
  6. Ecclesiastes 8:13 Lit before Him
  7. Ecclesiastes 8:14 Lit strikes
  8. Ecclesiastes 8:14 Lit strikes
  9. Ecclesiastes 8:15 Or be glad, cf. 8:15a; 3:12, 22; 5:19; Luke 12:19