Ecclesiastes 8 New International Version (NIV)
8 Who is like the wise?
Obey the King
2 Obey the king’s command, I say, because you took an oath before God. 3 Do not be in a hurry to leave the king’s presence. Do not stand up for a bad cause, for he will do whatever he pleases. 4 Since a king’s word is supreme, who can say to him, “What are you doing?”
5 Whoever obeys his command will come to no harm,
7 Since no one knows the future,
9 All this I saw, as I applied my mind to everything done under the sun. There is a time when a man lords it over others to his own[b] hurt. 10 Then too, I saw the wicked buried—those who used to come and go from the holy place and receive praise[c] in the city where they did this. This too is meaningless.
11 When the sentence for a crime is not quickly carried out, people’s hearts are filled with schemes to do wrong. 12 Although a wicked person who commits a hundred crimes may live a long time, I know that it will go better with those who fear God, who are reverent before him. 13 Yet because the wicked do not fear God, it will not go well with them, and their days will not lengthen like a shadow.
14 There is something else meaningless that occurs on earth: the righteous who get what the wicked deserve, and the wicked who get what the righteous deserve. This too, I say, is meaningless. 15 So I commend the enjoyment of life, because there is nothing better for a person under the sun than to eat and drink and be glad. Then joy will accompany them in their toil all the days of the life God has given them under the sun.
16 When I applied my mind to know wisdom and to observe the labor that is done on earth—people getting no sleep day or night— 17 then I saw all that God has done. No one can comprehend what goes on under the sun. Despite all their efforts to search it out, no one can discover its meaning. Even if the wise claim they know, they cannot really comprehend it.
Ecclesiastes 8 Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)
8 Who can be compared with a wise person?
2 Keep the king’s command
9 All this I have seen, as I applied my mind to everything done under the sun when one person tyrannizes another. 10 Thus I saw the wicked buried; they had even come from the Holy Place. But those who had acted uprightly were forgotten in the city. This too is a futile thing; 11 because the punishment decreed for an evil act is not promptly carried out; therefore people who plan to do evil are strengthened in their intentions. 12 For a sinner can do evil a hundred times and still live a long life; although I know that in the end things will go well with those who fear God, because they fear him. 13 But things will not go well with the wicked; and, like a shadow, he will not prolong his days; because he doesn’t fear God.
14 There is something frustrating that occurs on earth, namely, that there are righteous people to whom things happen as if they were doing wicked deeds; and, again, there are wicked people to whom things happen as if they were doing righteous deeds. I say that this too is pointless.
15 So I recommend enjoyment — a person can do nothing better under the sun than eat, drink and enjoy himself; this is what should accompany him as he does his work for as long as God gives him to live under the sun.
16 When I applied myself to gain wisdom and to observe how people occupy themselves on earth, that people’s eyes don’t see sleep either by day or by night, 17 then, on looking over all of God’s work, I realized that it is impossible to grasp all the activity taking place under the sun; because even if a person works hard at searching it out, he won’t grasp it; and even if a wise person thinks he knows it, he still won’t be able to grasp it.
Ecclesiastes 8 Lexham English Bible (LEB)
Wisdom is Valuable
8 Who is like the sage?
No One Knows the Future
7 Surely no one knows what will be,
The World Marred by Oppression and Injustice
9 I saw all this as I applied my heart to all the deeds done under the sun: sometimes those in authority harm others.[c] 10 Meanwhile, I saw the wicked being honorably buried, but those who came and went from the holy place were forgotten in the city, even though they had done so. This also is vanity!
Although Evil is Not Punished Swiftly, God Does Eventually Punish Sinners
11 Because sentence against an evil deed is not carried out quickly, the heart of humans[d] fills up within them to do evil. 12 Although the sinner does evil a hundred times and prolongs his life, yet I also know that it will be good for those who fear God—because they fear his presence.[e] 13 But it will not go well with the wicked, and they will not prolong their days, like the shadow; because there is no fearing God’s presence.[f] 14 There is a vanity that happens on earth: sometimes the righteous suffer what the wicked deserve, and sometimes the wicked receive what the righteous deserve. I said, “This also is vanity!”
Humans Should Enjoy the Life That God Gives to Them
15 So I recommend enjoyment. For there is nothing better for man under the sun than to eat and to drink and to rejoice. This will accompany him in his toil the days of his life that God gives to him under the sun.
No One Can Discover the Rhyme and Reason for Things
16 I applied my mind to know wisdom and to understand the business that is done on earth—how neither day nor night one’s eyes see sleep. 17 Then I saw all the work of God—man is not able to discover the work that is done under the sun. Although man may toil in seeking, he cannot find it. Even if a wise man claims that he knows it, he cannot find it.
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