Ecclesiastes 8 Tree of Life Version (TLV)
Wisdom’s Light and Limits
8 Who is like the wise person?
2 I say: “Obey the king’s command, and especially in regard to the oath of God. 3 Do not be hasty to rush out of his presence. Do not stand up for an evil cause, because he will do whatever he desires. 4 Since the word of a king has authority, who can say to him, ‘What are you doing?’
5 Whoever obeys his command will not experience harm, and a wise person’s heart discerns the proper time and procedure. 6 For there is a proper time and procedure for every matter, though a person’s trouble is heavy upon him.
7 Since no one knows what will be,
9 I have seen all this while applying my mind to everything done under the sun: sometimes one person dominates another person to his own harm. 10 Then I saw the wicked buried—they used to come and go from the holy place, but will soon be forgotten in the very city where they did this. This too is meaningless.
11 When the sentence against a crime is not swiftly carried out, the human heart is encouraged to do evil. 12 Even though a sinner might commit a hundred crimes and prolong his days, yet I know that it will be well for those who fear God, for those who revere Him. 13 But it will not go well with the wicked, and he will not lengthen his days like a shadow, because he does not fear God.
14 There is another enigma that occurs upon the earth: there are righteous people who are requited according to the work of the wicked, and there are wicked people who are requited according to the work of the righteous. I said, “This also is meaningless.” 15 So I recommend enjoyment, because there is nothing better for humanity under the sun except to eat, drink and enjoy it. So this joy will accompany him in his labor all the days of his life that God gives him under the sun.
16 When I applied my heart to know wisdom and to observe the activity that is done upon the earth (his eyes not seeing sleep either day or night), 17 then I saw all the work of God. No one can comprehend the work that is done under the sun. Despite all human efforts to seek it out, no one comprehends. Even if a wise person claims to know, he cannot really comprehend.
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.