Ecclesiastes 8-12 Amplified Bible (AMP)
8 Who is like the wise man?
2 I counsel you to keep the command of the king because of the oath before God [by which you swore loyalty to him]. 3 Do not be in a hurry to get out of his presence. Do not join in a malevolent matter, for the king will do whatever he pleases.
9 All this I have seen while applying my mind to every deed that is done under the sun. There is a time in which one man has exercised power over others to their detriment.
10 So then, I have seen the wicked buried, those who used to go in and out of the holy place [but did not thereby escape their doom], and they are [praised in spite of their evil and] soon forgotten in the city where they did such things. This too is futility (vanity, emptiness). 11 Because the sentence against an evil act is not executed quickly, the hearts of the sons of men are fully set to do evil. 12 Though a sinner does evil a hundred times and his life [seemingly] is prolonged [in spite of his wickedness], still I know that it will be well with those who [reverently] fear God, who fear and worship Him openly [realizing His omnipresence and His power]. 13 But it will not be well for the evil man, nor will he lengthen his days like a shadow, because he does not fear God.
14 There is a meaningless and futile thing which is done on the earth: that is, there are righteous men whose gain is as though they were evil, and evil men whose gain is as though they were righteous. I say that this too is futility (meaningless, vain). 15 Then I commended pleasure and enjoyment, because a man [without God] has no better thing under the sun than to eat and to drink and to be merry, for this will stand by him in his toil through the days of his life which God has given him under the sun.
16 When I applied my mind to know wisdom and to see the activities [of mankind] that take place upon the earth—how some men seem to sleep neither day nor night— 17 and I saw all the work of God, I concluded that man cannot discover the work that is done under the sun. Even though man may labor in seeking, he will not discover; and [more than that], though a wise man thinks and claims he knows, he will not be able to find it out.
Men Are in the Hand of God
9 For I have taken all this to heart, exploring and examining it all, how the righteous (those in right standing with God) and the wise and their deeds are in the hands of God. No man knows whether it will be love or hatred; anything awaits him.
2 It is the same for all. There is one fate for the righteous and for the wicked; for the good, for the clean and for the unclean; for the man who offers sacrifices and for the one who does not sacrifice. As the good man is, so is the sinner; as he who swears an oath is, so is he who is afraid to swear an oath. 3 This evil is in all that is done under the sun, that one fate comes to all. Also, the hearts of the sons of men are full of evil, and madness is in their hearts while they live, and afterwards they go to the dead. 4 [There is no exemption,] but whoever is joined with all the living, has hope; surely a live dog is better than a dead lion. 5 For the living know that they will die; but the dead know nothing, and they no longer have a reward [here], for the memory of them is forgotten. 6 Indeed their love, their hatred and their zeal have already perished, and they will no longer have a share [in this age] in anything that is done under the sun.
7 Go your way, eat your bread with joy and drink your wine with a cheerful heart [if you are righteous, wise, and in the hands of God]; for God has already approved and accepted your works. 8 Let your clothes always be white [with purity], and do not let the oil [of gladness] be lacking on your head. 9 Live joyfully with the wife whom you love all the days of your fleeting life which He has given you under the sun—all the days of vanity and futility. For this is your reward in life and in your work in which you have labored under the sun.
Whatever Your Hand Finds to Do
10 Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might; for there is no activity or planning or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol (the nether world, the place of the dead) where you are going.
11 I again saw under the sun that the race is not to the swift and the battle is not to the strong, and neither is bread to the wise nor riches to those of intelligence and understanding nor favor to men of ability; but time and chance overtake them all. 12 For man also does not know his time [of death]; like fish caught in a treacherous net, and birds caught in the snare, so the sons of men are ensnared in an evil time when a dark cloud suddenly falls on them.
13 This [illustration of] wisdom I have also seen under the sun, and great it was to me: 14 There was a little city with few men in it and a great king came against it and besieged it and built great battlements against it. 15 But there was found in it a poor wise man, and by his wisdom he rescued the city. Yet no man [seriously] remembered that poor man. 16 But I say that wisdom is better than strength, though the poor man’s wisdom is despised and his words are not heeded. 17 The words of wise men heard in quietness are better than the shouting of one who rules among fools. 18 Wisdom is better than weapons of war, but one sinner destroys much good.
A Little Foolishness
10 Dead flies make the oil of the perfumer give off a foul odor; so a little foolishness [in one who is esteemed] outweighs wisdom and honor. 2 A wise man’s heart turns him toward the right [which is the way of blessing], but a fool’s heart turns him toward the left [which is the way of condemnation]. 3 Even when a fool walks along the road, his [common] sense and good judgment fail him and he demonstrates to everyone that he is a fool. 4 If the temper of the ruler rises against you, do not leave your post [showing resistance], because composure and calmness prevent great offenses.
5 There is an evil I have seen under the sun, like an error which proceeds from the ruler— 6 folly is set in many exalted places and in great dignity while the rich sit in humble places. 7 I have seen slaves riding on horses and princes walking like slaves on the ground.
8 He who digs a pit [for others] may fall into it, and a serpent may bite him who breaks through a [stone] wall. 9 He who quarries stones may be hurt with them, and he who splits logs may be endangered by them. 10 If the axe is dull and he does not sharpen its edge, then he must exert more strength; but wisdom [to sharpen the axe] helps him succeed [with less effort]. 11 If the serpent bites before being charmed, then there is no profit for the charmer. 12 The words of a wise man’s mouth are gracious and win him favor, but the lips of a fool consume him; 13 the beginning of [c]his talking is foolishness and the end of his talk is wicked madness. 14 Yet the fool multiplies words, though no man knows what will happen, and who can tell him what will come after he is gone? 15 The labor of a fool so wearies him [because he is ignorant] that he does not even know how to go to a city. 16 Woe to you, O land, when your king is a child and when your [incompetent] officials and princes feast in the morning. 17 Blessed [prosperous and admired] are you, O land, when your king is a man of noble birth, and your princes and officials feast at the proper time—for strength and not for drunkenness. 18 Through laziness the rafters [of state affairs] decay and the roof sags, and through idleness [the roof of] the house leaks. 19 The officials make a feast for enjoyment [instead of repairing what is broken], and serve wine to make life merry, and money is the answer to everything. 20 Moreover, do not curse the king, even in your bedroom, and in your sleeping rooms do not curse the rich, for a bird of the air will carry the sound and a winged creature will make the matter known.
Cast Your Bread on the Waters
11 Cast your bread on the surface of the waters, [be diligently active, make thoughtful decisions], for you will [d]find it after many days. 2 Give a portion to seven, or even [divide it] to eight, for you do not know what misfortune may occur on the earth. 3 If the clouds are full [of rain], they empty themselves on the earth; and if a tree falls toward the south or toward the north, in the place where the tree falls, there it lies. 4 He who watches the wind [waiting for all conditions to be perfect] will not sow [seed], and he who looks at the clouds will not reap [a harvest]. 5 Just as you do not know the way and path of the wind or how the bones are formed in the womb of a pregnant woman, even so you do not know the activity of God who makes all things.
6 Sow your seed in the morning and do not be idle with your hands in the evening, for you do not know whether morning or evening planting will succeed, whether this or that, or whether both alike will be good.
7 The light is sweet and pleasant, and it is good for the eyes to see the sun. 8 Yes, if a man should live many years, let him rejoice in them all; yet let him remember the days of darkness, for they will be many. All that is to come will be futility.
9 Rejoice, young man, in your childhood, and let your heart be pleasant in the days of your young manhood. And walk in the ways of your heart and in the desires of your eyes, but know that God will bring you into judgment for all these things. 10 Therefore, remove sorrow and anger from your heart and put away pain from your body, for childhood and the prime of life are fleeting.
Remember God in Your Youth
12 Remember [thoughtfully] also your Creator in the days of your youth [for you are not your own, but His], before the evil days come or the years draw near when you will say [of physical pleasures], “I have no enjoyment and delight in them”; 2 before the sun and the light, and the moon and the stars are darkened [by impaired vision], and the clouds [of depression] return after the rain [of tears]; 3 in the day when the keepers of the house (hands, arms) tremble, and the strong men (feet, knees) bow themselves, and the grinders (molar teeth) cease because they are few, and those (eyes) who look through the windows grow dim; 4 when the doors (lips) are shut in the streets and the sound of the grinding [of the teeth] is low, and one rises at the sound of a bird and the crowing of a rooster, and all the daughters of music (voice, ears) sing softly. 5 Furthermore, they are afraid of a high place and of dangers on the road; the almond tree (hair) blossoms [white], and the grasshopper (a little thing) is a burden, and the [e]caperberry (desire, appetite) fails. For man goes to his eternal home and the mourners go about the streets and market places. 6 Earnestly remember your Creator before the silver cord [of life] is broken, or the golden bowl is crushed, or the pitcher at the fountain is shattered and the wheel at the cistern is crushed; 7 then the dust [out of which God made man’s body] will return to the earth as it was, and the spirit will return to God who gave it. 8 “Vanity of vanities,” says the Preacher. “All [that is done without God’s guidance] is vanity (futility).”
Purpose of the Preacher
9 Furthermore, because the Preacher was wise, he still taught the people knowledge; and he pondered and searched out and arranged many proverbs. 10 The Preacher sought to find delightful words, even to write correctly words of truth.
11 The words of the wise are like [prodding] goads, and these collected sayings are [firmly fixed in the mind] like well-driven nails; [f]they are given by one Shepherd. 12 But beyond this my son, [about going further than the words given by one Shepherd], be warned: the writing of many books is endless [so do not believe everything you read], and excessive study and devotion to books is wearying to the body.
13 When all has been heard, the end of the matter is: fear God [worship Him with awe-filled reverence, knowing that He is almighty God] and keep His commandments, for this applies to every person. 14 For God will bring every act to judgment, every hidden and secret thing, whether it is good or evil.
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