A A A A A
Bible Book List

Ecclesiastes 9 New Century Version (NCV)

Is Death Fair?

I thought about all this and tried to understand it. I saw that God controls good people and wise people and what they do, but no one knows if they will experience love or hate.

Good and bad people end up the same—
    those who are right and those who are wrong,
those who are good and those who are evil,
    those who are clean and those who are unclean,
    those who sacrifice and those who do not.
The same things happen to a good person
    as happen to a sinner,
to a person who makes promises to God
    and to one who does not.

This is something wrong that happens here on earth: What happens to one happens to all. So people’s minds are full of evil and foolish thoughts while they live. After that, they join the dead. But anyone still alive has hope; even a live dog is better off than a dead lion!

The living know they will die,
    but the dead know nothing.
Dead people have no more reward,
    and people forget them.
After people are dead,
    they can no longer love or hate or envy.
They will never again share
    in what happens here on earth.

Enjoy Life While You Can

So go eat your food and enjoy it;
    drink your wine and be happy,
because that is what God wants you to do.
Put on nice clothes
    and make yourself look good.

Enjoy life with the wife you love. Enjoy all the useless days of this useless life God has given you here on earth, because it is all you have. So enjoy the work you do here on earth. 10 Whatever work you do, do your best, because you are going to the grave, where there is no working, no planning, no knowledge, and no wisdom.

Time and Chance

11 I also saw something else here on earth:
The fastest runner does not always win the race,
    the strongest soldier does not always win the battle,
the wisest does not always have food,
    the smartest does not always become wealthy,
    and the talented one does not always receive praise.
Time and chance happen to everyone.
12 No one knows what will happen next.
Like a fish caught in a net,
    or a bird caught in a trap,
people are trapped by evil
    when it suddenly falls on them.

Wisdom Does Not Always Win

13 I also saw something wise here on earth that impressed me. 14 There was a small town with only a few people in it. A great king fought against it and put his armies all around it. 15 Now there was a poor but wise man in the town who used his wisdom to save his town. But later on, everyone forgot about him. 16 I still think wisdom is better than strength. But those people forgot about the poor man’s wisdom and stopped listening to what he said.

17 The quiet words of a wise person are better
    than the shouts of a foolish ruler.
18 Wisdom is better than weapons of war,
    but one sinner can destroy much good.

New Century Version (NCV)

The Holy Bible, New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.

Ecclesiastes 9 New International Version (NIV)

A Common Destiny for All

So 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. All share a common destiny—the righteous and the wicked, the good and the bad,[a] 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.

This 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. Anyone who is among the living has hope[b]—even a live dog is better off than a dead lion!

For the living know that they will die,
    but the dead know nothing;
they have no further reward,
    and even their name is forgotten.
Their love, their hate
    and their jealousy have long since vanished;
never again will they have a part
    in anything that happens under the sun.

Go, eat your food with gladness, and drink your wine with a joyful heart, for God has already approved what you do. Always be clothed in white, and always anoint your head with oil. Enjoy 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. 10 Whatever 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.

11 I 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.

12 Moreover, 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

13 I also saw under the sun this example of wisdom that greatly impressed me: 14 There 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. 15 Now there lived in that city a man poor but wise, and he saved the city by his wisdom. But nobody remembered that poor man. 16 So I said, “Wisdom is better than strength.” But the poor man’s wisdom is despised, and his words are no longer heeded.

17 The quiet words of the wise are more to be heeded
    than the shouts of a ruler of fools.
18 Wisdom is better than weapons of war,
    but one sinner destroys much good.

Footnotes:

  1. Ecclesiastes 9:2 Septuagint (Aquila), Vulgate and Syriac; Hebrew does not have and the bad.
  2. Ecclesiastes 9:4 Or What then is to be chosen? With all who live, there is hope
New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Viewing of
Cross references
Footnotes