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Ecclesiastes 9-10 American Standard Version (ASV)

For all this I laid to my heart, even to explore all this: that the righteous, and the wise, and their works, are in the hand of God; whether it be love or hatred, man knoweth it not; all is before them. All things come alike to all: there is one event to the righteous and to the wicked; to the good and to the clean and to the unclean; to him that sacrificeth and to him that sacrificeth not; as is the good, so is the sinner; and he that sweareth, as he that feareth an oath. This is an evil in all that is done under the sun, that there is one event unto all: yea also, the heart of the sons of men is full of evil, and madness is in their heart while they live, and after that they go to the dead. [a]For to him that is joined with all the living there is hope; for a living dog is better than a dead lion. For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not anything, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten. As well their love, as their hatred and their envy, is perished long ago; neither have they any more a portion for ever in anything that is done under the sun. Go thy way, eat thy bread with joy, and drink thy wine with a merry heart; for God hath already accepted thy works. Let thy garments be always white; and let not thy head lack oil. [b]Live joyfully with the wife whom thou lovest all the days of thy life of vanity, which he hath given thee under the sun, all thy days of vanity: for that is thy portion in life, and in thy labor wherein thou laborest under the sun. 10 Whatsoever thy hand [c]findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in Sheol, whither thou goest. 11 I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favor to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all. 12 For man also knoweth not his time: as the fishes that are taken in an evil net, and as the birds that are caught in the snare, even so are the sons of men snared in an evil time, when it falleth suddenly upon them. 13 I have also seen wisdom under the sun on this wise, and it seemed great unto me: 14 There was a little city, and few men within it; and there came a great king against it, and besieged it, and built great bulwarks against it. 15 Now there was found in it a poor wise man, and he by his wisdom delivered the city; yet no man remembered that same poor man. 16 Then said I, Wisdom is better than strength: nevertheless the poor man’s wisdom is despised, and his words are not heard. 17 The words of the wise heard in quiet are better than the cry of him that ruleth among fools. 18 Wisdom is better than weapons of war; but one sinner destroyeth much good.

10 Dead flies cause the oil of the perfumer [d]to send forth an evil odor; so doth a little folly [e]outweigh wisdom and honor. A wise man’s heart is at his right hand; but a fool’s heart at his left. Yea also, when the fool walketh by the way, his [f]understanding faileth him, and he saith [g]to every one that he is a fool. If the spirit of the ruler rise up against thee, leave not thy place; for [h]gentleness allayeth great offences. There is an evil which I have seen under the sun, as it were an error which proceedeth from the ruler: folly is set in great [i]dignity, and the rich sit in a low place. I have seen servants upon horses, and princes walking like servants upon the earth. He that diggeth a pit shall fall into it; and whoso breaketh through a wall, a serpent shall bite him. Whoso [j]heweth out stones shall be hurt therewith; and he that cleaveth wood is endangered thereby. 10 If the iron be blunt, and one do not whet the edge, then must he put to more strength: but wisdom is profitable to direct. 11 [k]If the serpent bite [l]before it is charmed, then is there no advantage in [m]the charmer. 12 The words of a wise man’s mouth are gracious; but the lips of a fool will swallow up himself. 13 The beginning of the words of his mouth is foolishness; and the end of [n]his talk is mischievous madness. 14 A fool also multiplieth words: yet man knoweth not what shall be; and that which shall be after him, who can tell him? 15 The labor of fools wearieth every one of them; for he knoweth not how to go to the city. 16 Woe to thee, O land, when thy king is a [o]child, and thy princes eat in the morning! 17 Happy art thou, O land, when thy king is [p]the son of nobles, and thy princes eat in due season, for strength, and not for drunkenness! 18 By slothfulness the [q]roof sinketh in; and through idleness of the hands the house leaketh. 19 A feast is made for laughter, and wine maketh glad the life; and money answereth all things. 20 Revile not the king, no, not in thy thought; and revile not the rich in thy bedchamber: for a bird of the heavens shall carry the voice, and that which hath wings shall tell the matter.


  1. Ecclesiastes 9:4 Another reading is, For who is exempted? With all etc., or who can choose? With all etc.
  2. Ecclesiastes 9:9 Or, Enjoy (Hebrew See) life
  3. Ecclesiastes 9:10 Or, attaineth to do by they strength, that do
  4. Ecclesiastes 10:1 Or, to stink and putrefy
  5. Ecclesiastes 10:1 Or, him that is valued for wisdom
  6. Ecclesiastes 10:3 Hebrew heart.
  7. Ecclesiastes 10:3 Or, of
  8. Ecclesiastes 10:4 Or, calmness leaveth great sins undone
  9. Ecclesiastes 10:6 Hebrew heights.
  10. Ecclesiastes 10:9 Or, moveth stones
  11. Ecclesiastes 10:11 Or, Surely the serpent will bite where there is no enchantment; and the slanderer is no better
  12. Ecclesiastes 10:11 Hebrew without enchantment.
  13. Ecclesiastes 10:11 Hebrew the master of the tongue.
  14. Ecclesiastes 10:13 Hebrew his mouth.
  15. Ecclesiastes 10:16 Or, servant
  16. Ecclesiastes 10:17 Or, a free man
  17. Ecclesiastes 10:18 Or, rafters sink

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