Complete Jewish Bible
8 Who can be compared with a wise person?
Who else knows what a thing means?
Wisdom lights up the face
and softens a grim appearance.
2 Keep the king’s command
because of the oath before God.
3 Don’t be quick to leave his presence,
and don’t persist in doing what is wrong,
for he does whatever he pleases.
4 After all, his word is final;
who can challenge him, “Why are you doing that?”
5 Whoever obeys his command
will never come to harm,
and the wise person will know
the right time and judgment.
6 For to everything there is
a right time and a judgment,
since people are greatly troubled
7 by uncertainty over the future;
even when the event takes place,
who will tell them about it?
8 Just as no one has the power
to keep the wind from blowing,
so no one has power
over the day of death.
If one is drafted to fight a war,
one can’t send a substitute;
likewise the wicked won’t escape death
by their wickedness.
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.