Obey Rulers

Who is like the wise man and who knows the interpretation of a matter? A man’s wisdom (A)illumines [a]him and causes his (B)stern face to [b]beam.

I say, “Keep the [c]command of the king because of the (C)oath [d]before God. Do not be in a hurry [e](D)to leave him. Do not join in an evil matter, for he will do whatever he pleases.” Since the word of the king is authoritative, (E)who will say to him, “What are you doing?”

He who (F)keeps a royal command (G)experiences no [f]trouble, for a wise heart knows the proper time and procedure. For (H)there is a proper time and procedure for every delight, though a man’s trouble is heavy upon him. If no one (I)knows what will happen, who can tell him when it will happen? (J)No man has authority to restrain the wind with the wind, or authority over the day of death; and there is no discharge in the time of war, and (K)evil will not deliver [g]those who practice it. All this I have seen and applied my [h]mind to every deed that has been done under the sun wherein a man has exercised (L)authority over another man to his hurt.

10 So then, I have seen the wicked buried, those who used to go in and out from the holy place, and they are (M)soon forgotten in the city where they did thus. This too is futility. 11 Because the (N)sentence against an evil deed is not executed quickly, therefore (O)the hearts of the sons of men among them are given fully to do evil. 12 Although a sinner does evil a hundred times and may (P)lengthen his life, still I know that it will be (Q)well for those who fear God, who fear [i]Him openly. 13 But it will (R)not be well for the evil man and he will not lengthen his days like a (S)shadow, because he does not fear God.

14 There is futility which is done on the earth, that is, there are (T)righteous men to whom it [j]happens according to the deeds of the wicked. On the other hand, there are (U)evil men to whom it [k]happens according to the deeds of the righteous. I say that this too is futility. 15 So I commended pleasure, for there is nothing good for (V)a man under the sun except to eat and to drink and to be merry, and this will stand by him in his [l]toils throughout the days of his life which God has given him under the sun.

16 When I (W)gave my heart to know wisdom and to see the task which has been done on the earth (even though one should [m](X)never sleep day or night), 17 and I saw every work of God, I concluded that (Y)man cannot discover the work which has been done under the sun. Even though man should seek laboriously, he will not discover; and (Z)though the wise man should say, “I know,” he cannot discover.


  1. Ecclesiastes 8:1 Lit his face
  2. Ecclesiastes 8:1 Or change
  3. Ecclesiastes 8:2 Lit mouth
  4. Ecclesiastes 8:2 Lit of
  5. Ecclesiastes 8:3 Lit to go out from his presence
  6. Ecclesiastes 8:5 Lit evil thing
  7. Ecclesiastes 8:8 Lit its possessors
  8. Ecclesiastes 8:9 Lit heart
  9. Ecclesiastes 8:12 Lit before Him
  10. Ecclesiastes 8:14 Lit strikes
  11. Ecclesiastes 8:14 Lit strikes
  12. Ecclesiastes 8:15 Lit labor
  13. Ecclesiastes 8:16 Lit see no sleep in his eyes