Complete Jewish Bible
9 I applied myself to all of this, sifted through it and concluded that the righteous and the wise, along with their deeds, are in God’s hands — a person cannot know whether these people and deeds will be rewarded with love or with hatred; all options are open. 2 Anything can happen to anyone; the same thing can happen to the righteous as to the wicked, to the good and clean and to the unclean, to someone who offers a sacrifice and to someone who doesn’t offer a sacrifice; it is the same for a good person as for a sinner, for someone who takes an oath rashly as for someone who fears to take an oath. 3 This is another evil among all those done under the sun, that the same events can occur to anyone. Truly, the human mind is full of evil; and as long as people live, folly is in their hearts; after which they go to be with the dead. 4 For as long as a person is linked with the living, there is hope — better to be a living dog than a dead lion! 5 For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing; there is no longer any reward for them, because all memory of them is lost. 6 What they loved, what they hated and what they envied all disappeared long ago, and they no longer have a share in anything done under the sun.
7 So go, eat your bread with joy,
and drink your wine with a happy heart,
for God has already accepted your deeds.
8 Let your clothing always be white,
and never fail to perfume your head.
9 Enjoy life with the wife you have loved throughout your meaningless life that he has given you under the sun, all the days of your futility; for that is your allotted portion in life and in your labor that you work at under the sun. 10 Whatever task comes your way to do, do it with all your strength; because in Sh’ol, where you will go, there is neither working nor planning, neither knowledge nor wisdom.
11 Yet another thing I observed under the sun is that races aren’t won by the swift or battles by the strong, and that food doesn’t go to the wise or wealth to the intelligent or favor to the experts; rather, time and chance rule them all. 12 For people don’t know when their time will come any more than fish taken in the fatal net or birds caught in a snare; similarly, people are snared at an unfortunate time, when suddenly it falls on them.
13 Here is something else I have seen as wisdom under the sun, and it seemed important to me: 14 there was a small town with few people in it; and a great king came to attack it; he surrounded it and built massive siege-works against it. 15 Now there was found in it a man who was poor but wise, and by his wisdom he saved the city; yet afterwards, nobody remembered that poor man. 16 So, although I say that wisdom is better than strength, nevertheless the poor man’s wisdom is despised; nobody pays attention to what he says.
17 A wise man speaking quietly is more worth heeding
than the shouts of a ruler commanding fools.
18 Wisdom is better than weapons of war,
but a person who makes a mistake can destroy much good.