Modern English Version
A Common Fate
9 For I considered all this in my heart, so that I could declare it all: that the deeds of the righteous and the wise are in the hand of God. No man knows whether love or hate awaits them; both are before him. 2 The same fate comes to all: There is one fate for the righteous and the wicked, for the good and the evil,[a] for the clean and the unclean, for him who sacrifices and him who does not sacrifice.
As is the good,
so is the sinner;
he who takes an oath
as he who fears an oath.
3 And this is an evil in all that is done under the sun: that the same event happens to all. Truly the hearts of the sons of men are filled with evil, and folly is in their hearts while they have life, and after that they go to the dead. 4 But for him who is joined to all the living there is hope, for a living dog is better than a dead lion.
5 The living know that they will die,
but the dead know nothing;
they have no more reward,
for the memory of them is forgotten.
6 What they loved, hated,
and envied has already perished;
and there is no reward for them from long ago
in everything that is done under the sun.
7 Go and eat your food with gladness, and drink your wine with a pleasant heart; for God is already pleased with your deeds. 8 At all times may your clothing be white, and let not oil ever lack on your head. 9 Enjoy life with the wife whom you love all the days of your vain life which He has given you under the sun; because that is your reward in life and in your toil because you have labored under the sun. 10 Whatever your hands find to do, do with your strength; for there is no work or planning or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol, the place where you are going.
11 Again I saw under the sun that—
the race is not to the swift,
nor the battle to the strong,
nor food to the wise,
nor riches to the intelligent,
nor favor to those with knowledge;
but time and chance happen to them all.
12 For man does not know his time:
Like fish caught in an unfortunate net,
like birds caught in a snare,
so the sons of men are ensnared at a tragic, yet appointed time,
when it suddenly falls on them.
The Excellence of Wisdom
13 I have also seen this wisdom under the sun, and it seemed great to me: 14 There was a small city with a few men in it; and a great king came and surrounded it, and he built up great siege works against it. 15 But a poor, wise man was found there, and he himself in his wisdom delivered the city, but no one remembered that poor man. 16 Then I said, “Wisdom is better than strength; yet the poor man’s wisdom is despised, and his words are not heard.”
17 The words of the wise heard in quietness are better
than the shouting of a ruler among fools.
18 Wisdom is better than weapons of war,
but only one sinner can destroy much that is good.
- Ecclesiastes 9:2 Evil from Gk. is missing in some Heb. mss.