9 I thought about all this and tried to understand it. I saw that God controls good people and wise people and what they do, but no one knows if they will experience love or hate.
2 Good and bad people end up the same— those who are right and those who are wrong, those who are good and those who are evil, those who are clean and those who are unclean, those who sacrifice and those who do not. The same things happen to a good person as happen to a sinner, to a person who makes promises to God and to one who does not.
3 This is something wrong that happens here on earth: What happens to one happens to all. So people’s minds are full of evil and foolish thoughts while they live. After that, they join the dead. 4 But anyone still alive has hope; even a live dog is better off than a dead lion!
5 The living know they will die, but the dead know nothing. Dead people have no more reward, and people forget them. 6 After people are dead, they can no longer love or hate or envy. They will never again share in what happens here on earth.
Enjoy Life While You Can
7 So go eat your food and enjoy it; drink your wine and be happy, because that is what God wants you to do. 8 Put on nice clothes and make yourself look good.
9 Enjoy life with the wife you love. Enjoy all the useless days of this useless life God has given you here on earth, because it is all you have. So enjoy the work you do here on earth. 10 Whatever work you do, do your best, because you are going to the grave, where there is no working, no planning, no knowledge, and no wisdom.
Time and Chance
11 I also saw something else here on earth: The fastest runner does not always win the race, the strongest soldier does not always win the battle, the wisest does not always have food, the smartest does not always become wealthy, and the talented one does not always receive praise. Time and chance happen to everyone. 12 No one knows what will happen next. Like a fish caught in a net, or a bird caught in a trap, people are trapped by evil when it suddenly falls on them.
Wisdom Does Not Always Win
13 I also saw something wise here on earth that impressed me. 14 There was a small town with only a few people in it. A great king fought against it and put his armies all around it. 15 Now there was a poor but wise man in the town who used his wisdom to save his town. But later on, everyone forgot about him. 16 I still think wisdom is better than strength. But those people forgot about the poor man’s wisdom and stopped listening to what he said.
17 The quiet words of a wise person are better than the shouts of a foolish ruler. 18 Wisdom is better than weapons of war, but one sinner can destroy much good.
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