A Common Destiny for All

So I reflected on all this and concluded that the righteous and the wise and what they do are in God’s hands, but no one knows whether love or hate awaits them.(A) All share a common destiny—the righteous and the wicked, the good and the bad,[a] the clean and the unclean, those who offer sacrifices and those who do not.

As it is with the good,
    so with the sinful;
as it is with those who take oaths,
    so with those who are afraid to take them.(B)

This is the evil in everything that happens under the sun: The same destiny overtakes all.(C) The hearts of people, moreover, are full of evil and there is madness in their hearts while they live,(D) and afterward they join the dead.(E) Anyone who is among the living has hope[b]—even a live dog is better off than a dead lion!

For the living know that they will die,
    but the dead know nothing;(F)
they have no further reward,
    and even their name(G) is forgotten.(H)
Their love, their hate
    and their jealousy have long since vanished;
never again will they have a part
    in anything that happens under the sun.(I)

Go, eat your food with gladness, and drink your wine(J) with a joyful heart,(K) for God has already approved what you do. Always be clothed in white,(L) and always anoint your head with oil. Enjoy life with your wife,(M) whom you love, all the days of this meaningless life that God has given you under the sun—all your meaningless days. For this is your lot(N) in life and in your toilsome labor under the sun. 10 Whatever(O) your hand finds to do, do it with all your might,(P) for in the realm of the dead,(Q) where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom.(R)

11 I have seen something else under the sun:

The race is not to the swift
    or the battle to the strong,(S)
nor does food come to the wise(T)
    or wealth to the brilliant
    or favor to the learned;
but time and chance(U) happen to them all.(V)

12 Moreover, no one knows when their hour will come:

As fish are caught in a cruel net,
    or birds are taken in a snare,
so people are trapped by evil times(W)
    that fall unexpectedly upon them.(X)

Wisdom Better Than Folly

13 I also saw under the sun this example of wisdom(Y) that greatly impressed me: 14 There was once a small city with only a few people in it. And a powerful king came against it, surrounded it and built huge siege works against it. 15 Now there lived in that city a man poor but wise, and he saved the city by his wisdom. But nobody remembered that poor man.(Z) 16 So I said, “Wisdom is better than strength.” But the poor man’s wisdom is despised, and his words are no longer heeded.(AA)

17 The quiet words of the wise are more to be heeded
    than the shouts of a ruler of fools.
18 Wisdom(AB) is better than weapons of war,
    but one sinner destroys much good.

Footnotes

  1. Ecclesiastes 9:2 Septuagint (Aquila), Vulgate and Syriac; Hebrew does not have and the bad.
  2. Ecclesiastes 9:4 Or What then is to be chosen? With all who live, there is hope

For all this I considered in my heart even to declare all this, that the righteous, and the wise, and their works, are in the hand of God: no man knoweth either love or hatred by all that is before them.

All things come alike to all: there is one event to the righteous, and to the wicked; to the good and to the clean, and to the unclean; to him that sacrificeth, and to him that sacrificeth not: as is the good, so is the sinner; and he that sweareth, as he that feareth an oath.

This is an evil among all things that are done under the sun, that there is one event unto all: yea, also the heart of the sons of men is full of evil, and madness is in their heart while they live, and after that they go to the dead.

For to him that is joined to all the living there is hope: for a living dog is better than a dead lion.

For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten.

Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished; neither have they any more a portion for ever in any thing that is done under the sun.

Go thy way, eat thy bread with joy, and drink thy wine with a merry heart; for God now accepteth thy works.

Let thy garments be always white; and let thy head lack no ointment.

Live joyfully with the wife whom thou lovest all the days of the life of thy vanity, which he hath given thee under the sun, all the days of thy vanity: for that is thy portion in this life, and in thy labour which thou takest under the sun.

10 Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.

11 I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.

12 For man also knoweth not his time: as the fishes that are taken in an evil net, and as the birds that are caught in the snare; so are the sons of men snared in an evil time, when it falleth suddenly upon them.

13 This wisdom have I seen also under the sun, and it seemed great unto me:

14 There was a little city, and few men within it; and there came a great king against it, and besieged it, and built great bulwarks against it:

15 Now there was found in it a poor wise man, and he by his wisdom delivered the city; yet no man remembered that same poor man.

16 Then said I, Wisdom is better than strength: nevertheless the poor man's wisdom is despised, and his words are not heard.

17 The words of wise men are heard in quiet more than the cry of him that ruleth among fools.

18 Wisdom is better than weapons of war: but one sinner destroyeth much good.

Death Comes to All

For I [a]considered all this in my heart, so that I could declare it all: (A)that the righteous and the wise and their works are in the hand of God. People know neither love nor hatred by anything they see before them. (B)All things come alike to all:

One event happens to the righteous and the wicked;
To the [b]good, the clean, and the unclean;
To 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.

This is an evil in all that is done under the sun: that one thing happens to all. Truly the hearts of the sons of men are full of evil; madness is in their hearts while they live, and after that they go to the dead. But for him who is joined to all the living there is hope, for a living dog is better than a dead lion.

For the living know that they will die;
But (C)the dead know nothing,
And they have no more reward,
For (D)the memory of them is forgotten.
Also their love, their hatred, and their envy have now perished;
Nevermore will they have a share
In anything done under the sun.

Go, (E)eat your bread with joy,
And drink your wine with a merry heart;
For God has already accepted your works.
Let your garments always be white,
And let your head lack no oil.

[c]Live joyfully with the wife whom you love all the days of your vain life which He has given you under the sun, all your days of vanity; (F)for that is your portion in life, and in the labor which you perform under the sun.

10 (G)Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your (H)might; for there is no work or device or knowledge or wisdom in the grave where you are going.

11 I returned (I)and saw under the sun that—

The race is not to the swift,
Nor the battle to the strong,
Nor bread to the wise,
Nor riches to men of understanding,
Nor favor to men of skill;
But time and (J)chance happen to them all.
12 For (K)man also does not know his time:
Like fish taken in a cruel net,
Like birds caught in a snare,
So the sons of men are (L)snared in an evil time,
When it falls suddenly upon them.

Wisdom Superior to Folly

13 This wisdom I have also seen under the sun, and it seemed great to me: 14 (M)There was a little city with few men in it; and a great king came against it, besieged it, and built great [d]snares around it. 15 Now there was found in it a poor wise man, and he by his wisdom delivered the city. Yet no one remembered that same poor man.

16 Then I said:

“Wisdom is better than (N)strength.
Nevertheless (O)the poor man’s wisdom is despised,
And his words are not heard.
17 Words of the wise, spoken quietly, should be heard
Rather than the shout of a ruler of fools.
18 Wisdom is better than weapons of war;
But (P)one sinner destroys much good.”

Footnotes

  1. Ecclesiastes 9:1 Lit. put
  2. Ecclesiastes 9:2 LXX, Syr., Vg. good and bad,
  3. Ecclesiastes 9:9 Lit. See life
  4. Ecclesiastes 9:14 LXX, Syr., Vg. bulwarks

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