Ecclesiastes 9New Life Version (NLV)
9 For I have thought of all this, how good and wise men and their works are in the hand of God. Man does not know if love or hate is waiting for them.
2 It is the same for all. The same thing will happen to both the man who is good and the man who is sinful. The same thing will happen to the clean and the unclean, and to the man who gives a gift on the altar and to the man who does not. As the good man is, so is the sinner. As the man who swears is, so is the one who is afraid to swear. 3 This is a bad thing in all that is done under the sun, that the same thing happens to all men. Also the hearts of men are sinful and crazy all their lives. Then they join the dead. 4 But there is hope for the one who is among the living. For sure a live dog is better off than a dead lion. 5 For the living know they will die. But the dead know nothing, and they will receive nothing further, for they are forgotten. 6 Their love and hate and desire have already died. They will no longer have a part in what is done under the sun.
7 Go and eat your bread in happiness. Drink your wine with a happy heart. For God has already been pleased with your works. 8 Let your clothes be white all the time. And let there always be oil on your head. 9 Enjoy life with the woman you love all the days of your life that will soon be over. God has given you these days under the sun. This is the good you will get in life and in your work which you have done under the sun.
10 Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your strength. For there is no work or planning or learning or wisdom in the place of the dead where you are going. 11 Again I saw under the sun that the race is not to the fast and the battle to the men of war. Bread is not to the wise and riches are not to the men of understanding. Favor is not to able workers. Time comes and goes and things happen for no reason to them all. 12 Man does not know his time. Like fish caught in a bad net, and birds caught in a trap, so men are trapped at a bad time when trouble comes upon them when they do not expect it.
Wisdom Is Better Than Being Foolish
13 I have also seen this as wisdom under the sun, and it made me think. 14 There was a small city with few men in it, and a great king came to it. His army gathered around it and built a large wall to help them in battle against it. 15 But a poor wise man was found in the city, and he brought the city out of its trouble by his wisdom. Yet no one remembered that poor man. 16 So I said, “Wisdom is better than strength.” But the wisdom of the poor man is hated and his words are not carried out. 17 The words of the wise heard in quiet are better than the loud words of a ruler among fools. 18 Wisdom is better than objects used in war, but one sinner destroys much good.