Ecclesiastes 9-12 Contemporary English Version (CEV)
One Day at a Time
9 I thought about these things. Then I understood that God has power over everyone, even those of us who are wise and live right. Anything can happen to any of us, and so we never know if life will be good or bad.[a] 2 But exactly[b] the same thing will finally happen to all of us, whether we live right and respect God or sin and don’t respect God. Yes, the same thing will happen if we offer sacrifices to God or if we don’t, if we keep our promises or break them.
3 It’s terribly unfair for the same thing to happen to each of us. We are mean and foolish while we live, and then we die. 4 As long as we are alive, we still have hope, just as a live dog is better off than a dead lion. 5 We know that we will die, but the dead don’t know a thing. Nothing good will happen to them—they are gone and forgotten. 6 Their loves, their hates, and their jealous feelings have all disappeared with them. They will never again take part in anything that happens on this earth.
7 Be happy and enjoy eating and drinking! God decided long ago that this is what you should do. 8 Dress up, comb your hair, and look your best. 9 Life is short, and you love your wife, so enjoy being with her. This is what you are supposed to do as you struggle through life on this earth. 10 Work hard at whatever you do. You will soon go to the world of the dead, where no one works or thinks or reasons or knows anything.
11 Here is something else I have learned:
The fastest runners
12 None of us know when we might fall victim to a sudden disaster and find ourselves like fish in a net or birds in a trap.
Better To Be Wise than Foolish
13 Once I saw what people really think of wisdom. 14 It happened when a powerful ruler surrounded and attacked a small city where only a few people lived. The enemy army was getting ready to break through the city walls. 15 But the city was saved by the wisdom of a poor person who was soon forgotten. 16 So I decided that wisdom is better than strength. Yet if you are poor, no one pays any attention to you, no matter how smart you are.
17 Words of wisdom spoken softly
5 Some things rulers do are terribly unfair: 6 They honor fools, but dishonor the rich; 7 they let slaves ride on horses, but force slave owners to walk.
8 If you dig a pit,
12 If you talk sensibly,
16 A country is in for trouble
It Pays To Work Hard
11 Be generous, and someday
5 No one can explain how a baby breathes before it is born.[g] So how can anyone explain what God does? After all, he created everything.
6 Plant your seeds early in the morning and keep working in the field until dark. Who knows? Your work might pay off, and your seeds might produce.
Youth and Old Age
7 Nothing on earth is more beautiful than the morning sun. 8 Even if you live to a ripe old age, you should try to enjoy each day, because darkness will come and will last a long time. Nothing makes sense.[h]
9 Be cheerful and enjoy life while you are young! Do what you want and find pleasure in what you see. But don’t forget that God will judge you for everything you do.
10 Rid yourself of all worry and pain, because the wonderful moments of youth quickly disappear.
12 Keep your Creator in mind while you are young! In years to come, you will be burdened down with troubles and say, “I don’t enjoy life anymore.”
2 Someday the light of the sun
5 You will be afraid
We each go to our eternal home,
Respect and Obey God
9 I was a wise teacher with much understanding, and I collected a number of proverbs that I had carefully studied. 10 Then I tried to explain these things in the best and most accurate way.
11 Words of wisdom are like the stick a farmer uses to make animals move. These sayings come from God, our only shepherd, and they are like nails that fasten things together.[j] 12 My child, I warn you to stay away from any teachings except these.
There is no end to books,
13 Everything you were taught can be put into a few words:
Respect and obey God!
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