July 27

Ecclesiastes 9:1 — 12:14

9 For I took all this to my heart, even to search out all this, that the righteous ones and the wise ones and their works are in the hand of the [true] God. Mankind are not aware of either the love or the hate that were all prior to them. 2 All are the same in what all have. One eventuality there is to the righteous one and the wicked one, the good one and the clean one and the unclean one, and the one sacrificing and the one that is not sacrificing. The good one is the same as the sinner; the one swearing is the same as whoever has been afraid of a sworn oath. 3 This is what is calamitous in all that has been done under the sun, that, because there is one eventuality to all, the heart of the sons of men is also full of bad; and there is madness in their heart during their lifetime, and after it—to the dead ones!

4 For as respects whoever is joined to all the living there exists confidence, because a live dog is better off than a dead lion. 5 For the living are conscious that they will die; but as for the dead, they are conscious of nothing at all, neither do they anymore have wages, because the remembrance of them has been forgotten. 6 Also, their love and their hate and their jealousy have already perished, and they have no portion anymore to time indefinite in anything that has to be done under the sun.

7 Go, eat your food with rejoicing and drink your wine with a good heart, because already the [true] God has found pleasure in your works. 8 On every occasion let your garments prove to be white, and let oil not be lacking upon your head. 9 See life with the wife whom you love all the days of your vain life that He has given you under the sun, all the days of your vanity, for that is your portion in life and in your hard work with which you are working hard under the sun. 10 All that your hand finds to do, do with your very power, for there is no work nor devising nor knowledge nor wisdom in Sheol, the place to which you are going.

11 I returned to see under the sun that the swift do not have the race, nor the mighty ones the battle, nor do the wise also have the food, nor do the understanding ones also have the riches, nor do even those having knowledge have the favor; because time and unforeseen occurrence befall them all. 12 For man also does not know his time. Just like fishes that are being taken in an evil net, and like birds that are being taken in a trap, so the sons of men themselves are being ensnared at a calamitous time, when it falls upon them suddenly.

13 Also this I saw as respects wisdom under the sun—and it was great to me: 14 There was a little city, and the men in it were few; and there came to it a great king, and he surrounded it and built against it great strongholds. 15 And there was found in it a man, needy [but] wise, and that one provided escape for the city by his wisdom. But no man remembered that needy man. 16 And I myself said: “Wisdom is better than mightiness; yet the wisdom of the needy one is despised, and his words are not listened to.”

17 The words of the wise ones in quietness are more to be heard than the cry of one ruling among stupid people.

18 Wisdom is better than implements for fighting, and merely one sinner can destroy much good.

10 Dead flies are what cause the oil of the ointment maker to stink, to bubble forth. [So] a little foolishness does to one who is precious for wisdom and glory.

2 The heart of the wise is at his right hand, but the heart of the stupid at his left hand. 3 And also in whatever way the foolish one is walking, his own heart is lacking, and he certainly says to everybody that he is foolish.

4 If the spirit of a ruler should mount up against you, do not leave your own place, for calmness itself allays great sins.

5 There exists something calamitous that I have seen under the sun, as when there is a mistake going forth on account of the one in power: 6 Foolishness has been put in many high positions, but the rich ones themselves keep dwelling merely in a low condition.

7 I have seen servants on horses but princes walking on the earth just like servants.

8 He that is digging a pit will himself fall right into it; and he that is breaking through a stone wall, a serpent will bite him.

9 He that is quarrying out stones will hurt himself with them. He that is splitting logs will have to be careful with them.

10 If an iron tool has become blunt and someone has not whetted its edge, then he will exert his own vital energies. So the using of wisdom to success means advantage.

11 If the serpent bites when no charming results, then there is no advantage to the one indulging in the tongue.

12 The words of the mouth of the wise one mean favor, but the lips of the stupid one swallow him up. 13 The start of the words of his mouth is foolishness, and the end afterward of his mouth is calamitous madness. 14 And the foolish one speaks many words.

Man does not know what will come to be; and that which will come to be after him, who can tell him?

15 The hard work of the stupid ones makes them weary, because not one has come to know how to go to the city.

16 How will it be with you, O land, when your king is a boy and your own princes keep eating even in the morning? 17 Happy are you, O land, when your king is the son of noble ones and your own princes eat at the proper time for mightiness, not for mere drinking.

18 Through great laziness the beamwork sinks in, and through the letting down of the hands the house leaks.

19 Bread is for the laughter of the workers, and wine itself makes life rejoice; but money is what meets a response in all things.

20 Even in your bedroom do not call down evil upon the king himself, and in the interior rooms where you lie down do not call down evil upon anyone rich; for a flying creature of the heavens will convey the sound and something owning wings will tell the matter.

11 Send out your bread upon the surface of the waters, for in the course of many days you will find it again. 2 Give a portion to seven, or even to eight, for you do not know what calamity will occur on the earth.

3 If the clouds are filled [with water], they empty out a sheer downpour upon the earth; and if a tree falls to the south or if to the north, in the place where the tree falls there it will prove to be.

4 He that is watching the wind will not sow seed; and he that is looking at the clouds will not reap.

5 Just as you are not aware of what is the way of the spirit in the bones in the belly of her that is pregnant, in like manner you do not know the work of the [true] God, who does all things.

6 In the morning sow your seed and until the evening do not let your hand rest; for you are not knowing where this will have success, either here or there, or whether both of them will alike be good.

7 The light is also sweet, and it is good for the eyes to see the sun; 8 for if a man should live even many years, in all of them let him rejoice. And let him remember the days of darkness, though they could be many; every [day] that has come in is vanity.

9 Rejoice, young man, in your youth, and let your heart do you good in the days of your young manhood, and walk in the ways of your heart and in the things seen by your eyes. But know that on account of all these the [true] God will bring you into judgment. 10 So remove vexation from your heart, and ward off calamity from your flesh; for youth and the prime of life are vanity.

12 Remember, now, your Grand Creator in the days of your young manhood, before the calamitous days proceed to come, or the years have arrived when you will say: “I have no delight in them”; 2 before the sun and the light and the moon and the stars grow dark, and the clouds have returned, afterward the downpour; 3 in the day when the keepers of the house tremble, and the men of vital energy have bent themselves, and the grinding women have quit working because they have become few, and the ladies seeing at the windows have found it dark; 4 and the doors onto the street have been closed, when the sound of the grinding mill becomes low, and one gets up at the sound of a bird, and all the daughters of song sound low. 5 Also, they have become afraid merely at what is high, and there are terrors in the way. And the almond tree carries blossoms, and the grasshopper drags itself along, and the caper berry bursts, because man is walking to his long-lasting house and the wailers have marched around in the street; 6 before the silver cord is removed, and the golden bowl gets crushed, and the jar at the spring is broken, and the waterwheel for the cistern has been crushed. 7 Then the dust returns to the earth just as it happened to be and the spirit itself returns to the [true] God who gave it.

8 “The greatest vanity!” said the congregator, “Everything is vanity.”

9 And besides the fact that the congregator had become wise, he also taught the people knowledge continually, and he pondered and made a thorough search, that he might arrange many proverbs in order. 10 The congregator sought to find the delightful words and the writing of correct words of truth.

11 The words of the wise ones are like oxgoads, and just like nails driven in are those indulging in collections [of sentences]; they have been given from one shepherd. 12 As regards anything besides these, my son, take a warning: To the making of many books there is no end, and much devotion [to them] is wearisome to the flesh.

13 The conclusion of the matter, everything having been heard, is: Fear the [true] God and keep his commandments. For this is the whole [obligation] of man. 14 For the [true] God himself will bring every sort of work into the judgment in relation to every hidden thing, as to whether it is good or bad.