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 man knows whether love or hate awaits him.
All share a common destiny--the righteous and the wicked, the good and the bad, the clean and the unclean, those who offer sacrifices and those who do not. As it is with the good man, so with the sinner; as it is with those who take oaths, so with those who are afraid to take them.
This is the evil in everything that happens under the sun: The same destiny overtakes all. The hearts of men, moreover, are full of evil and there is madness in their hearts while they live, and afterward they join the dead.
Anyone who is among the living has hope --even a live dog is better off than a dead lion!
For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing; they have no further reward, and even the memory of them is forgotten.
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.
Go, eat your food with gladness, and drink your wine with a joyful heart, for it is now that God favors what you do.
Always be clothed in white, and always anoint your head with oil.
Enjoy life with your wife, 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 in life and in your toilsome labor under the sun.
Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the grave, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom.
I have seen something else under the sun: The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant or favor to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all.
Moreover, no man knows when his hour will come: As fish are caught in a cruel net, or birds are taken in a snare, so men are trapped by evil times that fall unexpectedly upon them.
I also saw under the sun this example of wisdom that greatly impressed me:
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 siegeworks against it.
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.
So I said, "Wisdom is better than strength." But the poor man's wisdom is despised, and his words are no longer heeded.
The quiet words of the wise are more to be heeded than the shouts of a ruler of fools.
Wisdom is better than weapons of war, but one sinner destroys much good.
As dead flies give perfume a bad smell, so a little folly outweighs wisdom and honor.
The heart of the wise inclines to the right, but the heart of the fool to the left.
Even as he walks along the road, the fool lacks sense and shows everyone how stupid he is.
If a ruler's anger rises against you, do not leave your post; calmness can lay great errors to rest.
There is an evil I have seen under the sun, the sort of error that arises from a ruler:
Fools are put in many high positions, while the rich occupy the low ones.
I have seen slaves on horseback, while princes go on foot like slaves.
Whoever digs a pit may fall into it; whoever breaks through a wall may be bitten by a snake.
Whoever quarries stones may be injured by them; whoever splits logs may be endangered by them.
If the ax is dull and its edge unsharpened, more strength is needed but skill will bring success.
If a snake bites before it is charmed, there is no profit for the charmer.
Words from a wise man's mouth are gracious, but a fool is consumed by his own lips.
At the beginning his words are folly; at the end they are wicked madness--
and the fool multiplies words. No one knows what is coming-- who can tell him what will happen after him?
A fool's work wearies him; he does not know the way to town.
Woe to you, O land whose king was a servant and whose princes feast in the morning.
Blessed are you, O land whose king is of noble birth and whose princes eat at a proper time-- for strength and not for drunkenness.
If a man is lazy, the rafters sag; if his hands are idle, the house leaks.
A feast is made for laughter, and wine makes life merry, but money is the answer for everything.
Do not revile the king even in your thoughts, or curse the rich in your bedroom, because a bird of the air may carry your words, and a bird on the wing may report what you say.
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. NIV. Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.