Obey the King1 Who is like the wise man? Who knows the interpretation of a matter? A man’s wisdom brightens his face, and the sternness of his face is changed. 2 Keep the king’s command, I say, because of your oath before God. 3 Do not hasten to leave his presence, and do not persist in a bad cause, for he will do whatever he wants. 4 For the king’s word is supreme, and who can say to him, “What are you doing?” 5 Whoever keeps his command will come to no harm, and a wise heart knows the right time and procedure. 6 For there is a right time and procedure to every purpose, though a man’s misery weighs heavily upon him. 7 Since no one knows what will happen, who can tell him what is to come? 8 As no man has power over the wind to contain [it] , so there is no authority over the day of death. As no one can be discharged in wartime, so wickedness will not release those who practice it. 9 All this I have seen, applying my mind to every deed that is done under the sun; [there is] a time when one man lords it over another to his own detriment .
Fear God10 Then too, I saw the burial of the wicked who had come and gone from the holy place and were praised ▼
▼ Some Hebrew manuscripts, LXX, Vulgate; most Hebrew manuscripts were soon forgottenin the city where they had done so. This too is futile. 11 When the sentence for a crime is not speedily executed, the hearts of men become fully set on doing evil. 12 Although a sinner does evil a hundred [times] and still lives long, yet I also know that it will go well with those who fear God, who are reverent in His presence. 13 Yet because [the wicked] do not fear God, it will not go well with [them] , and their days will not lengthen like a shadow.
God's Ways are Mysterious14 There is a futility that is done on the earth: There are righteous [men] who get what the actions of the wicked [deserve] , and there are wicked [men] who get what the actions of the righteous deserve. I say that this too is futile. 15 So I commended the enjoyment of life, because there is nothing better for a man under the sun than to eat and drink and be merry. For this [joy] will accompany him in his labor during the days of his life that God gives him under the sun. 16 When I applied my mind to know wisdom and to observe the activity that one does on the earth— though his eyes do not see sleep day or night— 17 I saw every work of God, and that a man is unable to comprehend the work that is done under the sun. Despite [his] efforts to search it out, he cannot find [its meaning] ; even if the wise man claims to know, he is unable to comprehend.
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