Ecclesiastes 8

Keep the King’s Command

1 Who is like the wise?
And who knows the interpretation of a thing?
aA man’s wisdom makes his face shine,
and bthe hardness of his face is changed.
2I say:
Hebrew lacks  say
Keep the king’s command, because of dGod’s oath to him.
Or because of your oath to God
3Be not hasty to fgo from his presence. Do not take your stand in an evil cause, for he does whatever he pleases. 4For the word of the king is supreme, and gwho may say to him, “What are you doing?” 5Whoever keeps a command will know no evil thing, and the wise heart will know the proper time and the just way. 6For there is a time and a way hfor everything, although man’s trouble
Or evil
lies heavy on him.
7For he jdoes not know what is to be, for kwho can tell him how it will be? 8No man has power to lretain the spirit, mor power over the day of death. There is no ndischarge from war, nor will wickedness deliver those who are given to it. 9 oAll this I observed while applying my heart to all that is done under the sun, when man had power over man to his hurt.

Those Who Fear God Will Do Well

10Then I saw the wicked buried. They used to go in and out of pthe holy place and were qpraised
Some Hebrew manuscripts, Septuagint, Vulgate; most Hebrew manuscripts forgotten
in the city where they had done such things. This also is vanity.
The Hebrew term hebel can refer to a “vapor” or “mere breath”; also twice in verse 14 (see note on 1:2)
11Because tthe sentence against an evil deed is not executed speedily, uthe heart of the children of man is fully set to do evil. 12Though a sinner does evil a hundred times and vprolongs his life, yet I know that wit will be well with xthose who fear God, because they fear before him. 13But it will ynot be well with the wicked, neither will he prolong his days like za shadow, because he does not fear before God.

Man Cannot Know God’s Ways

14There is a vanity that takes place on earth, that there are righteous people aato whom it happens according to the deeds of the wicked, and there are wicked people abto whom it happens according to the deeds of the righteous. I said that this also is vanity. 15And I commend joy, for man achas nothing better under the sun but to adeat and drink and be joyful, for this will go with him in his toil through the days of his life that God has given him under the sun.

16When I applied my heart to know wisdom, and to see aethe business that is done on earth, how neither afday nor night do one’s eyes see sleep, 17then I saw all the work of God, that agman cannot find out the work that is done under the sun. However much man may toil in seeking, he will not find it out. Even though a wise man claims to know, ahhe cannot find it out.

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