Ecclesiastes 8

Keep the King’s Command

1 Who is like the wise?
And who knows the interpretation of a thing?
a  A man’s wisdom makes his face shine,
and b  the hardness of his face is changed.

2I say:
Hebrew lacks  say
Keep the king’s command, because of d  God’s oath to him.
Or because of your oath to God
3Be not hasty to f  go 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 g  who 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 h  for everything, although man’s trouble
Or evil
lies heavy on him.
7For he j  does not know what is to be, for k  who can tell him how it will be? 8No man has power to l  retain the spirit m  or power over the day of death. There is no n  discharge from war, nor will wickedness deliver those who are given to it. 9 o  All 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 p  the holy place and were q  praised
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 t  the sentence against an evil deed is not executed speedily u  the heart of the children of man is fully set to do evil. 12Though a sinner does evil a hundred times and v  prolongs his life, yet I know that w  it will be well with x  those who fear God, because they fear before him. 13But it will y  not be well with the wicked, neither will he prolong his days like z  a 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 aa  to whom it happens according to the deeds of the wicked, and there are wicked people ab  to whom it happens according to the deeds of the righteous. I said that this also is vanity. 15And I commend joy, for man ac  has nothing better under the sun but to ad  eat 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 ae  the business that is done on earth, how neither af  day nor night do one’s eyes see sleep, 17then I saw all the work of God, that ag  man 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, ah  he cannot find it out.

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