Ecclesiastes 9

1I thought about all these things very carefully. I saw that God controls what happens to the good and wise people and the things they do. People don’t know if they will be loved or hated. And people don’t know what will happen in the future. 2But, there is one thing that happens to everyone—we all die! Death comes to good people and bad people. Death comes to people that are pure and to people that are not pure. Death comes to people that give sacrifices and to people that do not give sacrifices. A good man will die just like a sinner. A person that makes special promises to God will die just like a person that is afraid to make those promises. 3Of all the things that happen in this life, the worst thing is that all people end the same way. But it is also very bad that people always think evil and foolish thoughts. And those thoughts lead to death. 4There is hope for any person that is still alive—it does not matter who he is. But this saying is true: A living dog is better than a dead lion. 5Living people know that they will die. But dead people don’t know anything. Dead people have no more reward. People will soon forget them. 6After a person is dead, his love, hate, and jealousy are all gone. And dead people will never again share in the things that happen on earth. 7So go and eat your food now and enjoy it. Drink your wine and be happy. It is all right with God if you do these things. 8Wear nice clothes and make yourself look good. 9Enjoy life with the wife you love. Enjoy every day of your short life. God has given you this short life on earth—and it is all you have. So, enjoy the work you have to do in this life. 10Every time you find work to do, do it the best you can. In the grave there is no work. There is no thinking, no knowledge, and there is no wisdom. And we are all going to that ˻place of death˼. 11I also saw other things in this life that were not fair: The fastest runner does not always win the race; the strongest army does not always win the battle; the wisest man does not always get the food he earns; the smartest man does not always get the wealth; and an educated person does not always get the praise he deserves. When the time comes, bad things happen to everyone! 12A person never knows what will happen to him next. He is like a fish caught in a net—the fish does not know what will happen. He is like a bird caught in a trap—the bird does not know what will happen. In the same way, a person is trapped by the bad things that suddenly happen to him. 13I also saw a person doing a wise thing in this life. And it seemed very important to me. 14There was a small town with a few people in it. A great king fought against that town and put his armies all around it. 15But there was a wise man in that town. That wise man was poor, but he used his wisdom to save his town. After everything was finished, the people forgot about that poor man. 16But I still say that wisdom is better than strength. Those people forgot about the poor man’s wisdom, and the people stopped listening to what he said. ˻But I still believe that wisdom is better.˼ 17A few words quietly spoken by a wise man are much better than words shouted by a foolish ruler. 18Wisdom is better than swords and spears in war. But one foolish person can destroy much good.

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