Ecclesiastes Chapter 8 |
1Who is like the wise man, and who knows the meaning of the adage:
“A man’s wisdom lights up his face,
So that his deep discontent is dissembled”?
2I do! “Obey the king’s orders—and don’t rush into uttering an oath by God.”
3Leave his presence; do not tarry in a dangerous situation, for he can do anything he pleases;
4inasmuch as a king’s command is authoritative, and none can say to him, “What are you doing?”
5One who obeys orders will not suffer from the dangerous situation.
A wise man, however, will bear in mind that there is a time of doom. 6For there is a time for every experience, including the doom; for a man’s calamity overwhelms him. 7Indeed, he does not know what is to happen; even when it is on the point of happening, who can tell him? 8No man has authority over the lifebreath—to hold back the lifebreath; there is no authority over the day of death. There is no mustering out from that war; wickedness is powerless to save its owner.
9All these things I observed; I noted all that went on under the sun, while men still had authority over men to treat them unjustly.
10And then I saw scoundrels coming from the Holy Site and being brought to burial, while such as had acted righteously were forgotten in the city.
And here is another frustration: 11the fact that the sentence imposed for evil deeds is not executed swiftly, which is why men are emboldened to do evil— 12the fact that a sinner may do evil a hundred times and his [punishment] still be delayed. For although I am aware that “It will be well with those who revere God since they revere Him, 13and it will not be well with the scoundrel, and he will not live long, because he does not revere God”— 14here is a frustration that occurs in the world: sometimes an upright man is requited according to the conduct of the scoundrel; and sometimes the scoundrel is requited according to the conduct of the upright. I say all that is frustration.
15I therefore praised enjoyment. For the only good a man can have under the sun is to eat and drink and enjoy himself. That much can accompany him, in exchange for his wealth, through the days of life that God has granted him under the sun.
16For I have set my mind to learn wisdom and to observe the business that goes on in the world—even to the extent of going without sleep day and night— 17and I have observed all that God brings to pass. Indeed, man cannot guess the events that occur under the sun. For man tries strenuously, but fails to guess them; and even if a sage should think to discover them he would not be able to guess them.