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Ecclesiastes 9

Mankind Is in the Hand of God

For I have given all this to my heart and explain it that righteous men, wise men, and their service are in the hand of God. Man does not know whether it will be love or hatred; anything may be before him.
2 It is the same for all. There is one fate for the righteous and for the wicked; for the good, for the clean and for the unclean; for the man who offers a sacrifice and for the one who does not sacrifice. As the good man is, so is the sinner; as the swearer is, so is the one who is afraid to swear. 3 This is an evil in all that is done under the sun, that there is one fate for all. Furthermore, the hearts of the sons of men are full of evil, and madness is in their hearts throughout their lives. Afterwards they go to the dead. 4 For whoever is joined with all the living, there is confidence; surely a live dog is better than a dead lion. 5 For the living know they will die; but the dead do not know anything, nor have they any longer a reward, for the memory of them is forgotten. 6 Indeed their love, their hate, and their zeal have already perished, and they will never again have a portion in all that is done under the sun. 7 Go then, eat your bread in gladness and drink your wine with a merry heart; for God has already accepted your works. 8 Let your clothes be white all the time, and let not oil be lacking on your head. 9 See life with the woman whom you love all the days of your vain life, which He has given to you under the sun—all the days of your vanity; for this is your portion in life and in your labor in which you have labored under the sun.

Whatever Your Hand Finds to Do

10 Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might; for there is no working or explaining or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol where you are going.
11 I again saw under the sun that the race is not to the swift and the battle is not to the mighty, and neither is bread to the wise nor riches to the discerning nor favor to men who know; for time and misfortune overtake them all. 12 Moreover, man does not know his time: like fish seized in an evil net and birds seized in a trap, so the sons of men are ensnared at an evil time when it suddenly falls on them. 13 Also this I came to see as wisdom under the sun, and it was great to me. 14 There was a small city with few men in it, and a great king came to it, surrounded it, and built large siegeworks against it. 15 But there was found in it a poor wise man, and he provided a way of escape for the city by his wisdom. Yet no one remembered that poor man. 16 So I said, “Wisdom is better than strength.” But the wisdom of the poor man is despised, and his words are not heard. 17 The words of the wise heard in restfulness are better than the shouting of a ruler among fools. 18 Wisdom is better than weapons of war, but one sinner destroys much good.