Ecclesiastes 9-12 American Standard Version

9 1  For all this I laid to my heart, even to explore all this: that the righteous, and the wise, and their works, are in the hand of God; whether it be love or hatred, man knoweth it not; all is before them. 2  All things come alike to all: there is one event to the righteous and to the wicked; to the good and to the clean and to the unclean; to him that sacrificeth and to him that sacrificeth not; as is the good, so is the sinner; [and] he that sweareth, as he that feareth an oath. 3  This is an evil in all that is done under the sun, that there is one event unto all: yea also, the heart of the sons of men is full of evil, and madness is in their heart while they live, and after that [they go] to the dead.

4  For to him that is joined with all the living there is hope; for a living dog is better than a dead lion. 5  For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not anything, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten. 6  As well their love, as their hatred and their envy, is perished long ago; neither have they any more a portion for ever in anything that is done under the sun. 7  Go thy way, eat thy bread with joy, and drink thy wine with a merry heart; for God hath already accepted thy works. 8  Let thy garments be always white; and let not thy head lack oil. 9  Live joyfully with the wife whom thou lovest all the days of thy life of vanity, which he hath given thee under the sun, all thy days of vanity: for that is thy portion in life, and in thy labor wherein thou laborest under the sun. 10  Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do [it] with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in Sheol, whither thou goest.

11  I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favor to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all. 12  For man also knoweth not his time: as the fishes that are taken in an evil net, and as the birds that are caught in the snare, even so are the sons of men snared in an evil time, when it falleth suddenly upon them.

13  I have also seen wisdom under the sun on this wise, and it seemed great unto me: 14  There was a little city, and few men within it; and there came a great king against it, and besieged it, and built great bulwarks against it. 15  Now there was found in it a poor wise man, and he by his wisdom delivered the city; yet no man remembered that same poor man. 16  Then said I, Wisdom is better than strength: nevertheless the poor man's wisdom is despised, and his words are not heard. 17  The words of the wise heard in quiet are better than the cry of him that ruleth among fools. 18  Wisdom is better than weapons of war; but one sinner destroyeth much good.

The Excellence of Wisdom

10 1  Dead flies cause the oil of the perfumer to send forth an evil odor; [so] doth a little folly outweigh wisdom and honor. 2  A wise man's heart is at his right hand; but a fool's heart at his left. 3  Yea also, when the fool walketh by the way, his understanding faileth him, and he saith to every one [that] he is a fool.

4  If the spirit of the ruler rise up against thee, leave not thy place; for gentleness allayeth great offences. 5  There is an evil which I have seen under the sun, as it were an error which proceedeth from the ruler: 6  folly is set in great dignity, and the rich sit in a low place. 7  I have seen servants upon horses, and princes walking like servants upon the earth. 8  He that diggeth a pit shall fall into it; and whoso breaketh through a wall, a serpent shall bite him. 9  Whoso heweth out stones shall be hurt therewith; [and] he that cleaveth wood is endangered thereby. 10  If the iron be blunt, and one do not whet the edge, then must he put to more strength: but wisdom is profitable to direct. 11  If the serpent bite before it is charmed, then is there no advantage in the charmer.

12  The words of a wise man's mouth are gracious; but the lips of a fool will swallow up himself. 13  The beginning of the words of his mouth is foolishness; and the end of his talk is mischievous madness. 14  A fool also multiplieth words: [yet] man knoweth not what shall be; and that which shall be after him, who can tell him? 15  The labor of fools wearieth every one of them; for he knoweth not how to go to the city.

16  Woe to thee, O land, when thy king is a child, and thy princes eat in the morning! 17  Happy art thou, O land, when thy king is the son of nobles, and thy princes eat in due season, for strength, and not for drunkenness! 18  By slothfulness the roof sinketh in; and through idleness of the hands the house leaketh. 19  A feast is made for laughter, and wine maketh glad the life; and money answereth all things. 20  Revile not the king, no, not in thy thought; and revile not the rich in thy bedchamber: for a bird of the heavens shall carry the voice, and that which hath wings shall tell the matter.

11 1  Cast thy bread upon the waters; for thou shalt find it after many days. 2  Give a portion to seven, yea, even unto eight; for thou knowest not what evil shall be upon the earth. 3  If the clouds be full of rain, they empty themselves upon the earth; and if a tree fall toward the south, or toward the north, in the place where the tree falleth, there shall it be. 4  He that observeth the wind shall not sow; and he that regardeth the clouds shall not reap. 5  As thou knowest not what is the way of the wind, [nor] how the bones [do grow] in the womb of her that is with child; even so thou knowest not the work of God who doeth all. 6  In the morning sow thy seed, and in the evening withhold not thy hand; for thou knowest not which shall prosper, whether this or that, or whether they both shall be alike good.

7  Truly the light is sweet, and a pleasant thing it is for the eyes to behold the sun. 8  Yea, if a man live many years, let him rejoice in them all; but let him remember the days of darkness, for they shall be many. All that cometh is vanity.

Advice to the Young

9  Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth, and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth, and walk in the ways of thy heart, and in the sight of thine eyes; but know thou, that for all these things God will bring thee into judgment. 10  Therefore remove sorrow from thy heart, and put away evil from thy flesh; for youth and the dawn of life are vanity.

12 1  Remember also thy Creator in the days of thy youth, before the evil days come, and the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them; 2  before the sun, and the light, and the moon, and the stars, are darkened, and the clouds return after the rain; 3  in the day when the keepers of the house shall tremble, and the strong men shall bow themselves, and the grinders cease because they are few, and those that look out of the windows shall be darkened, 4  and the doors shall be shut in the street; when the sound of the grinding is low, and one shall rise up at the voice of a bird, and all the daughters of music shall be brought low; 5  yea, they shall be afraid of [that which is] high, and terrors [shall be] in the way; and the almond-tree shall blossom, and the grasshopper shall be a burden, and desire shall fail; because man goeth to his everlasting home, and the mourners go about the streets: 6  before the silver cord is loosed, or the golden bowl is broken, or the pitcher is broken at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern, 7  and the dust returneth to the earth as it was, and the spirit returneth unto God who gave it.

8  Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher; all is vanity.

The Whole Duty of Man

9  And further, because the Preacher was wise, he still taught the people knowledge; yea, he pondered, and sought out, [and] set in order many proverbs. 10  The Preacher sought to find out acceptable words, and that which was written uprightly, [even] words of truth. 11  The words of the wise are as goads; and as nails well fastened are [the words of] the masters of assemblies, [which] are given from one shepherd. 12  And furthermore, my son, be admonished: of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh.

13  [This is] the end of the matter; all hath been heard: fear God, and keep his commandments; for this is the whole [duty] of man. 14  For God will bring every work into judgment, with every hidden thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.


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