Everyone Will Die
9:1 So I reflected on all this,1 attempting to clear2 it all up.
I concluded that3 the righteous and the wise, as well as their works, are in the hand of God;
whether a person will be loved or hated4 –
no one knows what lies ahead.5
9:2 Everyone shares the same fate6 –
the righteous and the wicked,
the good and the bad,7
the ceremonially clean and unclean,
those who offer sacrifices and those who do not.
What happens to the good person, also happens to the sinner;8
what happens to those who make vows, also happens to those who are afraid to make vows.
9:3 This is the unfortunate fact9 about everything that happens on earth:10
the same fate awaits11 everyone.
In addition to this, the hearts of all people12 are full of evil,
and there is folly in their hearts during their lives – then they die.13
Better to Be Poor but Alive than Rich but Dead
9:4 But whoever is among14 the living15 has hope;
a live dog is better than a dead lion.
9:5 For the living know that they will die, but the dead do not know anything;
they have no further reward – and even the memory of them disappears.16
9:6 What they loved,17 as well as what they hated18 and envied,19 perished long ago,
and they no longer have a part in anything that happens on earth.20
Life is Brief, so Cherish its Joys
9:7 Go, eat your food21 with joy,
and drink your wine with a happy heart,
because God has already approved your works.
9:8 Let your clothes always be white,
and do not spare precious ointment on your head.
9:9 Enjoy22 life with your beloved wife23 during all the days of your fleeting24 life
that God25 has given you on earth26 during all your fleeting days;27
for that is your reward in life and in your burdensome work28 on earth.29
9:10 Whatever you find to do with your hands,30
do it with all your might,
because there is neither work nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom in the grave,31
the place where you will eventually go.32
Wisdom Cannot Protect against Seemingly Chance Events
9:11 Again,33 I observed this on the earth:34
the race is not always35 won by the swiftest,
the battle is not always won by the strongest;
prosperity36 does not always belong to those who are the wisest,
wealth does not always belong to those who are the most discerning,
nor does success37 always come to those with the most knowledge –
for time and chance may overcome38 them all.
9:12 Surely, no one39 knows his appointed time!40
Like fish that are caught in a deadly41 net, and like birds that are caught in a snare –
just like them, all people42 are ensnared43 at an unfortunate44 time that falls upon them suddenly.
Most People Are Not Receptive to Wise Counsel
9:13 This is what I also observed about wisdom on earth,45
and it is a great burden46 to me:
9:14 There was once47 a small city with a few men in it,
and a mighty king attacked it, besieging48 it and building strong49 siege works against it.
9:15 However, a poor but wise man lived in the city,50
and he could have delivered51 the city by his wisdom,
but no one listened52 to that poor man.
9:16 So I concluded that wisdom is better than might,53
but a poor man’s wisdom is despised; no one ever listens54 to his advice.55
Wisdom versus Fools, Sin, and Folly
9:17 The words of the wise are heard in quiet,
more than the shouting of a ruler is heard56 among fools.
9:18 Wisdom is better than weapons of war,
but one sinner can destroy much that is good.