1 I have drawn all these things through my heart, so that I might carefully understand. There are just men as well as wise men, and their works are in the hand of God. And yet a man does not know so much as whether he is worthy of love or of hatred.
2 But all things in the future remain uncertain, because all things happen equally to the just and to the impious, to the good and to the bad, to the pure and to the impure, to those who offer sacrifices and to those who despise sacrifices. As the good are, so also are sinners. As those who commit perjury are, so also are those who swear to the truth.
3 This is a very great burden among all things that are done under the sun: that the same things happen to everyone. And when the hearts of the sons of men are filled with malice and contempt in their lives, afterwards they shall be dragged down to hell.
4 There is no one who lives forever, or who even has confidence in this regard. A living dog is better than a dead lion.
5 For the living know that they themselves will die, yet truly the dead know nothing anymore, nor do they have any recompense. For the memory of them is forgotten.
6 Likewise, love and hatred and envy have all perished together, nor have they any place in this age and in the work which is done under the sun.
7 So then, go and eat your bread with rejoicing, and drink your wine with gladness. For your works are pleasing to God.
8 Let your garments be white at all times, and let not oil be absent from your head.
9 Enjoy life with the wife whom you love, all the days of your uncertain life which have been given to you under the sun, during all the time of your vanity. For this is your portion in life and in your labor, with which you labor under the sun.
10 Whatever your hand is able to do, do it earnestly. For neither work, nor reason, nor wisdom, nor knowledge will exist in death, toward which you are hurrying.
11 I turned myself toward another thing, and I saw that under the sun, the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor wealth to the learned, nor grace to the skillful: but there is a time and an end for all these things.
12 Man does not know his own end. But, just as fish are caught with a hook, and birds are captured with a snare, so are men seized in the evil time, when it will suddenly overwhelm them.
13 This wisdom, likewise, I have seen under the sun, and I have examined it intensely.
14 There was a small city, with a few men in it. There came against it a great king, who surrounded it, and built fortifications all around it, and the blockade was completed.
15 And there was found within it, a poor and wise man, and he freed the city through his wisdom, and nothing was recorded afterward of that poor man.
16 And so, I declared that wisdom is better than strength. But how is it, then, that the wisdom of the poor man is treated with contempt, and his words are not heeded?
17 The words of the wise are heard in silence, more so than the outcry of a prince among the foolish.
18 Wisdom is better than weapons of war. And whoever offends in one thing, shall lose many good things.
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