Ecclesiastes 8

1 A person's wisdom will cause his face to be like a happy man's face.

It will do that, even when things have made him sad.

But only a few people are wise.

And only a few people really understand things.

8:1The Teacher has tried to understand the things that have happened during his life. He cannot discover a reason for them. But he says that we should obey God. We should do that even if things are difficult to understand.

Obey the king

2 You promised God that you would obey the king, so do whatever he tells you to do. 3 If you are with the king, do not leave in a hurry. Do not become friends with people who are against him. Remember that the king can do anything that he wants to do. 4 He is very powerful, so do not argue with him. Nobody can tell him what he should do.

5 Everyone who obeys the king will be safe.

A wise man knows what he should do,

and he knows when he should do it,

and he knows how to do it.

6 You may have a difficult life.

But there is a right time for things to happen.

There is a right way to do things.

7 Nobody can tell what will happen in future days or years.

8 We do not know the day when we will die.

And we can do nothing to change that day.

We may fight against death, but we cannot win that fight.

Not even a bad person can do that.

Things happen that are not fair

9 I saw all these things and I thought about them a lot. I thought about the things that happen on the earth. I saw people who had power. They used that power to hurt people. 10 I saw people bury the dead bodies of bad men. Those bad men had gone in and out of the holy place. The people in their city forgot all the bad things that those men had done. There is no good reason for any of this.

11 When bad people do wrong things, the judges should punish them. This should happen very fast. If it does not happen fast, other people will do wrong things. 12 A man may do many bad things and that bad man may live to a very old age. But I believe that God is fair. If you obey God, you will have a good life. 13 If you do not obey God, you will not have a long life. Your life will be short, like a shadow. 14 Here is something else that is not right. The judges should not punish good people. But sometimes they do that. And the judges do not punish the bad people that they should punish. I have not discovered any good reason for this.

15 So we should enjoy our lives as much as possible. The best thing that we can do is to enjoy everything. We should enjoy what we eat. And we should enjoy what we drink. We should all try to be happy. There are no other good things on this earth. God has given us each day in our life. We will have easier lives if we enjoy ourselves.

16 I have tried to understand the things that happen on this earth. I thought about those things all day and all night. I did not go to sleep. 17 Then I saw all the things that God has done. Nobody can really understand the things that happen on the earth. That is what I discovered. We may be very wise. We may try many times to learn more and more. We may learn many things. But there will still be things that we will not understand.

8:17The Teacher tells us several things in these verses. There are many things in our life that are difficult to understand. Bad people seem to have a better life than good people do. So we should try to enjoy the good things that we have. There will always be things that we cannot understand. But the Teacher believes that God will be fair in the end.