Ecclesiastes 9

We all die in the end

1 I thought about all these things. I saw that God is very powerful. He decides what our lives will be like. That is true even if we are wise. It is true even if we live in the right way. We do not know the things that will happen during our lives. So we never know if we will be happy or sad. We may live in the right way and we may obey God. Or we may do wrong things. 2 But what happens to us in the end will be the same. We may give sacrifices to God or we may not do that.

We may be good or we may be bad.

When we have promised something to God, we may do that thing. Or we may not do it.

What happens to us in the end will be the same, anyway.

3 After our death, the same thing will happen to us. There will be no difference in that. That is not fair. So people decide to live like fools. They do not try to be good. And then they die. 4 It is not very good to be a dead lion. It is better to be a dog that is alive. A person that is alive can hope to have a good life.

5 We know that we will all die in the end.

But dead people do not know anything.

And when they are dead, they cannot enjoy their life.

6 Dead people have gone from the earth and people do not remember them.

Nobody that is dead can love another person.

Nobody that is dead can hate another person.

Dead people cannot change the things that happen on the earth.

7 It is good to be happy. It is good to enjoy what you eat. And it is good to enjoy what you drink. God has pleasure in what you do. 8 You should put on your best clothes and you should comb your hair well. 9 Your life will be short and it will be difficult. But you love your wife, so enjoy your life together. That is the way to live on the earth. 10 And do your work well. You will soon leave the earth. Then it will not be possible for you to work. You will not think about future events. You will not know anything.

11 I saw another thing that happens on the earth.

The runner who can run most quickly does not always finish first.

The strongest soldier may not win the war.

People will not always feed you because you are wise.

If you are clever, good things will not always happen to you.

You may not become rich even if you do your work well.

Good things and bad things happen to us all.

12 Bad things can happen to all of us.

A fish does not know when somebody will catch it.

A bird does not know when somebody will catch it.

That is like us. We do not know when something bad will happen.

9:12Things do not always happen as we want them to happen.

Better to be wise than to be a fool

13 I saw another example of wisdom. 14 There was a city that only a few people lived in. A foreign king attacked that city. His army was ready to knock down the walls round the city. 15 But a poor man, who was very wise, lived in the city. And he knew how to save the city. He saved it, but people soon forgot him. 16 So, it may be good to be strong. But it is better to be wise. That is what I thought about it. But if you are poor, nobody listens to you. It does not matter how wise you are. People will not listen to you, anyway.

17 A wise man will speak quietly.

When he speaks quietly, it is good to listen to him.

The loud words of a king that is a fool do not mean a lot. The quiet words of a wise man mean more.

18 A wise person can do more than a soldier can do.

You may be wise. But one bad person can destroy all the good things that you have done.

9:18There is only one thing that a person can be sure about. He or she will die in the end. But while we are alive, we cannot change things. Our life does not seem very fair. It may be difficult, even for a wise man.