Is Death Fair?
1I thought about all this and tried to understand it. I saw that God controls good people and wise people and what they do, but no one knows if they will experience love or hate.
2Good and bad people end up the same—
those who are right and those who are wrong,
those who are good and those who are evil,
those who are clean and those who are unclean,
those who sacrifice and those who do not.
The same things happen to a good person
as happen to a sinner,
to a person who makes promises to God
and to one who does not.
3This is something wrong that happens here on earth: What happens to one happens to all. So people’s minds are full of evil and foolish thoughts while they live. After that, they join the dead. 4But anyone still alive has hope; even a live dog is better off than a dead lion!
5The living know they will die,
but the dead know nothing.
Dead people have no more reward,
and people forget them.
6After people are dead,
they can no longer love or hate or envy.
They will never again share
in what happens here on earth.
Enjoy Life While You Can
7So go eat your food and enjoy it;
drink your wine and be happy,
because that is what God wants you to do.
8Put on nice clothes
and make yourself look good.
9Enjoy life with the wife you love. Enjoy all the useless days of this useless life God has given you here on earth, because it is all you have. So enjoy the work you do here on earth. 10Whatever work you do, do your best, because you are going to the grave, where there is no working, no planning, no knowledge, and no wisdom.
Time and Chance
11I also saw something else here on earth:
The fastest runner does not always win the race,
the strongest soldier does not always win the battle,
the wisest does not always have food,
the smartest does not always become wealthy,
and the talented one does not always receive praise.
Time and chance happen to everyone.
12No one knows what will happen next.
Like a fish caught in a net,
or a bird caught in a trap,
people are trapped by evil
when it suddenly falls on them.
Wisdom Does Not Always Win
13I also saw something wise here on earth that impressed me. 14There was a small town with only a few people in it. A great king fought against it and put his armies all around it. 15Now there was a poor but wise man in the town who used his wisdom to save his town. But later on, everyone forgot about him. 16I still think wisdom is better than strength. But those people forgot about the poor man’s wisdom and stopped listening to what he said.
17The quiet words of a wise person are better
than the shouts of a foolish ruler.
18Wisdom is better than weapons of war,
but one sinner can destroy much good.