1Their foolish minds lead them
to say to each other:
“Life is short and sad—
the end is certain to come,
and no one escapes the grave.
2Only by chance were we born,
and after we are gone,
everything will be
as though we had never been.
Our breath is merely smoke,
and reason is a spark
from the beat of our hearts.
3When that beating ends,
our bodies turn to dust,
and our spirits vanish
into thin air.
4In time we will be forgotten
and so will our deeds.
Life disappears like a cloud;
it melts away like mist
in the heat of the sun.
5Time fades away like a shadow,
and no one returns from death.
6 # Is 22.13; 1 Co 15.32. “So make the most of life,
especially while you're young.
7Drink the very best wine,
wear expensive perfume,
and enjoy the spring flowers.
8Decorate your head with rosebuds
before they wilt.
9Do your share of celebrating!
Party always and everywhere—
that's what life is all about.
10Abuse the poor and the honest!
And do the same to widows
and old people.
11After all, might is right,
and weakness is useless.
12 # 3 Macc 6.11. “Destroy law-abiding people!
Get them out of the way.
All they do is condemn you
for breaking the law and doing
what we know is wrong.
13They claim to know the Lord God
and to be his children.
14That's why they criticize
your very thoughts.
15“Just looking at good people
is a heavy burden—
their lifestyle is so different;
in fact, it's strange.
16They think you're trash,
and they won't have anything
to do with you.
They claim God is their Father
and that he will reward them.
17“So test what they say
by watching them die.
18If those so-called good people
really are God's children,
he will look after them.
19We will insult and torture them
to find out how gentle
and patient they are.
20We will sentence them
to a shameful death—
after all, they have said
that they will be protected.”
Evil People Are Foolish
21That's the reasoning of those
who are evil, and they are
both blind and foolish.
22They don't understand
what God has in mind,
and they don't know the reward
for living right.
23 # Gn 1.26,27. God created us to live forever,
just as he himself does.
24But death entered the world
because the devil was jealous,
and so all his followers die.