One Destiny for All
1For all this I laid on my heart and to ascertain all this: that the righteous and the wise, as well as their works are in the hand of God. Whether love or hatred, no one knows—everything awaits them.
2Everyone shares the same destiny: for the righteous and the wicked; for the good, the ritually clean and the defiled; for one who sacrifices and one who does not sacrifice; as the good person so the sinner; as the one who swears like the one who fears an oath.
3This is a misery in everything done under the sun: that the same destiny awaits everyone. Moreover, the hearts of all humans are full of evil, and folly is in their hearts during their lives—after that they die.
4Everyone who is among the living has hope—even a living dog is better off than a dead lion.
5For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing. They have no further reward, even the memory of them is forgotten.
6Their love, their hatred, and their zeal have already perished; never again will they have a share in anything that is done under the sun.
7Go! Eat your bread with gladness and drink your wine with a merry heart, for God has already accepted your deeds.
8Let your clothes always be white, and do not spare oil on your head.
9Live joyously with the wife whom you love all the days of your fleeting life that He has given you under the sun during all your fleeting days—for this is your portion in life and in your toil that you labor under the sun.
10Whatever your hand finds to do, do with all your strength, for there is no work or planning or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol, where you are going.
11I further observed under the sun: The race is not to the swift nor the battle to the mighty, nor does bread come to the wise, or wealth to the discerning, or favor to the skillful; for time and chance befall them all.
12Moreover, no man knows his time: like fish caught in a fatal net or birds caught in a snare, so people are trapped in a time of calamity, that falls upon them suddenly.
13I also observed this as wisdom under the sun, and it greatly impressed me.
14There was a little city with a few people in it and a mighty king came against it, surrounded it, and built great siege works against it.
15Now a poor, wise man was found in it, and he delivered the city by his shrewdness. Yet nobody remembered that poor man!
16So I said: “Wisdom is better than strength.” But the poor man’s wisdom is despised and his words are not heeded.
17The words of the wise heard in quiet are better than a ruler’s shout among fools.
18Wisdom is better than weapons of war, but one sinner destroys much good.