Keep the King’s Command
1Who is like the wise?
And who knows the interpretation of a thing?
Prov. 4:8, 9; [Acts 6:15] A man’s wisdom makes his face shine,
and #Prov. 21:29; [Deut. 28:50]the hardness of his face is changed.
2I say:#8:2 Hebrew lacks say Keep the king’s command, because of #Ex. 22:11; 2 Sam. 21:7; 1 Kgs. 2:43; [2 Chr. 36:13; Ezek. 17:18]God’s oath to him.#8:2 Or because of your oath to God 3Be not hasty to #[ch. 10:4]go from his presence. Do not take your stand in an evil cause, for he does whatever he pleases. 4For the word of the king is supreme, and #Dan. 4:35; See Job 9:12who may say to him, “What are you doing?” 5Whoever keeps a command will know no evil thing, and the wise heart will know the proper time and the just way.#8:5 Or and judgment 6For there is a time and a way #ch. 3:1, 17for everything, although man’s trouble#8:6 Or evil lies heavy on him. 7For he #[Prov. 24:22] does not know what is to be, for #ch. 3:22; 6:12; 9:12; 10:14who can tell him how it will be? 8No man has power to #[Job 14:5] retain the spirit, #[ch. 3:19; 9:11] or power over the day of death. There is no #See Deut. 20:5-8discharge from war, nor will wickedness deliver those who are given to it. 9#[ch. 1:13]All this I observed while applying my heart to all that is done under the sun, when man had power over man to his hurt.
Those Who Fear God Will Do Well
10Then I saw the wicked buried. They used to go in and out of #[Neh. 11:1; Matt. 24:15] the holy place and were #[ch. 9:5; Prov. 10:7]praised#8:10 Some Hebrew manuscripts, Septuagint, Vulgate; most Hebrew manuscripts forgotten in the city where they had done such things. This also is vanity.#8:10 The Hebrew term hebel can refer to a “vapor” or “mere breath”; also twice in verse 14 (see note on 1:2) 11Because #[Ps. 10:6; 50:21; Isa. 26:10; Rom. 2:4, 5; 2 Pet. 3:9] the sentence against an evil deed is not executed speedily, #[Esth. 7:5; Acts 5:3]the heart of the children of man is fully set to do evil. 12Though a sinner does evil a hundred times and #ch. 7:15; Isa. 65:20 prolongs his life, yet I know that #[Deut. 12:25; Isa. 3:10] it will be well with #[Ps. 37:11, 18, 19; Prov. 1:33; Matt. 25:34]those who fear God, because they fear before him. 13But it will #Isa. 3:11 not be well with the wicked, neither will he prolong his days like #ch. 6:12; See Job 14:2a shadow, because he does not fear before God.
Man Cannot Know God’s Ways
14There is a vanity that takes place on earth, that there are righteous people #ch. 7:15; [Ps. 73:3]; See ch. 2:14 to whom it happens according to the deeds of the wicked, and there are wicked people #[Job 21:7; Ps. 17:9, 10; 73:12; Jer. 12:1]to whom it happens according to the deeds of the righteous. I said that this also is vanity. 15And I commend joy, for man #See ch. 2:24 has nothing better under the sun but to #1 Kgs. 4:20eat and drink and be joyful, for this will go with him in his toil through the days of his life that God has given him under the sun.
16When I applied my heart to know wisdom, and to see #ch. 1:13; 3:10 the business that is done on earth, how neither #[Ps. 127:2]day nor night do one’s eyes see sleep, 17then I saw all the work of God, that #[Prov. 25:2]; See ch. 3:11 man cannot find out the work that is done under the sun. However much man may toil in seeking, he will not find it out. Even though a wise man claims to know, #[Ps. 73:16]he cannot find it out.