¶ FOR all the essence of these things have I considered in my heart, and my heart perceived all of this, that the righteous and the wise and their works are in the hand of God;
no man knows either love or hatred;
for everything which is before him is vanity.
All things happen alike to all;
there is one chance for the righteous and for the wicked;
to the good and to the bad, to the clean and to the unclean;
to him who sacrifices and to him who does not sacrifice;
as is the good man, so is the sinner;
and he who swears is as he who fears an oath.
This is an evil among all things that are done under the sun, for there is one chance to all;
yea, also the heart of the sons of men is full of evil, and grievous error is in their heart while they live, and after that they go to the dead.
¶ For him who is joined with all the living there is hope;
for a living dog is better than a dead lion.
For the living know that they shall die;
but the dead know not anything, neither have they any more a reward;
for the memory of them is forgotten.
Also their love and their hatred and their envy have already perished;
neither have they any more a portion for ever in anything that is done under the sun.
Come now, eat your bread with joy and drink your wine with a merry heart;
for God is pleased with your works.
Let your garments be always white;
and let your head lack no ointment.
Live joyfully with the wife whom you love all the days of your vain life, because she is your portion in life, and in your labor which you labor under the sun.
Whatsoever your hand is able to do, do it with your might;
for there is no work nor device nor knowledge nor wisdom in Sheol whither you are going.
¶ I turned and saw under the sun that the race is not to the swift nor the battle to the strong nor bread to the wise nor riches to the men of understanding nor glory to the learned men;
because time and chance happen to them all.
For man knows not his time;
but as fish that are taken in a treacherous net and as birds that are caught in the snares, so are the sons of men snared in an evil time when it falls suddenly upon them.
This wisdom I have seen also under the sun, and it seemed great to me:
There was a little city and few men in it;
and there came a great king against it and beseiged it and built bulwarks against it;
Now there was found in it a poor wise man, and he by his wisdom delivered the city;
yet no man remembered that same poor man.
Then said I, Wisdom is better than might;
nevertheless the poor man’s wisdom is despised and his words are not heeded.
The words of the wise men are heard in quiet more than the cry of a ruler who is a fool.
Wisdom is better than weapons of war;
but one sin destroys much good.