Everyone faces the same fate
7 Go, eat your food joyfully and drink your wine happily because God has already accepted what you do. 8 Let your garments always be white; don’t run short of oil for your head. 9 Enjoy life with your dearly loved spouse all the days of your pointless life that God[b] gives you under the sun—all the days of your pointless life![c]—because that’s your part to play[d] in this life and in your hard work under the sun. 10 Whatever you are capable of doing, do with all your might because there’s no work, thought, knowledge, or wisdom in the grave,[e] which is where you are headed.
Listen to common wisdom, not fools11 I also observed under the sun that the race doesn’t always go to the swift, nor the battle to the mighty, nor food to the wise, nor wealth to the intelligent, nor favor to the knowledgeable, because accidents can happen to anyone. 12 People most definitely don’t know when their time will come. Like fish tragically caught in a net or like birds trapped in a snare, so are human beings caught in a time of tragedy that suddenly falls to them.
13 I also observed the following example of wisdom under the sun—it impressed me greatly: 14 There was a small town with only a few residents. A mighty king came against it, surrounded it, and waged a terrible war against it. 15 Now there lived in that town a poor but wise man who saved everyone by his wisdom. But no one remembered that poor man. 16 So I thought, Wisdom is better than might, but the wisdom of commoners is despised and their words aren’t heeded.
17 The calm words of the wise are better heeded than the racket caused by a ruler among fools.
18 Wisdom is better than weapons of war, but one incompetent person destroys much good.
- Ecclesiastes 9:2 LXX
- Ecclesiastes 9:9 Or he or that are given you
- Ecclesiastes 9:9 This phrase is missing in some LXX sources, Syr, and Tg.
- Ecclesiastes 9:9 Or portion
- Ecclesiastes 9:10 Or underworld; Heb Sheol