Ecclesiastes 8

1No one can understand and explain things the way a wise man can. His wisdom makes him happy. It changes a sad face into a happy one. 2I say you should always obey the king’s command. Do this because you made a promise to God. 3Don’t be afraid to give suggestions to the king. And don’t support something that is wrong. But remember, the king gives the commands that please him. 4The king has the authority to give commands. And no one can tell him what to do. 5A person will be safe if he obeys the king’s command. But a wise man knows the right time to do this, and he also knows when to do the right thing. 6There is a right time and a right way for a person to do everything. ˻And each person must take a chance and decide what he should do.˼ He must do this even when he has many troubles 7and he isn’t sure what will happen. Why? Because no one can tell him what will happen in the future. 8No person has the power to keep his spirit from leaving. No person has the power to stop his death. During war, a soldier does not have the freedom to go any place he wants to go. In the same way, if a person does evil, that evil won’t allow him to be free. 9I saw all those things. I thought very hard about the things that happen in this world. And I saw that people always struggle for the power to rule other people. And this is bad for them. 10I also saw great and beautiful funerals for evil people. While the people were going home after the funeral services, they said good things about the evil people that had died. This happened even in the same towns where the evil people had done many, many bad things. That is senseless. 11Sometimes people are not immediately punished for the bad things they do. Their punishment is slow to come. And that makes other people want to do bad things too. 12A sinner might do a hundred evil things. And he might have a long life. But I know that it is still better to obey and respect God. 13Evil people don’t respect God, so those people won’t really get good things. Those evil people won’t live long lives. Their lives won’t be like the shadows that become longer and longer ˻as the sun goes down˼. 14There is something else that happens on earth that does not seem fair. Bad things should happen to bad people and good things should happen to good people. But sometimes bad things happen to good people and good things happen to bad people. That is not fair. 15So I decided it was more important to enjoy life. Why? Because the best thing people can do in this life is to eat, drink, and enjoy life. At least that will help people enjoy the hard work God gave them to do during their life on earth. 16I carefully studied the things people do in this life. I saw how busy people are. They work day and night, and they almost never sleep. 17I also saw the many things that God does. And I saw that people can’t understand all the work that God does on earth. A person might try and try to understand, but he can’t. Even if a wise man says he understands the work God does, it is not true. No person can understand all those things.

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