1 Who is like the wise man? Who else can solve a problem? A man’s wisdom lights up his expression – his stern look is changed.
2 Obey the command of the king because of the oath before God and 3 don’t be eager to ignore it. Do not stubbornly support a bad cause, for he will do what he pleases. 4 The king’s word holds. Who will say to him, “What are you doing?”
5 Whoever obeys a royal precept avoids trouble. The wise man knows the time and the judgment – 6 the time to act and the value of everything.
6 This misfortune weighs heavily on man: 7 he has no knowledge of what will happen. Who can tell him what will happen? 8 No one controls the wind or holds back the day of death. Struggle is useless and not even wickedness saves its author. 9 I have observed this and set myself to consider everything that is done under the sun, when man is given the power of harming another.
10 And so I have seen the wicked buried and people come from the holy place to honor them, forgetting how they acted. This, too, is futile.
11 It is because sentence against wrongdoing is not passed at once that evil designs fill the human heart. 12 The sinner may do wrong a hundred times and yet survive.
12 (I know well that there will be happiness for the God-fearing man be cause he fears God, 13 but there will be no happiness for the wicked; and because he doesn’t fear God, he will pass like a shadow and his days will not last.)
14 Another kind of nonsense is found in what humans do on earth: the righteous are treated as the wicked deserve, and the wicked, as the righteous deserve. This, too, is mean ing less.
15 So I praise joy, since for man there is no happiness under the sun other than eating, drinking and taking pleasure in his work throughout the life God gives him under the sun. 16 When I set out to get wisdom and considered the human condition on earth, by day or by night when peo ple sleep and are not conscious, 17 I saw that with regard to God’s work, as a whole, no man is able to discover what the work is that goes on under the sun; though he tire himself searching, he will not find out. And if the wise man claims to know, he does not.