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\h Ecclesiastes
\c 1
\v 1 Discourses, by the Speaker, the son of David,
king of Jerusalem.
\ms2 The Futility and Monotomy of Nature and Of Human Life
\v 2 Utterest vanity! The Speaker declareth:
\q2 Utterest vanity! All is vanity.
\v 3 What gain hath a man of all his toil
\q2 Whereat he toileth under the sun?
\v 4 The generations come and go,
\q2 But evermore the earth abideth.
\v 5 The sun doth rise, and the sun doth set,
\q2 But he panteth back to the place of his rising.
\v 6 South the wind goeth, and northward it circleth;
\q2 Circling and circling goeth the wind,
\q2 And back on its circling the wind returneth.
\v 7 All the rivers run into the sea,
\q2 But nevertheless is the sea not full.
\q To the place to which the rivers run,
\q2 Thither they run and run for ever.
\v 8 All things are full or weariness,
\q2 Of weariness unutterable,
\q With all that it sees hath the eye no rest,
\q2 And with all that it hears is the ear unfilled.
\ms2 The Futility of the Search after Knowledge
\v 9 What has been, shall be; what has happened
already, will happen again: there is not a novelty
\v 10 under the sun. When anything occurs that one is
disposed to call really new, it will be found to have
\v 11 happened already – ages before us. Nobody
remembers (to-day) the people of the olden time,
and similarly the people of the after-time will not
be remebered by anybody who comes after them.
\v 12 I, the Speaker, was king over Israel in Jerusalem;
\v 13 and I gave my mind to the philosophic study and
investigation of all that goes on under the sun. But
a sorry business it is that God has given men to
\v 14 busy themselves with. From my observation of
all that goes on under the sun, I have come to the
conclusion that it is all nothing but an illusion and
a chasing of the wind.
\v 15 That which is crooked can never be straightened,
\q2 And that which is lacking can never be counted.
\v 16 Then I said to myself, Let me take my own case.
I have amassed wisdom beyond all my predecessors
in Jerusalem, and my experience of wisdom and of
\v 17 knowledge has been a wide one; but after applying
my mind to the study of wisdom and knowledge, madness
and folly, I am convinced that this also is a chasing of the wind; for
\v 18 Who is rich in wisdom is rich in vexation,
\q2 And increase of knowledge brings increase of pain.
\ms2 The Futility of the Search after Pleasure
\c 2
\v 1 I said to myself, Well now, I will experiment with
pleasure and indulge myself; but I discovered with
\v 2 Surprise that this, too, was an illusion. I concluded
that laughter was madness and joy a sterile thing.
\v 3 I turned over in my mind how to cheer my senses
with wine – preserving at the same time, however,
my habitual wisdom – and how to embrace folly,
until I should discover what satisfaction may be
procured by men under heaven during the days
\v 4 of their brief lives. I went in for enterprises on an
impressive scale. I had houses built and vineyards
\v 5 planted. I had gardens laid out and parks planted
\v 6 with all sorts of fruit trees, I had reservoirs con-
structed to water the trees that formed the plan-
\v 7 tations. I bought male and female slaves in addition
to the other that had been born in my house. I had
cattle and sheep in abundance – far beyond my
\v 8 predecessors in Jerusalem. Further, I amassed
silver and gold and treasure from (tributary) kings
and from the provinces. I procured male and female
singers and sensuous delighs – concubines in
\v 9 abundance; and richer and richer I grew beyond
all my predecessors in Jerusalem – taking care, how-
\v 10 ever, to retain my wisdom. I refused my eyes
nothing that they longed for, and I did not abstain
from pleasure of any kind, for there was a pleasure
attached to all my effort, and the reward of all my
\v 11 effort I found in that. But when I looked at all
the things my hands had made, and at the effort
that I had spent upon them, it all turned out to be
nothing but an illusion and chasing of the wind:
\v 12b here was no profit under the sun. For what will
the king's successor do but just what has been done
\ms2 The Futility of Wisdom
\v 12a Then I turned to the consideration of wisdom and
\v 13 madness and folly, and I saw that wisdom is as
superior to folly as light to darkness; for
\v 14 While the wise have their eyes in their head,
\q2 The fool walketh in darkness.
Still, I am well aware that in their fate they are
\v 15 both alike. So I said to myself, The fate of the fool
shall be my fate also; and what, in that case, am
I the better for my pre-eminent wisdom? So I
\v 16 said to myself, Here is another illusion. For through
all time the wise man is not remembered any more
than the fool, seeing that in the days to come every
one will be soon forgotten. Alas! the wise man
\v 17 dies just like the fool. So life became odious to
me, because I was vexed with all that goes on under
the sun; for it is all an illusion and a chasing of the wind,
\ms2 The Futility of Work
\v 18 Yes, all the effort that I had spent under the sun
became odious to me, because I should have to
\v 19 leave it to my successor; and who can tell whether
it will be a wise man or a fool that will have the
disposal of the results of all my wise and earnest
toil under the sun? Here is another illusion.
\v 20 Then I felt like yielding to despair because
\v 21 of all my laborious toil under the sun; for it
may happen that a man who has toiled with
wisdom, knowledge, and skill has to bequeath the
results of it to another who has done no work upon
it at all. Here, in this great evil, is another illusion.
\v 22 For what does a man get from all the striving
\v 23 and the strain of his work under the sun? His days
are all a torture, and his business a vexation: why,
even the night brings no rest to his mind. Here is
\v 24 another illusion. There is, then, no satisfaction for
a man beyond eating and drinking and enjoying
himself as he works. This I saw to be from God's
\v 25 own hand; for how can there be eating or enjoyment
apart form Him?
\v 26 For the man who pleases Him He gives wisdom,
knowledge and happiness; to the sinner, on the other
hand, He gives the task of gathering and amassing,
that it may be given (in the end) to the man who pleases
Here is another illusion and chasing of the wind.
\ms2 The Futility of Human Effort in the Light of the Fixed
Order of the World
\c 3
\v 1 Everything has its reason appointed,
\q2 And every affair under heaven has its time.
\v 2 A time to be born,
\q2 And a time to die.
\q A time to plant,
\q2 And a time to uproot.
\v 3 A time to slay,
\q2 And a time to heal.
\q A time to tear down,
\q2 And a time to build up.
\v 4 A time to weep,
\q2 And a time to laugh.
\q A time to mourn,
\q2 And a time to dance.
\v 5 A time to scatter stones,
\q2 And a time to clear them away.
\q A time to embrace,
\q2 And a time to refrain.
\v 6 A time to seek,
\q2 And a time to lose.
\q A time to preserve,
\q2 And a time to throw away.
\v 7 A time to tear,
\q2 And a time to sew.
\q A time to be silent,
\q2 And a time to speak.
\v 8 A time to love,
\q2 And a time to hate.
\q A time for war,
\q2 And a time for peace.
\v 10 What does the worker gain by all his toil (thought
\v 10 I) as I looked at the tasks that God has assigned
to men to busy themselves with?
\v 11 It is a beautiful orfer that He has established–
evrything at its appointed time. Besides, He has
planted in the human heart (the instinct for) eternity;
only men cannot discern the whole range – from begin-
ning to end – of the work which God is carrying on.
\v 12 I am convinced that the only satisfaction that can
be theirs is to be happy and prosperous, while
\v 13 they live. Besides, it is God's own gift, when a man
is priviledged to eat, drink, and experience happiness
in all his work.
\v 14 I am convinced that all that God does is eternal;
it is capable neither of increase nor of diminution:
and God has ordained this, in order to inspire men
with reverence.
\v 15 Whatever is, has happened already; and what
is yet to happen, already is: for that which has
drifted (into the past) God seeketh out again.
\ms2 The Futility of Hoping for the Redress of Injustice in Some Future World
\v 16 Once more, in the course of my observation under
the sun, I saw that, in the place where judgments
were delivered, there was injustice – yes, injustice
in the very place where justice should have been
\v 17 I said to myself, Yes, but God will judge the just and
the unjust: for He hath appointed a time for every
matter and for every act.
\v 18 I said to myself, It is for men's sake, that God
may show them in their true light, and lead them
\v 19 to see that they are but beasts. For the fate of
men is the fate of beasts: their fate is one and the
same. The one dies like the other. One breath
is in them all, and man is no way superior to the
\v 20 beasts. For all is but an illusion. All are on their
way to the same place. All sprang from the dust,
\v 21 and to the dust they shall all return. Who can tell
whether the human spirit goes upward and the
\v 22 spirit of the beast downward to the earth? So O
recognised that there is no greater satisfaction for
a mn that to be happy in his work – that is his
reward; for, as to what is to happen after him–
who can give him a glimpse of that?
\ms2 Man's Inhumanity to Man
\c 4
\v 1 Once more, I considered all the oppression that
goes on under the sun. I saw the tears of the
oppressed, who have no one to comfort them–
power brutally wielded by the oppressors, and not
\v 2 a soul to comfort them. Happy, thought I, were
the dead who are already dead rather than the
\v 3 living who are still alive; but happier than either
the creature that has never been born, to look upon
the evil work that goes on under the sun.
\ms2 The Taint of Jealousy
\v 4 Then I observed that all the laborious and skilful
work of men has its origin and issue in their jealousy
of one another. Here is another illusion and a chasing of the wind.
\ms2 The Wisdom of Unambitious Quiet
\v 5 The fool foldeth his hands,
\q2 And his own flesh he devoureth.
\v 6 Better a single handful of quiet,
\q2 And a chasing of the wind.
\ms2 The Futility and Misery of Loneliness
\v 7 Here is another of the illusions that I have
\v 8 observed under the sun. Take, for example, a
lonely man, with no one by his side – he has neither
son nor brother: yet he toils on endlessly; his
eye can never see money enough. "And yet, whom
am I toiling for, and beggaring myself to happi-
ness? "Here is another illusion, a sorry business
\v 9 Two are better than one, for their toil is happily
\v 10 rewarded. If, for example, one should fall, his
comrade helps him to his feet: but woe betide the
\v 11 man who falls, with nobody to help him up. Again,
if two lie together, they get warm: but how can a man
\v 12 get warm by himself? Again, while a solitary
man may be overpowered, two can stand up to an
assailant; while a cord that has three strands
is not lightly snapped.
\ms2 The Futility of Wisdom – An illustration
\v 13 A Young man that is poor but wise is better than
a foolish old king who can no longer take a warning.
\v 14 There was one such who passed from prison to the
throne, though in the (old king's) reign he had been
\v 15 born poor; and I obseved that every man alive
that walketh under the sun supported his youthful
\v 16 successor. Endless were the people who looked
up to him as leader; and yet in later years their
enthusiasm for him had vanished. Here is another
illusion and a chasing of the wind.
\ms2 Warnings against Insincerity and Rashness in the
Discharge of Religious Duties
\c 5
\v 1 walk warily, when you go to the house of God:
to participate in the worship with attentive ear is
better than the sacrifices offered by fools, who are
only versed in the practice of wickedness.
\v 2 Do not be rash with your tongue, and do not let
your feelings hurry you into speech before God:
for God is in heaven, while you are on earth; your
words ought therefore to be few. For
\v 3 As dreams proceed from multiplied cares,
\q2 So the din of fools from multiplied words.
\v 4 When you make a vow to God, pay it without
delay; for fools incur His displeasure. Pay
\v 5 therefore what you vow. Better not vow than vow
\v 6 and not pay. Do not allow your tongue to involve
you in guilt and punishment; and do not have to
explain to the official that it was a case of inadver-
tence (on your part). Why should you say things
that must provoke God to bring your enterprises
\v 7 To ruin? for multiplied dreams and words bring
multiplied vanities. But hold God in reverence.
\ms2 The Prevalence of Oppression
\v 8 Do not be astonished when you see a poor man
crushed, or right and justice plundered in a pro-
vinced; for high officials are perpetually spying upon
one another, and over them are others higher
\v 9 It is in every way an advantage to a land to
have a king devoted to the cultivation of the soil.
\ms2 The Futility of Wealth
\v 10 Who loves money can never have money enough,
\q2 And the lover of riches no increase can satisfy.
\q Here is another illusion.
\v 11 Increase of wealth bringeth increase in those that consume it:
\q2 What gain hath is owner save gazing on it with his eyes?
\v 12 Sweet is the sleep of the toiler, whether he eat
much or little; but the satiety of the wealthy
man will not let him sleep.
\v 13 One of the grievous evils that I have observed
under the sun is this – wealth hoarded up to its
\v 14 owner's ruin. The wealth vanishes in some sorry
adventure; and so, after becoming a father, he
\v 15 finds himself with nothing at all. Naked as he
came from his mother's womb must he go again,
just as he came. For all his toil he can take
nothing away with him that he can carry in his
\v 16 hand. This also is a grievous evil, that he must go
away just as he came; and what has he gained
\v 17 by toiling for the wind? Yes, all his days are
spent in darkness and mourning, in deep vexation,
sickness and anger.
\v 18 I claim, as the result of my observation, that it
is an excellent and comely thing (for a man) to eat,
drink, and enjoy himself amid all his laborious
toil under the sun during the days of the brief life
\v 19 which God gives him: for that is his lot. Yes,
when God gives a man wealth and riches and power
to enjoy them, to take his share and be happy in
\v 20 his work – this is a gift of God. Such a man will
not think much about the brevity of his life; for
his heart is touched by God to a glad response.
\ms2 The Futility of Wealth the Power to Enjoy
\c 6
\v 1 One of the vexatious things that I have seen under
\v 2 the sun to press heavily upon men is this. Take
the case of a man to whom God has given wealth,
riches, honour, everything heart can desire except
the opportunity to enjoy it– that opportunity falling
to some stranger. Here is a grieveous and painful
\v 3 If a man be the father of a hundred sons, and live
for many long years, but without having enjoyed
any true satisfaction from his prosperity and without
the honour of burial (in the end), then such a man,
I maintain, is not so fortunate as an untimely
\v 4 birth, which, coming as a futility, departs in dark-
\v 5 ness with its name enveloped in darkness, never
having has sight or knowledge of the sunlight.
It is this, rather than the other, that enjoys rest.
\v 6 Though the man should live a thousand years twice
over, yet enjoy no experience of happiness, are not
both on their way to same place?
\v 7 The toil of man is all for his mouth,
\q2 Yet the appetite is unfilled.
\v 8 What gain hath the wise man more than the fool,
\q2 Or the poor man who walks through the world with discretion?
\v 9 Better a glimpse with the eyes
\q2 Than the roaming of the appetite.
\q Here is another illusion and a chasing of the wind.
\ms2 The Futility of the Struggle with Destiny
\v 10 The character of what is has already been deter-
mined, and the destiny of man is already fore-
ordained: he cannot contend with one mightier
\v 11 than himself. For multiplied words mean but
multiplied vanities; and what is man the better?
\v 12 Who can tell what is good for man during his life-
time all the days of the brief and empty life that he
passes like a shadow? Who can declare to a man
what is to happen after him under the sun?
\ms2 Counsels for Conduct
\c 7
\v 1 A fair name is better than precious ointment,
\q2 And the day of death the day of one's birth.
\v 2 It is better to go the house of mourning
\q2 Than to go to the banquetting-house;
\q Inasmuch as that is the end of all men,
\q2 And the living should lay it to heart.
\v 3 Vexation is better than laughter;
\q2 For, when the face is sad, it is well with the heart.
\v 4 The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning,
\q2 But the heart of the fool in the house of mirth.
\v 5 It is better to hear the rebuke of the wise
\q2 Than to lend one's ears to the song of a fool.
\v 6 For like crackling of nettles under kettles,
\q2 Even so is the cackle of fools.
\q Here is another illusion.
\v 7 Extortion maketh the wise man mad,
\q2 And a bribe destroyeth the character.
\v 8 The end of a thing is better than the beginning,
\q2 And the patience is better than pride.
\v 9 Do not be hastily vexed in thy temper;
\q2 Vexation doth lodge in the bosom of fools,
\v 10 Say not, "Why were the former days better than these?"
\q2 For such a question is not of wisdom.
\v 11 As good as an inheritance is wisdom.
\q2 And gainful to those who behold the sun.
\v 12 Wisdom defends, even as money defends;
\q2 But herein is the greater gain of knowledge,
\q2 That a wisdom is life unto those that possess her.
\v 13 Consider well the work of God;
\q2 For who can make straight that which He hath made crooked?
\v 14 In happy days be happy, and in the day of misfor-
tune consider: for God has balanced the one against
the other, in order to prevent men from discovering
anything of the future.
\ms2 The Folly of Extremes
\v 15 In the course of my illusory life I have witnessed
all sort of things – honest men ruined by their
very honesty, and unprincipled men who owe their
\v 16 long life to their very lack of principle. Do not
be over-pious or over-wise: why court destruction?
\v 17 But neither be over-wicked, nor play the fool:
\v 18 why die before your time? It is good, while cling-
ing to the one, not to relax your grasp of the
other; for true religion avoids the excesses of
\v 19 Wisdom is a mightier protector to the wise than
\v 20 ten men who are in authority over a city. For
there is not a single righteous man upon earth–
a man who does nothing but good and never falls
into sin.
\v 21 Further, pay no attention to current gossip, in
case you may hear that your servant has cursed
\v 22 you; for your conscience tells you that you too
hace cursed others many a time.
\ms2 Woman a Delusion and a Snare
\v 23 I subjected all this to the test of wisdom. I resolved
to acquire wisdom, but she remained remote.
\v 24 Yes, the essence of things remained remote – deep
down in depths unfathomable.
\v 25 Then, casting about, I gave my mind to the
understanding and investigation of wisdom, to
search after her for results, and to study the folly
\v 26 of wickedness and the madness of folly. And a
thing that I find to be more bitter than death is
woman: for she is a veritable net, with her heart
of snares and her hands of fetters. The man who
enjoys the favour of God escapes her, but the sinner
\v 27 is caught by her. Now mark this, says the Speaker.
Putting one thing with another in order to arrive
\v 28 at a conclusion – which, however, I have long and
earnestly sought in vain – this at least I have dis-
covered: that there is one man in a thousand–
that I have discovered – but never a woman in all
\v 29 that number have I found. This only have I
found-mark it well: that men were created
upright by God, but they have sought out many
contrivances of their own.
\ms2 Reflections upon Despotism
\c 8
\v 1 Who is like the wise man?
\q2 Who is skilled in interpretation?
\q A man's wisdom illumines his face,
\q2 And a face that is harsh is transfigured.
\v 2 Obey the king's commands; but, remembering
\v 3 your oath to God, do not be drawn into hasty
action. Leave his presence, and do not embark
upon any hurtful course; for a king can do any-
\v 4 thing he pleases, seeing that his royal word is
authorative, and his conduct unchallengeable.
\v 5 He who keeps the commandment will never
come to harm. The wise man knows in his heart
\v 6 that there is an hour of judgment; for everything
has its hour for judgment – and men will be crushed
\v 7 beneath the weight of calamity. For they are
ignorant of the future: who can tell what form it
\v 8 will take? No man can control the day of his
death, any more than he can control or restrain
the wind. In war there is no discharge. Wrong
will secure no immunity for the wrong-doer.
\v 9 All this I saw, as I applied my mind to all that
goes on under the sun, at a time when men were
wielding their power over other men to ruin
\ms2 The Futility of Looking for a Moral Order in this World,
and there is No Other
\v 10 Thereafter I saw wicked men borne to the tomb
from the holy place – men who usde to go about
amid plaudits in the very city where they had so
behaved. Here is another illusion.
\v 11f Because sentence is not swiftly executed upon deeds
of wickedness, but a sinner may enjoy a long life thought
he do evil a hundred times over, men's hearts swell
with the impulse to do evil; though sure I am that it
will be well with those who fear God – I mean those
\v 13 who really reverence Him – but it will not be well with
the wicked: his life will be short as a shadow, because
he has no reverence for God.
\v 14 Here is another of the anomalies to be found upon
the earth – honest meb who fare as if they had been
scoundrels, and scoundrels who fare as if they had
been honest men. Here, methought, is another
\v 5 futility. Then I commended mirth – for the only
human satisfaction under the sun is to eat, drink,
and be merry: these are the things that should
accompany men during the days of the laborious
life with God has given them under the sun.
\v 16 When I gave my mind to the study of wisdom
and to the observation of the business that is trans-
acted in the world – for day and night one never
\v 17 gets a glimpse of sleep – then I recognised that man
is impotent to discover the meaning of all the work
of God that goes on under the sun. However
laboriously men search, they will never discover
it. A wise man may imagine he is on the point of
understanding it, but he can never find it out.
\c 9
\v 1 For all this I laid to heart, and my heart observed
it all, that the just, the wise, and their doings are
in the hand of God: no man knows whether it is
to be love or hatred. All that lies ahead of them is
\v 2 vapour, inasmuch as the fate of all is alike – of
saint and scoundrel, good and bad, pure and impure,
those who do and those who do not practise sacrifice.
Good man and sinner fare alike, those who take
oaths and those who are afraid to take them.
\v 3 This is one of the vexing things that go on uni-
versally under the sun, that the fate of all is alike.
Besides, the human heart is full of evil: all their
life long, madness is in men's heart, and thereafter
\v 4 they join the dead – not a man is left. There is
hope for all who are in life– a live dog even is
\v 5 better than a dead lion- for the living know at
least that they have to die, but the dead have no
knowledge at all, and no further reward is possible
\v 6 for them – their very memory is forgotten. Their
love, hatred, jealousy, all alike have already
vanished, and for all time they have no share in
anything that goes on under the sun.
\ms2 The Wisdom of Enjoyment
\v 7 Go and eat thy bread with joy,
\q2 And drink thy wine with a merry heart;
\q2 For what thou doest is God's good pleasure.
\v 8 At all times let thy raiment be white,
\q2 And let not oil on thy head be lacking.
\v 9 Enjoy thy life with the woman thou lovest,
\q2 All the days of thy fleeting life,
\q2 Which He hath given thee under the sun.
\q For that is thy reward in thy life of laborious toil
\q under the sun.
\v Do with thy might whatever thou hast in thy
power to do; for nothing can be done or devised,
known or apprehended, in the under-world to which
thou art going.
\ms2 The Element of Chance in Life
\v 11 Once more: I observed that under the sun it is
not the swift that win the race, nor the strong that
conquer in battle, neither is wisdom rewarded with
bread, nor insight with wealth, nor intellect with
practical appreciation; all alike are the victims of
\v 12 time and chance. Nobody knows his hour. Men are
like fish caught in a net, or birds in a trap. Like
them men are caught in the meshes in an evil hour,
when suddenly it falls upon them.
\ms2 The place of Wisdom in Popular Esteem
\v 13 The following illustrations of wisdom came under
\v 14 my notice, and it greatly impressed me. There was
a small and thinly garrisoned town, which a power-
ful king came and invested by building huge
\v 15 siege-works against it. But there happened to be
in it a man, poor indeed, but endowed with a wisdom
which enabled him to save the town. Not a soul,
\v 16 However, remembered this poor man. So, me-
thought, wisdom of a poor man is held in contempt, and his
words are not listened to.
\v 17 Better wise words that are heard in quiet
\q2 Than the shrieking of one who is lord among fools.
\v 18 Better is wisdom than weapons of war,
\q2 For one single blunder may ruin much good.
\ms2 A Topsy-Turvy World
\c 10
\v 5 Under the sun this evil I have seen,
\q2 As 'twere the blundering order of a Ruler:
\v 6 The fool is set upon a lofty height,
\q2 While men of wealth must take a lowly seat.
\v 7 Slaves have I seen upon horse-back,
\q2 And princes walking like slaves on the ground.
\ms2 A Collection of Proverbs
\v 1 As a deadly fly causes stench in the perfumer's ointment,
\q2 So a little folly can ruin the rarest wisdom.
\v 2 The sense of a wise an leads him to the right,
\q2 But the sense of a fool to the left.
\v 3 As he goes on his way, a fool showeth his lack of sense;
\q2 And every one saith of him, "There goes a fool."
\v 4 If a ruler flare up in a passion against thee,
\q2 Quit not thy post: for composure
\q2 Can lull mighty passions to rest.
\v 8 He that diggeth a pit may fall therein,
\q2 And a serpent may bite him that breaks through a wall;
\v 9 He that quarrieth stones may be hurt by them,
\q2 And the man who cleaves wood is imperilled thereby.
\v 10 If the iron be blunt, and you whet not its edge,
\q2 You must use more strength.
\q2 He succeeds who can claim the advantage of wisdom.
\v 11 If a serpent bite for lack of enchantment,
\q2 Then the skillful charmer hath no advantage.
\v 12 The words of a wise man's mouth win him favour,
\q2 But a fool by his lips is brought to ruin;
\v 13 From the first the words of his mouth are folly,
\q2 And the end of his speech is calamitous madness.
\v 14 The fool maketh many words.
\q2 Man knoweth not the future;
\q And what shall happen after him,
\q2 Who can declare unto him?
\v 15 The fuss of fools must weary the man
\q2 Who does not know his way to the town.
\v 16 Alas for thee, land! when thy king is a youth,
\q2 And thy princes feast in the early morning;
\v 17 But hail to thee, land! when thy king is a noble,
\q2 And thy princes feast at the proper season,
\q2 Like men and not like sots.
\v 18 Through idleness the roof sinks in,
\q2 And through slackness of hands does the house fall a-leaking.
\v 19 Feasts are made for mirth,
\q2 And wine cheers the heart of the living,
\q2 And money answereth all things.
\v 20 Even in thy thought curse not the king,
\q2 And curse not the rich in thy sleeping-chamber;
\q For a bird of the air may carry the sound,
\q2 And the thing that hath wings may declare the matter.
\c 11
\v 1 Cast thy bread on the face of the waters,
\q2 For after many days thou shalt find it.
\v 2 Give a portion to seven, yea, even to eight,
\q2 For thou knowest not what evil may come on the land.
\v 3 When the clouds are filled with rain,
\q2 They empty it over the earth.
\q If a tree falls northward or southward,
\q2 In the place where it falls it remains.
\v 4 He who always is watching the wind
\q2 Never gets to his sowing.
\q He who always is scanning the clounds
\q2 Never gets to his reaping.
\v 5 As thou knowest not what is the way of the wind,
\q2 Nor how the child grows in the womb of the mother,
\q So knowest thou not how God doth work–
\q He who worketh in all things evermore.
\v 6 In the morning sow thy seed,
\q2 And till evening rest not thy hand;
\q For thou knowest not which of the two shall prosper,
\q2 Or whether both shall be good alike.
\ms2 Rejoice, Young Man, in thy Youth: for the Sorrows of
Age are Many and Sure
\v 7 Sweet is the light, and pleasant it is
\q2 For the eyes to behold the sun.
\v 8 For, though a man live many years,
\q2 All of them filled with gladness,
\q Yet let him remember the days of darkness,
\q2 For many shall they be.
\q2 All that cometh is vapour.
\v 9 Rejoice, young man, in thy youth,
\q2 And keep thy young heart merry;
\q Walk in the ways of thy heart,
\q2 And in all that allureth thine eyes.
\q2 But know that for all these things
\q2 God will bring thee to judgment.
\v 10 Put vexation away from thy mind,
\q2 And banish all gloom from thy body–
\q2 For youth and life's dawn are illusions–
\c 12
\v 1 But keep thy Creator in mind
\q2 In the days of thy prime:
\q Ere the gloomy days come on,
\q2 And the years arrive when thou sayest,
\q2 " No pleasure are they to me:"
\v 2 The days when the sun grows dark,
\q2 And the light, and the moon, and the stars,
\q2 And the rain is followed by clouds,
\v 3 And the guards of the house fall a-trembling,
\q2 The mighty men are bent,
\q The grinders cease, being few,
\q2 Those that look through the windows are darkened,
\v 4 The doors in the street are shut,
\q2 When the sound of the mill is low,
\q And the twitter of birds is faint,
\q2 And the daughters of son are all feeble,
\v 5 Yea, (the old) are afraid of a height,
\q2 And the road is for them full of terrors,
\q The almond-tree wears it blossoms,
\q2 The grasshopper limps along,
\q2 And the caperberry is powerless;
\q For the man goes his way to his long, long home,
\q2 And the mourners wander about the streets–
\v 6 On the day when the silver cord is snapped,
\q2 ANd the bowl (with the) golden (oil) is broken,
\q And the pitcher is shattered over the spring,
\q2 And the wheel falls into the cistern broken,
\v 7 And the dust goes back to the earth as it was,
\q2 And the breath returns to the God who gave it.
\v 8 Utterest vanity! The Speaker declareth:
\q2 All is vanity.
\ms2 A Later Addition in Praise of the Book, and, in general, of Wisdom
\v 9 The Speaker, besides being wise, further instructed
the people in knowledge, weighing and searching it
out, and arranging it in the form of copious proverbs.
\v 10 The Speaker made it his study to devise sayings
that were at once true and attractive, and to record
them in proper form.
\v 11 The words of wise men, as collected, are like goads,
or like nails driven home; but they are (all) the gift
of one shepherd.
\v Beyond these, too, my son, take warning.
\q2 Books are so many, their making is endless;
\q2 For this is the essence of all that is human.
\v 14 For God will bring every work to the judgment
\q2 That is passed on all secret things, good or bad.