1Who compares with the sage? Who else knows how to explain things? Wisdom lights up the face,enlivening a grim expression. 2Obey the king's command and, because of the divine promise, 3be in no hurry to depart from it; do not be obstinate in a bad cause, since the king wil do as he likes inany case. 4Since the word of a king is sovereign, what is the point of saying, 'Why do that?' 5One who obeys the command will come to no harm; the heart of the sage knows the right moment andverdict, 6for there is a right moment and verdict for everything; but misfortune lies heavy upon anyone 7who does not know what the outcome wil be, no one is going to say how things wil turn out. 8No one can control the wind and stop it from blowing, no one can control the day of death. From warthere is no escape, no more can wickedness save the person who commits it. 9I have seen al this to be so, having careful y studied everything taking place under the sun, while oneperson tyrannises over another to the former's detriment. 10And again, I have observed the wicked carried to their graves, and people leaving the holy place and,once out in the city, forgetting how the wicked used to behave; how futile this is too! 11Because the sentence on the evil-doer is not carried out on the instant, people's hearts are ful ofdesire to do wrong. 12The sinner who does wrong a hundred times lives on. But this too I know, that there is good in store forpeople who fear God, because they fear him, 13but there is no good in store for the wicked because he does not fear God, and so, like a shadow, hewil not prolong his days. 14Another futile thing that happens on earth: upright people being treated as though they were wickedand wicked people being treated as though they were upright. To me this is one more example of futility. 15And therefore I praise joy, since human happiness lies only in eating and drinking and in takingpleasure; this comes from what someone achieves during the days of life that God gives under the sun. 16Having applied myself to acquiring wisdom and to observing the activity taking place in the world -- forday and night our eyes enjoy no rest- 17I have scrutinised God's whole creation: you cannot get to the bottom of everything taking place underthe sun; you may wear yourself out in the search, but you wil never find it. Not even a sage can get to thebottom of it, even if he says that he has done so.
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