December 09, 2002 Copyright © by United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
- 1 2 All this I have kept in mind and recognized: the just, the wise, and their deeds are in the hand of God. Love from hatred man cannot tell; both appear equally vain,
- in that there is the same lot for all, for the just and the wicked, for the good and the bad, for the clean and the unclean, for him who offers sacrifice and him who does not. As it is for the good man, so it is for the sinner; as it is for him who swears rashly, so it is for him who fears an oath.
- Among all the things that happen under the sun, this is the worst, that things turn out the same for all. Hence the minds of men are filled with evil, and madness is in their hearts during life; and afterward they go to the dead.
- Indeed, for any among the living there is hope; a live dog is better off than a dead lion.
- For the living know that they are to die, but the dead no longer know anything. There is no further recompense for them, because all memory of them is lost.
- For them, love and hatred and rivalry have long since perished. They will never again have part in anything that is done under the sun.
- Go, eat your bread with joy and drink your wine with a merry heart, because it is now that God favors your works.
- At all times let your garments be white, and spare not the perfume for your head.
- Enjoy life with the wife whom you love, all the days of the fleeting life that is granted you under the sun. This is your lot in life, for the toil of your labors under the sun.
- Anything you can turn your hand to, do with what power you have; for there will be no work, nor reason, nor knowledge, nor wisdom in the nether world where you are going....
- Again I saw under the sun that the race is not won by the swift, nor the battle by the valiant, nor a livelihood by the wise, nor riches by the shrewd, nor favor by the experts; for a time of calamity comes to all alike.
- 3 Man no more knows his own time than fish taken in the fatal net, or birds trapped in the snare; like these the children of men are caught when the evil time falls suddenly upon them.
- On the other hand I saw this wise deed under the sun, which I thought sublime.
- Against a small city with few men in it advanced a mighty king, who surrounded it and threw up great siegeworks about it.
- But in the city lived a man who, though poor, was wise, and he delivered it through his wisdom. Yet no one remembered this poor man.
- Though I had said, "Wisdom is better than force," yet the wisdom of the poor man is despised and his words go unheeded.
- "The quiet words of the wise are better heeded than the shout of a ruler of fools"--!
- "A fly that dies can spoil the perfumer's ointment, and a single slip can ruin much that is good."
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1 [1-10] These statement are based on a very imperfect concept of life beyond the grave. With Christian revelation about the future life came the only satisfactory solution of the problem which so perplexed the author.
2  Love from hatred: divine favor or disfavor.
3  His own time: the time of death or sudden disaster.
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