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Ecclesiastes 8 :: English Standard Version (ESV)

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Keep the King’s Command

Unchecked Copy BoxEcc 8:1 - Who is like the wise?
And who knows the interpretation of a thing?
A man’s wisdom makes his face shine,
and the hardness of his face is changed.
Unchecked Copy BoxEcc 8:2 - I say:[fn] Keep the king’s command, because of God’s oath to him.[fn]
Unchecked Copy BoxEcc 8:3 - Be not hasty to go from his presence. Do not take your stand in an evil cause, for he does whatever he pleases.
Unchecked Copy BoxEcc 8:4 - For the word of the king is supreme, and who may say to him, “What are you doing?”
Unchecked Copy BoxEcc 8:5 - Whoever keeps a command will know no evil thing, and the wise heart will know the proper time and the just way.[fn]
Unchecked Copy BoxEcc 8:6 - For there is a time and a way for everything, although man’s trouble[fn] lies heavy on him.
Unchecked Copy BoxEcc 8:7 - For he does not know what is to be, for who can tell him how it will be?
Unchecked Copy BoxEcc 8:8 - No man has power to retain the spirit, or power over the day of death. There is no discharge from war, nor will wickedness deliver those who are given to it.
Unchecked Copy BoxEcc 8:9 - All this I observed while applying my heart to all that is done under the sun, when man had power over man to his hurt.

Those Who Fear God Will Do Well

Unchecked Copy BoxEcc 8:10 - Then I saw the wicked buried. They used to go in and out of the holy place and were praised[fn] in the city where they had done such things. This also is vanity.[fn]
Unchecked Copy BoxEcc 8:11 - Because the sentence against an evil deed is not executed speedily, the heart of the children of man is fully set to do evil.
Unchecked Copy BoxEcc 8:12 - Though a sinner does evil a hundred times and prolongs his life, yet I know that it will be well with those who fear God, because they fear before him.
Unchecked Copy BoxEcc 8:13 - But it will not be well with the wicked, neither will he prolong his days like a shadow, because he does not fear before God.

Man Cannot Know God’s Ways

Unchecked Copy BoxEcc 8:14 - There is a vanity that takes place on earth, that there are righteous people to whom it happens according to the deeds of the wicked, and there are wicked people to whom it happens according to the deeds of the righteous. I said that this also is vanity.
Unchecked Copy BoxEcc 8:15 - And I commend joy, for man has nothing better under the sun but to eat and drink and be joyful, for this will go with him in his toil through the days of his life that God has given him under the sun.
Unchecked Copy BoxEcc 8:16 - When I applied my heart to know wisdom, and to see the business that is done on earth, how neither day nor night do one’s eyes see sleep,
Unchecked Copy BoxEcc 8:17 - then I saw all the work of God, that man cannot find out the work that is done under the sun. However much man may toil in seeking, he will not find it out. Even though a wise man claims to know, he cannot find it out.
ESV Footnotes
Hebrew lacks say
Or because of your oath to God
Or and judgment
Or evil
Some Hebrew manuscripts, Septuagint, Vulgate; most Hebrew manuscripts forgotten
The Hebrew term hebel can refer to a “vapor” or “mere breath”; also twice in verse 14 (see note on 1:2)

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version copyright © 2001, 2007, 2011, 2016 by Crossway Books and Bibles, a Publishing Ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

See detailed copyright information.

For more information on this translation, see the ESV Preface.

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