Ecclesiastes 5:8–9; Ecclesiastes 8:1–15

The Vanity of Wealth and Honor

zIf you see in a province the oppression of the poor and the violation of justice and righteousness, ado not be amazed at the matter, bfor the high official is watched by a higher, and there are yet higher ones over them. But this is gain for a land in every way: a king committed to cultivated fields.1


Keep the King’s Command

Who is like the wise?

And who knows the interpretation of a thing?

zA man’s wisdom makes his face shine,

and athe hardness of his face is changed.

I say:1 Keep the king’s command, because of bGod’s oath to him.2 Be not hasty to cgo from his presence. Do not take your stand in an evil cause, for he does whatever he pleases. For the word of the king is supreme, and dwho may say to him, What are you doing? Whoever keeps a command will know no evil thing, and the wise heart will know the proper time and the just way.3 For there is a time and a way efor everything, although man’s trouble4 lies heavy on him. For he fdoes not know what is to be, for gwho can tell him how it will be? No man has power to hretain the spirit, ior power over the day of death. There is no jdischarge from war, nor will wickedness deliver those who are given to it. kAll 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

10 Then I saw the wicked buried. They used to go in and out of lthe holy place and were mpraised5 in the city where they had done such things. This also is vanity.6 11 Because nthe sentence against an evil deed is not executed speedily, othe heart of the children of man is fully set to do evil. 12 Though a sinner does evil a hundred times and pprolongs his life, yet I know that qit will be well with rthose who fear God, because they fear before him. 13 But it will snot be well with the wicked, neither will he prolong his days like ta shadow, because he does not fear before God.

Man Cannot Know God’s Ways

14 There is a vanity that takes place on earth, that there are righteous people uto whom it happens according to the deeds of the wicked, and there are wicked people vto whom it happens according to the deeds of the righteous. I said that this also is vanity. 15 And I commend joy, for man whas nothing better under the sun but to xeat 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.