8 Who is like the wise man? Who knows the solution to a problem?* A man’s wisdom lights up his face and softens his stern appearance.
2 I say: “Obey the king’s orders+ out of regard for the oath to God.+ 3 Do not rush to depart from his presence.+ Do not take a stand for anything bad;+ for he can do whatever he pleases, 4 because the word of the king is absolute;+ who can say to him, ‘What are you doing?’”
5 The one who observes the commandment will not experience harm,+ and the wise heart will know the right time and procedure.*+ 6 For every matter there is a time and procedure,*+ because the troubles of mankind are so abundant. 7 Since no one knows what will happen, who can tell him how it will happen?
8 Just as no man has power over the spirit* or can restrain the spirit, so no one has power over the day of death.+ Just as no one is discharged during a war, so wickedness will not allow those who practice it to escape.*
9 All of this I have seen, and I applied my heart to every work that has been done under the sun, during the time that man has dominated man to his harm.*+ 10 And I saw the wicked being buried, those who used to go in and out of the holy place, but they were soon forgotten in the city where they acted that way.+ This too is futility.
11 Because sentence against a bad deed has not been executed speedily,+ the heart of men becomes emboldened to do bad.+ 12 Although a sinner may do bad a hundred times and still live a long time, yet I am aware that it will turn out well for those who fear the true God, because they fear him.+ 13 But it will not turn out well for the wicked one,+ nor will he prolong his days that are like a shadow,+ because he does not fear God.
14 There is something futile* that takes place on the earth: There are righteous people who are treated as if they had acted wickedly,+ and there are wicked people who are treated as if they had acted righteously.+ I say that this too is futility.
15 So I recommended rejoicing,+ because there is nothing better for man under the sun than to eat and drink and rejoice; this should accompany him as he works hard during the days of his life,+ which the true God gives him under the sun.
16 I applied my heart to acquire wisdom and to see all the activity* happening on the earth,+ even going without sleep day and night.* 17 Then I considered all the work of the true God, and I realized that mankind cannot comprehend what happens under the sun.+ No matter how hard men try, they cannot comprehend it. Even if they claim that they are wise enough to know, they cannot really comprehend it.+