Obey the King
8 ·No one [L Who…?] is like the wise person
who ·can understand what things mean [L knows the interpretation of a matter?].
Wisdom ·brings happiness [L brightens one’s face];
it ·makes sad faces happy [L changes his stern/hard expression].
2 ·Obey [Keep; or I obey/keep] the king’s command, because ·you made a promise [of your oath] to God. 3 ·Don’t be too quick to leave the king [or You should leave his presence]. Don’t ·support something that is wrong [persist in an evil matter], because the king does whatever he ·pleases [wants]. 4 What the king says is ·law [supreme]; no one ·tells him what to do [L says to him, “What are you doing?].
5 Whoever obeys the king’s command ·will be safe [experiences no harm/evil].
A wise ·person does [L heart knows] the right thing at the right time.
6 There is a right time and a right way for everything [3:1–8; Prov. 15:23],
yet people often have many troubles.
7 They do not know what the future holds,
and no one can tell them ·what [or when it] will happen.
8 No one ·can control the wind [L has power over the wind to restrain the wind]
or ·stop his own [L power over the day of] death.
No soldier is ·released [discharged] ·in times of war [during the battle],
and evil does not ·set free [rescue] ·those who do evil [L its owner].
Justice, Rewards, and Punishment
9 I saw all of this as I ·considered [L gave my heart to] all that is done here ·on earth [L under the sun; 1:3]. Sometimes people harm those they control. 10 I saw ·the funerals of evil people [L the wicked buried and departed] who used to go in and out of the holy place [C the Temple]. They were ·honored [praised] in the same towns where they had done evil. This is useless [1:2], too [C it is not fair that the wicked thrive in life and are praised after they die].
11 When ·evil people are not punished [L the sentence for an evil deed is not carried out] right away, ·it makes others want to do evil, too [L the human heart is filled with evildoing]. 12 Though a sinner might do a hundred evil things and ·might live a long time [L their days are lengthened], I know it will be better for those who ·honor God [L fear God because they fear him]. 13 I also know it will not go well for evil people, because they do not ·honor [fear] God. Like a shadow, ·they will not last [L their days will not be lengthened]. 14 Sometimes something useless [1:2] happens on earth. ·Bad things happen to good people [L There are righteous people who are treated as if they did wicked deeds], and ·good things happen to bad people [L wicked people who are treated as if they did righteous deeds]. I say that this is also useless [1:2]. 15 So I ·decided it was more important to enjoy life [commended/praised pleasure]. ·The best that people can do [L There is nothing better] ·here on earth [L under the sun; 1:3] ·is [or than] to eat, drink, and ·enjoy life [have pleasure], because these joys will help them do the ·hard work [toil] God gives them ·here on earth [L under the sun; 2:24–26; 3:12–14, 22; 5:18–20; 9:7–10; C the little pleasures are distractions from the meaningless world].
We Cannot Understand All God Does
16 I ·tried to understand [L gave my heart to know] all that happens on earth. ·I saw how busy people are, working day and night and hardly ever sleeping [L No one sleeps day or night]. 17 I also saw all that God has done. Nobody can ·understand [comprehend; L find] what God does ·here on earth [L under the sun; 1:3]. No matter how hard people try to ·understand [L find] it, they cannot. Even if wise people say they understand, they cannot; no one can really ·understand [L find] it.