Bible: Ecclesiastes 8:1-17

Human Government Demonstrates Limitations of Wisdom

8:1 Who is 1  a 2  wise person? Who knows the solution 3  to a problem? 4 

A person’s wisdom brightens his appearance, 5  and softens 6  his harsh countenance. 7 

8:2 Obey the king’s command, 8 

because you took 9  an oath before God 10  to be loyal to him. 11 

8:3 Do not rush out of the king’s presence in haste – do not delay when the matter is unpleasant, 12 

for he can do whatever he pleases.

8:4 Surely the king’s authority 13  is absolute; 14 

no one can say 15  to him, “What are you doing?

8:5 Whoever obeys his 16  command will not experience harm,

and a wise person 17  knows the proper time 18  and procedure.

8:6 For there is a proper time and procedure for every matter,

for the oppression 19  of the king 20  is severe upon his victim. 21 

8:7 Surely no one knows the future, 22 

and no one can tell another person what will happen. 23 

8:8 Just as no one has power over the wind to restrain it, 24 

so no one has power over the day of his 25  death.

Just as no one can be discharged during the battle, 26 

so wickedness cannot rescue the wicked. 27 

8:9 While applying 28  my mind 29  to everything 30  that happens in this world, 31  I have seen all this:

Sometimes one person 32  dominates 33  other people 34  to their harm. 35 

Contradictions to the Law of Retribution

8:10 Not only that, 36  but I have seen the wicked approaching 37  and entering the temple, 38 

and as they left the holy temple, 39  they

boasted 40  in the city that they had done so.

This also is an enigma. 41 

8:11 When 42  a sentence 43  is not executed 44  at once against a crime, 45 

the human heart 46  is encouraged to do evil. 47 

8:12 Even though a sinner might commit a hundred crimes 48  and still live a long time, 49 

yet I know that it will go well with God-fearing people 50  – for they stand in fear 51  before him.

8:13 But it will not go well with the wicked,

nor will they 52  prolong their 53  days like a shadow, 54 

because they 55  do not stand in fear 56  before God.

8:14 Here is 57  another 58  enigma 59  that occurs on earth:

Sometimes there are righteous people who get what the wicked deserve, 60 

and sometimes there are wicked people who get what the righteous deserve. 61 

I said, “This also is an enigma.”

Enjoy Life In Spite of Its Injustices

8:15 So I recommend the enjoyment of life, 62 

for there is nothing better on earth 63  for a person to do 64  except 65  to eat, drink, and enjoy 66  life. 67 

So 68  joy 69  will accompany him in his toil

during the days of his life which God gives him on earth. 70 

Limitations of Human Wisdom

8:16 When I tried 71  to gain 72  wisdom

and to observe the activity 73  on earth

even though it prevents anyone from sleeping day or night 74 

8:17 then I discerned all that God has done: 75 

No one really comprehends what happens 76  on earth. 77 

Despite all human 78  efforts to discover it, no one can ever grasp 79  it. 80 

Even if 81  a wise person claimed 82  that he understood,

he would not really comprehend 83  it. 84 

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