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Ecclesiastes 7, 8, 9

A Disillusioned View of Life

7A good name is better than precious ointment,
   and the day of death, than the day of birth.
2 It is better to go to the house of mourning
   than to go to the house of feasting;
for this is the end of everyone,
   and the living will lay it to heart.
3 Sorrow is better than laughter,
   for by sadness of countenance the heart is made glad.
4 The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning;
   but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth.
5 It is better to hear the rebuke of the wise
   than to hear the song of fools.
6 For like the crackling of thorns under a pot,
   so is the laughter of fools;
   this also is vanity.
7 Surely oppression makes the wise foolish,
   and a bribe corrupts the heart.
8 Better is the end of a thing than its beginning;
   the patient in spirit are better than the proud in spirit.
9 Do not be quick to anger,
   for anger lodges in the bosom of fools.
10 Do not say, ‘Why were the former days better than these?’
   For it is not from wisdom that you ask this.
11 Wisdom is as good as an inheritance,
   an advantage to those who see the sun.
12 For the protection of wisdom is like the protection of money,
   and the advantage of knowledge is that wisdom gives life to the one who possesses it.
13 Consider the work of God;
   who can make straight what he has made crooked?

14 On the day of prosperity be joyful, and on the day of adversity consider; God has made the one as well as the other, so that mortals may not find out anything that will come after them.

The Riddles of Life

15 In my vain life I have seen everything; there are righteous people who perish in their righteousness, and there are wicked people who prolong their life in their evildoing. 16Do not be too righteous, and do not act too wise; why should you destroy yourself? 17Do not be too wicked, and do not be a fool; why should you die before your time? 18It is good that you should take hold of the one, without letting go of the other; for the one who fears God shall succeed with both.

19 Wisdom gives strength to the wise more than ten rulers that are in a city.

20 Surely there is no one on earth so righteous as to do good without ever sinning.

21 Do not give heed to everything that people say, or you may hear your servant cursing you; 22your heart knows that many times you have yourself cursed others.

23 All this I have tested by wisdom; I said, ‘I will be wise’, but it was far from me. 24That which is, is far off, and deep, very deep; who can find it out? 25I turned my mind to know and to search out and to seek wisdom and the sum of things, and to know that wickedness is folly and that foolishness is madness. 26I found more bitter than death the woman who is a trap, whose heart is snares and nets, whose hands are fetters; one who pleases God escapes her, but the sinner is taken by her. 27See, this is what I found, says the Teacher,* adding one thing to another to find the sum, 28which my mind has sought repeatedly, but I have not found. One man among a thousand I found, but a woman among all these I have not found. 29See, this alone I found, that God made human beings straightforward, but they have devised many schemes.

Obey the King and Enjoy Yourself

8Who is like the wise man?
   And who knows the interpretation of a thing?
Wisdom makes one’s face shine,
   and the hardness of one’s countenance is changed.

2 Keep* the king’s command because of your sacred oath. 3Do not be terrified; go from his presence, do not delay when the matter is unpleasant, for he does whatever he pleases. 4For the word of the king is powerful, and who can say to him, ‘What are you doing?’ 5Whoever obeys a command will meet no harm, and the wise mind will know the time and way. 6For every matter has its time and way, although the troubles of mortals lie heavy upon them. 7Indeed, they do not know what is to be, for who can tell them how it will be? 8No one has power over the wind* to restrain the wind,* or power over the day of death; there is no discharge from the battle, nor does wickedness deliver those who practise it. 9All this I observed, applying my mind to all that is done under the sun, while one person exercises authority over another to the other’s hurt.

God’s Ways Are Inscrutable

10 Then I saw the wicked buried; they used to go in and out of the holy place, and were praised in the city where they had done such things.* This also is vanity. 11Because sentence against an evil deed is not executed speedily, the human heart is fully set to do evil. 12Though sinners do evil a hundred times and prolong their lives, yet I know that it will be well with those who fear God, because they stand in fear before him, 13but it will not be well with the wicked, neither will they prolong their days like a shadow, because they do not stand in fear before God.

14 There is a vanity that takes place on earth, that there are righteous people who are treated according to the conduct of the wicked, and there are wicked people who are treated according to the conduct of the righteous. I said that this also is vanity. 15So I commend enjoyment, for there is nothing better for people under the sun than to eat, and drink, and enjoy themselves, for this will go with them in their toil through the days of life that God gives them under the sun.

16 When I applied my mind to know wisdom, and to see the business that is done on earth, how one’s eyes see sleep neither day nor night, 17then I saw all the work of God, that no one can find out what is happening under the sun. However much they may toil in seeking, they will not find it out; even though those who are wise claim to know, they cannot find it out.

Take Life as It Comes

9All this I laid to heart, examining it all, how the righteous and the wise and their deeds are in the hand of God; whether it is love or hate one does not know. Everything that confronts them 2is vanity,* since the same fate comes to all, to the righteous and the wicked, to the good and the evil,* to the clean and the unclean, to those who sacrifice and those who do not sacrifice. As are the good, so are the sinners; those who swear are like those who shun an oath. 3This is an evil in all that happens under the sun, that the same fate comes to everyone. Moreover, the hearts of all are full of evil; madness is in their hearts while they live, and after that they go to the dead. 4But whoever is joined with all the living has hope, for a living dog is better than a dead lion. 5The living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing; they have no more reward, and even the memory of them is lost. 6Their love and their hate and their envy have already perished; never again will they have any share in all that happens under the sun.

7 Go, eat your bread with enjoyment, and drink your wine with a merry heart; for God has long ago approved what you do. 8Let your garments always be white; do not let oil be lacking on your head. 9Enjoy life with the wife whom you love, all the days of your vain life that are given you under the sun, because that is your portion in life and in your toil at which you toil under the sun. 10Whatever your hand finds to do, do with your might; for there is no work or thought or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol, to which you are going.

11 Again I saw that under the sun the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to the intelligent, nor favour to the skilful; but time and chance happen to them all. 12For no one can anticipate the time of disaster. Like fish taken in a cruel net, and like birds caught in a snare, so mortals are snared at a time of calamity, when it suddenly falls upon them.

Wisdom Superior to Folly

13 I have also seen this example of wisdom under the sun, and it seemed important to me. 14There was a little city with few people in it. A great king came against it and besieged it, building great siege-works against it. 15Now there was found in it a poor, wise man, and he by his wisdom delivered the city. Yet no one remembered that poor man. 16So I said, ‘Wisdom is better than might; yet the poor man’s wisdom is despised, and his words are not heeded.’
17 The quiet words of the wise are more to be heeded
   than the shouting of a ruler among fools.
18 Wisdom is better than weapons of war,
   but one bungler destroys much good.

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Psalm 21

Thanksgiving for Victory

To the leader. A Psalm of David.
1 In your strength the king rejoices, O Lord,
   and in your help how greatly he exults!
2 You have given him his heart’s desire,
   and have not withheld the request of his lips.
          Selah
3 For you meet him with rich blessings;
   you set a crown of fine gold on his head.
4 He asked you for life; you gave it to him—
   length of days for ever and ever.
5 His glory is great through your help;
   splendour and majesty you bestow on him.
6 You bestow on him blessings for ever;
   you make him glad with the joy of your presence.
7 For the king trusts in the Lord,
   and through the steadfast love of the Most High he shall not be moved.


8 Your hand will find out all your enemies;
   your right hand will find out those who hate you.
9 You will make them like a fiery furnace
   when you appear.
The Lord will swallow them up in his wrath,
   and fire will consume them.
10 You will destroy their offspring from the earth,
   and their children from among humankind.
11 If they plan evil against you,
   if they devise mischief, they will not succeed.
12 For you will put them to flight;
   you will aim at their faces with your bows.


13 Be exalted, O Lord, in your strength!
   We will sing and praise your power.

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Colossians 2

2For I want you to know how much I am struggling for you, and for those in Laodicea, and for all who have not seen me face to face. 2I want their hearts to be encouraged and united in love, so that they may have all the riches of assured understanding and have the knowledge of God’s mystery, that is, Christ himself,* 3in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. 4I am saying this so that no one may deceive you with plausible arguments. 5For though I am absent in body, yet I am with you in spirit, and I rejoice to see your morale and the firmness of your faith in Christ.

Fullness of Life in Christ

6 As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, continue to live your lives* in him, 7rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.

8 See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the universe,* and not according to Christ. 9For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, 10and you have come to fullness in him, who is the head of every ruler and authority. 11In him also you were circumcised with a spiritual circumcision,* by putting off the body of the flesh in the circumcision of Christ; 12when you were buried with him in baptism, you were also raised with him through faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead. 13And when you were dead in trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God* made you* alive together with him, when he forgave us all our trespasses, 14erasing the record that stood against us with its legal demands. He set this aside, nailing it to the cross. 15He disarmed* the rulers and authorities and made a public example of them, triumphing over them in it.

16 Therefore do not let anyone condemn you in matters of food and drink or of observing festivals, new moons, or sabbaths. 17These are only a shadow of what is to come, but the substance belongs to Christ. 18Do not let anyone disqualify you, insisting on self-abasement and worship of angels, dwelling* on visions,* puffed up without cause by a human way of thinking,* 19and not holding fast to the head, from whom the whole body, nourished and held together by its ligaments and sinews, grows with a growth that is from God.

Warnings against False Teachers

20 If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the universe,* why do you live as if you still belonged to the world? Why do you submit to regulations, 21‘Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch’? 22All these regulations refer to things that perish with use; they are simply human commands and teachings. 23These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-imposed piety, humility, and severe treatment of the body, but they are of no value in checking self-indulgence.*

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oremus Bible Browser
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v 2.2.7
10 February 2011

From the oremus Bible Browser http://bible.oremus.org v2.2.7 10 February 2011.