1. Because all these things that exist I gave to my heart [to consider] and my heart looked at everything and saw that the righteous, the wise men, and all their works are in the hand of Allaha; the human being knows neither kindness nor hate, everything before him is vanity.
2. Everything is like to everyone, it happens in the same way to the righteous and to the wicked, to the good and to the evil, to the cleansed and to the defiled, and to the one who sacrifices and to the one who does not sacrifice; like the good [person] as well as the sinner, like the oath taker, as well as the one who fears taking the oaths.
3. That is evil in all that is done under the sun, because there is one outcome for all of them, and even the heart of the human being gets full of evil, and deviancy is in their hearts and in their lives, and their end is with the dead.
4. There is hope for all who depend on the living, because a living dog is better than a dead lion.
5. Because the living know that they will die, and the dead know nothing, and they will have no more recompense, because their sacrifices will have become obsolete.
6. Also their concerns, their hatred and their premonitions henceforth shall disappear and will not again be of benefit to them, to the end of the universe, in everything that is done under the sun.
7. Come, eat your bread with joy, and drink your wine with a good heart, because Allaha is satisfied with your works.
8. Let your robes always be white, and let not the anointing be lacking on your head.
9. And see life with the wife who loves all the days of your vanity, because that is to your benefit in life and the work that you do under the sun.
10. What your hand finds that you can do with your strength, do it, because there is no work and pretension, knowledge and wisdom in Sheol, where you are going.
11. And I turned back and saw under the sun that running was not for the frail,* nor was war for the mighty, and the bread was not for the wise, nor was wealth for the well educated, and the glory was not for the knowledgeable, because the season and the season and the unexpected circumstances happened to all of them.
12. Because the human being does not know his season, like the fish that are caught in the evil nets, and like the sparrows that are caught in a trap, thus are human beings caught in the evil season that befalls them out of the calm.
13. And this too I saw as wisdom under the sun, and it was great to me.*
14. The city was small and the human beings in it were small, and there came against it a great king and surrounded it with fortifications;
15. And he found in her a poor wise man, and that poor man saved the city with his wisdom and no one recognized that poor man.
16. And I said that wisdom is better than manliness, and the wisdom of the poor is denigrated, and his pronouncements are not heeded.
17. And the words of the wise are [better] heard at ease, than the shouting of the foolish ruler.
18. That wisdom is better than the vessels of war, and one sin wipes out much good.
Translated by Victor Alexander ©2013
*9:11 Lit. Ar. id.: "Light," or "Little."
*9:13 Lit. Ar. idiomatic construction: "And it seemed like it was a lot to me."
Posted June 22, 2013
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