The Holy Bible – Knox Translation
The Book of Ecclesiastes
When a man is given wisdom, it shines out in his face; Omnipotence will set a new stamp on his brow.
Mine to do a king’s bidding, to hold fast by an oath taken in the name of God.
Do not hasten away from his presence, or rebelliously withstand him; he can do all he will,
with such authority his word runs; none may call his acts in question.
Do as thou art bidden, and fear no harm. A time will come, the wise man knows, when he shall win a hearing;
time brings every man his chance, be his business what it may, only this curse lies upon man,
that he cannot learn from the past, cannot get word of the future.✻
The breath of life man must resign at last; the day of his death he cannot determine; nor ever does war give release from service, nor sin discharge to the sinner.
This, too, I have marked, as I gave heed to all that befalls us, here beneath the sun. There are times when man rules over man to his undoing.✻
I have seen godless men go peacefully to the grave, that had lived their lives out in haunts of holiness, and won the name of good men from their fellow citizens; here, too, is frustration.✻
Because sentence is not pronounced upon the evil-doers without more ado, men are emboldened to live sinfully.
And yet, though the sinner presume on the divine patience that has borne with a hundred misdeeds, I know well enough that blessings are for those who fear God, who fear his frown.
Never a blessing for sinners; never be it said they lived out their full span of days! Reckless of God’s frown, see, they pass like a shadow, and are gone!
Another kind of frustration, too, earth sees; there are upright men that are plagued as though they lived the life sinners live, just as there are sinners who take no more harm than if they could plead innocence; I say this is frustration indeed.
For me, then, mirth! No higher blessing could man attain, here under the sun, than to eat and drink and make merry; nothing else had he to show for all those labours of his, for all that life-time God has given him, here under the sun.
Should I cudgel my wits to grow wise, and know the meaning of all earth’s tasks; be like the men that allow their eyes no sleep, day or night?
Nay, I understood too well that God’s dealings with man, here under the sun, are past all accounting for; the more a man labours to read that riddle, the less he finds out, and he least of all, that boasts himself wise in the reading of it.
The Holy Bible