1 Who is wise? Who hath knowledge to make an answer? Wisdom maketh a man's face to shine, but malice putteth it out of favour. 2 Keep the king's commandment, I warn thee, and the oath that thou hast made unto God. 3 Be not hasty to go out of his sight, and see thou continue in no evil thing: for whatsoever it pleaseth him, that doeth he. 4 Like as when a king giveth a charge, his commandment is mighty: Even so whom may say unto him, "What doest thou?" 5 Whoso keepeth the commandment, shall feel no harm: but a wise man's heart discerneth time and manner. 6 For everything will have opportunity and judgment, and this the thing that maketh men full of carefulness and sorrow. 7 And why? A man knoweth not what is for to come: for who will tell him? 8 Neither is there any man that hath power over the spirit, to keep still the spirit, nor to have any power in the time of death: it is not he also that can make an end of the battle, neither may ungodliness deliver him that meddleth withall. 9 All these things have I considered, and applied my mind unto every work that is under the Sun: how one man hath lordship upon another to his own harm.
10 For I have oft seen the ungodly brought to their graves, and fallen down from the high and glorious place; insomuch that they were forgotten in the city where they were had in so high and great reputation. This is also a vain thing. 11 Because now that evil works are not hastily punished, the heart of man giveth himself over unto wickedness. 12 But though an evil person offend a hundredth times, and have a long life: yet am I sure, that it shall go well with them that fear God, because they have him before their eyes. 13 Again, as for the ungodly, it shall not be well with him, neither shall he prolong his days: but even as a shadow, so shall he be that feareth not God.
14 Yet is there a vanity upon earth: there be just men, unto whom it happeneth, as though they had the works of the ungodly; Again, there be ungodly, with whom it goeth as though they had the works of the righteous. This me think also a vain thing. 15 Therefore I commend gladness, because a man hath no better thing under the Sun, than to eat and to drink, and to be merry: for that shall he have of his labour all the days of his life, which God giveth him under the Sun.
16 And so I applied my mind to learn wisdom, and to know the travail that is in the world; and that of such a fashion that I suffered not my eyes to sleep neither day nor night. 17 I understood of all the works of God, that it is not possible for a man, to attain unto works that are done under the Sun: and though he bestow his labour to seek them out, yet can he not reach unto them: yea, though a wise man would undertake to know them, yet might he not find them.