1. I have pondered on all this and now I understand that the just, the wise and all they do are in the hand of God. Man does not know whether hate or love is in store for him.
2. What is most senseless is that the same destiny awaits all, the virtuous and the wicked, the clean and the unclean, the one who sacrifices and the one who doesn't. It is then the same for the good man and the sinner, for the one who swears and the one who refrains from swearing.
3. The same fate comes to all: this is the evil which corrupts all that is done under the sun. This is why man's heart is full of evil and foolishness during his life and his end is with the dead.
4. As long as he shares with the living there is hope, a live dog being better than a dead lion.
5. The living at least know they will die but the dead know nothing; neither do they await anything; the memory of them has vanished.
6. Their love, hate and jealousy have already perished and they no longer have a share in all that is done under the sun.
7. Go, eat your bread with gladness and drink your wine joyfully; this is God's approval of your work.
8. Dress in white and perfume your head.
9. Enjoy life with the wife you love all the days of the meaningless life given you by God under the sun, for this is your lot in life and in the work you do under the sun.
10. Fulfill your projects while you are able, for among the dead where you are going there is no work, no planning, no knowledge, no wisdom.
11. I saw something else under the sun: the race is not won by the swift, nor the battle by the strong, nor does bread go to the wise nor riches to the intelligent; favor is not for the learned, for fortune and misfortune overtake them all.
12. For man is not aware of his time: just as fish are caught in the treacherous net and sparrows trapped in the snare, man, like them, is caught by misfortune suddenly befalling him.
13. I have considered something else very grave under the sun.
14. There was a small town with few inhabitants. A king set out to attack it, laid siege to it and built great siege-works around it.
15. But a poverty-stricken wise man was found, who by his wisdom saved the town. No one, however, remembered the poor man.
16. So I said, "Better wisdom than heroism," but the wisdom of the poor is despised and his words are not heeded.
17. The words of the wise spoken calmly are heard above the shouts of a ruler of fools.
18. Wisdom is better than weapons; one sinner spoils much happiness.