Enjoy life before you’re dead and can’t
We’re all headed in the same direction1I thought about what I had discovered so far. I reached this conclusion: everything we do is tied to God. He has power over everyone and everything we do. Even the wisdom and goodness inside us come from him. So do our feelings of love and hate. We never know which feeling is coming.
2So, nothing really matters because we all end up at the same place. Dead. It doesn’t matter if we’re good or bad, holy or hellish, ritually clean or filthy as sin. And it doesn’t matter if we sacrifice to God or skip it all. What happens to good people will happen to sinners. What happens to people who make promises will happen to people who don’t.
3It’s a crying shame and wrong as sin that everyone should end up at the same place here in this world. Human hearts are corrupt. They’re contaminated with foolishness and evil for as long as they beat. Then they stop and die.
4Yet, if there’s more hope for a live dog than a dead lion, there’s hope for us. 5When we’re alive, we know we’ll die someday. But when we’re dead, we don’t know anything. There’s no prize waiting for us when get there. And then eventually, people will forget we ever lived. 6When we die, our feelings die with us: love, hate, and envy. And we’ll have nothing more to do with life on earth. We’re done under the sun.
Eat, drink, and be happy7So, enjoy your life while you can. Eat your food. Drink your wine. And be happy. You’re here because God wants you here; long ago he planned it. 8Dress for joy and look your best. Smell your best and wear that fragrant oil.
9Enjoy your life with the ones you love. Cherish it every fleeting day of your worthless life. For that’s all you’ll get for your lifetime of work. So, love your life to death. 10Whatever you do with your life, do it with all your might. There’s no do-over when you’re dead. In the grave, there’s no work, no thought, no wisdom.
Our circumstance is a matter of chance11Let me put this another way. This is what I’ve discovered life is like here under the sun.
Speed doesn’t win the race.
Power doesn’t win the war.
Savvy doesn’t make us rich.
Skills don’t bring us success.
We’re either in the right place at the right time
Or the wrong place at the wrong time.
It’s all a matter of chance.
We overlook wisdom of the poor13Here’s another piece of wisdom I discovered. And I think it’s important. 14There was a little town with just a few families living inside the walled area. An invading king surrounded it with his army and then attacked it.
15One of the people living inside the city was a poor man, who was a sage. He knew how to save the city. But no one paid attention to him. 16So, I saw that wisdom is better than strength. But I also saw that there’s no value to the wisdom of a poor person when people ignore the words of the poor.
Quiet words of the wise deserve more respect
Than screams of a king in a crowd of fools.
But one bad decision can make one big mess.
When Old Testament writers talked about life after death, it was usually about a place called Sheol, where the dead spirits go and tend not to come back (Genesis 37:35), except for Samuel, conjured up by a medium (1 Samuel 28:15). In King Solomon’s day, most Israelite ancestors of today’s Jewish people didn’t seem believe in an afterlife where good people get rewarded and bad people get punished. Some Jewish scholars say Isaiah 26:19 helped convince Jews in Medieval times that there is a resurrection. Rabbinic Judaism, like much of Christianity, teaches that all people will rise from the dead.
People used these scented oils in place of soap and deodorant, neither of which seems to have been invented in King Solomon’s day, some 3,000 years ago. One oil was myrrh. It comes from the dried sap of an evergreen shrub, Commiphora abyssinica, which grew in parts of Egypt and neighboring nations in Africa. People mixed it with olive oil and other scents and spices, to create perfume.
The Hebrew word is Sheol, a word Old Testament writers used to describe the place of the dead. It is a kind of underworld where the dead are cut off from the living—and from God—and there is no coming back.
The Hebrew language isn’t clear here. That’s why Bibles interpret this verse in different ways. Some report that the man saved the city but was quickly forgotten. Others say the city treated him like he was invisible.
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