Chinese Contemporary Bible (Traditional)

傳道書 9

1我仔細思想、探究這些事,就知道義人、智者及他們的行事為人都由上帝掌管,人無法知道前面等待自己的是愛還是恨。 義人和惡人、好人和壞人、潔淨的和污穢的、獻祭的和不獻祭的、行善的和犯罪的、敢於起誓的和不敢起誓的人,最終的命運都一樣。 在日光之下有一件可悲的事,就是人最終的命運都一樣。再者,人內心都充滿邪惡,活著的時候行事狂妄,最後都步入死亡。 有生命就有希望,一條活狗總比一頭死獅子強。 因為活著的人還知道自己終有一死,但死了的人什麼都不知道,再也得不到任何賞賜,他們被忘得一乾二淨。 他們的愛、恨和嫉妒早已不復存在,他們再也無法參與日光之下的事。

去歡歡喜喜、快快樂樂地吃喝吧!因為上帝已經悅納你所做的。 你的衣服要經常保持潔白,頭上也不要缺少膏油。 在你虛空的人生中,就是在上帝所賜、日光之下虛空的歲月裡,你要與愛妻快樂度日,因為這是你一生在日光之下的勞碌中所當得的。 10 凡你的手能做的,都要盡力去做,因為在你要去的陰間沒有工作,沒有計劃,也沒有知識和智慧。 11 我又發現,日光之下,跑得快的未必能得獎,強大的未必能得勝,智者未必得溫飽,聰明人未必有財富,博學者未必受愛戴,因為時機和境遇左右眾人。 12 再者,人無法知道何時大難臨頭。禍患突然臨到時,人根本無法擺脫,就像魚落入險惡的網中,又像鳥兒陷入網羅。 13 我看見日光之下有一種智慧,對我來說意義深遠。 14 有一個勢力強大的君王來攻擊一個人口不多的小城,他建造營壘圍困這城。 15 這城裡有一個貧窮的智者,他用智慧拯救了這城,但事後人們卻把他遺忘了。 16 我認為智慧勝過武力,然而那位窮人的智慧卻被輕視,他所說的話也無人理會。 17 智者的細語勝過官長在愚人中的喊叫。 18 智慧勝過兵器,但一個罪人卻能破壞許多善事。

The Message

Ecclesiastes 9

11-3 Well, I took all this in and thought it through, inside and out. Here’s what I understood: The good, the wise, and all that they do are in God’s hands—but, day by day, whether it’s love or hate they’re dealing with, they don’t know.

Anything’s possible. It’s one fate for everybody—righteous and wicked, good people, bad people, the nice and the nasty, worshipers and non-worshipers, committed and uncommitted. I find this outrageous—the worst thing about living on this earth—that everyone’s lumped together in one fate. Is it any wonder that so many people are obsessed with evil? Is it any wonder that people go crazy right and left? Life leads to death. That’s it.

Seize Life!

4-6 Still, anyone selected out for life has hope, for, as they say, “A living dog is better than a dead lion.” The living at least know something, even if it’s only that they’re going to die. But the dead know nothing and get nothing. They’re a minus that no one remembers. Their loves, their hates, yes, even their dreams, are long gone. There’s not a trace of them left in the affairs of this earth.

7-10 Seize life! Eat bread with gusto,
Drink wine with a robust heart.
Oh yes—God takes pleasure in your pleasure!
Dress festively every morning.
Don’t skimp on colors and scarves.
Relish life with the spouse you love
Each and every day of your precarious life.
Each day is God’s gift. It’s all you get in exchange
For the hard work of staying alive.
Make the most of each one!
Whatever turns up, grab it and do it. And heartily!
This is your last and only chance at it,
For there’s neither work to do nor thoughts to think
In the company of the dead, where you’re most certainly headed.

11 I took another walk around the neighborhood and realized that on this earth as it is—

The race is not always to the swift,
Nor the battle to the strong,
Nor satisfaction to the wise,
Nor riches to the smart,
Nor grace to the learned.
Sooner or later bad luck hits us all.

12 No one can predict misfortune.
Like fish caught in a cruel net or birds in a trap,
So men and women are caught
By accidents evil and sudden.

Wisdom Is Better than Muscle

13-15 One day as I was observing how wisdom fares on this earth, I saw something that made me sit up and take notice. There was a small town with only a few people in it. A strong king came and mounted an attack, building trenches and attack posts around it. There was a poor but wise man in that town whose wisdom saved the town, but he was promptly forgotten. (He was only a poor man, after all.)

16 All the same, I still say that wisdom is better than muscle, even though the wise poor man was treated with contempt and soon forgotten.

17 The quiet words of the wise are more effective
Than the ranting of a king of fools.

18 Wisdom is better than warheads,
But one hothead can ruin the good earth.