17. Life

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The Philosopher and the Queen
Ecclesiastes ch8 vv9-14, ch9 vv2-3,7-12

I saw all this when I thought about the things that are done in this world,
a world where some people have power and others have to suffer under them.
Yes, I have seen the wicked buried and in their graves,
but on the way back from the cemetery people praise them in the very city where they did their evil.
It is useless.
Why do people commit crimes so readily?
Because crime is not punished quickly enough.
A sinner may commit a hundred crimes and still live.
Oh yes, I know what they say: "If you obey God, everything will be all right,
but it will not go well for the wicked. Their life is like a shadow and they will die young,
because they do not obey God." But this is nonsense.
Look at what happens in the world:
sometimes the righteous get the punishment of the wicked,
and the wicked get the reward of the righteous.
I say it is useless.
The same fate comes to the righteous and the wicked,
to the good and the bad, to those who are religious and those who are not,
to those who offer sacrifices and those who do not.
A good person is no better off than a sinner;
one who takes an oath is no better off than one who does not.
One fate comes to all alike, and this is as wrong as anything that happens in this world.

Go ahead - eat your food and be happy; drink your wine and be cheerful.
It's all right with God.
Always look happy and cheerful.
Enjoy life with the woman you love, as long as you live the useless life that God has given you in this world.
Enjoy every useless day of it, because that is all you will get for all your trouble.
Work hard at whatever you do, because there will be no action,
no thought, no knowledge, no wisdom in the world of the dead -
and that is where you are going.

I realized another thing, that in this world fast runners do not always win the race,
and the brave do not always win the battle.
The wise do not always earn a living,
intelligent people do not always get rich,
and capable people do not always rise to high positions.
Bad luck happens to everyone.
You never know when your time is coming.
Like birds suddenly caught in a trap,
like fish caught in a net,
we are trapped at some evil moment when we least expect it.