1 Why is it necessary for a man to seek things that are greater than himself, when he does not know what is advantageous for himself in his life, during the number of the days of his sojourn, and while time passes by like a shadow? Or who will be able to tell him what will be in the future after him under the sun?
2 A good name is better than precious ointments, and a day of death is better than a day of birth.
3 It is better to go to a house of mourning, than to a house of feasting. For in the former, we are admonished about the end of all things, so that the living consider what may be in the future.
4 Anger is better than laughter. For through the sadness of the countenance, the soul of one who offends may be corrected.
5 The heart of the wise is a place of mourning, and the heart of the foolish is a place of rejoicing.
6 It is better to be corrected by a wise man, than to be deceived by the false praise of the foolish.
7 For, like the crackling of thorns burning under a pot, so is the laughter of the foolish. But this, too, is emptiness.
8 A false accusation troubles the wise man and saps the strength of his heart.
9 The end of a speech is better than the beginning. Patience is better than arrogance.
10 Do not be quickly moved to anger. For anger resides in the sinews of the foolish.
11 You should not say: “What do you think is the reason that the former times were better than they are now?” For this type of question is foolish.
12 Wisdom with riches is more useful and more advantageous, for those who see the sun.
13 For as wisdom protects, so also does money protect. But learning and wisdom have this much more: that they grant life to one who possesses them.
14 Consider the works of God, that no one is able to correct whomever he has despised.
15 In good times, enjoy good things, but beware of an evil time. For just as God has establish the one, so also the other, in order that man may not find any just complaint against him.
16 I also saw this, in the days of my vanity: a just man perishing in his justice, and an impious man living a long time in his malice.
17 Do not try to be overly just, and do not try to be more wise than is necessary, lest you become stupid.
18 Do not act with great impiety, and do not choose to be foolish, lest you die before your time.
19 It is good for you to support a just man. Furthermore, you should not withdraw your hand from him, for whoever fears God, neglects nothing.
20 Wisdom has strengthened the wise more than ten princes of a city.
21 But there is no just man on earth, who does good and does not sin.
22 So then, do not attach your heart to every word that is spoken, lest perhaps you may hear your servant speaking ill of you.
23 For your conscience knows that you, too, have repeatedly spoken evil of others.
24 I have tested everything in wisdom. I have said: “I will be wise.” And wisdom withdrew farther from me,
25 so much more than it was before. Wisdom is very profound, so who shall reveal her?
26 I have examined all things in my soul, so that I may know, and consider, and seek out wisdom and reason, and so that I may recognize the impiety of the foolish, and the error of the imprudent.
27 And I have discovered a woman more bitter than death: she who is like the snare of a hunter, and whose heart is like a net, and whose hands are like chains. Whoever pleases God shall flee from her. But whoever is a sinner shall be seized by her.
28 Behold, Ecclesiastes said, I have discovered these things, one after another, in order that I might discover the explanation
29 which my soul still seeks and has not found. One man among a thousand, I have found; a woman among them all, I have not found.
30 This alone have I discovered: that God made man righteous, and yet he has adulterated himself with innumerable questions. Who is so great as the wise? And who has understood the meaning of the word?
1 The wisdom of a man shines in his countenance, and even the expression of a most powerful man will change.
2 I heed the mouth of the king, and the commandment of an oath to God.
3 You should not hastily withdraw from his presence, nor should you remain in an evil work. For all that pleases him, he will do.
4 And his word is filled with authority. Neither is anyone able to say to him: “Why are you acting this way?”
5 Whoever keeps the commandment will not experience evil. The heart of a wise man understands the time to respond.
6 For every matter, there is a time and an opportunity, as well as many difficulties, for man.
7 For he is ignorant of the past, and he is able to know nothing of the future by means of a messenger.
8 It is not in the power of a man to prohibit the spirit, nor does he have authority over the day of death, nor is he permitted to rest when war breaks out, and neither will impiety save the impious.
9 I have considered all these things, and I have applied my heart to all the works which are being done under the sun. Sometimes one man rules over another to his own harm.
10 I have seen the impious buried. These same, while they were still living, were in the holy place, and they were praised in the city as workers of justice. But this, too, is emptiness.
11 For the sons of men perpetrate evils without any fear, because judgment is not pronounced quickly against the evil.
12 But although a sinner may do evil of himself one hundred times, and by patience still endure, I realize that it will be well with those who fear God, who revere his face.
13 So, may it not go well with the impious, and may his days not be prolonged. And let those who do not fear the face of the Lord pass away like a shadow.
14 There is also another vanity, which is done upon the earth. There are the just, to whom evils happen, as though they had done the works of the impious. And there are the impious, who are very secure, as though they possess the deeds of the just. But this, too, I judge to be a very great vanity.
15 And so, I praised rejoicing, because there was no good for a man under the sun, except to eat and drink, and to be cheerful, and because he may take nothing with him from his labor in the days of his life, which God has given to him under the sun.
16 And I applied my heart, so that I might know wisdom, and so that I might understand a disturbance that turns upon the earth: it is a man, who takes no sleep with his eyes, day and night.
17 And I understood that man is able to find no explanation for all those works of God which are done under the sun. And so,
1 And the king of Egypt gathered together an army, like the sand that is along the shore of the sea, and many ships. And he sought to obtain the kingdom of Alexander by deceit, and to add it to his own kingdom.
2 And he departed into Syria with words of peace, and they opened the cities to him, and they were meeting with him. For king Alexander had commanded them to go out to meet him, because he was his father-in-law.
3 But when Ptolemy entered a city, he placed garrisons of soldiers in each of the cities.
4 And when he drew near to Azotus, they revealed to him that the temple of Dagon had been burned with fire, and Azotus and its suburbs had been demolished, and bodies had been abandoned, and that, for those who had been cut to pieces in the war, they had made a tomb along the way.
5 And they told the king that Jonathan had done these things, so as to make him hated. But the king remained silent.
6 And Jonathan went to meet the king at Joppa with glory, and they greeted one another, and they stayed there.
7 And Jonathan went with the king as far as the river, which is called Eleutherus. And he returned to Jerusalem.
8 But king Ptolemy obtained the dominion of the coastal cities, as far as Seleucia, and he devised evil plans against Alexander.
9 And he sent ambassadors to Demetrius, saying: “Come, let us compose a pact between us, and I will give you my daughter, whom Alexander had, and you will reign in the kingdom of your father.
10 For I regret that I have given him my daughter. For he has sought to kill me.”
11 And he slandered him, because he coveted his kingdom.
12 And he took away his daughter, and he gave her to Demetrius, and he alienated himself from Alexander, and his hostilities were made manifest.
13 And Ptolemy entered Antioch, and he placed two diadems upon his head, that of Egypt, and that of Asia.
14 Now king Alexander was in Cilicia at that time, because the people of those places were rebelling.
15 And when Alexander heard of it, he came against him in warfare. And king Ptolemy led forth his army, and he met him with a strong hand, and he put him to flight.
16 And Alexander fled into Arabia, so as to be protected there. And king Ptolemy was exalted.
17 And Zabdiel the Arab took off the head of Alexander, and he sent it to Ptolemy.
18 And king Ptolemy died on the third day, and those who were in the strongholds were destroyed by those who were in the camp.
19 And Demetrius reigned in the one hundred and sixty-seventh year.
20 In those days, Jonathan gathered together those who were in Judea, in order to fight against the stronghold that was in Jerusalem. And they made many machines of war against it.
21 And so, certain men of iniquity, who hated their own people, went forth to king Demetrius, and they reported to him that Jonathan was besieging the stronghold.
22 And when he heard it, he became angry. And immediately he came to Ptolemais, and he wrote to Jonathan that he should not besiege the stronghold, but that he should meet with him promptly, for a discussion.
23 But when Jonathan heard this, he ordered them to besiege it. And he chose some from the elders of Israel and from the priests, and he put himself in danger.
1 Unless the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it. Unless the Lord keep the city, he watcheth in vain that keepeth it.
2 It is vain for you to rise before light, rise ye after you have sitten, you that eat the bread of sorrow. When he shall give sleep to his beloved,
3 Behold the inheritance of the Lord are children: the reward, the fruit of the womb.
4 As arrows in the hand of the mighty, so the children of them that have been shaken.
5 Blessed is the man that hath filled the desire with them; he shall not be confounded when he shall speak to his enemies in the gate.
14 For those who speak in this way are themselves indicating that they seek a homeland.
15 And if, indeed, they had been mindful of the very place from which they departed, they certainly would have returned in time.
16 But now they hunger for a better place, that is, Heaven. For this reason, God is not ashamed to be called their God. For he has prepared a city for them.
17 By faith, Abraham, when he was tested, offered Isaac, so that he who had received the promises was offering up his only son.
18 To him, it was said, “Through Isaac, shall your offspring be summoned,”
19 indicating that God is even able to raise up from the dead. And thus, he also established him as a parable.
20 By faith, also, Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau, concerning future events.
21 By faith, Jacob, as he was dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph; and he reverenced the summit of his rod.
22 By faith, Joseph, as he was dying, recalled the departure of the sons of Israel, and gave a commandment concerning his bones.
23 By faith, Moses, after being born, was hidden for three months by his parents, because they had seen that he was a graceful infant, and they did not fear the king’s edict.
24 By faith, Moses, after growing up, denied himself a place as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter,
25 choosing to be afflicted with the people of God, rather than to have the pleasantness of sin for a time,
26 valuing the reproach of Christ to be a greater wealth than the treasures of the Egyptians. For he looked forward to his reward.
27 By faith, he abandoned Egypt, not dreading the animosity of the king. For he pressed on, as if seeing him who is unseen.
28 By faith, he celebrated the Passover and the shedding of the blood, so that he who destroyed the firstborn might not touch them.
29 By faith, they crossed the Red Sea, as if on dry land, yet when the Egyptians attempted it, they were swallowed up.
30 By faith, the walls of Jericho collapsed, after being encircled for seven days.
31 By faith, Rahab, the harlot, did not perish with the unbelievers, after receiving the spies with peace.
32 And what should I say next? For time is not sufficient for me to give an account of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and the Prophets:
33 those who, by faith, conquered kingdoms, accomplished justice, obtained promises, closed the mouths of lions,
34 extinguished the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, recovered from infirmities, showed strength in battle, turned back the armies of foreigners.
35 Women received their dead by means of resurrection. But others suffered severe punishment, not yet receiving redemption, so that they would find a better resurrection.
36 Truly, others were tested by mocking and lashes, and moreover by chains and imprisonment.
37 They were stoned; they were cut; they were tempted. With the slaughter of the sword, they were killed. They wandered about in sheepskin and in goatskin, in dire need, in anguish afflicted.
38 Of them, the world was not worthy, wandering in solitude on mountains, in the caves and caverns of the earth.
39 And all these, having been proven by the testimony of faith, did not receive the Promise.
40 God’s Providence holds something better for us, so that not without us would they be perfected.