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Ecclesiastes 9

 
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1 ὅτι σὺν πᾶν τοῦτο ἔδωκα εἰς καρδίαν μου καὶ καρδία μου σὺν πᾶν εἶδεν τοῦτο ὡς οἱ δίκαιοι καὶ οἱ σοφοὶ καὶ ἐργασίαι αὐτῶν ἐν χειρὶ τοῦ θεοῦ καί γε ἀγάπην καί γε μῖσος οὐκ ἔστιν εἰδὼς ὁ ἄνθρωπος τὰ πάντα πρὸ προσώπου αὐτῶν 2 ματαιότης ἐν τοῖς πᾶσιν συνάντημα ἓν τῷ δικαίῳ καὶ τῷ ἀσεβεῖ τῷ ἀγαθῷ καὶ τῷ κακῷ καὶ τῷ καθαρῷ καὶ τῷ ἀκαθάρτῳ καὶ τῷ θυσιάζοντι καὶ τῷ μὴ θυσιάζοντι ὡς ὁ ἀγαθός ὧς ὁ ἁμαρτάνων ὧς ὁ ὀμνύων καθὼς ὁ τὸν ὅρκον φοβούμενος 3 τοῦτο πονηρὸν ἐν παντὶ πεποιημένῳ ὑπὸ τὸν ἥλιον ὅτι συνάντημα ἓν τοῖς πᾶσιν καί γε καρδία υἱῶν τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ἐπληρώθη πονηροῦ καὶ περιφέρεια ἐν καρδίᾳ αὐτῶν ἐν ζωῇ αὐτῶν καὶ ὀπίσω αὐτῶν πρὸς τοὺς νεκρούς 4 ὅτι τίς ὃς κοινωνεῖ πρὸς πάντας τοὺς ζῶντας ἔστιν ἐλπίς ὅτι ὁ κύων ὁ ζῶν αὐτὸς ἀγαθὸς ὑπὲρ τὸν λέοντα τὸν νεκρόν 5 ὅτι οἱ ζῶντες γνώσονται ὅτι ἀποθανοῦνται καὶ οἱ νεκροὶ οὔκ εἰσιν γινώσκοντες οὐδέν καὶ οὐκ ἔστιν αὐτοῖς ἔτι μισθός ὅτι ἐπελήσθη ἡ μνήμη αὐτῶν 6 καί γε ἀγάπη αὐτῶν καί γε μῖσος αὐτῶν καί γε ζῆλος αὐτῶν ἤδη ἀπώλετο καὶ μερὶς οὐκ ἔστιν αὐτοῖς ἔτι εἰς αἰῶνα ἐν παντὶ τῷ πεποιημένῳ ὑπὸ τὸν ἥλιον 1 All this, too, I pondered in my heart, and would spare no pains to find out the meaning of it. Here are upright men and wise; and every task of theirs is in God’s keeping, nor can any tell whether they have earned his love, or his displeasure! 2 This remains as yet uncertain, and meanwhile all have the same lot, upright and godless, good and wicked, clean and unclean alike. Brought they offerings or brought they none, well did they or ill, true swore they or false, it is all one. 3 Of all that goes amiss, here under the sun, nothing does more hurt than this equality of fortunes; what wonder if men’s hearts, while yet they live, are full of malice and defiance? And so they journey on to the grave. 4 Were but immortality the prize! But no, hope of that is none; living dog is better off than dead lion. 5 They live under sentence of death; and when death comes, of nothing will they be aware any longer; no reward can they receive, now that every trace of them has vanished away; 6 no love, no hatred, no envy can they feel; they have said good-bye to this world, and to all its busy doings, here under the sun. 1

Omnia hæc tractavi in corde meo,
ut curiose intelligerem.
Sunt justi atque sapientes,
et opera eorum in manu Dei;
et tamen nescit homo utrum amore an odio dignus sit.
2
Sed omnia in futurum servantur incerta,
eo quod universa æque eveniant justo et impio,
bono et malo, mundo et immundo,
immolanti victimas et sacrificia contemnenti.
Sicut bonus, sic et peccator;
ut perjurus, ita et ille qui verum dejerat.
3

Hoc est pessimum inter omnia quæ sub sole fiunt:
quia eadem cunctis eveniunt.
Unde et corda filiorum hominum implentur malitia
et contemptu in vita sua,
et post hæc ad inferos deducentur.
4
Nemo est qui semper vivat, et qui hujus rei habeat fiduciam;
melior est canis vivus leone mortuo.
5
Viventes enim sciunt se esse morituros;
mortui vero nihil noverunt amplius,
nec habent ultra mercedem,
quia oblivioni tradita est memoria eorum.
6
Amor quoque, et odium, et invidiæ simul perierunt;
nec habent partem in hoc sæculo,
et in opere quod sub sole geritur.
7 δεῦρο φάγε ἐν εὐφροσύνῃ ἄρτον σου καὶ πίε ἐν καρδίᾳ ἀγαθῇ οἶνόν σου ὅτι ἤδη εὐδόκησεν ὁ θεὸς τὰ ποιήματά σου 8 ἐν παντὶ καιρῷ ἔστωσαν ἱμάτιά σου λευκά καὶ ἔλαιον ἐπὶ κεφαλήν σου μὴ ὑστερησάτω 9 ἰδὲ ζωὴν μετὰ γυναικός ἧς ἠγάπησας πάσας ἡμέρας ζωῆς ματαιότητός σου τὰς δοθείσας σοι ὑπὸ τὸν ἥλιον πάσας ἡμέρας ματαιότητός σου ὅτι αὐτὸ μερίς σου ἐν τῇ ζωῇ σου καὶ ἐν τῷ μόχθῳ σου ᾧ σὺ μοχθεῖς ὑπὸ τὸν ἥλιον 10 πάντα ὅσα ἂν εὕρῃ ἡ χείρ σου τοῦ ποιῆσαι ὡς ἡ δύναμίς σου ποίησον ὅτι οὐκ ἔστιν ποίημα καὶ λογισμὸς καὶ γνῶσις καὶ σοφία ἐν ᾅδῃ ὅπου σὺ πορεύῃ ἐκεῖ 7 Go thy ways, then, eat thy bread with a stout heart, and drink wine to thy contenting; that done, God asks no more of thee. 8 Ever be thy garments of white, ever let thy brow glisten with oil; 9 live at ease with the wife that is thy heart’s love, long as this uncertain life is granted thee; fugitive days, here beneath the sun. Live thou and labour thou under the sun as thou wilt, this thy portion shall be, and nothing more. 10 Whatever lies in thy power, do while do it thou canst; there will be no doing, no scheming, no wisdom or skill left to thee in the grave, that soon shall be thy home. 7
Vade ergo, et comede in lætitia panem tuum,
et bibe cum gaudio vinum tuum,
quia Deo placent opera tua.
8
Omni tempore sint vestimenta tua candida,
et oleum de capite tuo non deficiat.
9
Perfruere vita cum uxore quam diligis,
cunctis diebus vitæ instabilitatis tuæ,
qui dati sunt tibi sub sole omni tempore vanitatis tuæ:
hæc est enim pars in vita
et in labore tuo quo laboras sub sole.
10
Quodcumque facere potest manus tua,
instanter operare,
quia nec opus, nec ratio, nec sapientia, nec scientia
erunt apud inferos, quo tu properas.
11 ἐπέστρεψα καὶ εἶδον ὑπὸ τὸν ἥλιον ὅτι οὐ τοῖς κούφοις ὁ δρόμος καὶ οὐ τοῖς δυνατοῖς ὁ πόλεμος καί γε οὐ τοῖς σοφοῖς ἄρτος καί γε οὐ τοῖς συνετοῖς πλοῦτος καί γε οὐ τοῖς γινώσκουσιν χάρις ὅτι καιρὸς καὶ ἀπάντημα συναντήσεται τοῖς πᾶσιν αὐτοῖς 12 ὅτι καί γε οὐκ ἔγνω ὁ ἄνθρωπος τὸν καιρὸν αὐτοῦ ὡς οἱ ἰχθύες οἱ θηρευόμενοι ἐν ἀμφιβλήστρῳ κακῷ καὶ ὡς ὄρνεα τὰ θηρευόμενα ἐν παγίδι ὡς αὐτὰ παγιδεύονται οἱ υἱοὶ τοῦ ἀνθρώπου εἰς καιρὸν πονηρόν ὅταν ἐπιπέσῃ ἐ{P'} αὐτοὺς ἄφνω 11 Then my thought took a fresh turn; man’s art does not avail, here beneath the sun, to win the race for the swift, or the battle for the strong, a livelihood for wisdom, riches for great learning, or for the craftsman thanks; chance and the moment rule all. 12 Nor does man see his end coming; hooked fish or snared bird is not overtaken so suddenly as man is, when the day of doom falls on him unawares. 11

Verti me ad aliud, et vidi sub sole
nec velocium esse cursum,
nec fortium bellum,
nec sapientium panem,
nec doctorum divitias,
nec artificum gratiam;
sed tempus casumque in omnibus.
12
Nescit homo finem suum;
sed sicut pisces capiuntur hamo,
et sicut aves laqueo comprehenduntur,
sic capiuntur homines in tempore malo,
cum eis extemplo supervenerit.
13 καί γε τοῦτο εἶδον σοφίαν ὑπὸ τὸν ἥλιον καὶ μεγάλη ἐστὶν πρός με 14 πόλις μικρὰ καὶ ἄνδρες ἐν αὐτῇ ὀλίγοι καὶ ἔλθῃ ἐ{P'} αὐτὴν βασιλεὺς μέγας καὶ κυκλώσῃ αὐτὴν καὶ οἰκοδομήσῃ ἐ{P'} αὐτὴν χάρακας μεγάλους 15 καὶ εὕρῃ ἐν αὐτῇ ἄνδρα πένητα σοφόν καὶ διασώσει αὐτὸς τὴν πόλιν ἐν τῇ σοφίᾳ αὐτοῦ καὶ ἄνθρωπος οὐκ ἐμνήσθη σὺν τοῦ ἀνδρὸς τοῦ πένητος ἐκείνου 16 καὶ εἶπα ἐγώ ἀγαθὴ σοφία ὑπὲρ δύναμιν καὶ σοφία τοῦ πένητος ἐξουδενωμένη καὶ λόγοι αὐτοῦ οὔκ εἰσιν ἀκουόμενοι 13 And here, too, is wise warning, most wise, as I judge it. 14 There was a small city once, with few men to hold it; and there was a great king that marched out against it, raised a mound and ringed it with siege-works, till it was beleaguered on every side. 15 To such a city, how came relief? By the wise counsel of one poor man that had his wits about him. And was there anyone, think you, that remembered the poor man afterwards? Not one. 16 Sure enough, said I, wisdom has the better of valour; but see how the poor man’s wisdom goes for nothing, and no one listens to him now! 13
Hanc quoque sub sole vidi sapientiam,
et probavi maximam:
14
civitas parva, et pauci in ea viri;
venit contra eam rex magnus, et vallavit eam,
exstruxitque munitiones per gyrum, et perfecta est obsidio.
15
Inventusque est in ea vir pauper et sapiens,
et liberavit urbem per sapientiam suam;
et nullus deinceps recordatus est hominis illius pauperis.
16
Et dicebam ego meliorem esse sapientiam fortitudine.
Quomodo ergo sapientia pauperis contempta est,
et verba ejus non sunt audita?
17 λόγοι σοφῶν ἐν ἀναπαύσει ἀκούονται ὑπὲρ κραυγὴν ἐξουσιαζόντων ἐν ἀφροσύναις 18 ἀγαθὴ σοφία ὑπὲρ σκεύη πολέμου καὶ ἁμαρτάνων εἷς ἀπολέσει ἀγαθωσύνην πολλήν 17 A wise man’s whisper carries further than great outcry from a king of fools. 18 Arms cannot match wisdom; by one slip,[1] what great advantage is lost! 17
Verba sapientium audiuntur in silentio,
plus quam clamor principis inter stultos.
18
Melior est sapientia quam arma bellica;
et qui in uno peccaverit, multa bona perdet.
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Copyright © 2013 by Kevin Knight. Dedicated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.