September 24: Ecclesiastes 10–12; Philemon 23–25; Psalm 78:40–72; Proverbs 24:9–10


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Ecclesiastes 10–12

10   Dead flies make the perfumer’s ointment give off a stench;
    so a little folly outweighs wisdom and honor.
  A wise man’s heart inclines him to the right,
    but a fool’s heart to the left.
  Even when the fool walks on the road, he lacks sense,
    and he says to everyone that he is a fool.
  If the anger of the ruler rises against you, do not leave your place,
    for calmnessHebrew healing‘>1 will lay great offenses to rest.

There is an evil that I have seen under the sun, as it were an error proceeding from the ruler: folly is set in many high places, and the rich sit in a low place. I have seen slaves on horses, and princes walking on the ground like slaves.

  He who digs a pit will fall into it,
    and a serpent will bite him who breaks through a wall.
  He who quarries stones is hurt by them,
    and he who splits logs is endangered by them.
10   If the iron is blunt, and one does not sharpen the edge,
    he must use more strength,
    but wisdom helps one to succeed.Or wisdom is an advantage for success‘>2
11   If the serpent bites before it is charmed,
    there is no advantage to the charmer.

12   The words of a wise man’s mouth win him favor,Or are gracious‘>3
    but the lips of a fool consume him.
13   The beginning of the words of his mouth is foolishness,
    and the end of his talk is evil madness.
14   A fool multiplies words,
    though no man knows what is to be,
    and who can tell him what will be after him?
15   The toil of a fool wearies him,
    for he does not know the way to the city.

16   Woe to you, O land, when your king is a child,
    and your princes feast in the morning!
17   Happy are you, O land, when your king is the son of the nobility,
    and your princes feast at the proper time,
    for strength, and not for drunkenness!
18   Through sloth the roof sinks in,
    and through indolence the house leaks.
19   Bread is made for laughter,
    and wine gladdens life,
    and money answers everything.
20   Even in your thoughts, do not curse the king,
    nor in your bedroom curse the rich,
  for a bird of the air will carry your voice,
    or some winged creature tell the matter.

Cast Your Bread upon the Waters

11   Cast your bread upon the waters,
    for you will find it after many days.
  Give a portion to seven, or even to eight,
    for you know not what disaster may happen on earth.
  If the clouds are full of rain,
    they empty themselves on the earth,
  and if a tree falls to the south or to the north,
    in the place where the tree falls, there it will lie.
  He who observes the wind will not sow,
    and he who regards the clouds will not reap.

As you do not know the way the spirit comes to the bones in the wombSome Hebrew manuscripts, Targum; most Hebrew manuscripts As you do not know the way of the wind, or how the bones grow in the womb‘>4 of a woman with child, so you do not know the work of God who makes everything.

In the morning sow your seed, and at evening withhold not your hand, for you do not know which will prosper, this or that, or whether both alike will be good.

Light is sweet, and it is pleasant for the eyes to see the sun.

So if a person lives many years, let him rejoice in them all; but let him remember that the days of darkness will be many. All that comes is vanity.The Hebrew term hebel can refer to a “vapor” or “mere breath”; also verse 10 (see note on 1:2)’>5

Rejoice, O young man, in your youth, and let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth. Walk in the ways of your heart and the sight of your eyes. But know that for all these things God will bring you into judgment.

10 Remove vexation from your heart, and put away painOr evil‘>6 from your body, for youth and the dawn of life are vanity.

Remember Your Creator in Your Youth

12 Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth, before the evil days come and the years draw near of which you will say, “I have no pleasure in them”; before the sun and the light and the moon and the stars are darkened and the clouds return after the rain, in the day when the keepers of the house tremble, and the strong men are bent, and the grinders cease because they are few, and those who look through the windows are dimmed, and the doors on the street are shut—when the sound of the grinding is low, and one rises up at the sound of a bird, and all the daughters of song are brought low—they are afraid also of what is high, and terrors are in the way; the almond tree blossoms, the grasshopper drags itself along,Or is a burden‘>7 and desire fails, because man is going to his eternal home, and the mourners go about the streets—before the silver cord is snapped, or the golden bowl is broken, or the pitcher is shattered at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern, and the dust returns to the earth as it was, and the spirit returns to God who gave it. VanityThe Hebrew term hebel can refer to a “vapor” or “mere breath” (three times in this verse); see note on 1:2′>8 of vanities, says the Preacher; all is vanity.

Fear God and Keep His Commandments

Besides being wise, the Preacher also taught the people knowledge, weighing and studying and arranging many proverbs with great care. 10 The Preacher sought to find words of delight, and uprightly he wrote words of truth.

11 The words of the wise are like goads, and like nails firmly fixed are the collected sayings; they are given by one Shepherd. 12 My son, beware of anything beyond these. Of making many books there is no end, and much study is a weariness of the flesh.

13 The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.Or the duty of all mankind‘>9 14 For God will bring every deed into judgment, withOr into the judgment on‘>10 every secret thing, whether good or evil.

Philemon 23–25

Final Greetings

23 Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, sends greetings to you, 24 and so do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, and Luke, my fellow workers.

25 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.

Psalm 78:40–72

40   How often they rebelled against him in the wilderness
    and grieved him in the desert!
41   They tested God again and again
    and provoked the Holy One of Israel.
42   They did not remember his powerHebrew hand‘>1
    or the day when he redeemed them from the foe,
43   when he performed his signs in Egypt
    and his marvels in the fields of Zoan.
44   He turned their rivers to blood,
    so that they could not drink of their streams.
45   He sent among them swarms of flies, which devoured them,
    and frogs, which destroyed them.
46   He gave their crops to the destroying locust
    and the fruit of their labor to the locust.
47   He destroyed their vines with hail
    and their sycamores with frost.
48   He gave over their cattle to the hail
    and their flocks to thunderbolts.
49   He let loose on them his burning anger,
    wrath, indignation, and distress,
    a company of destroying angels.
50   He made a path for his anger;
    he did not spare them from death,
    but gave their lives over to the plague.
51   He struck down every firstborn in Egypt,
    the firstfruits of their strength in the tents of Ham.
52   Then he led out his people like sheep
    and guided them in the wilderness like a flock.
53   He led them in safety, so that they were not afraid,
    but the sea overwhelmed their enemies.
54   And he brought them to his holy land,
    to the mountain which his right hand had won.
55   He drove out nations before them;
    he apportioned them for a possession
    and settled the tribes of Israel in their tents.

56   Yet they tested and rebelled against the Most High God
    and did not keep his testimonies,
57   but turned away and acted treacherously like their fathers;
    they twisted like a deceitful bow.
58   For they provoked him to anger with their high places;
    they moved him to jealousy with their idols.
59   When God heard, he was full of wrath,
    and he utterly rejected Israel.
60   He forsook his dwelling at Shiloh,
    the tent where he dwelt among mankind,
61   and delivered his power to captivity,
    his glory to the hand of the foe.
62   He gave his people over to the sword
    and vented his wrath on his heritage.
63   Fire devoured their young men,
    and their young women had no marriage song.
64   Their priests fell by the sword,
    and their widows made no lamentation.
65   Then the Lord awoke as from sleep,
    like a strong man shouting because of wine.
66   And he put his adversaries to rout;
    he put them to everlasting shame.

67   He rejected the tent of Joseph;
    he did not choose the tribe of Ephraim,
68   but he chose the tribe of Judah,
    Mount Zion, which he loves.
69   He built his sanctuary like the high heavens,
    like the earth, which he has founded forever.
70   He chose David his servant
    and took him from the sheepfolds;
71   from following the nursing ewes he brought him
    to shepherd Jacob his people,
    Israel his inheritance.
72   With upright heart he shepherded them
    and guided them with his skillful hand.

Proverbs 24:9–10

  The devisingOr scheming‘>1 of folly is sin,
    and the scoffer is an abomination to mankind.

10   If you faint in the day of adversity,
    your strength is small.


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