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8:12-13 The Westminster Leningrad Codex

12 אֲשֶׁ֣ר חֹטֶ֗א עֹשֶׂ֥ה רָ֛ע מְאַ֖ת וּמַאֲרִ֣יךְ ל֑וֹ כִּ֚י גַּם־יוֹדֵ֣עַ אָ֔נִי אֲשֶׁ֤ר יִהְיֶה־טּוֹב֙ לְיִרְאֵ֣י הָאֱלֹהִ֔ים אֲשֶׁ֥ר יִֽירְא֖וּ מִלְּפָנָֽיו׃

13 וְטוֹב֙ לֹֽא־יִהְיֶ֣ה לָֽרָשָׁ֔ע וְלֹֽא־יַאֲרִ֥יךְ יָמִ֖ים כַּצֵּ֑ל אֲשֶׁ֛ר אֵינֶ֥נּוּ יָרֵ֖א מִלִּפְנֵ֥י אֱלֹהִֽים׃

Ecclesiastes 8:12-13 New American Standard Bible 1995

12 Although a sinner does evil a hundred times and may lengthen his life, still I know that it will be well for those who fear God, who fear [a]Him openly. 13 But it will not be well for the evil man and he will not lengthen his days like a shadow, because he does not fear God.

Ecclesiastes 8:12-13 New King James Version

12 Though a sinner does evil a hundred times, and his days are prolonged, yet I surely know that it will be well with those who fear God, who fear before Him. 13 But it will not be well with the wicked; nor will he prolong his days, which are as a shadow, because he does not fear before God.

8:12-13 The Westminster Leningrad Codex

12 אֲשֶׁ֣ר חֹטֶ֗א עֹשֶׂ֥ה רָ֛ע מְאַ֖ת וּמַאֲרִ֣יךְ ל֑וֹ כִּ֚י גַּם־יוֹדֵ֣עַ אָ֔נִי אֲשֶׁ֤ר יִהְיֶה־טּוֹב֙ לְיִרְאֵ֣י הָאֱלֹהִ֔ים אֲשֶׁ֥ר יִֽירְא֖וּ מִלְּפָנָֽיו׃

13 וְטוֹב֙ לֹֽא־יִהְיֶ֣ה לָֽרָשָׁ֔ע וְלֹֽא־יַאֲרִ֥יךְ יָמִ֖ים כַּצֵּ֑ל אֲשֶׁ֛ר אֵינֶ֥נּוּ יָרֵ֖א מִלִּפְנֵ֥י אֱלֹהִֽים׃

At first glance, there seems to be a contradiction between:

(Ecclesiastes 8:12) verse's claim that sinner committing evil numerous times, and might be lengthening his life

and the following

(Ecclesiastes 8:13) verse's claim that the evil man will Not lengthen his days

,therefore, within the entire context of (Ecclesiastes 8:12-13) as a whole, what exactly are the aforementioned verses trying to tell the reader?

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    Young's Literal Translation is clearer Though a sinner is doing evil a hundred times', and prolonging himself' for it, Ecclesiastes 8:12. The sinner does evil and deliberately practices self-survival - only that he may continue sinning.
    – Nigel J
    Jan 2, 2023 at 16:34

1 Answer 1

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This is a regular theme in Biblical "philosophy" of the Bible writers. One of the most famous examples is found in Ps 73:

  • V3: For I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
  • V4: They have no struggle in their death; their bodies are well-fed.
  • V5: They are free of the burdens others carry; they are not afflicted like other men.

...

  • V16: When I tried to understand all this, it was troublesome in my sight
  • 17: until I entered God’s sanctuary; then I discerned their end.
  • 18: Surely You set them on slick ground; You cast them down into ruin.
  • 19: How suddenly they are laid waste, completely swept away by terrors!

Thus, Solomon in Prov 8 (and Asaph in Ps 73) is discussing the important difference between this life and the life to come. The wicked might succeed in this life but will be destroyed in the next life - only the righteous who are faithful to God succeed in the next life.

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