“Again I saw that under the sun.
The race is not to the swift.
Nor is the battle to the strong.
Nor is bread to the wise.
Nor is riches to the intelligent.
Nor is favor to the skillful.
But time happens to them all.
Chance happens to them all.
No one can anticipate
The time of disaster.
Like fish taken in a cruel net,
Like birds caught in a snare,
So mortals are snared
At a time of calamity.
When it suddenly falls upon them.”
Qoheleth sees human life under the sun like a game of chance. The swiftest runner does not always win the race. The strongest do not always win the battle. The wise do not always have the best food. The intelligent are not always rich. The skillful do not always succeed. Time and chance play a role. No one can predict when disaster will come. Just as fish and birds get stuck in nets and snares, so too mortals get caught when calamity suddenly happens to them.