Ecclesiastes 5-8 King James Version

The Folly of Rash Vows

5 Keep thy foot when thou goest to the house of God, and be more ready to hear, than to give the sacrifice of fools: for they consider not that they do evil. 2  Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter any thing [1] before God: for God is in heaven, and thou upon earth: therefore let thy words be few. 3  For a dream cometh through the multitude of business; and a fool's voice is known by multitude of words.

4  When thou vowest a vow unto God, defer not to pay it; for he hath no pleasure in fools: pay that which thou hast vowed. 5  Better is it that thou shouldest not vow, than that thou shouldest vow and not pay. 6  Suffer not thy mouth to cause thy flesh to sin; neither say thou before the angel, that it was an error: wherefore should God be angry at thy voice, and destroy the work of thine hands? 7  For in the multitude of dreams and many words there are also divers vanities: but fear thou God.

The Vanity of Life

8  If thou seest the oppression of the poor, and violent perverting of judgment and justice in a province, marvel not at the matter: for he that is higher than the highest regardeth; and there be higher than they.

9  Moreover the profit of the earth is for all: the king himself is served by the field. 10  He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver; nor he that loveth abundance with increase: this is also vanity. 11  When goods increase, they are increased that eat them: and what good is there to the owners thereof, saving the beholding of them with their eyes? 12  The sleep of a labouring man is sweet, whether he eat little or much: but the abundance of the rich will not suffer him to sleep. 13  There is a sore evil which I have seen under the sun, namely, riches kept for the owners thereof to their hurt. 14  But those riches perish by evil travail: and he begetteth a son, and there is nothing in his hand. 15  As he came forth of his mother's womb, naked shall he return to go as he came, and shall take nothing of his labour, which he may carry away in his hand. 16  And this also is a sore evil, that in all points as he came, so shall he go: and what profit hath he that hath laboured for the wind? 17  All his days also he eateth in darkness, and he hath much sorrow and wrath with his sickness.

18  Behold that which I have seen: it is good and comely for one to eat and to drink, and to enjoy the good of all his labour that he taketh under the sun all the days of his life, which God giveth him: for it is his portion. 19  Every man also to whom God hath given riches and wealth, and hath given him power to eat thereof, and to take his portion, and to rejoice in his labour; this is the gift of God. 20  For he shall not much remember the days of his life; because God answereth him in the joy of his heart.

6 There is an evil which I have seen under the sun, and it is common among men: 2  A man to whom God hath given riches, wealth, and honour, so that he wanteth nothing for his soul of all that he desireth, yet God giveth him not power to eat thereof, but a stranger eateth it: this is vanity, and it is an evil disease. 3  If a man beget an hundred children, and live many years, so that the days of his years be many, and his soul be not filled with good, and also that he have no burial; I say, that an untimely birth is better than he. 4  For he cometh in with vanity, and departeth in darkness, and his name shall be covered with darkness. 5  Moreover he hath not seen the sun, nor known any thing: this hath more rest than the other. 6  Yea, though he live a thousand years twice told, yet hath he seen no good: do not all go to one place?

7  All the labour of man is for his mouth, and yet the appetite [2] is not filled. 8  For what hath the wise more than the fool? what hath the poor, that knoweth to walk before the living? 9  Better is the sight of the eyes than the wandering of the desire: this is also vanity and vexation of spirit. 10  That which hath been is named already, and it is known that it is man: neither may he contend with him that is mightier than he.

11  Seeing there be many things that increase vanity, what is man the better? 12  For who knoweth what is good for man in this life, all [3] the days of his vain life which he spendeth as a shadow? for who can tell a man what shall be after him under the sun?

Wisdom and Folly Compared

7 A good name is better than precious ointment; and the day of death than the day of one's birth. 2  It is better to go to the house of mourning, than to go to the house of feasting: for that is the end of all men; and the living will lay it to his heart. 3  Sorrow [4] is better than laughter: for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better. 4  The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning; but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth. 5  It is better to hear the rebuke of the wise, than for a man to hear the song of fools. 6  For as the crackling [5] of thorns under a pot, so is the laughter of the fool: this also is vanity.

7  Surely oppression maketh a wise man mad; and a gift destroyeth the heart. 8  Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof: and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit. 9  Be not hasty in thy spirit to be angry: for anger resteth in the bosom of fools. 10  Say not thou, What is the cause that the former days were better than these? for thou dost not enquire wisely [6] concerning this.

11  Wisdom is good [7] with an inheritance: and by it there is profit to them that see the sun. 12  For wisdom is a defence, [8] and money is a defence: but the excellency of knowledge is, that wisdom giveth life to them that have it. 13  Consider the work of God: for who can make that straight, which he hath made crooked? 14  In the day of prosperity be joyful, but in the day of adversity consider: God also hath set [9] the one over against the other, to the end that man should find nothing after him. 15  All things have I seen in the days of my vanity: there is a just man that perisheth in his righteousness, and there is a wicked man that prolongeth his life in his wickedness. 16  Be not righteous over much; neither make thyself over wise: why shouldest thou destroy [10] thyself? 17  Be not over much wicked, neither be thou foolish: why shouldest thou die before thy time? 18  It is good that thou shouldest take hold of this; yea, also from this withdraw not thine hand: for he that feareth God shall come forth of them all. 19  Wisdom strengtheneth the wise more than ten mighty men which are in the city. 20  For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not. 21  Also take [11] no heed unto all words that are spoken; lest thou hear thy servant curse thee: 22  For oftentimes also thine own heart knoweth that thou thyself likewise hast cursed others.

23  All this have I proved by wisdom: I said, I will be wise; but it was far from me. 24  That which is far off, and exceeding deep, who can find it out? 25  I applied [12] mine heart to know, and to search, and to seek out wisdom, and the reason of things, and to know the wickedness of folly, even of foolishness and madness: 26  And I find more bitter than death the woman, whose heart is snares and nets, and her hands as bands: whoso pleaseth God shall escape from her; but the sinner shall be taken by her. 27  Behold, this have I found, saith the preacher, counting one by one, to find out the account: 28  Which yet my soul seeketh, but I find not: one man among a thousand have I found; but a woman among all those have I not found. 29  Lo, this only have I found, that God hath made man upright; but they have sought out many inventions.

8 Who is as the wise man? and who knoweth the interpretation of a thing? a man's wisdom maketh his face to shine, and the boldness [13] of his face shall be changed. 2  I counsel thee to keep the king's commandment, and that in regard of the oath of God. 3  Be not hasty to go out of his sight: stand not in an evil thing; for he doeth whatsoever pleaseth him. 4  Where the word of a king is, there is power: and who may say unto him, What doest thou? 5  Whoso keepeth the commandment shall feel no evil thing: and a wise man's heart discerneth both time and judgment.

6  Because to every purpose there is time and judgment, therefore the misery of man is great upon him. 7  For he knoweth not that which shall be: for who can tell him when it shall be? 8  There is no man that hath power over the spirit to retain the spirit; neither hath he power in the day of death: and there is no discharge [14] in that war; neither shall wickedness deliver those that are given to it.

9  All this have I seen, and applied my heart unto every work that is done under the sun: there is a time wherein one man ruleth over another to his own hurt.

The Inequalities of Life

10  And so I saw the wicked buried, who had come and gone from the place of the holy, and they were forgotten in the city where they had so done: this is also vanity. 11  Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil. 12  Though a sinner do evil an hundred times, and his days be prolonged, yet surely I know that it shall be well with them that fear God, which fear before him: 13  But it shall not be well with the wicked, neither shall he prolong his days, which are as a shadow; because he feareth not before God.

14  There is a vanity which is done upon the earth; that there be just men, unto whom it happeneth according to the work of the wicked; again, there be wicked men, to whom it happeneth according to the work of the righteous: I said that this also is vanity. 15  Then I commended mirth, because a man hath no better thing under the sun, than to eat, and to drink, and to be merry: for that shall abide with him of his labour the days of his life, which God giveth him under the sun. 16  When I applied mine heart to know wisdom, and to see the business that is done upon the earth: (for also there is that neither day nor night seeth sleep with his eyes:) 17  Then I beheld all the work of God, that a man cannot find out the work that is done under the sun: because though a man labour to seek it out, yet he shall not find it; yea further; though a wise man think to know it, yet shall he not be able to find it.


[1] 5:2 thing: or, word

[2] 6:7 appetite: Heb. soul

[3] 6:12 all...: Heb. the number of the days of the life of his vanity

[4] 7:3 Sorrow: or, Anger

[5] 7:6 crackling: Heb. sound

[6] 7:10 wisely: Heb. out of wisdom

[7] 7:11 good...: or, as good as an inheritance, yea, better too

[8] 7:12 defence: Heb. shadow

[9] 7:14 set: Heb. made

[10] 7:16 destroy...: Heb. be desolate?

[11] 7:21 take...: Heb. give not thine heart

[12] 7:25 I applied...: Heb. I and mine heart compassed

[13] 8:1 the boldness: Heb. the strength

[14] 8:8 discharge: or, casting off weapons

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