The Folly of Rash Vows
5 1 Keep thy foot when thou goest to the house of God; for to draw nigh to hear is better than to give the sacrifice of fools: for they know not that they do evil. 2 Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thy heart be hasty to utter anything before God; for God is in heaven, and thou upon earth: therefore let thy words be few. 3 For a dream cometh with a multitude of business, and a fool's voice with a 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 vowest. 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 is was an error: wherefore should God be angry at thy voice, and destroy the work of thy hands? 7 For in the multitude of dreams there are vanities, and in many words: but fear thou God.
The Vanity of Life
8 If thou seest the oppression of the poor, and the violent taking away of justice and righteousness in a province, marvel not at the matter: for one higher than the high regardeth; and there are 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 also is vanity. 11 When goods increase, they are increased that eat them; and what advantage is there to the owner thereof, save the beholding [of them] with his eyes? 12 The sleep of a laboring man is sweet, whether he eat little or much; but the fulness of the rich will not suffer him to sleep. 13 There is a grievous evil which I have seen under the sun, [namely], riches kept by the owner thereof to his hurt: 14 and those riches perish by evil adventure; and if he hath begotten a son, there is nothing in his hand. 15 As he came forth from his mother's womb, naked shall he go again as he came, and shall take nothing for his labor, which he may carry away in his hand. 16 And this also is a grievous evil, that in all points as he came, so shall he go: and what profit hath he that he laboreth for the wind? 17 All his days also he eateth in darkness, and he is sore vexed, and hath sickness and wrath.
18 Behold, that which I have seen to be good and to be comely is for one to eat and to drink, and to enjoy good in all his labor, wherein he laboreth under the sun, all the days of his life which God hath given him: for this 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 labor—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 1 There is an evil which I have seen under the sun, and it is heavy upon men: 2 a man to whom God giveth riches, wealth, and honor, so that he lacketh nothing for his soul of all that he desireth, yet God giveth him not power to eat thereof, but an alien eateth it; this is vanity, and it is an evil disease. 3 If a man beget a hundred children, and live many years, so that the days of his years are many, but his soul be not filled with good, and moreover he have no burial; I say, that an untimely birth is better than he: 4 for it cometh in vanity, and departeth in darkness, and the name thereof is covered with darkness; 5 moreover it hath not seen the sun nor known it; this hath rest rather than the other: 6 yea, though he live a thousand years twice told, and yet enjoy no good, do not all go to one place?
7 All the labor of man is for his mouth, and yet the appetite is not filled. 8 For what advantage hath the wise more than the fool? [or] what hath the poor man, that knoweth how to walk before the living? 9 Better is the sight of the eyes than the wandering of the desire: this also is vanity and a striving after wind. 10 Whatsoever hath been, the name thereof was given long ago; and it is know what man is; neither can he contend with him that is mightier than he.
11 Seeing there are many things that increase vanity, what is man the better? 12 For who knoweth what is good for man in [his] life, all 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 1 A [good] name is better than precious oil; 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 is better than laughter; for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made glad. 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 of thorns under a pot, so is the laughter of the fool: this also is vanity.
7 Surely extortion maketh the wise man foolish; and a bribe destroyeth the understanding. 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 inquire wisely concerning this.
11 Wisdom is as good as an inheritance; yea, more excellent is it for them that see the sun. 12 For wisdom is a defence, even as money is a defence; but the excellency of knowledge is, that wisdom preserveth the life of him that hath 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, and in the day of adversity consider; yea, God hath made the one side by side with the other, to the end that man should not find out anything [that shall be] after him. 15 All this have I seen in my days of vanity: there is a righteous man that perisheth in his righteousness, and there is a wicked man that prolongeth [his life] in his evil-doing. 16 Be not righteous overmuch; neither make thyself overwise: why shouldest thou destroy thyself? 17 Be not overmuch 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 that withdraw not thy hand: for he that feareth God shall come forth from them all. 19 Wisdom is a strength to the wise man more than ten rulers that are in a city. 20 Surely there is not a righteous man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not. 21 Also take not 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 in wisdom: I said, I will be wise; but it was far from me. 24 That which is, is far off and exceeding deep; who can find it out? 25 I turned about, and my heart [was set] to know and to search out, and to seek wisdom and the reason [of things], and to know that wickedness is folly, and that foolishness is madness. 26 And I find more bitter than death the woman whose heart is snares and nets, [and] whose hands are 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, [laying] one thing to another, to find out the account; 28 which my soul still seeketh, but I have not found: one man among a thousand have I found; but a woman among all those have I not found. 29 Behold, this only have I found: that God made man upright; but they have sought out many inventions.
8 1 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 hardness of his face is changed. 2 I [counsel thee], Keep the king's command, and that in regard of the oath of God. 3 Be not hasty to go out of his presence; persist not in an evil thing: for he doeth whatsoever pleaseth him. 4 For the king's word [hath] power; and who may say unto him, What doest thou? 5 Whoso keepeth the commandment shall know no evil thing; and a wise man's heart discerneth time and judgment:
6 for to every purpose there is a time and judgment; because the misery of man is great upon him: 7 for he knoweth not that which shall be; for who can tell him how it shall be? 8 There is no man that hath power over the spirit to retain the spirit; neither hath he power over the day of death; and there is no discharge in war: neither shall wickedness deliver him that is 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 hath power over another to his hurt.
The Inequalities of Life
10 So I saw the wicked buried, and they came [to the grave]; and they that had done right went away from the holy place, and were forgotten in the city: this also is 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 a hundred times, and prolong his [days], yet surely I know that it shall be well with them that fear God, that 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 are righteous men unto whom it happeneth according to the work of the wicked; again, there are 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 joyful: for that shall abide with him in his labor [all] the days of his life which God hath given him under the sun. 16 When I applied my 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 man cannot find out the work that is done under the sun: because however much a man labor to seek it out, yet he shall not find it; yea moreover, though a wise man think to know it, yet shall he not be able to find it.