The Folly of Rash Vows
5 1 Keep thy foot when thou goest to the house of God, and draw near to hear, rather 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 the heavens, 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 through 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 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 inadvertence. Wherefore should God be wroth at thy voice, and destroy the work of thy hands? 7 For in the multitude of dreams are vanities; so with many words: but fear 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 a higher than the high is watching, and there are higher than they.
9 Moreover the earth is every way profitable: the king [himself] is dependent upon 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 profit is there to the owner thereof, except the beholding [of them] with his eyes? 12 The sleep of the labourer is sweet, whether he have eaten little or much; but the fulness of the rich doth not suffer him to sleep. 13 There is a grievous evil that I have seen under the sun: riches kept for the owners thereof to their hurt; 14 or those riches perish by some evil circumstance, and if he have begotten a son, there is nothing in his hand. 15 As he came forth from his mother's womb, naked shall he go away again as he came, and shall take nothing of his labour, which he may carry away in his hand. 16 And this also is a grievous evil, that in all points as he came so doth he go away, and what profit hath he, in having laboured for the wind? 17 All his days also he eateth in darkness, and hath much vexation, and sickness, and irritation.
18 Behold what I have seen good and comely: [it is] to eat and to drink, and to enjoy good in all his labour wherewith [man] laboureth under the sun, all the days of his life which God hath given him: for that is his portion. 19 Every man also to whom God hath given riches and wealth, and power to eat thereof, and to take his portion and to rejoice in his labour: that is a gift of God. 20 For he will not much remember the days of his life, because God answereth [him] with the joy of his heart.
6 1 There is an evil that I have seen under the sun, and it is frequent among men: 2 one to whom God giveth riches, wealth, and honour, and 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 a sore evil. 3 If a man beget a hundred [sons], and live many years, so that the days of his years be many, but his soul be not filled with good, and also he have no burial, I say an untimely birth is better than he. 4 For it cometh in vanity, and departeth in darkness, and its name is covered with darkness; 5 moreover it hath not seen nor known the sun: this hath rest rather than the other. 6 Yea, though he live twice a thousand years, 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 is not filled. 8 For what advantage hath the wise above the fool? what hath the poor, that knoweth to walk before the living? 9 Better is the seeing of the eyes than the wandering of the desire: this also is vanity and pursuit of the wind. 10 That which is hath already been named; and what man is, is known, and that he cannot contend with him that is mightier than he.
11 For there are many things that increase vanity: what is man advantaged? 12 For who knoweth what is good for man in life, all the days of his vain life which he spendeth as a shadow? for who can tell man what shall be after him under the sun?
Wisdom and Folly Compared
7 1 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: in that that is the end of all men, and the living taketh it to heart. 3 Vexation 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 in the house of mirth. 5 It is better for a man to hear the rebuke of the wise, than 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 oppression maketh a wise man mad, and a gift destroyeth the heart. 8 Better is the end of a thing than its beginning; better is a patient spirit than a proud spirit. 9 Be not hasty in thy spirit to be vexed; for vexation resteth in the bosom of fools. 10 Say not, How is it that the former days were better than these? for thou dost not inquire wisely concerning this.
11 Wisdom is as good as an inheritance, and profitable to them that see the sun. 12 For wisdom is a defence [as] money is a defence; but the excellency of knowledge is, [that] wisdom maketh them that possess it to live. 13 Consider the work of God; for who can make straight what he hath made crooked? 14 In the day of prosperity enjoy good, and in the day of adversity consider: God hath also set the one beside the other, to the end that man should find out nothing [of what shall be] after him. 15 All [this] have I seen in the days of my vanity: there is a righteous [man] that perisheth by his righteousness, and there is a wicked [man] that prolongeth [his days] by his wickedness. 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 cometh forth from them all. 19 Wisdom strengtheneth the wise more than ten mighty [men] that are in a city. 20 Surely there is not a righteous man upon earth, that doeth good and sinneth not. 21 Also give not heed unto all words that are spoken, lest thou hear thy servant curse thee. 22 For also thine own heart knoweth that oftentimes thou thyself likewise hast cursed others.
23 All this have I tried by wisdom: I said, I will be wise; but it was far from me. 24 Whatever hath been, is far off, and exceeding deep: who will find it out? 25 I turned, I and my heart, to know, and to search, and to seek out wisdom and reason, and to know wickedness to be folly, and foolishness to be madness; 26 and I found more bitter than death the woman whose heart is nets and snares, [and] whose hands are bands: whoso pleaseth God shall escape from her; but the sinner shall be caught by her. 27 See this which I have found, saith the Preacher, [searching] one by one to find out the reason; 28 which my soul yet seeketh, and I have not found: one man among a thousand have I found, but a woman among all those have I not found. 29 Only see this which I have found: that God made man upright, but they have sought out many devices.
8 1 Who is as the wise? and who knoweth the explanation of things? A man's wisdom maketh his face to shine, and the boldness of his face is changed. 2 I [say], Keep the king's commandment, and [that] on account of the oath of God. 3 Be not hasty to go out of his sight; persist not in an evil thing: for he doeth whatever pleaseth him, 4 because the word of a king is 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 knoweth time and manner.
6 For to every purpose there is time and manner. For 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 who hath control over the spirit to retain the spirit; and no one hath control over the day of death; and there is no discharge 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 when man ruleth man to his hurt.
The Inequalities of Life
10 And I have also seen the wicked buried and going away; and such as had acted rightly went 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 children of men is fully set in them to do evil. 12 Though a sinner do evil a hundred times, and prolong his [days], yet I know that it shall be well with them that fear God, because they fear before him; 13 but it shall not be well with the wicked, neither shall he prolong [his] days 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; and there are wicked [men] to whom it happeneth according to the work of the righteous. I said that this also is vanity. 15 And I commended mirth, because there is nothing better for man 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 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 saw that all [is] the work of God, [and] that man cannot find out the work that is done under the sun: because however man may labour to seek [it] out, yet doth he not find [it]; and even, if a wise [man] think to know [it], he shall not be able to find [it] out.