Ecclesiastes 5-8 New American Standard Bible

The Folly of Rash Vows

5 1  Guard your steps as you go to the house of God and draw near to listen rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools ; for they do not know they are doing evil . 2  Do not be hasty in word or impulsive in thought to bring up a matter in the presence of God . For God is in heaven and you are on the earth ; therefore e let your words be few . 3  For the dream comes through much effort and the voice of a fool through many words .

4  When you make a vow to God , do not be late in paying it; for He takes no delight in fools . Pay what you vow ! 5  It is better that you should not vow than that you should vow and not pay . 6  Do not let your speech cause you to sin and do not say in the presence of the messenger of God that it was a mistake . Why should God be angry on account of your voice and destroy the work of your hands ? 7  For in many dreams and in many words there is emptiness . Rather , fear God .

The Vanity of Life

8  If you see oppression of the poor and denial of justice and righteousness in the province , do not be shocked at the sight ; for one official watches over e another official , and there are higher officials over them.

9  After all , a king who cultivates the field is an advantage to the land . 10  He who loves money will not be satisfied with money , nor he who loves abundance with its income . This too is vanity . 11  When good things increase , those who consume them increase . So what is the advantage to their owners except e to look e on? 12  The sleep of the working man is pleasant , whether he eats little or much ; but the full stomach of the rich man does not allow him to sleep . 13  There is a grievous evil which I have seen under the sun : riches being hoarded by their owner to his hurt . 14  When those riches were lost through a bad investment and he had fathered a son , then there was nothing e to support him. 15  As he had come naked from his mother's womb , so will he return as he came . He will take nothing e from the fruit of his labor that he can carry in his hand . 16  This also is a grievous evil -exactly as a man is born , thus will he die . So what is the advantage to him who toils for the wind ? 17  Throughout his life he also eats in darkness with great vexation , sickness and anger .

18  Here is what I have seen to be good and fitting : to eat , to drink and enjoy oneself in all one's labor in which he toils under the sun during the few years of his life which God has given him; for this is his reward . 19  Furthermore , as for every man to whom God has given riches and wealth , He has also empowered him to eat from them and to receive his reward and rejoice in his labor ; this is the gift of God . 20  For he will not often consider the years of his life , because God keeps him occupied with the gladness of his heart .

6 1  There is an evil which I have seen under the sun and it is prevalent among men - 2  a man to whom God has given riches and wealth and honor so that his soul lacks nothing of all that he desires ; yet God has not empowered him to eat from them, for a foreigner enjoys them. This is vanity and a severe affliction . 3  If a man fathers a hundred children and lives many years , however many they be, but his soul is not satisfied with good things and he does not even have a proper burial , then I say , "Better the miscarriage than he, 4  for it comes in futility and goes into obscurity ; and its name is covered in obscurity . 5  "It never sees the sun and it never knows anything; it is better off than he. 6  "Even if the other man lives a thousand years twice and does not enjoy good things - do not all go to one place ?"

7  All a man's labor is for his mouth and yet the appetite is not satisfied . 8  For what advantage does the wise man have over the fool ? What advantage does the poor man have, knowing how to walk before the living ? 9  What the eyes see is better than what the soul desires . This too is futility and a striving after wind . 10  Whatever e exists has already been named e , and it is known what man is; for he cannot e dispute with him who is stronger than he is.

11  For there are many words which increase futility . What then is the advantage to a man ? 12  For who knows what is good for a man during his lifetime , during the few years of his futile life ? He will spend them like a shadow . For who can tell a man what will be after him under the sun ?

Wisdom and Folly Compared

7 1  A good name is better than a good ointment , And the day of one's death is better than the day of one's birth . 2  It is better to go to a house of mourning Than to go to a house of feasting , Because that is the end of every man , And the living takes it to heart . 3  Sorrow is better than laughter , For when a face is sad a heart may be happy . 4  The mind of the wise is in the house of mourning , While the mind of fools is in the house of pleasure . 5  It is better to listen to the rebuke of a wise man Than for one to listen to the song of fools . 6  For as the crackling of thorn bushes under a pot , So is the laughter of the fool ; And this too is futility .

7  For oppression makes a wise man mad , And a bribe corrupts the heart . 8  The end of a matter is better than its beginning ; Patience of spirit is better than haughtiness of spirit . 9  Do not be eager in your heart to be angry , For anger resides in the bosom of fools . 10  Do not say , "Why is it that the former days were better than these ?" For it is not from wisdom that you ask about this .

11  Wisdom along with an inheritance is good And an advantage to those who see the sun . 12  For wisdom is protection just as money is protection , But the advantage of knowledge is that wisdom preserves the lives of its possessors . 13  Consider the work of God , For who is able to straighten what He has bent ? 14  In the day of prosperity be happy , But in the day of adversity consider - God has made the one as well as the other So e that man will not discover anything that will be after him. 15  I have seen everything during my lifetime of futility ; there is a righteous man who perishes in his righteousness and there is a wicked man who prolongs his life in his wickedness . 16  Do not be excessively righteous and do not be overly wise . Why should you ruin yourself? 17  Do not be excessively wicked and do not be a fool . Why should you die before your time ? 18  It is good that you grasp one thing and also not let e go e of the other ; for the one who fears God comes forth with both of them. 19  Wisdom strengthens a wise man more than ten rulers who are in a city . 20  Indeed , there is not a righteous man on earth who continually does good and who never sins . 21  Also , do not take seriously all words which are spoken , so that you will not hear your servant cursing you. 22  For you also have realized that you likewise have many times cursed others .

23  I tested all this with wisdom , and I said , "I will be wise ," but it was far from me. 24  What has been is remote and exceedingly mysterious . Who can discover it? 25  I directed my mind to know , to investigate and to seek wisdom and an explanation , and to know the evil of folly and the foolishness of madness . 26  And I discovered more bitter than death the woman whose heart is snares and nets , whose hands are chains . One who is pleasing to God will escape from her, but the sinner will be captured by her. 27  "Behold , I have discovered this ," says the Preacher , "adding one thing to another to find an explanation , 28  which I am still seeking but have not found . I have found one man among a thousand , but I have not found a woman among all these . 29  "Behold , I have found only this , that God made men upright , but they have sought out many devices ."

8 1  Who is like the wise man and who knows the interpretation of a matter ? A man's wisdom illumines him and causes his stern face to beam . 2  I say, "Keep the command of the king because e of the oath before God . 3  "Do not be in a hurry to leave e him. Do not join in an evil matter , for he will do whatever e he pleases ." 4  Since the word of the king is authoritative , who will say to him, "What are you doing ?" 5  He who keeps a royal command experiences no trouble , for a wise heart knows the proper time and procedure .

6  For there is a proper time and procedure for every delight , though a man's trouble is heavy upon him. 7  If no one knows what will happen , who can tell him when it will happen ? 8  No man has authority to restrain the wind with the wind , or authority over the day of death ; and there is no discharge in the time of war , and evil will not deliver those who practice it.

9  All this I have seen and applied my mind to every deed that has been done under the sun wherein a man has exercised authority over another man to his hurt .

The Inequalities of Life

10  So then, I have seen the wicked buried , those who used to go in and out from the holy place , and they are soon forgotten in the city where they did thus . This too is futility . 11  Because the sentence against an evil deed is not executed quickly , therefore e the hearts of the sons of men among them are given fully to do evil . 12  Although a sinner does evil a hundred times and may lengthen his life, still e I know that it will be well for those who fear God , who fear Him openly e . 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 .

14  There is futility which is done on the earth , that is, there are righteous men to whom it happens according to the deeds of the wicked . On the other hand, there are evil men to whom it happens according to the deeds of the righteous . I say that this too is futility . 15  So I commended pleasure , for there is nothing good for a man under the sun except e to eat and to drink and to be merry , and this will stand by him in his toils throughout the days of his life which God has given him under the sun . 16  When I gave my heart to know wisdom and to see the task which has been done on the earth (even though one should never sleep e e day or night ), 17  and I saw every work of God , I concluded that man cannot e discover the work which has been done under the sun . Even though e man should seek laboriously , he will not discover ; and though the wise man should say , "I know ," he cannot e discover .

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