Ecclesiastes 5-8 Young’s Literal Translation

The Folly of Rash Vows

5 1  Keep thy feet when thou goest unto a house of God, and draw near to hear rather than to give of fools the sacrifice, for they do not know they do evil. 2  Cause not thy mouth to hasten, and let not thy heart hasten to bring out a word before God, for God is in the heavens, and thou on the earth, therefore let thy words be few. 3  For the dream hath come by abundance of business, and the voice of a fool by abundance of words.

4  When thou vowest a vow to God, delay not to complete it, for there is no pleasure in fools; that which thou vowest—complete. 5  Better that thou do not vow, than that thou dost vow and dost not complete. 6  Suffer not thy mouth to cause thy flesh to sin, nor say before the messenger, that 'it 'is' an error,' why is God wroth because of thy voice, and hath destroyed the work of thy hands? 7  For, in the abundance of dreams both vanities and words abound; but fear thou God.

The Vanity of Life

8  If oppression of the poor, and violent taking away of judgment and righteousness thou seest in a province, do not marvel at the matter, for a higher than the high is observing, and high ones 'are' over them.

9  And the abundance of a land is for all. A king for a field is served. 10  Whoso is loving silver is not satisfied 'with' silver, nor he who is in love with stores 'with' increase. Even this 'is' vanity. 11  In the multiplying of good have its consumers been multiplied, and what benefit 'is' to its possessor except the sight of his eyes? 12  Sweet 'is' the sleep of the labourer whether he eat little or much; and the sufficiency of the wealthy is not suffering him to sleep. 13  There is a painful evil I have seen under the sun: wealth kept for its possessor, for his evil. 14  And that wealth hath been lost in an evil business, and he hath begotten a son and there is nothing in his hand! 15  As he came out from the belly of his mother, naked he turneth back to go as he came, and he taketh not away anything of his labour, that doth go in his hand. 16  And this also 'is' a painful evil, just as he came, so he goeth, and what advantage 'is' to him who laboureth for wind? 17  Also all his days in darkness he consumeth, and sadness, and wrath, and sickness abound.

18  Lo, that which I have seen: 'It is' good, because beautiful, to eat, and to drink, and to see good in all one's labour that he laboureth at under the sun, the number of the days of his life that God hath given to him, for it 'is' his portion. 19  Every man also to whom God hath given wealth and riches, and hath given him power to eat of it, and to accept his portion, and to rejoice in his labour, this is a gift of God. 20  For he doth not much remember the days of his life, for God is answering through the joy of his heart.

6 1  There is an evil that I have seen under the sun, and it 'is' great on man: 2  A man to whom God giveth wealth, and riches, and honour, and there is no lack to his soul of all that he desireth, and God giveth him not power to eat of it, but a stranger eateth it; this 'is' vanity, and it 'is' an evil disease. 3  If a man doth beget a hundred, and live many years, and is great, because they are the days of his years, and his soul is not satisfied from the goodness, and also he hath not had a grave, I have said, 'Better than he 'is' the untimely birth.' 4  For in vanity he came in, and in darkness he goeth, and in darkness his name is covered, 5  Even the sun he hath not seen nor known, more rest hath this than that. 6  And though he had lived a thousand years twice over, yet good he hath not seen; to the same place doth not every one go?

7  All the labour of man 'is' for his mouth, and yet the soul is not filled. 8  For what advantage 'is' to the wise above the fool? What to the poor who knoweth to walk before the living? 9  Better 'is' the sight of the eyes than the going of the soul. This also 'is' vanity and vexation of spirit. 10  What 'is' that which hath been? already is its name called, and it is known that it 'is' man, and he is not able to contend with him who is stronger than he.

11  For there are many things multiplying vanity; what advantage 'is' to man? 12  For who knoweth what 'is' good for a man in life, the number of the days of the life of his vanity, and he maketh them as a shadow? for who declareth to man what is after him under the sun?

Wisdom and Folly Compared

7 1  Better 'is' a name than good perfume, And the day of death than the day of birth. 2  Better to go unto a house of mourning, Than to go unto a house of banqueting, For that is the end of all men, And the living layeth 'it' unto his heart. 3  Better 'is' sorrow than laughter, For by the sadness of the face the heart becometh better. 4  The heart of the wise 'is' in a house of mourning, And the heart of fools in a house of mirth. 5  Better to hear a rebuke of a wise man, Than 'for' a man to hear a song of fools, 6  For as the noise of thorns under the pot, So 'is' the laughter of a fool, even this 'is' vanity.

7  Surely oppression maketh the wise mad, And a gift destroyeth the heart. 8  Better 'is' the latter end of a thing than its beginning, Better 'is' the patient of spirit, than the haughty of spirit. 9  Be not hasty in thy spirit to be angry, For anger in the bosom of fools resteth. 10  Say not thou, 'What was it, That the former days were better than these?' For thou hast not asked wisely of this.

11  Wisdom 'is' good with an inheritance, And an advantage 'it is' to those beholding the sun. 12  For wisdom 'is' a defense, money 'is' a defence, And the advantage of the knowledge of wisdom 'is', She reviveth her possessors. 13  See the work of God, For who is able to make straight that which He made crooked? 14  In a day of prosperity be in gladness, And in a day of evil consider. Also this over-against that hath God made, To the intent that man doth not find anything after him. 15  The whole I have considered in the days of my vanity. There is a righteous one perishing in his righteousness, and there is a wrong-doer prolonging 'himself' in his wrong. 16  Be not over-righteous, nor show thyself too wise, why art thou desolate? 17  Do not much wrong, neither be thou a fool, why dost thou die within thy time? 18  'It is' good that thou dost lay hold on this, and also, from that withdrawest not thy hand, for whoso is fearing God goeth out with them all. 19  The wisdom giveth strength to a wise man, more than wealth the rulers who have been in a city. 20  Because there is not a righteous man on earth that doth good and sinneth not. 21  Also to all the words that they speak give not thy heart, that thou hear not thy servant reviling thee. 22  For many times also hath thy heart known that thou thyself also hast reviled others.

23  All this I have tried by wisdom; I have said, 'I am wise,' and it 'is' far from me. 24  Far off 'is' that which hath been, and deep, deep, who doth find it? 25  I have turned round, also my heart, to know and to search, and to seek out wisdom, and reason, and to know the wrong of folly, and of foolishness the madness. 26  And I am finding more bitter than death, the woman whose heart 'is' nets and snares, her hands 'are' bands; the good before God escapeth from her, but the sinner is captured by her. 27  See, this I have found, said the Preacher, one to one, to find out the reason 28  (that still my soul had sought, and I had not found), One man, a teacher, I have found, and a woman among all these I have not found. 29  See, this alone I have found, that God made man upright, and they—they have sought out many devices.

8 1  Who 'is' as the wise? and who knoweth the interpretation of a thing? The wisdom of man causeth his face to shine, and the hardness of his face is changed. 2  I pray thee, the commandment of a king keep, even for the sake of the oath of God. 3  Be not troubled at his presence, thou mayest go, stand not in an evil thing, for all that he pleaseth he doth. 4  Where the word of a king 'is' power 'is', and who saith to him, 'What dost thou?' 5  Whoso is keeping a command knoweth no evil thing, and time and judgment the heart of the wise knoweth.

6  For to every delight there is a time and a judgment, for the misfortune of man is great upon him. 7  For he knoweth not that which shall be, for when it shall be who declareth to him? 8  There is no man ruling over the spirit to restrain the spirit, and there is no authority over the day of death, and there is no discharge in battle, and wickedness delivereth not its possessors.

9  All this I have seen so as to give my heart to every work that hath been done under the sun; a time that man hath ruled over man to his own evil.

The Inequalities of Life

10  And so I have seen the wicked buried, and they went in, even from the Holy Place they go, and they are forgotten in the city whether they had so done. This also 'is' vanity. 11  Because sentence hath not been done 'on' an evil work speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of man is full within them to do evil. 12  Though a sinner is doing evil a hundred 'times', and prolonging 'himself' for it, surely also I know that there is good to those fearing God, who fear before Him. 13  And good is not to the wicked, and he doth not prolong days as a shadow, because he is not fearing before God.

14  There is a vanity that hath been done upon the earth, that there are righteous ones unto whom it is coming according to the work of the wicked, and there are wicked ones unto whom it is coming according to the work of the righteous. I have said that this also 'is' vanity. 15  And I have praised mirth because there is no good to man under the sun except to eat and to drink, and to rejoice, and it remaineth with him of his labour the days of his life that God hath given to him under the sun. 16  When I gave my heart to know wisdom and to see the business that hath been done on the earth, (for there is also a spectator in whose eyes sleep is not by day and by night), 17  then I considered all the work of God, that man is not able to find out the work that hath been done under the sun, because though man labour to seek, yet he doth not find; and even though the wise man speak of knowing he is not able to find.


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