41 And again I saw all the cruel things which are done under the sun; there was the weeping of those who have evil done to them, and they had no comforter: and from the hands of the evil-doers there went out power, but they had no comforter. 2 So my praise was for the dead who have gone to their death, more than for the living who still have life. 3 Yes, happier than the dead or the living seemed he who has not ever been, who has not seen the evil which is done under the sun.
4 And I saw that the cause of all the work and of everything which is done well was man's envy of his neighbour. This again is to no purpose and a desire for wind. 5 The foolish man, folding his hands, takes the flesh of his body for food. 6 One hand full of rest is better than two hands full of trouble and desire for wind.
7 Then I came back, and I saw an example of what is to no purpose under the sun. 8 It is one who is by himself, without a second, and without son or brother; but there is no end to all his work, and he has never enough of wealth. For whom, then, am I working and keeping myself from pleasure? This again is to no purpose, and a bitter work. 9 Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their work. 10 And if one has a fall, the other will give him a hand; but unhappy is the man who is by himself, because he has no helper. 11 So again, if two are sleeping together they are warm, but how may one be warm by himself? 12 And two attacked by one would be safe, and three cords twisted together are not quickly broken.
13 A young man who is poor and wise is better than a king who is old and foolish and will not be guided by the wisdom of others. 14 Because out of a prison the young man comes to be king, though by birth he was only a poor man in the kingdom. 15 I saw all the living under the sun round the young man who was to be ruler in place of the king. 16 There was no end of all the people, of all those whose head he was, but they who come later will have no delight in him. This again is to no purpose and desire for wind. 17 Put your feet down with care when you go to the house of God, for it is better to give ear than to make the burned offerings of the foolish, whose knowledge is only of doing evil.
The Folly of Rash Vows
51 Be not unwise with your mouth, and let not your heart be quick to say anything before God, because God is in heaven and you are on the earth—so let not the number of your words be great. 2 As a dream comes from much business, so the voice of a foolish man comes with words in great number. 3 When you take an oath before God, put it quickly into effect, because he has no pleasure in the foolish; keep the oath you have taken.
4 It is better not to take an oath than to take an oath and not keep it. 5 Let not your mouth make your flesh do evil. And say not before the angel, It was an error. So that God may not be angry with your words and put an end to the work of your hands. 6 Because much talk comes from dreams and things of no purpose. But let the fear of God be in you. 7 If you see the poor under a cruel yoke, and law and right being violently overturned in a country, be not surprised, because one authority is keeping watch on another and there are higher than they.
The Vanity of Life
8 It is good generally for a country where the land is worked to have a king.
9 He who has a love for silver never has enough silver, or he who has love for wealth, enough profit. This again is to no purpose. 10 When goods are increased, the number of those who take of them is increased; and what profit has the owner but to see them? 11 The sleep of a working man is sweet, if he has little food or much; but to him who is full, sleep will not come. 12 There is a great evil which I have seen under the sun—wealth kept by the owner to be his downfall. 13 And I saw the destruction of his wealth by an evil chance; and when he became the father of a son he had nothing in his hand. 14 As he came from his mother at birth, so does he go again; he gets from his work no reward which he may take away in his hand. 15 And this again is a great evil, that in all points as he came so will he go; and what profit has he in working for the wind? 16 All his days are in the dark, and he has much sorrow, pain, disease, and trouble. 17 This is what I have seen: it is good and fair for a man to take meat and drink and to have joy in all his work under the sun, all the days of his life which God has given him; that is his reward.
18 Every man to whom God has given money and wealth and the power to have pleasure in it and to do his part and have joy in his work: this is given by God. 19 He will not give much thought to the days of his life; because God lets him be taken up with the joy of his heart.
61 There is an evil which I have seen under the sun, and it is hard on men; 2 A man to whom God gives money, wealth, and honour so that he has all his desires but God does not give him the power to have joy of it, and a strange man takes it. This is to no purpose and an evil disease. 3 If a man has a hundred children, and his life is long so that the days of his years are great in number, but his soul takes no pleasure in good, and he is not honoured at his death; I say that a birth before its time is better than he. 4 In wind it came and to the dark it will go, and with the dark will its name be covered. 5 Yes, it saw not the sun, and it had no knowledge; it is better with this than with the other. 6 And though he goes on living a thousand years twice over and does not see good, are not the two going to the same place?
7 All the work of man is for his mouth, and still he has a desire for food. 8 What have the wise more than the foolish? and what has the poor man by walking wisely before the living? 9 What the eyes see is better than the wandering of desire. This is to no purpose and a desire for wind. 10 That which is, has been named before, and of what man is there is knowledge. He has no power against one stronger than he.
11 There are words without number for increasing what is to no purpose, but what is man profited by them? 12 Who is able to say what is good for man in life all the days of his foolish life which he goes through like a shade? who will say what is to be after him under the sun?