The Folly of Rash Vows
5 1 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.
8 1 Who is like the wise man? and to whom is the sense of anything clear? A man's wisdom makes his face shining, and his hard face will be changed. 2 I say to you, Keep the king's law, from respect for the oath of God. 3 Be not quick to go from before him. Be not fixed in an evil design, because he does whatever is pleasing to him. 4 The word of a king has authority; and who may say to him, What is this you are doing? 5 Whoever keeps the law will come to no evil: and a wise man's heart has knowledge of time and of decision.
6 For every purpose there is a time and a decision, because the sorrow of man is great in him. 7 No one is certain what is to be, and who is able to say to him when it will be? 8 No man has authority over the wind, to keep the wind; or is ruler over the day of his death. In war no man's time is free, and evil will not keep the sinner safe.
9 All this have I seen, and have given my heart to all the work which is done under the sun: there is a time when man has power over man for his destruction.
The Inequalities of Life
10 And then I saw evil men put to rest, taken even from the holy place; and they went about and were praised in the town because of what they had done. This again is to no purpose. 11 Because punishment for an evil work comes not quickly, the minds of the sons of men are fully given to doing evil. 12 Though a sinner does evil a hundred times and his life is long, I am certain that it will be well for those who go in fear of God and are in fear before him. 13 But it will not be well for the evil-doer; he will not make his days long like a shade, because he has no fear before God.
14 There is a thing which is to no purpose done on the earth: that there are good men to whom is given the same punishment as those who are evil, and there are evil men who get the reward of the good. I say that this again is to no purpose. 15 So I gave praise to joy, because there is nothing better for a man to do under the sun than to take meat and drink and be happy; for that will be with him in his work all the days of his life which God gives him under the sun. 16 When I gave my mind to the knowledge of wisdom and to seeing the business which is done on the earth (and there are those whose eyes see not sleep by day or by night), 17 Then I saw all the work of God, and that man may not get knowledge of the work which is done under the sun; because, if a man gives hard work to the search he will not get knowledge, and even if the wise man seems to be coming to the end of his search, still he will be without knowledge.