Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. Go near to listen rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools, who do not know that they do wrong.
Do not be quick with your mouth, do not be hasty in your heart to utter anything before God. God is in heaven and you are on earth, so let your words be few.
As a dream comes when there are many cares, so the speech of a fool when there are many words.
When you make a vow to God, do not delay in fulfilling it. He has no pleasure in fools; fulfill your vow.
It is better not to vow than to make a vow and not fulfill it.
Do not let your mouth lead you into sin. And do not protest to the [temple] messenger, "My vow was a mistake." Why should God be angry at what you say and destroy the work of your hands?
Much dreaming and many words are meaningless. Therefore stand in awe of God.
If you see the poor oppressed in a district, and justice and rights denied, do not be surprised at such things; for one official is eyed by a higher one, and over them both are others higher still.
The increase from the land is taken by all; the king himself profits from the fields.
Whoever loves money never has money enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income. This too is meaningless.
As goods increase, so do those who consume them. And what benefit are they to the owner except to feast his eyes on them?
The sleep of a laborer is sweet, whether he eats little or much, but the abundance of a rich man permits him no sleep.
I have seen a grievous evil under the sun: wealth hoarded to the harm of its owner,
or wealth lost through some misfortune, so that when he has a son there is nothing left for him.
Naked a man comes from his mother's womb, and as he comes, so he departs. He takes nothing from his labor that he can carry in his hand.
This too is a grievous evil: As a man comes, so he departs, and what does he gain, since he toils for the wind?
All his days he eats in darkness, with great frustration, affliction and anger.
Then I realized that it is good and proper for a man to eat and drink, and to find satisfaction in his toilsome labor under the sun during the few days of life God has given him--for this is his lot.
Moreover, when God gives any man wealth and possessions, and enables him to enjoy them, to accept his lot and be happy in his work--this is a gift of God.
He seldom reflects on the days of his life, because God keeps him occupied with gladness of heart.
I have seen another evil under the sun, and it weighs heavily on men:
God gives a man wealth, possessions and honor, so that he lacks nothing his heart desires, but God does not enable him to enjoy them, and a stranger enjoys them instead. This is meaningless, a grievous evil.
A man may have a hundred children and live many years; yet no matter how long he lives, if he cannot enjoy his prosperity and does not receive proper burial, I say that a stillborn child is better off than he.
It comes without meaning, it departs in darkness, and in darkness its name is shrouded.
Though it never saw the sun or knew anything, it has more rest than does that man--
even if he lives a thousand years twice over but fails to enjoy his prosperity. Do not all go to the same place?
All man's efforts are for his mouth, yet his appetite is never satisfied.
What advantage has a wise man over a fool? What does a poor man gain by knowing how to conduct himself before others?
Better what the eye sees than the roving of the appetite. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.
Whatever exists has already been named, and what man is has been known; no man can contend with one who is stronger than he.
The more the words, the less the meaning, and how does that profit anyone?
For who knows what is good for a man in life, during the few and meaningless days he passes through like a shadow? Who can tell him what will happen under the sun after he is gone?
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. NIV. Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.