Ecclesiastes 5

Be Careful About Making Promises

5 Be careful when you go to worship at the Temple. It is better to listen than to offer foolish sacrifices without even knowing you are doing wrong.

2 Think before you speak,
and be careful about what you say to God.
God is in heaven,
and you are on the earth,
so say only a few words to God.
3 The saying is true: Bad dreams come from too much worrying,
and too many words come from foolish people.

4 If you make a promise to God, don’t be slow to keep it. God is not happy with fools, so give God what you promised. 5 It is better not to promise anything than to promise something and not do it. 6 Don’t let your words cause you to sin, and don’t say to the priest at the Temple, “I didn’t mean what I promised.” If you do, God will become angry with your words and will destroy everything you have worked for. 7 Many useless promises are like so many dreams; they mean nothing. You should respect God.

Officers Cheat Each Other

8 In some places you will see poor people mistreated. Don’t be surprised when they are not treated fairly or given their rights. One officer is cheated by a higher officer who in turn is cheated by even higher officers. 9 The wealth of the country is divided up among them all. Even the king makes sure he gets his share of the profits.

Wealth Cannot Buy Happiness

10 Whoever loves money
will never have enough money;
Whoever loves wealth
will not be satisfied with it.
This is also useless.
11 The more wealth people have,
the more friends they have to help spend it.
So what do people really gain?
They gain nothing except to look at their riches.
12 Those who work hard sleep in peace;
it is not important if they eat little or much.
But rich people worry about their wealth
and cannot sleep.

13 I have seen real misery here on earth:
Money saved is a curse to its owners.
14 They lose it all in a bad deal
and have nothing to give to their children.
15 People come into this world with nothing,
and when they die they leave with nothing.
In spite of all their hard work,
they leave just as they came.
16 This, too, is real misery:
They leave just as they came.
So what do they gain from chasing the wind?
17 All they get are days full of sadness and sorrow,
and they end up sick, defeated, and angry.

Enjoy Your Life’s Work

18 I have seen what is best for people here on earth. They should eat and drink and enjoy their work, because the life God has given them on earth is short. 19 God gives some people the ability to enjoy the wealth and property he gives them, as well as the ability to accept their state in life and enjoy their work. 20 They do not worry about how short life is, because God keeps them busy with what they love to do.

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