Fulfil your vow to God
# In Hebrew texts 5:1 is numbered 4:17, and 5:2-20 is numbered 5:1-19. 1Guard 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.
2Do 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.
3A dream comes when there are many cares,
and many words mark the speech of a fool.
4When you make a vow to God, do not delay to fulfil it. He has no pleasure in fools; fulfil your vow. 5It is better not to make a vow than to make one and not fulfil it. 6Do 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? 7Much dreaming and many words are meaningless. Therefore fear God.
Riches are meaningless
8If 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. 9The increase from the land is taken by all; the king himself profits from the fields.
10Whoever loves money never has enough;
whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income.
This too is meaningless.
11As goods increase,
so do those who consume them.
And what benefit are they to the owners
except to feast their eyes on them?
12The sleep of a labourer is sweet,
whether they eat little or much,
but as for the rich, their abundance
permits them no sleep.
13I have seen a grievous evil under the sun:
wealth hoarded to the harm of its owners,
14or wealth lost through some misfortune,
so that when they have children
there is nothing left for them to inherit.
15Everyone comes naked from their mother’s womb,
and as everyone comes, so they depart.
They take nothing from their toil
that they can carry in their hands.
16This too is a grievous evil:
as everyone comes, so they depart,
and what do they gain,
since they toil for the wind?
17All their days they eat in darkness,
with great frustration, affliction and anger.
18This is what I have observed to be good: that it is appropriate for a person to eat, to drink and to find satisfaction in their toilsome labour under the sun during the few days of life God has given them – for this is their lot. 19Moreover, when God gives someone wealth and possessions, and the ability to enjoy them, to accept their lot and be happy in their toil – this is a gift of God. 20They seldom reflect on the days of their life, because God keeps them occupied with gladness of heart.