1 KEEP YOUR foot [give your mind to what you are doing] when you go [as Jacob to sacred Bethel] to the house of God. For to draw near to hear and obey is better than to give the sacrifice of fools [carelessly, irreverently] too ignorant to know that they are doing evil. [Gen. 35:1-4; Exod. 3:5.]
2 Be not rash with your mouth, and let not your heart be hasty to utter a word before God. For God is in heaven, and you are on earth; therefore let your words be few.
3 For a dream comes with much business and painful effort, and a fool's voice with many words.
4 When you vow a vow or make a pledge to God, do not put off paying it; for God has no pleasure in fools (those who witlessly mock Him). Pay what you vow. [Ps. 50:14; 66:13, 14; 76:11.]
5 It is better that you should not vow than that you should vow and not pay. [Prov. 20:25; Acts 5:4.]
6 Do not allow your mouth to cause your body to sin, and do not say before the messenger [the priest] that it was an error or mistake. Why should God be [made] angry at your voice and destroy the work of your hands? [Mal. 2:7.]
7 For in a multitude of dreams there is futility and worthlessness, and ruin in a flood of words. But [reverently] fear God [revere and worship Him, knowing that He is].
8 If you see the oppression of the poor and the violent taking away of justice and righteousness in the state or province, do not marvel at the matter. [Be sure that there are those who will attend to it] for a higher [official] than the high is observing, and higher ones are over them.
9 Moreover, the profit of the earth is for all; the king himself is served by the field and in all, a king is an advantage to a land with cultivated fields.
10 He who loves silver will not be satisfied with silver, nor he who loves abundance with gain. This also is vanity (emptiness, falsity, and futility)!
11 When goods increase, they who eat them increase also. And what gain is there to their owner except to see them with his eyes?
12 The sleep of a laboring man is sweet, whether he eats little or much, but the fullness of the rich will not let him sleep.
13 There is a serious and severe evil which I have seen under the sun: riches were kept by their owner to his hurt.
14 But those riches are lost in a bad venture; and he becomes the father of a son, and there is nothing in his hand [with which to support the child].
15 As [the man] came forth from his mother's womb, so he will go again, naked as he came; and he will take away nothing for all his labor which he can carry in his hand.
16 And this also is a serious and severe evil–that in all points as he came, so shall he go; and what gain has he who labors for the wind? [I Tim. 6:6.]
17 All his days also he eats in darkness [cheerlessly, with no sweetness and light in them], and much sorrow and sickness and wrath are his.
18 Behold, what I have seen to be good and fitting is for one to eat and drink, and to find enjoyment in all the labor in which he labors under the sun all the days which God gives him–for this is his [allotted] part. [I Tim. 6:17.]
19 Also, every man to whom God has given riches and possessions, and the power to enjoy them and to accept his appointed lot and to rejoice in his toil–this is the gift of God [to him].
20 For he shall not much remember [seriously] the days of his life, because God [Himself] answers and corresponds to the joy of his heart [the tranquillity of God is mirrored in him].
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1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation