Fulfill Your Vow to God

[a]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.(A)
God is in heaven
    and you are on earth,
    so let your words be few.(B)
A dream(C) comes when there are many cares,
    and many words mark the speech of a fool.(D)

When you make a vow to God, do not delay to fulfill it.(E) He has no pleasure in fools; fulfill your vow.(F) It is better not to make a vow than to make one and not fulfill it.(G) 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 fear God.(H)

Riches Are Meaningless

If you see the poor oppressed(I) 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.

10 Whoever loves money never has enough;
    whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income.
    This too is meaningless.

11 As goods increase,
    so do those who consume them.
And what benefit are they to the owners
    except to feast their eyes on them?

12 The sleep of a laborer is sweet,
    whether they eat little or much,
but as for the rich, their abundance
    permits them no sleep.(J)

13 I have seen a grievous evil under the sun:(K)

wealth hoarded to the harm of its owners,
14     or wealth lost through some misfortune,
so that when they have children
    there is nothing left for them to inherit.
15 Everyone comes naked from their mother’s womb,
    and as everyone comes, so they depart.(L)
They take nothing from their toil(M)
    that they can carry in their hands.(N)

16 This too is a grievous evil:

As everyone comes, so they depart,
    and what do they gain,
    since they toil for the wind?(O)
17 All their days they eat in darkness,
    with great frustration, affliction and anger.

18 This is what I have observed to be good: that it is appropriate for a person to eat, to drink(P) and to find satisfaction in their toilsome labor(Q) under the sun during the few days of life God has given them—for this is their lot. 19 Moreover, when God gives someone wealth and possessions,(R) and the ability to enjoy them,(S) to accept their lot(T) and be happy in their toil—this is a gift of God.(U) 20 They seldom reflect on the days of their life, because God keeps them occupied with gladness of heart.(V)

Footnotes

  1. Ecclesiastes 5:1 In Hebrew texts 5:1 is numbered 4:17, and 5:2-20 is numbered 5:1-19.
New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Keep thy foot when thou goest to the house of God, and be more ready to hear, than to give the sacrifice of fools: for they consider not that they do evil.

Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter any thing before God: for God is in heaven, and thou upon earth: therefore let thy words be few.

For a dream cometh through the multitude of business; and a fool's voice is known by multitude of words.

When thou vowest a vow unto God, defer not to pay it; for he hath no pleasure in fools: pay that which thou hast vowed.

Better is it that thou shouldest not vow, than that thou shouldest vow and not pay.

Suffer not thy mouth to cause thy flesh to sin; neither say thou before the angel, that it was an error: wherefore should God be angry at thy voice, and destroy the work of thine hands?

For in the multitude of dreams and many words there are also divers vanities: but fear thou God.

If thou seest the oppression of the poor, and violent perverting of judgment and justice in a province, marvel not at the matter: for he that is higher than the highest regardeth; and there be higher than they.

Moreover the profit of the earth is for all: the king himself is served by the field.

10 He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver; nor he that loveth abundance with increase: this is also vanity.

11 When goods increase, they are increased that eat them: and what good is there to the owners thereof, saving the beholding of them with their eyes?

12 The sleep of a labouring man is sweet, whether he eat little or much: but the abundance of the rich will not suffer him to sleep.

13 There is a sore evil which I have seen under the sun, namely, riches kept for the owners thereof to their hurt.

14 But those riches perish by evil travail: and he begetteth a son, and there is nothing in his hand.

15 As he came forth of his mother's womb, naked shall he return to go as he came, and shall take nothing of his labour, which he may carry away in his hand.

16 And this also is a sore evil, that in all points as he came, so shall he go: and what profit hath he that hath laboured for the wind?

17 All his days also he eateth in darkness, and he hath much sorrow and wrath with his sickness.

18 Behold that which I have seen: it is good and comely for one to eat and to drink, and to enjoy the good of all his labour that he taketh under the sun all the days of his life, which God giveth him: for it is his portion.

19 Every man also to whom God hath given riches and wealth, and hath given him power to eat thereof, and to take his portion, and to rejoice in his labour; this is the gift of God.

20 For he shall not much remember the days of his life; because God answereth him in the joy of his heart.

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