July 26

Ecclesiastes 5:1 — 8:17

5 Guard your feet whenever you go to the house of the [true] God; and let there be a drawing near to hear, rather than to give a sacrifice as the stupid ones do, for they are not aware of doing what is bad.

2 Do not hurry yourself as regards your mouth; and as for your heart, let it not be hasty to bring forth a word before the [true] God. For the [true] God is in the heavens but you are on the earth. That is why your words should prove to be few. 3 For a dream certainly comes in because of abundance of occupation, and the voice of a stupid one because of the abundance of words. 4 Whenever you vow a vow to God, do not hesitate to pay it, for there is no delight in the stupid ones. What you vow, pay. 5 Better is it that you vow not than that you vow and do not pay. 6 Do not allow your mouth to cause your flesh to sin, neither say before the angel that it was a mistake. Why should the [true] God become indignant on account of your voice and have to wreck the work of your hands? 7 For because of abundance [of occupation] there are dreams, and there are vanities and words in abundance. But fear the [true] God himself.

8 If you see any oppression of the one of little means and the violent taking away of judgment and of righteousness in a jurisdictional district, do not be amazed over the affair, for one that is higher than the high one is watching, and there are those who are high above them.

9 Also, the profit of the earth is among them all; for a field the king himself has been served.

10 A mere lover of silver will not be satisfied with silver, neither any lover of wealth with income. This too is vanity.

11 When good things become many, those eating them certainly become many. And what advantage is there to the grand owner of them, except looking [at them] with his eyes?

12 Sweet is the sleep of the one serving, regardless of whether it is little or much that he eats; but the plenty belonging to the rich one is not permitting him to sleep.

13 There exists a grave calamity that I have seen under the sun: riches being kept for their grand owner to his calamity. 14 And those riches have perished because of a calamitous occupation, and he has become father to a son when there is nothing at all in his hand.

15 Just as one has come forth from his mother’s belly, naked will one go away again, just as one came; and nothing at all can one carry away for his hard work, which he can take along with his hand.

16 And this too is a grave calamity: exactly as one has come, so one will go away; and what profit is there to the one who keeps working hard for the wind? 17 Also, all his days he eats in darkness itself, with a great deal of vexation, with sickness on his part and [cause for] indignation.

18 Look! The best thing that I myself have seen, which is pretty, is that one should eat and drink and see good for all his hard work with which he works hard under the sun for the number of the days of his life that the [true] God has given him, for that is his portion. 19 Also every man to whom the [true] God has given riches and material possessions, he has even empowered him to eat from it and to carry off his portion and to rejoice in his hard work. This is the gift of God. 20 For not often will he remember the days of his life, because the [true] God is preoccupying [him] with the rejoicing of his heart.

6 There exists a calamity that I have seen under the sun, and it is frequent among mankind: 2 a man to whom the [true] God gives riches and material possessions and glory and who, for his soul, is in no need of anything that he shows himself longing for, and yet the [true] God does not enable him to eat from it, although a mere foreigner may eat it. This is vanity and it is a bad sickness. 3 If a man should become a father a hundred times, and he should live many years, so that numerous the days of his years should become, yet his own soul is not satisfied with good things and even the grave has not become his, I must say that one prematurely born is better off than he is. 4 For in vain has this one come and in darkness he goes away, and with darkness his own name will be covered. 5 Even the sun itself he has not seen, neither known. This one has rest rather than the former one. 6 Even supposing that he has lived a thousand years twice over and yet he has not seen what is good, is it not to just one place that everyone is going?

7 All the hard work of mankind is for their mouth, but even their own soul does not get filled. 8 For what advantage does the wise have over the stupid one? What does the afflicted one have in knowing how to walk in front of the living ones? 9 Better is the seeing by the eyes than the walking about of the soul. This too is vanity and a striving after the wind.

10 Whatever has come to be, its name has already been pronounced, and it has become known what man is; and he is not able to plead his cause with one that is more powerful than he is.

11 Because there exist many things that are causing much vanity, what advantage does a man have? 12 For who is there knowing what good a man has in life for the number of the days of his vain life, when he spends them like a shadow? For who can tell man what will happen after him under the sun?

7 A name is better than good oil, and the day of death than the day of one’s being born. 2 Better is it to go to the house of mourning than to go to the banquet house, because that is the end of all mankind; and the one alive should take [it] to his heart. 3 Better is vexation than laughter, for by the crossness of the face the heart becomes better. 4 The heart of the wise ones is in the house of mourning, but the heart of the stupid ones is in the house of rejoicing.

5 Better is it to hear the rebuke of someone wise than to be the man hearing the song of the stupid ones. 6 For as the sound of thorns under the pot, so is the laughter of the stupid one; and this too is vanity. 7 For mere oppression may make a wise one act crazy, and a gift can destroy the heart.

8 Better is the end afterward of a matter than its beginning. Better is one who is patient than one who is haughty in spirit. 9 Do not hurry yourself in your spirit to become offended, for the taking of offense is what rests in the bosom of the stupid ones.

10 Do not say: “Why has it happened that the former days proved to be better than these?” for it is not due to wisdom that you have asked about this.

11 Wisdom along with an inheritance is good and is advantageous for those seeing the sun. 12 For wisdom is for a protection [the same as] money is for a protection; but the advantage of knowledge is that wisdom itself preserves alive its owners.

13 See the work of the [true] God, for who is able to make straight what he has made crooked? 14 On a good day prove yourself to be in goodness, and on a calamitous day see that the [true] God has made even this exactly as that, to the intent that mankind may not discover anything at all after them.

15 Everything I have seen during my vain days. There exists the righteous one perishing in his righteousness, and there exists the wicked one continuing long in his badness.

16 Do not become righteous overmuch, nor show yourself excessively wise. Why should you cause desolation to yourself? 17 Do not be wicked overmuch, nor become foolish. Why should you die when it is not your time? 18 It is better that you should take hold of the one, but from the other also do not withdraw your hand; for he that fears God will go forth with them all.

19 Wisdom itself is stronger for the wise one than ten men in power who happened to be in a city. 20 For there is no man righteous in the earth that keeps doing good and does not sin.

21 Also, do not give your heart to all the words that people may speak, that you may not hear your servant calling down evil upon you. 22 For your own heart well knows even many times that you, even you, have called down evil upon others.

23 All this I have tested with wisdom. I said: “I will become wise.” But it was far from me. 24 What has come to be is far off and exceedingly deep. Who can find it out? 25 I myself turned around, even my heart did, to know and to explore and to search for wisdom and the reason of things, and to know about the wickedness of stupidity and the foolishness of madness; 26 and I was finding out: More bitter than death [I found] the woman who is herself nets for hunting and whose heart is dragnets [and] whose hands are fetters. One is good before the [true] God if one escapes from her, but one is sinning if one is captured by her.

27 “See! This I have found,” said the congregator, “one thing [taken] after another, to find out the sum-up, 28 which my soul has continuously sought, but I have not found. One man out of a thousand I have found, but a woman among all these I have not found. 29 See! This only I have found, that the [true] God made mankind upright, but they themselves have sought out many plans.”

8 Who is there like the wise one? And who is there knowing the interpretation of a thing? The wisdom of a man itself causes his face to shine, and even the sternness of his face is changed [for the better].

2 I [say:] “Keep the very order of the king, and that out of regard for the oath of God. 3 Do not hurry yourself, that you may go out from before him. Do not stand in a bad thing. For all that he delights [to do] he will do, 4 because the word of the king is the power of control; and who may say to him: ‘What are you doing?’”

5 He that is keeping the commandment will not know any calamitous thing, and the wise heart will know both time and judgment. 6 For there exists a time and judgment even for every affair, because the calamity of mankind is abundant upon them. 7 For there is no one knowing what will come to be, because who can tell him just how it will come to be?

8 There is no man having power over the spirit to restrain the spirit; neither is there any power of control in the day of death; nor is there any discharge in the war. And wickedness will provide no escape for those indulging in it.

9 All this I have seen, and there was an applying of my heart to every work that has been done under the sun, [during] the time that man has dominated man to his injury. 10 But, though this is so, I have seen the wicked ones being buried, how they came in and how they would go away from the holy place itself and be forgotten in the city where they acted that way. This too is vanity.

11 Because sentence against a bad work has not been executed speedily, that is why the heart of the sons of men has become fully set in them to do bad. 12 Although a sinner may be doing bad a hundred times and continuing a long time as he pleases, yet I am also aware that it will turn out well with those fearing the [true] God, because they were in fear of him. 13 But it will not turn out well at all with the wicked one, neither will he prolong his days that are like a shadow, because he is not in fear of God.

14 There exists a vanity that is carried out on the earth, that there exist righteous ones to whom it is happening as if for the work of the wicked ones, and there exist wicked ones to whom it is happening as if for the work of the righteous ones. I said that this too is vanity.

15 And I myself commended rejoicing, because mankind have nothing better under the sun than to eat and drink and rejoice, and that it should accompany them in their hard work for the days of their life, which the [true] God has given them under the sun. 16 In accord with this I applied my heart to know wisdom and to see the occupation that is carried on in the earth, because there is one seeing no sleep with his eyes, either by day or by night.

17 And I saw all the work of the [true] God, how mankind are not able to find out the work that has been done under the sun; however much mankind keep working hard to seek, yet they do not find out. And even if they should say they are wise enough to know, they would be unable to find out.