Your Attitude Toward God
1Guard your steps and focus on what you are doing as you go to the house of God and draw near to listen rather than to offer the [careless or irreverent] sacrifice of fools; for they are too ignorant to know they are doing evil. 2Do not be hasty with your mouth [speaking careless words or vows] or impulsive in thought to bring up a matter before God. For God is in heaven and you are on earth; therefore let your words be few. 3For the dream comes through much effort, and the voice of the fool through many words.
4When you make a vow or a pledge to God, do not put off paying it; for God takes no pleasure in fools [who thoughtlessly mock Him]. Pay what you vow. 5It is better that you should not vow than that you should vow and not pay. 6Do not allow your speech to cause you to sin, and do not say before the messenger (priest) of God that it was a mistake. Why should God be angry because of your voice (words) and destroy the work of your hands? 7For in a multitude of dreams and in a flood of words there is worthlessness. Rather [reverently] fear God [and worship Him with awe-filled respect, knowing who He is].
8If you see the oppression of the poor and the denial of justice and righteousness in the province, do not be shocked at the sight [of corruption]; for a higher official watches over another official, and there are higher ones over them [looking out for one another]. 9After all, a king who cultivates the field is an advantage to the land.
The Folly of Riches
10He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves abundance with its gain. This too is vanity (emptiness). 11When good things increase, those who consume them increase. So what advantage is there to their owners except to see them with their eyes? 12The sleep of a working man is sweet, whether he eats little or much; but the full stomach (greed) of the rich [who hungers for even more] will not let him sleep.
13There is a grievous evil which I have seen under the sun: riches being kept and hoarded by their owner to his own misery. 14For when those riches are lost in bad investments and he becomes the father of a son, then there is nothing in his hand [for the support of the child]. 15As he came naked from his mother’s womb, so he will return as he came; and he will take away nothing from all his labor that he can carry in his hand. 16This also is a grievous evil—exactly as he was born, so he shall die. So what advantage has he who labors for the wind? 17All of his life he also eats in darkness [cheerlessly, without sweetness and light], with great frustration, sickness, and anger.
18Behold, here is what I have seen to be good and fitting: to eat and drink, and to find enjoyment in all the labor in which he labors under the sun during the few days of his life which God gives him—for this is his [allotted] reward. 19Also, every man to whom God has given riches and possessions, He has also given the power and ability to enjoy them and to receive [this as] his [allotted] portion and to rejoice in his labor—this is the gift of God [to him]. 20For he will not often consider the [troubled] days of his life, because God keeps him occupied and focused on the joy of his heart [and the tranquility of God indwells him].