Ecclesiastes 5

Think before you speak

1 When you go to God's temple, be careful what you do. Listen carefully when you come near to God. Do not offer sacrifices in the way that foolish people do. They do not even know that they are doing something bad.

2 You should not speak too soon.

Think carefully before you make a promise to God.

God is in heaven and you are here on the earth.

So do not say too much.

3 If you worry about many things,

you will have many dreams.

If you talk too much,

you will say foolish things.

4 If you make a promise to God,

quickly do what you have promised.

God is not pleased with foolish people.

So give what you have promised to give.

5 It is better not to promise anything

than to promise something and then not do it.

6 Do not say things that cause you to do something wrong. Do not say to the priest, ‘My promise was a mistake.’ That would make God angry with you. He might destroy everything that you have worked to get for yourself. 7 If you dream all the time or if you talk all the time, that has no purpose. Instead, respect God and obey him.

Money does not make you happy

8 You may see a place where poor people are suffering. Powerful people may be hurting them. Do not be surprised if you see that. The judges may not be doing what is right and fair. That happens because the government's officers have to obey people who are more important than them. 9 All of them take something for themselves from the land. The king himself receives his share of the crops.

10 People who love money never have enough.

They may get more and more valuable things,

but they are never happy.

This also has no purpose.

11 As a person's money becomes more,

there are more people who want a share of it.

Money does not help the people who have a lot of it.

They see it, but it quickly disappears.

12 Someone who has worked hard all day will sleep well at night.

That is true even if they have not had much food to eat.

But the rich man worries about his riches.

So he does not sleep well.

13 I have seen another terrible thing that happens on the earth.

Some people may store their riches,

but it does not help them in a time of trouble.

14 Something may happen in the future

that causes their money to disappear.

After they die,

no money remains for their children.

15 When people are born,

they bring nothing with them.

When they die,

they take nothing away with them.

All their hard work finally leaves them with nothing.

16 This is also a terrible thing to happen.

People leave this earth with nothing,

as they came into it with nothing.

All their hard work has been useless,

like someone who tries to catch the wind.

17 Even if people are rich, they do not enjoy their food.

They suffer all through their lives.

They are upset, angry and sick.

18 But I realized that there is one good thing for people to do. We should be happy to eat and to drink. And we should enjoy the hard work that we do on the earth. That is what God wants us to do during the short time that he has given us on this earth. 19 God gives some people a lot of money and valuable things. He helps them to enjoy those things and to be happy with their work. All of this is a gift from God. 20 People like that do not think a lot about what has happened in their lives. God helps them to be happy as they are busy with their work.