1Be careful when you go to worship at the Temple. It is better to listen than to offer foolish sacrifices without even knowing you are doing wrong.2Think before you speak, and be careful about what you say to God. God is in heaven, and you are on the earth, so say only a few words to God.3The saying is true: Bad dreams come from too much worrying, and too many words come from foolish people.4If you make a promise to God, don't be slow to keep it. God is not happy with fools, so give God what you promised.5It is better not to promise anything than to promise something and not do it.6Don't let your words cause you to sin, and don't say to the priest at the Temple, "I didn't mean what I promised." If you do, God will become angry with your words and will destroy everything you have worked for.7Many useless promises are like so many dreams; they mean nothing. You should respect God.8In some places you will see poor people mistreated. Don't be surprised when they are not treated fairly or given their rights. One officer is cheated by a higher officer who in turn is cheated by even higher officers.9The wealth of the country is divided up among them all. Even the king makes sure he gets his share of the profits.10Whoever loves money will never have enough money; Whoever loves wealth will not be satisfied with it. This is also useless.11The more wealth people have, the more friends they have to help spend it. So what do people really gain? They gain nothing except to look at their riches.12Those who work hard sleep in peace; it is not important if they eat little or much. But rich people worry about their wealth and cannot sleep.13I have seen real misery here on earth: Money saved is a curse to its owners.14They lose it all in a bad deal and have nothing to give to their children.15People come into this world with nothing, and when they die they leave with nothing. In spite of all their hard work, they leave just as they came.16This, too, is real misery: They leave just as they came. So what do they gain from chasing the wind?17All they get are days full of sadness and sorrow, and they end up sick, defeated, and angry.18I have seen what is best for people here on earth. They should eat and drink and enjoy their work, because the life God has given them on earth is short.19God gives some people the ability to enjoy the wealth and property he gives them, as well as the ability to accept their state in life and enjoy their work.20They do not worry about how short life is, because God keeps them busy with what they love to do.
1I have seen something else wrong here on earth that causes serious problems for people.2God gives great wealth, riches, and honor to some people; they have everything they want. But God does not let them enjoy such things; a stranger enjoys them instead. This is useless and very wrong.3A man might have a hundred children and live a long time, but what good is it if he can't enjoy the good God gives him or have a proper burial? I say a baby born dead is better off than he is.4A baby born dead is useless. It returns to darkness without even a name.5That baby never saw the sun and never knew anything, but it finds more rest than that man.6Even if he lives two thousand years, he doesn't enjoy the good God gives him. Everyone is going to the same place.7People work just to feed themselves, but they never seem to get enough to eat.8In this way a wise person is no better off than a fool. Then, too, it does a poor person little good to know how to get along in life.9It is better to see what you have than to want more. Wanting more is useless -- like chasing the wind.10Whatever happens was planned long ago. Everyone knows what people are like. No one can argue with God, who is stronger than anyone.11The more you say, the more useless it is. What good does it do?12People have only a few useless days of life on the earth; their short life passes like a shadow. Who knows what is best for them while they live? Who can tell them what the future will bring?
1It is better to have respect than good perfume. The day of death is better than the day of birth.2It is better to go to a funeral than to a party. We all must die, and everyone living should think about this.3Sorrow is better than laughter, and sadness has a good influence on you.4A wise person thinks about death, but a fool thinks only about having a good time.5It is better to be criticized by a wise person than to be praised by a fool.6The laughter of fools is like the crackling of thorns in a cooking fire. Both are useless.7Even wise people are fools if they let money change their thinking.8It is better to finish something than to start it. It is better to be patient than to be proud.9Don't become angry quickly, because getting angry is foolish.10Don't ask, "Why was life better in the 'good old days'?" It is not wise to ask such questions.11Wisdom is better when it comes with money. They both help those who are alive.12Wisdom is like money: they both help. But wisdom is better, because it can save whoever has it.13Look at what God has done: No one can straighten what he has bent.14When life is good, enjoy it. But when life is hard, remember: God gives good times and hard times, and no one knows what tomorrow will bring.15In my useless life I have seen both of these: I have seen good people die in spite of their goodness and evil people live a long time in spite of their evil.16Don't be too right, and don't be too wise. Why destroy yourself?17Don't be too wicked, and don't be foolish. Why die before your time?18It is good to grab the one and not let go of the other; those who honor God will hold them both.19Wisdom makes a person stronger than ten leaders in a city.20Surely there is not a good person on earth who always does good and never sins.21Don't listen to everything people say, or you might hear your servant insulting you.22You know that many times you have insulted others.23I used wisdom to test all these things. I wanted to be wise, but it was too hard for me.24I cannot understand why things are as they are. It is too hard for anyone to understand.25I studied and tried very hard to find wisdom, to find some meaning for everything. I learned that it is foolish to be evil, and it is crazy to act like a fool.26I found that some women are worse than death and are as dangerous as traps. Their love is like a net, and their arms hold men like chains. A man who pleases God will be saved from them, but a sinner will be caught by them.27The Teacher says, "This is what I learned: I added all these things together to find some meaning for everything.28While I was searching, I did not find one man among the thousands I found. Nor did I find a woman among all these.29One thing I have learned: God made people good, but they have found all kinds of ways to be bad."
1No one is like the wise person who can understand what things mean. Wisdom brings happiness; it makes sad faces happy.2Obey the king's command, because you made a promise to God.3Don't be too quick to leave the king. Don't support something that is wrong, because the king does whatever he pleases.4What the king says is law; no one tells him what to do.5Whoever obeys the king's command will be safe. A wise person does the right thing at the right time.6There is a right time and a right way for everything, yet people often have many troubles.7They do not know what the future holds, and no one can tell them what will happen.8No one can control the wind or stop his own death. No soldier is released in times of war, and evil does not set free those who do evil. Justice, Rewards, and Punishment9I saw all of this as I considered all that is done here on earth. Sometimes men harm those they control.10I saw the funerals of evil people who used to go in and out of the holy place. They were honored in the same towns where they had done evil. This is useless, too.11When evil people are not punished right away, it makes others want to do evil, too.12Though a sinner might do a hundred evil things and might live a long time, I know it will be better for those who honor God.13I also know it will not go well for evil people, because they do not honor God. Like a shadow, they will not last.14Sometimes something useless happens on earth. Bad things happen to good people, and good things happen to bad people. I say that this is also useless.15So I decided it was more important to enjoy life. The best that people can do here on earth is to eat, drink, and enjoy life, because these joys will help them do the hard work God gives them here on earth.16I tried to understand all that happens on earth. I saw how busy people are, working day and night and hardly ever sleeping.17I also saw all that God has done. Nobody can understand what God does here on earth. No matter how hard people try to understand it, they cannot. Even if wise people say they understand, they cannot; no one can really understand it.