The Vanity of Gain and Honor

If you (A)see the oppression of the poor, and the violent [a]perversion of justice and righteousness in a province, do not marvel at the matter; for (B)high official watches over high official, and higher officials are over them.

Moreover the profit of the land is for all; even the king is served from the field.

10 He who loves silver will not be satisfied with silver;
Nor he who loves abundance, with increase.
This also is vanity.

11 When goods increase,
They increase who eat them;
So what profit have the owners
Except to see them with their eyes?

12 The sleep of a laboring man is sweet,
Whether he eats little or much;
But the abundance of the rich will not permit him to sleep.

13 (C)There is a severe evil which I have seen under the sun:
Riches kept for their owner to his hurt.
14 But those riches perish through [b]misfortune;
When he begets a son, there is nothing in his hand.
15 (D)As he came from his mother’s womb, naked shall he return,
To go as he came;
And he shall take nothing from his labor
Which he may carry away in his hand.

16 And this also is a severe evil—
Just exactly as he came, so shall he go.
And (E)what profit has he (F)who has labored for the wind?
17 All his days (G)he also eats in darkness,
And he has much sorrow and sickness and anger.

18 Here is what I have seen: (H)It is good and fitting for one to eat and drink, and to enjoy the good of all his labor in which he toils under the sun all the days of his life which God gives him; (I)for it is his [c]heritage. 19 As for (J)every man to whom God has given riches and wealth, and given him power to eat of it, to receive his [d]heritage and rejoice in his labor—this is the (K)gift of God. 20 For he will not dwell unduly on the days of his life, because God keeps him busy with the joy of his heart.

Wealth Is Not the Goal of Life

There(L) is an evil which I have seen under the sun, and it is common among men: A man to whom God has given riches and wealth and honor, (M)so that he lacks nothing for himself of all he desires; (N)yet God does not give him power to eat of it, but a foreigner consumes it. This is vanity, and it is an evil [e]affliction.

If a man begets a hundred children and lives many years, so that the days of his years are many, but his soul is not satisfied with goodness, or (O)indeed he has no burial, I say that (P)a [f]stillborn child is better than he— for it comes in vanity and departs in darkness, and its name is covered with darkness. Though it has not seen the sun or known anything, this has more rest than that man, even if he lives a thousand years twice—but has not seen goodness. Do not all go to one (Q)place?

(R)All the labor of man is for his mouth,
And yet the soul is not satisfied.
For what more has the wise man than the fool?
What does the poor man have,
Who knows how to walk before the living?
Better is [g]the (S)sight of the eyes than the wandering of [h]desire.
This also is vanity and grasping for the wind.


  1. Ecclesiastes 5:8 wresting
  2. Ecclesiastes 5:14 Lit. bad business
  3. Ecclesiastes 5:18 Lit. portion
  4. Ecclesiastes 5:19 Lit. portion
  5. Ecclesiastes 6:2 disease
  6. Ecclesiastes 6:3 Or miscarriage
  7. Ecclesiastes 6:9 What the eyes see
  8. Ecclesiastes 6:9 Lit. soul

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