Ecclesiastes 5Common English Bible (CEB)
Listen and speak carefully
5 Watch[a] your steps when you go to God’s house. It’s more acceptable to listen than to offer the fools’ sacrifice—they have no idea that they’re acting wrongly. 2 Don’t[b] be quick with your mouth or say anything hastily before God, because God is in heaven, but you are on earth. Therefore, let your words be few.
4 When you make a promise to God, fulfill it without delay because God has no pleasure in fools. Fulfill what you promise. 5 Better not to make a promise than to make a promise without fulfilling it. 6 Don’t let your mouth make a sinner of you, and don’t say to the messenger: “It was a mistake!” Otherwise, God may become angry at such talk and destroy what you have accomplished.
8 If you witness the poor being oppressed or the violation of what is just and right in some territory, don’t be surprised because a high official watches over another, and yet others stand over them. 9 But the land’s yield should be for everyone if the field is cultivated.[c] 10 The money lover isn’t satisfied with money; neither is the lover of wealth satisfied with income. This too is pointless. 11 When good things flow, so do those who consume them. But what do owners benefit from such goods, except to feast their eyes on them? 12 Sweet is the worker’s sleep, whether there’s a lot or little to eat; but the excess of the wealthy won’t let them sleep.
13 I have seen a sickening tragedy under the sun: people hoard their wealth to their own detriment. 14 Then that wealth is lost in a bad business venture so that when they have children, they are left with nothing. 15 Just as they came from their mother’s womb naked, naked they’ll return, ending up just like they started. All their hard work produces nothing—nothing they can take with them. 16 This too is a sickening tragedy: they must pass on just as they arrived. What then do they gain from working so hard for wind? 17 What’s more, they constantly eat in darkness, with much aggravation, grief, and anger.
18 This is the one good thing I’ve seen: it’s appropriate for people to eat, drink, and find enjoyment in all their hard work under the sun during the brief lifetime that God gives them because that’s their lot in life. 19 Also, whenever God gives people wealth and riches and enables them to enjoy it, to accept their place in the world[d] and to find pleasure in their hard work—all this is God’s gift. 20 Indeed, people shouldn’t brood too much over the days of their lives because God gives an answer in their hearts’ joy.