English Standard Version Anglicised
5 [a] (A)Guard your steps when you go to (B)the house of God. To draw near to listen is better than to (C)offer the sacrifice of fools, for they do not know that they are doing evil. 2 [b] Be not rash with your mouth, nor let your heart be hasty to utter a word before God, for God is in heaven and you are on earth. Therefore (D)let your words be few. 3 For a dream comes with much busyness, and a fool's voice with (E)many words.
4 When (F)you vow a vow to God, (G)do not delay paying it, for he has no pleasure in fools. (H)Pay what you vow. 5 (I)It is better that you should not vow than that you should vow and not pay. 6 Let not your mouth lead you[c] into sin, and do not say before (J)the messenger[d] that it was (K)a mistake. Why should God be angry at your voice and destroy the work of your hands? 7 For when dreams increase and words grow many, there is vanity;[e] but (L)God is the one you must fear.
The Vanity of Wealth and Honour
8 (M)If you see in a province the oppression of the poor and the violation of justice and righteousness, (N)do not be amazed at the matter, (O)for the high official is watched by a higher, and there are yet higher ones over them. 9 But this is gain for a land in every way: a king committed to cultivated fields.[f]
10 He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves wealth with his income; this also is vanity. 11 When goods increase, they increase who eat them, and what advantage has their owner but to see them with his eyes? 12 Sweet is the sleep of a labourer, whether he eats little or much, but the full stomach of the rich will not let him sleep.
13 (P)There is a grievous evil that I have seen under the sun: riches were kept by their owner to his hurt, 14 and those riches were lost in a bad venture. And he is father of a son, but he has nothing in his hand. 15 (Q)As he came from his mother's womb he shall go again, naked as he came, and shall take nothing for his toil that he may carry away in his hand. 16 This also is a grievous evil: just as he came, so shall he go, and what (R)gain is there to him who (S)toils for the wind? 17 Moreover, all his days he (T)eats in darkness in much vexation and sickness and anger.
18 Behold, what I have seen to be (U)good and fitting is to eat and drink and find enjoyment[g] in all the toil with which one toils under the sun the few days of his life that God has given him, for this is his (V)lot. 19 Everyone also to whom (W)God has given (X)wealth and possessions (Y)and power to enjoy them, and to accept his lot and rejoice in his toil—this is (Z)the gift of God. 20 For he will not much remember the days of his life because God keeps him occupied with joy in his heart.
- Ecclesiastes 5:1 Ch 4:17 in Hebrew
- Ecclesiastes 5:2 Ch 5:1 in Hebrew
- Ecclesiastes 5:6 Hebrew your flesh
- Ecclesiastes 5:6 Or angel
- Ecclesiastes 5:7 Or For when dreams and vanities increase, words also grow many
- Ecclesiastes 5:9 The meaning of the Hebrew verse is uncertain
- Ecclesiastes 5:18 Or and see good
New International Version
Fulfill Your Vow to God
5 [a]Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. Go near to listen rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools, who do not know that they do wrong.
2 Do not be quick with your mouth,
do not be hasty in your heart
to utter anything before God.(A)
God is in heaven
and you are on earth,
so let your words be few.(B)
3 A dream(C) comes when there are many cares,
and many words mark the speech of a fool.(D)
4 When you make a vow to God, do not delay to fulfill it.(E) He has no pleasure in fools; fulfill your vow.(F) 5 It is better not to make a vow than to make one and not fulfill it.(G) 6 Do not let your mouth lead you into sin. And do not protest to the temple messenger, “My vow was a mistake.” Why should God be angry at what you say and destroy the work of your hands? 7 Much dreaming and many words are meaningless. Therefore fear God.(H)
Riches Are Meaningless
8 If you see the poor oppressed(I) in a district, and justice and rights denied, do not be surprised at such things; for one official is eyed by a higher one, and over them both are others higher still. 9 The increase from the land is taken by all; the king himself profits from the fields.
10 Whoever loves money never has enough;
whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income.
This too is meaningless.
11 As goods increase,
so do those who consume them.
And what benefit are they to the owners
except to feast their eyes on them?
12 The sleep of a laborer is sweet,
whether they eat little or much,
but as for the rich, their abundance
permits them no sleep.(J)
13 I have seen a grievous evil under the sun:(K)
wealth hoarded to the harm of its owners,
14 or wealth lost through some misfortune,
so that when they have children
there is nothing left for them to inherit.
15 Everyone comes naked from their mother’s womb,
and as everyone comes, so they depart.(L)
They take nothing from their toil(M)
that they can carry in their hands.(N)
16 This too is a grievous evil:
As everyone comes, so they depart,
and what do they gain,
since they toil for the wind?(O)
17 All their days they eat in darkness,
with great frustration, affliction and anger.
18 This is what I have observed to be good: that it is appropriate for a person to eat, to drink(P) and to find satisfaction in their toilsome labor(Q) under the sun during the few days of life God has given them—for this is their lot. 19 Moreover, when God gives someone wealth and possessions,(R) and the ability to enjoy them,(S) to accept their lot(T) and be happy in their toil—this is a gift of God.(U) 20 They seldom reflect on the days of their life, because God keeps them occupied with gladness of heart.(V)
- Ecclesiastes 5:1 In Hebrew texts 5:1 is numbered 4:17, and 5:2-20 is numbered 5:1-19.
King James Version
5 Keep thy foot when thou goest to the house of God, and be more ready to hear, than to give the sacrifice of fools: for they consider not that they do evil.
2 Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter any thing before God: for God is in heaven, and thou upon earth: therefore let thy words be few.
3 For a dream cometh through the multitude of business; and a fool's voice is known by multitude of words.
4 When thou vowest a vow unto God, defer not to pay it; for he hath no pleasure in fools: pay that which thou hast vowed.
5 Better is it that thou shouldest not vow, than that thou shouldest vow and not pay.
6 Suffer not thy mouth to cause thy flesh to sin; neither say thou before the angel, that it was an error: wherefore should God be angry at thy voice, and destroy the work of thine hands?
7 For in the multitude of dreams and many words there are also divers vanities: but fear thou God.
8 If thou seest the oppression of the poor, and violent perverting of judgment and justice in a province, marvel not at the matter: for he that is higher than the highest regardeth; and there be higher than they.
9 Moreover the profit of the earth is for all: the king himself is served by the field.
10 He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver; nor he that loveth abundance with increase: this is also vanity.
11 When goods increase, they are increased that eat them: and what good is there to the owners thereof, saving the beholding of them with their eyes?
12 The sleep of a labouring man is sweet, whether he eat little or much: but the abundance of the rich will not suffer him to sleep.
13 There is a sore evil which I have seen under the sun, namely, riches kept for the owners thereof to their hurt.
14 But those riches perish by evil travail: and he begetteth a son, and there is nothing in his hand.
15 As he came forth of his mother's womb, naked shall he return to go as he came, and shall take nothing of his labour, which he may carry away in his hand.
16 And this also is a sore evil, that in all points as he came, so shall he go: and what profit hath he that hath laboured for the wind?
17 All his days also he eateth in darkness, and he hath much sorrow and wrath with his sickness.
18 Behold that which I have seen: it is good and comely for one to eat and to drink, and to enjoy the good of all his labour that he taketh under the sun all the days of his life, which God giveth him: for it is his portion.
19 Every man also to whom God hath given riches and wealth, and hath given him power to eat thereof, and to take his portion, and to rejoice in his labour; this is the gift of God.
20 For he shall not much remember the days of his life; because God answereth him in the joy of his heart.
New King James Version
Fear God, Keep Your Vows
2 Do not be (C)rash with your mouth,
And let not your heart utter anything hastily before God.
For God is in heaven, and you on earth;
Therefore let your words (D)be few.
3 For a dream comes through much activity,
And (E)a fool’s voice is known by his many words.
6 Do not let your (I)mouth cause your flesh to sin, (J)nor say before the messenger of God that it was an error. Why should God be angry at your [a]excuse and destroy the work of your hands? 7 For in the multitude of dreams and many words there is also vanity. But (K)fear God.
The Vanity of Gain and Honor
8 If you (L)see the oppression of the poor, and the violent [b]perversion of justice and righteousness in a province, do not marvel at the matter; for (M)high official watches over high official, and higher officials are over them.
9 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 (N)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 [c]misfortune;
When he begets a son, there is nothing in his hand.
15 (O)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 (P)what profit has he (Q)who has labored for the wind?
17 All his days (R)he also eats in darkness,
And he has much sorrow and sickness and anger.
18 Here is what I have seen: (S)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; (T)for it is his [d]heritage. 19 As for (U)every man to whom God has given riches and wealth, and given him power to eat of it, to receive his [e]heritage and rejoice in his labor—this is the (V)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.