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Jehovah’s Witnesses

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The Bible in Living English

Ecclesiastes 5:1-20

5***  Mind your step when you go to God’s house: coming near to hear is better than fools’ giving a sacrifice, because they do not know how to do anything but what is bad. 2  Do not get your mouth into a rush, and let your heart not be quick about bringing out a word before God; for God is in heaven and you on earth; therefore let your words be few. 3  For a dream comes with a great deal of business, and a fool’s voice with a great deal of talk. 4  When you make a vow to God do not be backward about paying it off, because fools are not liked; pay what you vowed; 5  better that you should not vow than that you should vow and not pay. 6**  Do not permit your mouth to bring your flesh into sin, and do not say before the angel that it was unintentional; why should God be incensed at your voice and ruin the work of your hands? 7*  For with many dreams and nonsenses there is much talk; but fear God. 8*  If in the province you see disregard of a poor man’s claims and usurpation against law and right, do not be shocked at the affair, because above a high man a higher man is on the watch, and higher men above them. 9  But it is to a country’s advantage, for all that, that a cultivated region should have a king. 10  One who loves money will not get his fill of money; nor whoever loves affluence, of income; this too is nonsense: 11  when there is much good cheer there are many eaters of it, and what result does its owner have except the looking on? 12  The worker’s sleep is sweet whether he eats little or much, but fullness for a rich man does not give him a chance to go to sleep. 13  There is a galling evil I have seen under the sun—riches watched over by their owner to his own harm, 14  and those riches are lost in some bad affair, and he has a son born, and he has nothing in his hands; 15  as he came out of his mother’s body, naked he goes back, going as he came, and does not pick up by his trouble anything that he can take along in his hand. 16  And this too is a galling evil: just the way he came, so he goes, and how much is he better off for putting himself to trouble just for wind? 17*  and all his life is spent in darkness and mourning and many annoyances and diseases and exasperations. Here is the way I see it: 18*  it is best that one should turn his attention to eating and drinking and seeing good by all his trouble that he takes under the sun in such time for living as God has given him, because that is his portion. 19*  Also, when God has given any man riches and substance and the privilege of eating from it and of taking up his portion and of enjoying himself for his trouble, this is God’s gift, 20  for he will not much remember the days he has lived through because God busies him with his heart’s enjoyment.

Footnotes

5:1 Lit. Guard your feet (var. foot)
5:1 The word better is not expressed in the Hebrew, perhaps by error in copying
5:1 Codd. anything bad
5:6 Or before the messenger Var. before God
5:6 Conj.* and foreclose on the work
5:7 Susp.; unc.
5:8 Lit. and stealing of law and right
5:17 Lit. is in darkness and
5:18 Codd. Here is what I see to be best: it is fine to eat and drink and see good by all one’s
5:19 Lit. Also, any man to whom God has given riches and