(1) As you enter the house of God, keep your ears open and your mouth shut! Don’t be a fool who doesn’t realize that mindless offerings to God are evil. (2) And don’t make rash promises to God, for he is in heaven, and you are only here on earth. So let your words be few. (3) Just as being too busy gives you nightmares, being a fool makes you a blabbermouth.
(4) So when you make a promise to God, don’t delay in following through, for God takes no pleasure in fools. Keep all the promises you make to him. (5) It is better to say nothing than to promise something that you don’t follow through on. (6) In such cases, your mouth is making you sin. And don’t defend yourself by telling the Temple messenger that the promise you made was a mistake. That would make God angry, and he might wipe out everything you have achieved. (7) Dreaming all the time instead of working is foolishness. And there is ruin in a flood of empty words. Fear God instead. (8) If you see a poor person being oppressed by the powerful and justice being miscarried throughout the land, don’t be surprised! For every official is under orders from higher up, and matters of justice only get lost in red tape and bureaucracy.
(9) Even the king milks the land for his own profit! (10) Those who love money will never have enough. How absurd to think that wealth brings true happiness! (11) The more you have, the more people come to help you spend it. So what is the advantage of wealth â€“ except perhaps to watch it run through your fingers! (12) People who work hard sleep well, whether they eat little or much. But the rich are always worrying and seldom get a good night’s sleep. (13) There is another serious problem I have seen in the world. Riches are sometimes hoarded to the harm of the saver, (14) or they are put into risky investments that turn sour, and everything is lost. In the end, there is nothing left to pass on to one’s children. (15) People who live only for wealth come to the end of their lives as naked and empty-handed as on the day they were born. (16) And this, too, is a very serious problem. As people come into this world, so they depart. All their hard work is for nothing. They have been working for the wind, and everything will be swept away. (17) Throughout their lives, they live under a cloud â€“ frustrated, discouraged, and angry.
(18) Even so, I have noticed one thing, at least, that is good. It is good for people to eat well, drink a good glass of wine, and enjoy their work â€“ whatever they do under the sun â€“ for however long God lets them live. (19) And it is a good thing to receive wealth from God and the good health to enjoy it. To enjoy your work and accept your lot in life â€“ that is indeed a gift from God. (20) People who do this rarely look with sorrow on the past, for God has given them reasons for joy.