Have you protected your copyright yet? Copyright piracy is estimated to cost millions every year. Before letting anyone see your work, make sure you've registered your work for copyright protection. For more information, click here.


4 Then I observed that most people are motivated to success by their envy of their neighbors. But this, too, is meaningless, like chasing the wind.
5 Foolish people refuse to work and almost starve.
6 They feel it is better to be lazy and barely survive than to work hard, especially when in the long run everything is so futile.


The Advantages of Companionship



7 I observed yet another example of meaninglessness in our world.
8 This is the case of a man who is all alone, without a child or a brother, yet who works hard to gain as much wealth as he can. But then he asks himself, "Who am I working for? Why am I giving up so much pleasure now?" It is all so meaningless and depressing.
9 Two people can accomplish more than twice as much as one; they get a better return for their labor.
10 If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But people who are alone when they fall are in real trouble.
11 And on a cold night, two under the same blanket can gain warmth from each other. But how can one be warm alone?
12 A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.


The Futility of Political Power



13 It is better to be a poor but wise youth than to be an old and foolish king who refuses all advice.
14 Such a youth could come from prison and succeed. He might even become king, though he was born in poverty.
15 Everyone is eager to help such a youth, even to help him take the throne.
16 He might become the leader of millions and be very popular. But then the next generation grows up and rejects him! So again, it is all meaningless, like chasing the wind.



Ecclesiastes 5



5:1 The Importance of Fearing God



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.


The Futility of Wealth



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 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 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 whatever they do under the sun 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 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.



Ecclesiastes 6



6:1 There is another serious tragedy I have seen in our world.
2 God gives great wealth and honor to some people and gives them everything they could ever want, but then he doesn't give them the health to enjoy it. They die, and others get it all! This is meaningless a sickening tragedy.
3 A man might have a hundred children and live to be very old. But if he finds no satisfaction in life and in the end does not even get a decent burial, I say he would have been better off born dead.
4 I realize that his birth would have been meaningless and ended in darkness. He wouldn't even have had a name,
5 and he would never have seen the sun or known of its existence. Yet he would have had more peace than he has in growing up to be an unhappy man.
6 He might live a thousand years twice over but not find contentment. And since he must die like everyone else well, what's the use?
7 All people spend their lives scratching for food, but they never seem to have enough.
8 Considering this, do wise people really have any advantage over fools? Do poor people gain anything by being wise and knowing how to act in front of others?
9 Enjoy what you have rather than desiring what you don't have. Just dreaming about nice things is meaningless; it is like chasing the wind.


The Future Determined and Unknown



10 Everything has already been decided. It was known long ago what each person would be. So there's no use arguing with God about your destiny.
11 The more words you speak, the less they mean. So why overdo it?
12 In the few days of our empty lives, who knows how our days can best be spent? And who can tell what will happen in the future after we are gone?



Ecclesiastes 7



7:1 Wisdom for Life



A good reputation is more valuable than the most expensive perfume. In the same way, the day you die is better than the day you are born.
2 It is better to spend your time at funerals than at festivals. For you are going to die, and you should think about it while there is still time.
3 Sorrow is better than laughter, for sadness has a refining influence on us.
4 A wise person thinks much about death, while the fool thinks only about having a good time now.
5 It is better to be criticized by a wise person than to be praised by a fool!
6 Indeed, a fool's laughter is quickly gone, like thorns crackling in a fire. This also is meaningless.
7 Extortion turns wise people into fools, and bribes corrupt the heart.
8 Finishing is better than starting. Patience is better than pride.
9 Don't be quick-tempered, for anger is the friend of fools.
10 Don't long for "the good old days," for you don't know whether they were any better than today.
11 Being wise is as good as being rich; in fact, it is better.
12 Wisdom or money can get you almost anything, but it's important to know that only wisdom can save your life.
13 Notice the way God does things; then fall into line. Don't fight the ways of God, for who can straighten out what he has made crooked?
14 Enjoy prosperity while you can. But when hard times strike, realize that both come from God. That way you will realize that nothing is certain in this life.


The Limits of Human Wisdom



15 In this meaningless life, I have seen everything, including the fact that some good people die young and some wicked people live on and on.
16 So don't be too good or too wise! Why destroy yourself?
17 On the other hand, don't be too wicked either don't be a fool! Why should you die before your time?
18 So try to walk a middle course but those who fear God will succeed either way.
19 A wise person is stronger than the ten leading citizens of a town!
20 There is not a single person in all the earth who is always good and never sins.
21 Don't eavesdrop on others you may hear your servant laughing at you.
22 For you know how often you yourself have laughed at others.
23 All along I have tried my best to let wisdom guide my thoughts and actions. I said to myself, "I am determined to be wise." But it didn't really work.
24 Wisdom is always distant and very difficult to find.













































I

II

III

IV

V

VI

VII

VIII

IX

X

XI

I

II

III

IV

V

VI

VII

VIII

IX

X

XI