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1Guard your steps when you go to the house of God; to draw near to listen is better than to offer the sacrifice of fools; for they do not know that they are doing evil. 2Be not rash with your mouth, nor let your heart be hasty to utter a word before God, for God is in heaven, and you upon earth; therefore let your words be few.

3For a dream comes with much business, and a fool’s voice with many words.

4When you vow a vow to God, do not delay paying it; for he has no pleasure in fools. Pay what you vow. 5It is better that you should not vow than that you should vow and not pay. 6Let not your mouth lead you into sin, and do not say before the messenger that it was a mistake; why should God be angry at your voice, and destroy the work of your hands?

7For when dreams increase, empty words grow many: but do you fear God.

8If you see in a province the poor oppressed and justice and right violently taken away, do not be amazed at the matter; for the high official is watched by a higher, and there are yet higher ones over them. 9But in all, a king is an advantage to a land with cultivated fields.

10He who loves money will not be satisfied with money; nor he who loves wealth, with gain: this also is vanity.

11When goods increase, they increase who eat them; and what gain has their owner but to see them with his eyes?

12Sweet is the sleep of a laborer, whether he eats little or much; but the surfeit of the rich will not let him sleep.

13There is a grievous evil which I have seen under the sun: riches were kept by their owner to his hurt, 14and those riches were lost in a bad venture; and he is father of a son, but he has nothing in his hand. 15As he came from his mother’s womb he shall go again, naked as he came, and shall take nothing for his toil, which he may carry away in his hand. 16This also is a grievous evil: just as he came, so shall he go; and what gain has he that he toiled for the wind, 17and spent all his days in darkness and grief, in much vexation and sickness and resentment?

18Behold, what I have seen to be good and to be fitting is to eat and drink and find enjoyment in all the toil with which one toils under the sun the few days of his life which God has given him, for this is his lot. 19Every man also to whom God has given wealth and possessions and power to enjoy them, and to accept his lot and find enjoyment in his toil—this is the gift of God. 20For he will not much remember the days of his life because God keeps him occupied with joy in his heart.

Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright © 1946, 1952, and 1971 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America.
Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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