The Holy Bible – Knox Translation
The Book of Ecclesiastes
When thou standest in God’s presence, do not pour out with rash haste all that is in thy heart. God sees as heaven sees, thou as earth; few words are best.
Sure as dreams come from an overwrought brain, from glib utterance comes ill-considered speech.
Vow to God if thou utterest, without delay perform it, he will have no light and rash promises; vow made must be vow paid.
Far better undertake nothing than undertake what thou dost not fulfil.
Wouldst thou defile thy whole nature through the tongue’s fault? Wouldst thou find thyself saying, with God’s angel to hear thee, No thought I gave to it?✻ Little wonder if God disappoints every ambition of the man who speaks so.
Dreams, empty dreams, led to those glib promises of thine; content thyself rather with the fear of God.✻
Thou seest, it may be, in this province or that, oppression of the poor, false award given, and wrong unredressed? Let not such things bewilder thee; trust me, authority is watched by higher authority, subject in turn to higher authority yet;
and, above them all, the King of the whole earth rules it as his dominion.✻
What is his decree? Why, that covetousness should never fill its own maw; never did he that loved money taste the enjoyment of his money;✻ here is frustration once again.
Richer if thou grow, riches will give thee more mouths to feed; profit he has none that owns them, save the feasting of his eyes on them if he will.
Full belly or empty, sound is the cottar’s sleep; sleep, to the pampered body of the rich still denied.
Another evil I have found past remedy, here under the sun; riches that a man hoards to his own undoing.
By cruel misadventure they are lost to him, and to the son he has begotten nothing he leaves but poverty.
Naked he came, when he left his mother’s womb, and naked still death finds him; nothing to show for all his long endeavour.
Alas, what ailed him, that he should go away no richer than he came? Nothing left of all those wasted labours of his;
all his life long the cheerless board, the multitudinous cares, the concern, the melancholy!
Better far, by my way of it, that a man should eat and drink and enjoy the revenues of his own labour, here under the sun, as long as God gives him life; what more can he claim?
God’s gift it is, if a man has wealth and goods and freedom to enjoy them, taking what comes to him and profiting by what he has earned.
Few be his days or many, he regards little, so long as God gives his heart content.
The Holy Bible