Ecclesiastes 5
Contemporary English Version

Be Careful How You Worship

1Be careful what you do when you enter the house of God. Fools go there to offer sacrifices, because all they do is sin.+ But it's best just to listen when you go to worship. 2Don't talk before you think or make promises to God without thinking them through. God is in heaven, and you are on earth, so don't talk too much. 3If you keep thinking about something, you will dream about it. If you talk too much, you will say the wrong thing.

4 God doesn't like fools. So don't be slow to keep your promises to God. 5It's better not to make a promise at all than to make one and not keep it. 6Don't let your mouth get you in trouble! And don't say to the worship leader,+ “I didn't mean what I said.” God can destroy everything you have worked for, so don't say something that makes God angry.

7Respect and obey God! Daydreaming leads to a lot of senseless talk.+

8Don't be surprised if the poor of your country are abused, and injustice takes the place of justice. After all, the lower officials must do what the higher ones order them to do. 9And since the king is the highest official, he benefits most from the taxes paid on the land.+

10If you love money and wealth, you will never be satisfied with what you have. This doesn't make a bit of sense. 11The more you have, the more everyone expects from you. Your money won't do you any good—others will just spend it for you. 12If you have to work hard for a living, you can rest well at night, even if you don't have much to eat. But if you are rich, you can't even sleep.

13I have seen something terribly unfair. People get rich, but it does them no good. 14Suddenly they lose everything in a bad business deal, then have nothing to leave for their children. 15 They came into this world naked, and when they die, they will be just as naked. They can't take anything with them, and they won't have anything to show for all their work. 16That's terribly unfair. They leave the world just as they came. They gained nothing from running after the wind. 17Besides all this, they are always gloomy at mealtime, and they are troubled, sick, and bitter.+

18What is the best thing to do in the short life God has given us? I think we should enjoy eating, drinking, and working hard. This is what God intends for us to do. 19Suppose you are very rich and able to enjoy everything you own. Then go ahead and enjoy working hard—this is God's gift to you. 20God will keep you so happy that you won't have time to worry about each day.


5.1 because … sin: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
5.6 worship leader: Or “messenger.”
5.7 Daydreaming … talk: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
5.9 land: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 9.
5.17 bitter: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 17.

Contemporary English Version, Second Edition (CEV®)

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