1Much labor was created for every man,
and a heavy yoke is upon the sons of Adam,
from the day they come forth from their mother's womb
till the day they return toa the mother of all.
2Their perplexities and fear of heart-
their anxious thought is the day of death,
3from the man who sits on a splendid throne
to the one who is humbled in dust and ashes,
4from the man who wears purple and a crown
to the one who is clothed in burlap;
5there is anger and envy and trouble and unrest,
and fear of death, and fury and strife.
And when one rests upon his bed,
his sleep at night confuses his mind.
6He gets little or no rest,
and afterward in his sleep, as though he were on watch,
he is troubled by the visions of his mind
like one who has escaped from the battle-front;
7at the moment of his rescue he wakes up,
and wonders that his fear came to nothing.
8With all flesh, both man and beast,
and upon sinners seven times more,
9are death and bloodshed and strife and sword,
calamities, famine and affliction and plague.
10All these were created for the wicked,
and on their account the flood came.
11All things that are from the earth turn back to the earth,
and what is from the waters returns to the sea.
Injustice Will Not Prosper
12All bribery and injustice will be blotted out,
but good faith will stand for ever.
13The wealth of the unjust will dry up like a torrent,
and crash like a loud clap of thunder in a rain.
14A generous man will be made glad;
likewise transgressors will utterly fail.
15The children of the ungodly will not put forth many branches;
they are unhealthy roots upon sheer rock.
16The reeds by any water or river bank
will be plucked up before any grass.
17Kindness is like a garden of blessings,
and almsgiving endures for ever.
The Joys of Life
18Life is sweet for the self-reliant and the worker,b
but he who finds treasure is better off than both.
19Children and the building of a city establish a man's name,
but a blameless wife is accounted better than both.
20Wine and music gladden the heart,
but the love of wisdom is better than both.
21The flute and the harp make pleasant melody,
but a pleasant voice is better than both.
22The eye desires grace and beauty,
but the green shoots of grain more than both.
23A friend or a companion never meets one amiss,
but a wife with her husband is better than both.
24Brothers and help are for a time of trouble,
but almsgiving rescues better than both.
25Gold and silver make the foot stand sure,
but good counsel is esteemed more than both.
26Riches and strength lift up the heart,
but the fear of the Lord is better than both.
There is no loss in the fear of the Lord,
and with it there is no need to seek for help.
27The fear of the Lord is like a garden of blessing,
and covers a manc better than any glory.
The Disgrace of Begging
28My son, do not lead the life of a beggar;
it is better to die than to beg.
29When a man looks to the table of another,
his existence cannot be considered as life.
He pollutes himself with another man's food,
but a man who is intelligent and well instructed guards against that.
30In the mouth of the shameless begging is sweet,
but in his stomach a fire is kindled.