1 Hear this, all you peoples; ¶ listen, all who live in this world,
2 both low and high, rich and poor alike:
3 My mouth will speak words of wisdom; the meditation of my heart will give you understanding.
4 I will turn my ear to a proverb; with the harp I will expound my riddle:
5 Why should I fear when evil days come, ¶ when wicked deceivers surround me —
6 those who trust in their wealth and boast of their great riches?
7 No one can redeem the life of another or give to God a ransom for them —
8 the ransom for a life is costly, no payment is ever enough —
9 so that they should live on forever and not see decay.
10 For all can see that the wise die, that the foolish and the senseless also perish, ¶ leaving their wealth to others.
11 Their tombs will remain their houses [^1] forever, their dwellings for endless generations, ¶ though they had [^2] named lands after themselves.
12 People, despite their wealth, do not endure; ¶ they are like the beasts that perish.
13 This is the fate of those who trust in themselves, ¶ and of their followers, who approve their sayings. [^3]
14 They are like sheep and are destined to die; death will be their shepherd ¶ (but the upright will prevail over them in the morning). ¶ Their forms will decay in the grave, ¶ far from their princely mansions.
15 But God will redeem me from the realm of the dead; he will surely take me to himself.
16 Do not be overawed when others grow rich, when the splendor of their houses increases;
17 for they will take nothing with them when they die, their splendor will not descend with them.
18 Though while they live they count themselves blessed — and people praise you when you prosper —
19 they will join those who have gone before them, who will never again see the light of life.
20 People who have wealth but lack understanding ¶ are like the beasts that perish.