1 A hard lot has been created for human beings, a heavy yoke lies on the children of Adam from the day they come out of their mother's womb, till the day they return to the mother of them all.
2 What fills them with foreboding and their hearts with fear is dread of the day of death.
3 From the one who sits on a glorious throne to the wretch in dust and ashes,
4 from the one who wears purple and a crown to the one dressed in sacking, all is fury and jealousy, turmoil and unrest, fear of death, rivalry, strife.
5 And even at night while he rests on his bed his sleep only gives a new twist to his worries:
6 scarcely has he lain down to rest, when in his sleep, as if in broad daylight, he is troubled with nightmares, like one who has escaped from a battle,
7 and at the moment of rescue he wakes up, amazed that there was nothing to be afraid of!
8 For all creatures, human and animal -- and seven times more for sinners-
9 there is death and blood and strife and the sword, disasters, famine, affliction, plague.
10 These things were all created for the wicked, and the Flood came because of them.
11 All that comes from the earth returns to the earth, and what comes from the water returns to the sea.
12 All bribery and injustice will be blotted out, but good faith will stand for ever.
13 Ill-gotten wealth will vanish like a torrent, like the single thunder-clap that heralds rain.
14 When he opens his hand, he rejoices, by the same token, sinners come to ruin.
15 The sprigs of the godless will not make many branches, tainted roots find only hard rock.
16 The reed that grows by every lake and river's edge is the first plant to be uprooted.
17 Charity is a very paradise of blessing and almsgiving endures for ever.
18 For a person of private means and one who works hard, life is pleasant, better off than either, one who finds a treasure.
19 Children and the founding of a city perpetuate a name: more esteemed than either, a perfect wife.
20 Wine and music cheer the heart; better than either, the love of wisdom.
21 Flute and harp add sweetness to a song; better than either, a melodious voice.
22 The eye longs for grace and beauty; better than either, the green of spring corn.
23 Friend or comrade -- it is always well met; better than either, a wife and husband.
24 Brothers and allies are good in times of trouble; better than either, almsgiving to the rescue.
25 Gold and silver will steady your feet; more esteemed than either, good advice.
26 Money and strength make a confident heart; better than either, the fear of the Lord. With fear of the Lord, nothing is lacking: no need to seek for other help.
27 Fear of the Lord is a paradise of blessing, a better protection than the highest reputation.
28 My child, do not live by sponging off others, better be dead than be a sponger.
29 A life spent in eyeing someone else's table cannot be accounted a life at all. Other people's food defiles the gullet; a wise, well-brought-up person will beware of doing this.
30 What a sponger says may sound very sweet but in his belly there burns a fire.