International Standard Version
1Listen to this, all you people! Pay attention, all you who live in the world,
2both average people and those of means, the rich and the poor together.
3My mouth will speak wisely, and I will understand what I think about.
4I will focus my attention on a proverb; I will use the harp to expound my riddle.
5Why should I be afraid when evil days come my way, when the wickedness of those who deceive me surrounds me—
6those who put confidence in their wealth and boast about their great riches?
7No man can redeem the life of another, nor can he give to God a sufficient payment for him—
8for it would cost too much to redeem his life, and the payments would go on forever—
9that he should go on living and not see corruption.
10Indeed, he will see wise people die; the stupid and the senseless will meet their doom and leave their wealth to others.
11Their inner thoughts are on their homes forever; their dwellings from generation to generation. They even name their lands after themselves.
12But humanity cannot last, despite its conceit; it will pass away just like the animals.
13This is the fate of those who are foolish and of those who correct their words after they speak. Interlude
14Like sheep, they are destined for the realm of the dead, with death as their shepherd. The upright will have dominion over them in the morning; their strength will be consumed in the afterlife, so that they have no home.
15God will truly redeem me from the power of Sheol. He will surely receive me! Interlude
16Don't be afraid when someone gets rich, when the glory of his household increases.
17When he dies, he will not be able to take it all with him — his possessions will not follow him to the grave,
18although he considers himself blessed while he's alive. Though people praise you for doing well,
19you will end up like your ancestors' generation, never again to see the light of day!
20Humanity, despite its conceit, does not understand that it will perish, just like the animals.