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There is a grievous, miserable reality I have observed under the sun, riches that are kept by its owner to his own misery.

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I have observed another vexing thing here on earth that caused me to say, “That’s just wrong!”  namely, riches that are horded by their owner only to bring him misery rather than happiness.



This word, which I have translated “misery,” is a different form of the same word used earlier in the sentence for something miserable. It means “unpleasant, bad, or miserable.” While it can have moral connotations, that is not implied by the context of this verse. Unlike the proverbs, the wisdom shared in this book came directly from Solomon’s own experiences. He had experienced wealth beyond what anyone could imagine, but when deep loss and grief entered his life, everything was put into perspective. The wealthiest man on earth at that time was telling his audience that hording wealth will not make you happy. At this point, the man in this example, still has his wealth intact, but it is causing him misery not happiness as one would assume. It is causing him to worry or be anxious about things, or it has made him greedy and he can never get enough, or caring for his enterprises demands all his time and energy and he cannot enjoy times with family and friends. His situation will soon change, as we see in the next verse.