9 And moreover, because the Preacher was wise, he still taught the people knowledge; yes, he pondered and sought out andset[a] in order many proverbs. 10 The Preacher sought to find [b]acceptable words; and what was written was upright—words of truth.
7 Surely oppression destroys a wise man’s reason, And a bribe [a]debases the heart.
8 The end of a thing is better than its beginning; The patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit. 9 Do not hasten in your spirit to be angry, For anger rests in the bosom of fools. 10 Do not say, “Why were the former days better than these?” For you do not inquire wisely concerning this.
11 Wisdom is good with an inheritance, And profitable to those who see the sun. 12 For wisdom is[b]a defense as money is a defense, But the [c]excellence of knowledge is that wisdom gives life to those who have it.
19 Wisdom strengthens the wise More than ten rulers of the city.
20 For there is not a just man on earth who does good And does not sin.
21 Also do not take to heart everything people say, Lest you hear your servant cursing you. 22 For many times, also, your own heart has known That even you have cursed others.
23 All this I have [a]proved by wisdom. I said, “I will be wise”; But it was far from me. 24 As for that which is far off and exceedingly deep, Who can find it out? 25 I applied my heart to know, To search and seek out wisdom and the reason of things, To know the wickedness of folly, Even of foolishness and madness. 26 And I find more bitter than death The woman whose heart is snares and nets, Whose hands are fetters. [b]He who pleases God shall escape from her, But the sinner shall be trapped by her.
Ecclesiastes 10:1-11:6New King James Version (NKJV)
Wisdom and Folly
10 Dead[a] flies [b]putrefy the perfumer’s ointment, And cause it to give off a foul odor; So does a little folly to one respected for wisdom and honor. 2 A wise man’s heart is at his right hand, But a fool’s heart at his left. 3 Even when a fool walks along the way, He lacks wisdom, And he shows everyone that he is a fool. 4 If the spirit of the ruler rises against you, Do not leave your post; For conciliation[c] pacifies great offenses.
5 There is an evil I have seen under the sun, As an error proceeding from the ruler: 6 Folly is set in [d]great dignity, While the rich sit in a lowly place. 7 I have seen servants on horses, While princes walk on the ground like servants.
8 He who digs a pit will fall into it, And whoever breaks through a wall will be bitten by a serpent. 9 He who quarries stones may be hurt by them, And he who splits wood may be endangered by it. 10 If the ax is dull, And one does not sharpen the edge, Then he must use more strength; But wisdom [e]brings success.
11 A serpent may bite when it is not charmed; The [f]babbler is no different. 12 The words of a wise man’s mouth are gracious, But the lips of a fool shall swallow him up; 13 The words of his mouth begin with foolishness, And the end of his talk is raving madness. 14 A fool also multiplies words. No man knows what is to be; Who can tell him what will be after him? 15 The labor of fools wearies them, For they do not even know how to go to the city!
16 Woe to you, O land, when your king is a child, And your princes feast in the morning! 17 Blessed are you, O land, when your king is the son of nobles, And your princes feast at the proper time— For strength and not for drunkenness! 18 Because of laziness the [g]building decays, And through idleness of hands the house leaks. 19 A feast is made for laughter, And wine makes merry; But money answers everything.
20 Do not curse the king, even in your thought; Do not curse the rich, even in your bedroom; For a bird of the air may carry your voice, And a bird in flight may tell the matter.
The Value of Diligence
11 Cast your bread upon the waters, For you will find it after many days. 2 Give a serving to seven, and also to eight, For you do not know what evil will be on the earth.
3 If the clouds are full of rain, They empty themselves upon the earth; And if a tree falls to the south or the north, In the place where the tree falls, there it shall lie. 4 He who observes the wind will not sow, And he who regards the clouds will not reap.
5 As you do not know what is the way of the [h]wind, Or how the bones grow in the womb of her who is with child, So you do not know the works of God who makes everything. 6 In the morning sow your seed, And in the evening do not withhold your hand; For you do not know which will prosper, Either this or that, Or whether both alike will be good.
Ecclesiastes 12:11-12New King James Version (NKJV)
11 The words of the wise are like goads, and the words of [a]scholars are like well-driven nails, given by one Shepherd. 12 And further, my son, be admonished by these. Of making many books there is no end, and much study is wearisome to the flesh.
7 A good name is better than precious ointment, And the day of death than the day of one’s birth; 2 Better to go to the house of mourning Than to go to the house of feasting, For that is the end of all men; And the living will take it to heart. 3 [a]Sorrow is better than laughter, For by a sad countenance the heart is made [b]better. 4 The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, But the heart of fools is in the house of mirth.
5 It is better to [c]hear the rebuke of the wise Than for a man to hear the song of fools. 6 For like the [d]crackling of thorns under a pot, So is the laughter of the fool. This also is vanity.
There is a just man who perishes in his righteousness, And there is a wicked man who prolongs life in his wickedness.
16 Do not be overly righteous, Nor be overly wise: Why should you destroy yourself? 17 Do not be overly wicked, Nor be foolish: Why should you die before your time? 18 It is good that you grasp this, And also not remove your hand from the other; For he who fears God will [a]escape them all.
27 “Here is what I have found,” says the Preacher, “Adding one thing to the other to find out the reason, 28 Which my soul still seeks but I cannot find: One man among a thousand I have found, But a woman among all these I have not found. 29 Truly, this only I have found: That God made man upright, But they have sought out many schemes.”
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