Ecclesiastes 12:9-12New International Version (NIV)
The Conclusion of the Matter
9 Not only was the Teacher wise, but he also imparted knowledge to the people. He pondered and searched out and set in order many proverbs.10 The Teacher searched to find just the right words, and what he wrote was upright and true.
11 The words of the wise are like goads, their collected sayings like firmly embedded nails—given by one shepherd.[a]12 Be warned, my son, of anything in addition to them.
Of making many books there is no end, and much study wearies the body.
Ecclesiastes 7:1-12New International Version (NIV)
7 A good name is better than fine perfume, and the day of death better than the day of birth. 2 It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, for death is the destiny of everyone; the living should take this to heart. 3 Frustration is better than laughter, because a sad face is good for the heart. 4 The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, but the heart of fools is in the house of pleasure. 5 It is better to heed the rebuke of a wise person than to listen to the song of fools. 6 Like the crackling of thorns under the pot, so is the laughter of fools. This too is meaningless.
7 Extortion turns a wise person into a fool, and a bribe corrupts the heart.
8 The end of a matter is better than its beginning, and patience is better than pride. 9 Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit, for anger resides in the lap of fools.
10 Do not say, “Why were the old days better than these?” For it is not wise to ask such questions.
11 Wisdom, like an inheritance, is a good thing and benefits those who see the sun. 12 Wisdom is a shelter as money is a shelter, but the advantage of knowledge is this: Wisdom preserves those who have it.
Ecclesiastes 7:15-29New International Version (NIV)
15 In this meaningless life of mine I have seen both of these:
the righteous perishing in their righteousness, and the wicked living long in their wickedness. 16 Do not be overrighteous, neither be overwise— why destroy yourself? 17 Do not be overwicked, and do not be a fool— why die before your time? 18 It is good to grasp the one and not let go of the other. Whoever fears God will avoid all extremes.[a]
19 Wisdom makes one wise person more powerful than ten rulers in a city.
20 Indeed, there is no one on earth who is righteous, no one who does what is right and never sins.
21 Do not pay attention to every word people say, or you may hear your servant cursing you— 22 for you know in your heart that many times you yourself have cursed others.
23 All this I tested by wisdom and I said,
“I am determined to be wise”— but this was beyond me. 24 Whatever exists is far off and most profound— who can discover it? 25 So I turned my mind to understand, to investigate and to search out wisdom and the scheme of things and to understand the stupidity of wickedness and the madness of folly.
26 I find more bitter than death the woman who is a snare, whose heart is a trap and whose hands are chains. The man who pleases God will escape her, but the sinner she will ensnare.
27 “Look,” says the Teacher,[b] “this is what I have discovered:
“Adding one thing to another to discover the scheme of things— 28 while I was still searching but not finding— I found one upright man among a thousand, but not one upright woman among them all. 29 This only have I found: God created mankind upright, but they have gone in search of many schemes.”
10 As dead flies give perfume a bad smell, so a little folly outweighs wisdom and honor. 2 The heart of the wise inclines to the right, but the heart of the fool to the left. 3 Even as fools walk along the road, they lack sense and show everyone how stupid they are. 4 If a ruler’s anger rises against you, do not leave your post; calmness can lay great offenses to rest.
5 There is an evil I have seen under the sun, the sort of error that arises from a ruler: 6 Fools are put in many high positions, while the rich occupy the low ones. 7 I have seen slaves on horseback, while princes go on foot like slaves.
8 Whoever digs a pit may fall into it; whoever breaks through a wall may be bitten by a snake. 9 Whoever quarries stones may be injured by them; whoever splits logs may be endangered by them.
10 If the ax is dull and its edge unsharpened, more strength is needed, but skill will bring success.
11 If a snake bites before it is charmed, the charmer receives no fee.
12 Words from the mouth of the wise are gracious, but fools are consumed by their own lips. 13 At the beginning their words are folly; at the end they are wicked madness— 14 and fools multiply words.
No one knows what is coming— who can tell someone else what will happen after them?
15 The toil of fools wearies them; they do not know the way to town.
16 Woe to the land whose king was a servant[a] and whose princes feast in the morning. 17 Blessed is the land whose king is of noble birth and whose princes eat at a proper time— for strength and not for drunkenness.
18 Through laziness, the rafters sag; because of idle hands, the house leaks.
19 A feast is made for laughter, wine makes life merry, and money is the answer for everything.
20 Do not revile the king even in your thoughts, or curse the rich in your bedroom, because a bird in the sky may carry your words, and a bird on the wing may report what you say.
Ecclesiastes 11:1-6New International Version (NIV)
Invest in Many Ventures
11 Ship your grain across the sea; after many days you may receive a return. 2 Invest in seven ventures, yes, in eight; you do not know what disaster may come upon the land.
3 If clouds are full of water, they pour rain on the earth. Whether a tree falls to the south or to the north, in the place where it falls, there it will lie. 4 Whoever watches the wind will not plant; whoever looks at the clouds will not reap.
5 As you do not know the path of the wind, or how the body is formed[a] in a mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the work of God, the Maker of all things.
6 Sow your seed in the morning, and at evening let your hands not be idle, for you do not know which will succeed, whether this or that, or whether both will do equally well.
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