Ecclesiastes 6:12-7:29Contemporary English Version (CEV)
12 Life is short and meaningless, and it fades away like a shadow. Who knows what is best for us? Who knows what will happen after we are gone?
The Best in Life
7 A good reputation at the time of death is better than loving care at the time of birth.[a] 2 It’s better to go to a funeral than to attend a feast; funerals remind us that we all must die. 3 Choose sorrow over laughter because a sad face may hide a happy heart. 4 A sensible person mourns, but fools always laugh. 5 Harsh correction is better than the songs of a fool. 6 Foolish laughter is stupid. It sounds like thorns crackling in a fire. 7 Corruption[b] makes fools of sensible people, and bribes can ruin you. 8 Something completed is better than something just begun; patience is better than too much pride. 9 Only fools get angry quickly and hold a grudge. 10 It isn’t wise to ask, “Why is everything worse than it used to be?” 11 Having wisdom is better than an inheritance. 12 Wisdom will protect you just like money; knowledge with good sense will lead you to life. 13 Think of what God has done! If God makes something crooked, can you make it straight?
14 When times are good, you should be cheerful; when times are bad, think what it means. God makes them both to keep us from knowing what will happen next.
Some of Life’s Questions
15 I have seen everything during this senseless life of mine. I have seen good citizens die for doing the right thing, and I have seen criminals live to a ripe old age. 16 So don’t destroy yourself by being too good or acting too smart! 17 Don’t die before your time by being too evil or acting like a fool. 18 Keep to the middle of the road. You can do this if you truly respect God.
19 Wisdom will make you stronger than the ten most powerful leaders in your city.
20 No one in this world always does right.
21 Don’t listen to everything that everyone says, or you might hear your servant cursing you. 22 Haven’t you cursed many others?
23 I told myself that I would be smart and try to understand all of this, but it was too much for me. 24 The truth is beyond us. It’s far too deep. 25 So I decided to learn everything I could and become wise enough to discover what life is all about. At the same time, I wanted to understand why it’s stupid and senseless to be an evil fool.
26 Here is what I discovered: A bad woman is worse than death. She is a trap, reaching out with body and soul to catch you. But if you obey God, you can escape. If you don’t obey, you are done for. 27 With all my wisdom I have tried to find out how everything fits together, 28 but so far I have not been able to. I do know there is one good man in a thousand, but never have I found a good woman. 29 I did learn one thing: We were completely honest when God created us, but now we have twisted minds.
7.1birth: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 1.
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