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Ecclesiastes 7 New International Reader's Version (NIRV)

Good Advice About How to Live

A good name is better than fine perfume.
    People can learn more from mourning when someone dies
    than from being happy when someone is born.
So it’s better to go where people are mourning
    than to go where people are having a good time.
Everyone will die someday.
    Those who are still living
    should really think about that.
Not being able to figure things out is better than laughter.
    That’s because sorrow is good for the heart.
Those who are wise are found where there is sorrow.
    But foolish people are found where there is pleasure.
Pay attention to a wise person’s warning.
    That’s better than listening to the songs of those who are foolish.
A foolish person’s laughter
    is like the crackling of thorns burning under a pot.
    That doesn’t have any meaning either.

When a wise person takes wealth by force, they become foolish.
    It is sinful to take money from people who want special favors.

The end of a matter is better than its beginning.
    So it’s better to be patient than proud.
Don’t become angry quickly.
    Anger lives in the hearts of foolish people.

10 Don’t say, “Why were things better in the good old days?”
    It isn’t wise to ask that kind of question.

11 Wisdom is a good thing.
    It’s like getting a share of the family wealth.
    It benefits those who live on this earth.
12 Wisdom provides safety,
    just as money provides safety.
But here’s the advantage of wisdom.
    It guards those who have it.

13 Think about what God has done.

Who can make straight
    what he has made crooked?
14 When times are good, be happy.
    But when times are bad, here’s something to think about.
God has made bad times.
    He has also made good times.
So no one can find out anything
    about what’s ahead for them.

15 In my meaningless life here’s what I’ve seen.

I’ve seen godly people dying
    even though they are godly.
And I’ve seen sinful people living a long time
    even though they are sinful.
16 Don’t claim to be better than you are.
    And don’t claim to be wiser than you are.
    Why destroy yourself?
17 Don’t be too sinful.
    And don’t be foolish.
    Why die before your time comes?
18 It’s good to hold on to both of those things.
    Don’t let go of either one.
Whoever has respect for God will avoid
    going too far in either direction.

19 Wisdom makes one wise person more powerful
    than ten rulers in a city.

20 It is true that there isn’t anyone on earth
    who does only what is right and never sins.

21 Don’t pay attention to everything people say.
    If you do, you might hear your servant cursing you.
22 Many times you yourself have cursed others.
    Deep down inside, you know that’s true.

23 I used wisdom to test all these things. I said,

“I’ve made up my mind to be wise.”
    But it was more than I could accomplish.
24 Whatever exists is far away and very deep.
    Who can find it?
25 So I tried to understand wisdom more completely.
    I wanted to study it and figure it out.
    I tried to find out everything I could about it.
I tried to understand why it’s foolish to be evil.
    I wanted to see why choosing foolishness is so unwise.

26 A woman who hunts a man down
    is more painful than death.
Her heart is like a trap.
    Her hands are like chains.
A man who pleases God will try to get away from her.
    But she will trap a sinner.

27 “Look,” says the Teacher. “Here’s what I’ve discovered.

“I added one thing to another to find out
    everything I could about wisdom.
28 I searched and searched
    but found very little.
I did find one honest man among a thousand.
    But I didn’t find one honest woman among a thousand.
29 Here’s the only other thing I found.
    God created human beings as honest.
    But they’ve made many evil plans.”

New International Reader's Version (NIRV)

Copyright © 1995, 1996, 1998, 2014 by Biblica, Inc.®. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Ecclesiastes 7 New International Version (NIV)


A good name is better than fine perfume,
    and the day of death better than the day of birth.
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.
Frustration is better than laughter,
    because a sad face is good for the heart.
The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning,
    but the heart of fools is in the house of pleasure.
It is better to heed the rebuke of a wise person
    than to listen to the song of fools.
Like the crackling of thorns under the pot,
    so is the laughter of fools.
    This too is meaningless.

Extortion turns a wise person into a fool,
    and a bribe corrupts the heart.

The end of a matter is better than its beginning,
    and patience is better than pride.
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.

13 Consider what God has done:

Who can straighten
    what he has made crooked?
14 When times are good, be happy;
    but when times are bad, consider this:
God has made the one
    as well as the other.
Therefore, no one can discover
    anything about their future.

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.”


  1. Ecclesiastes 7:18 Or will follow them both
  2. Ecclesiastes 7:27 Or the leader of the assembly
New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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