Wisdom

A good name is better than fine perfume,(A)
    and the day of death better than the day of birth.(B)
It is better to go to a house of mourning
    than to go to a house of feasting,
for death(C) is the destiny(D) of everyone;
    the living should take this to heart.
Frustration is better than laughter,(E)
    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.(F)
It is better to heed the rebuke(G) of a wise person
    than to listen to the song of fools.
Like the crackling of thorns(H) under the pot,
    so is the laughter(I) of fools.
    This too is meaningless.

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

The end of a matter is better than its beginning,
    and patience(K) is better than pride.
Do not be quickly provoked(L) in your spirit,
    for anger resides in the lap of fools.(M)

10 Do not say, “Why were the old days(N) better than these?”
    For it is not wise to ask such questions.

11 Wisdom, like an inheritance, is a good thing(O)
    and benefits those who see the sun.(P)
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:(Q)

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

15 In this meaningless life(T) of mine I have seen both of these:

the righteous perishing in their righteousness,
    and the wicked living long in their wickedness.(U)
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?(V)
18 It is good to grasp the one
    and not let go of the other.
    Whoever fears God(W) will avoid all extremes.[a]

19 Wisdom(X) makes one wise person more powerful(Y)
    than ten rulers in a city.

20 Indeed, there is no one on earth who is righteous,(Z)
    no one who does what is right and never sins.(AA)

21 Do not pay attention to every word people say,
    or you(AB) 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”(AC)
    but this was beyond me.
24 Whatever exists is far off and most profound—
    who can discover it?(AD)
25 So I turned my mind to understand,
    to investigate and to search out wisdom and the scheme of things(AE)
and to understand the stupidity of wickedness
    and the madness of folly.(AF)

26 I find more bitter than death
    the woman who is a snare,(AG)
whose heart is a trap
    and whose hands are chains.
The man who pleases God will escape her,
    but the sinner she will ensnare.(AH)

27 “Look,” says the Teacher,[b](AI) “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(AJ) among them all.
29 This only have I found:
    God created mankind upright,
    but they have gone in search of many schemes.”

Footnotes

  1. Ecclesiastes 7:18 Or will follow them both
  2. Ecclesiastes 7:27 Or the leader of the assembly

A good name is better than precious ointment; and the day of death than the day of one's birth.

It is 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 lay it to his heart.

Sorrow is better than laughter: for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better.

The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning; but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth.

It is better to hear the rebuke of the wise, than for a man to hear the song of fools.

For as the crackling of thorns under a pot, so is the laughter of the fool: this also is vanity.

Surely oppression maketh a wise man mad; and a gift destroyeth the heart.

Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof: and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.

Be not hasty in thy spirit to be angry: for anger resteth in the bosom of fools.

10 Say not thou, What is the cause that the former days were better than these? for thou dost not enquire wisely concerning this.

11 Wisdom is good with an inheritance: and by it there is profit to them that see the sun.

12 For wisdom is a defence, and money is a defence: but the excellency of knowledge is, that wisdom giveth life to them that have it.

13 Consider the work of God: for who can make that straight, which he hath made crooked?

14 In the day of prosperity be joyful, but in the day of adversity consider: God also hath set the one over against the other, to the end that man should find nothing after him.

15 All things have I seen in the days of my vanity: there is a just man that perisheth in his righteousness, and there is a wicked man that prolongeth his life in his wickedness.

16 Be not righteous over much; neither make thyself over wise: why shouldest thou destroy thyself ?

17 Be not over much wicked, neither be thou foolish: why shouldest thou die before thy time?

18 It is good that thou shouldest take hold of this; yea, also from this withdraw not thine hand: for he that feareth God shall come forth of them all.

19 Wisdom strengtheneth the wise more than ten mighty men which are in the city.

20 For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not.

21 Also take no heed unto all words that are spoken; lest thou hear thy servant curse thee:

22 For oftentimes also thine own heart knoweth that thou thyself likewise hast cursed others.

23 All this have I proved by wisdom: I said, I will be wise; but it was far from me.

24 That which is far off, and exceeding deep, who can find it out?

25 I applied mine heart to know, and to search, and to seek out wisdom, and the reason of things, and 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, and her hands as bands: whoso pleaseth God shall escape from her; but the sinner shall be taken by her.

27 Behold, this have I found, saith the preacher, counting one by one, to find out the account:

28 Which yet my soul seeketh, but I find not: one man among a thousand have I found; but a woman among all those have I not found.

29 Lo, this only have I found, that God hath made man upright; but they have sought out many inventions.

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