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A good reputation is more valuable than the most expensive perfume.

The day one dies is better than the day he is born! It is better to spend your time at funerals than at festivals. For you are going to die, and it is a good thing to think about it while there is still time. Sorrow is better than laughter, for sadness has a refining influence on us. Yes, a wise man thinks much of death, while the fool thinks only of having a good time now.

It is better to be criticized by a wise man than to be praised by a fool! For a fool’s compliment is as quickly gone as paper in fire, and it is silly to be impressed by it.

The wise man is turned into a fool by a bribe; it destroys his understanding.

Finishing is better than starting! Patience is better than pride! Don’t be quick-tempered—that is being a fool.

10 Don’t long for “the good old days,” for you don’t know whether they were any better than these!

11 To be wise is as good as being rich; in fact, it is better. 12 You can get anything by either wisdom or money, but being wise has many advantages.

13 See the way God does things and fall into line. Don’t fight the facts of nature.[a] Who can straighten what he has made crooked? 14 Enjoy prosperity whenever you can, and when hard times strike, realize that God gives one as well as the other—so that everyone will realize that nothing is certain in this life.

15-17 In this silly life I have seen everything, including the fact that some of the good die young and some of the wicked live on and on. So don’t be too good or too wise! Why destroy yourself? On the other hand, don’t be too wicked either—don’t be a fool! Why should you die before your time?

18 Tackle every task that comes along, and if you fear God, you can expect his blessing.

19 A wise man is stronger than the mayors of ten big cities! 20 And there is not a single man in all the earth who is always good and never sins.

21-22 Don’t eavesdrop! You may hear your servant cursing you! For you know how often you yourself curse others!

23 I have tried my best to be wise. I declared, “I will be wise,” but it didn’t work. 24 Wisdom is far away and very difficult to find. 25 I searched everywhere, determined to find wisdom and the reason for things . . . to prove to myself the wickedness of folly and that foolishness is madness.

26 A prostitute[b] is more bitter than death. May it please God that you escape from her, but sinners don’t evade her snares.

27-28 This is my conclusion, says the Preacher. Step by step I came to this result after researching in every direction: One tenth of one percent of the men I interviewed could be said to be wise, but not one woman!

29 And I found that though God has made men upright, each has turned away to follow his own downward road.


  1. Ecclesiastes 7:13 Don’t fight the facts of nature, implied.
  2. Ecclesiastes 7:26 A prostitute, literally, “The woman whose heart is snares and nets.”


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.”


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