7 A good name is better than expensive perfume, and the day you die is better than the day you’re born. 2 It is better to go to a funeral than to a banquet because that is where everyone will end up. Everyone who is alive should take this to heart! 3 Sorrow is better than laughter because, in spite of a sad face, the heart can be joyful. 4 The minds of wise people think about funerals, but the minds of fools think about banquets.
5 It is better to listen to wise people who reprimand you than to fools who sing your praises. 6 The laughter of a fool is like the crackling of thorns burning under a pot. Even this is pointless.
7 Oppression can turn a wise person into a fool, and a bribe can corrupt the mind.
8 The end of something is better than its beginning. It is better to be patient than arrogant.
9 Don’t be quick to get angry, because anger is typical of fools. 10 Don’t ask, “Why were things better in the old days than they are now?” It isn’t wisdom that leads you to ask this!
Wisdom Gives Life
11 Wisdom is as good as an inheritance. It is an advantage to everyone who sees the sun. 12 Wisdom protects us just as money protects us, but the advantage of wisdom is that it gives life to those who have it.
13 Consider what God has done! Who can straighten what God has bent?
A Truth for Every Situation
14 When times are good, be happy. But when times are bad, consider this: God has made the one time as well as the other so that mortals cannot predict their future.
Mortals Don’t Get What They Deserve
15 I have seen it all in my pointless life:
Righteous people die in spite of being righteous. Wicked people go on living in spite of being wicked.
16 Don’t be too virtuous, and don’t be too wise. Why make yourself miserable? 17 Don’t be too wicked, and don’t be a fool. Why should you die before your time is up? 18 It’s good to hold on to the one and not let go of the other, because the one who fears God will be able to avoid both extremes.
The Advantages of Wisdom
19 Wisdom will help a wise person more than ten rulers can help a city. 20 Certainly, there is no one so righteous on earth that he always does what is good and never sins.
21 Don’t take everything that people say to heart, or you may hear your own servant cursing you. 22 Your conscience knows that you have cursed others many times.
23 I used wisdom to test all of this. I said, “I want to be wise, but it is out of my reach.” 24 Whatever wisdom may be, it is out of reach. It is deep, very deep. Who can find out what it is? 25 I turned my attention to study, to explore, and to seek out wisdom and the reason for things. I learned that wickedness is stupid and foolishness is madness.
26 I find that a woman whose thoughts are like traps and snares is more bitter than death itself. Even her hands are like chains. Whoever pleases God will escape her, but she will catch whoever continues to sin.
27 The spokesman said, “This is what I’ve found: I added one thing to another in order to find a reason for things. 28 I am still seeking a reason for things, but have not found any. I found one man out of a thousand who had it, but out of all these I didn’t find one woman. 29 I have found only this: God made people decent, but they looked for many ways to avoid being decent.”[a]
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