7 It is better to have respect than good perfume. The day a person dies is better than the day he was born. 2 It is better to go to a funeral than to a party. We all must die. Everyone living should think about this. 3 Sorrow is better than laughter. Sadness has a good influence on you. 4 A wise man thinks about death, but a foolish person thinks only about having a good time. 5 It is better to be criticized by a wise man than to be praised by a foolish person. 6 The laughter of foolish people is useless. It is like heating a pot by burning straw. There is a lot of fire but no heat.
7 Even a wise man will become foolish if he lets money change his thinking.
8 It is better to finish something than to start it. It is better to be patient than to be proud. 9 Don’t become mad quickly, because getting angry is foolish.
10 Don’t ask, “Why was life better in the ‘good old days’?” It is not wise to ask such questions.
11 Wisdom is as good to have as inheriting property. It helps people see what to do. 12 Wisdom is like money. They both help a person. But wisdom is better than money, because it can save a person’s life.
13 Stop and think about everything that God causes to happen. You cannot change a thing, even if you think it is wrong. 14 When life is good, enjoy it. But when life is hard, remember: God gives us good times and hard times. And no one knows what tomorrow will bring.
It Is Impossible to Be Truly Good
15 In my short life I have seen both of these: I have seen good men die being good. And I have seen evil men living a long time. 16 Don’t try to be too right all the time. Don’t try to be too wise, either. Why should you destroy yourself this way? 17 Don’t be too wicked. And don’t be a foolish person. You will die young if you do so. 18 Try to avoid going too far in doing anything. Those who honor God will avoid doing too much of anything.
19 Wisdom gives a person strength. One wise man is stronger than ten leaders in a city.
20 Surely there is not a good man on earth who always does good and never sins.
21 Don’t listen to everything people say. You might hear your servant insulting you. 22 You know that many times you also have insulted others.
23 I used wisdom to test all these things. I wanted to be wise, but it was too hard for me. 24 I cannot understand why things are as they are. It is too hard for anyone to understand. 25 I studied and tried very hard to find wisdom. I tried to find some meaning for everything. I learned that it is foolish to be evil. And it is crazy to act like a fool.
26 I found that some women are worse than death. They are as dangerous as traps. Their love is like a net. Their arms hold men like chains. A man who follows God will run away from them. But a sinner will be caught by them.
27 The Teacher says, “This is what I learned: I added all these things together to see if I could find some meaning for everything. 28 I am still looking for it, but I have not found it. But I did discover that truly good people are hard to find. Such people are one in a million! 29 One thing I have learned: God made people good. But people have found all kinds of ways to be bad.”
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