Ecclesiastes 7The Message (MSG)
Don’t Take Anything for Granted
7 A good reputation is better than a fat bank account.
2 You learn more at a funeral than at a feast—
3 Crying is better than laughing.
4 Sages invest themselves in hurt and grieving.
5 You’ll get more from the rebuke of a sage
6 The giggles of fools are like the crackling of twigs
7 Brutality stupefies even the wise
8 Endings are better than beginnings.
9 Don’t be quick to fly off the handle.
10 Don’t always be asking, “Where are the good old days?”
11-12 Wisdom is better when it’s paired with money,
13 Take a good look at God’s work.
14 On a good day, enjoy yourself;
Stay in Touch with Both Sides
15-17 I’ve seen it all in my brief and pointless life—here a good person cut down in the middle of doing good, there a bad person living a long life of sheer evil. So don’t knock yourself out being good, and don’t go overboard being wise. Believe me, you won’t get anything out of it. But don’t press your luck by being bad, either. And don’t be reckless. Why die needlessly?
18 It’s best to stay in touch with both sides of an issue. A person who fears God deals responsibly with all of reality, not just a piece of it.
19 Wisdom puts more strength in one wise person
20 There’s not one totally good person on earth,
21-22 Don’t eavesdrop on the conversation of others.
How to Interpret the Meaning of Life
23-25 I tested everything in my search for wisdom. I set out to be wise, but it was beyond me, far beyond me, and deep—oh so deep! Does anyone ever find it? I concentrated with all my might, studying and exploring and seeking wisdom—the meaning of life. I also wanted to identify evil and stupidity, foolishness and craziness.
26-29 One discovery: A woman can be a bitter pill to swallow, full of seductive scheming and grasping. The lucky escape her; the undiscerning get caught. At least this is my experience—what I, the Quester, have pieced together as I’ve tried to make sense of life. But the wisdom I’ve looked for I haven’t found. I didn’t find one man or woman in a thousand worth my while. Yet I did spot one ray of light in this murk: God made men and women true and upright; we’re the ones who’ve made a mess of things.