Ecclesiastes 7New Life Version (NLV)
Wisdom Is Worth a Lot
7 A good name is better than oil of much worth. And the day of one’s death is better than the day of one’s birth. 2 It is better to go to a house of sorrow than to go to a house of much eating. For this is the end of all men, and the living takes it to heart. 3 To have sorrow is better than to laugh because when a face is sad, the heart may become strong. 4 The heart of the wise is in the house of sorrow, while the heart of fools is in the house where there is fun. 5 It is better to listen to the sharp words of a wise man than to listen to the song of fools. 6 For the laughing of a fool is like the sound of a thorn bush burning under a pot. This also is for nothing. 7 For sure a bad power makes the wise man angry. And to get paid in secret for wrong-doing destroys the heart. 8 The end of something is better than its beginning. Not giving up in spirit is better than being proud in spirit. 9 Do not be quick in spirit to be angry. For anger is in the heart of fools. 10 Do not say, “Why were the days of the past better than these?” For it is not wise to ask this. 11 Wisdom with a gift passed down from father to son is good and a help to those who see the sun. 12 For wisdom keeps one from danger just as money keeps one from danger. But the good thing about much learning is that wisdom keeps alive those who have it. 13 Think of the work of God, for who is able to make straight what He has not made straight? 14 In the day of well-being be happy. But in the day of trouble, think about this: God has made the one as well as the other, so that man can never know what is going to happen.
15 In the days of my life I have seen everything, but my life has been worth nothing. There is a right and good man who is destroyed while he is right and good. And there is a sinful man who lives long in his wrong-doing. 16 Do not be too right and good, and do not be too wise. Why should you destroy yourself? 17 Do not be too sinful, and do not be a fool. Why should you die before your time? 18 It is good that you take hold of one thing, and do not let go of the other. For the one who fears God will have both of them.
19 Wisdom gives more strength to a wise man than ten rulers have in a city. 20 For sure there is not a right and good man on earth who always does good and never sins. 21 Do not listen to all the things that are said, or you might hear your servant cursing you. 22 For you know in your heart that many times you have cursed others.
23 I tested all this with wisdom, and I said, “I will be wise,” but it was far from me. 24 Wisdom has been far away and hidden. Who can find it? 25 I turned my mind to know, to find out, and to look for wisdom and the reason of things, and to know how sinful it is to be foolish, and that being mad is foolish. 26 And I found that the woman whose heart is traps and nets, and whose hands are chains is more bitter than death. He who pleases God will get away from her. But the sinner will be taken in by her.
27 “See, I have found this out,” says the Preacher. “I have added one thing to another to find the reason, 28 which I am still looking for but have not found. I have found one man among a thousand, but I have not found a woman among all these. 29 See, I have found only this, that God made men right, but they have found many sinful ways.”