15 In this meaningless life(A) of mine I have seen both of these:

the righteous perishing in their righteousness,
    and the wicked living long in their wickedness.(B)
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?(C)
18 It is good to grasp the one
    and not let go of the other.
    Whoever fears God(D) will avoid all extremes.[a]

19 Wisdom(E) makes one wise person more powerful(F)
    than ten rulers in a city.

20 Indeed, there is no one on earth who is righteous,(G)
    no one who does what is right and never sins.(H)

21 Do not pay attention to every word people say,
    or you(I) 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”(J)
    but this was beyond me.
24 Whatever exists is far off and most profound—
    who can discover it?(K)
25 So I turned my mind to understand,
    to investigate and to search out wisdom and the scheme of things(L)
and to understand the stupidity of wickedness
    and the madness of folly.(M)

26 I find more bitter than death
    the woman who is a snare,(N)
whose heart is a trap
    and whose hands are chains.
The man who pleases God will escape her,
    but the sinner she will ensnare.(O)

27 “Look,” says the Teacher,[b](P) “this is what I have discovered:

“Adding one thing to another to discover the scheme of things—

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Footnotes

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

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