Be not [morbidly exacting and externally] righteous overmuch, neither strive to make yourself [pretentiously appear] overwise—why should you [get puffed up and] destroy yourself [with presumptuous self-sufficiency]?
In this silly life I have seen everything, including the fact that some of the good die young and some of the wicked live on and on. So don’t be too good or too wise! Why destroy yourself? On the other hand, don’t be too wicked either—don’t be a fool! Why should you die before your time?
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?
Do not thou be just over much, neither understand thou more than is needful; lest thou be astonied. (Do not thou be too good, nor understand thou more than is useful; lest thou be regarded with contempt, or with derision.)
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