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Ecclesiastes 7

Wisdom and Folly Contrasted

Better is a good name than good oil,
And better is the day of one’s death than the day of one’s birth.
Better to go to a house of mourning
Than to go to a house of feasting
Because that is the end of all mankind,
And the living puts this in his heart.
Better is vexation than laughter,
For when a face is sad a heart may be merry.
The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning,
While the heart of fools is in the house of gladness.
Better to listen to the rebuke of a wise man
Than for one to listen to the song of fools.
For as the crackling sound of thorn bushes under a pot,
So is the laughter of the fool;
And this too is vanity.
For oppression gives a wise man over to madness,
And a bribe destroys the heart.
Better is the end of a matter than its beginning;
Better is patience of spirit than haughtiness of spirit.
Do not be eager in your spirit to be vexed,
For vexation rests in the bosom of fools.
Do not say, “Why is it that the former days were better than these?”
For it is not from wisdom that you ask about this.
Wisdom along with an inheritance is good
And an advantage to those who see the sun.
For wisdom is a shadow of protection as money is a shadow of protection,
And the advantage of knowledge is that wisdom preserves the lives of its masters.
See the work of God,
For who is able to straighten what He has bent?
In the day when there is good be of good cheer,
But in the day when there is evil see—
God has made the one as well as the other
So that man will not find out anything that will be after him.
15 I have seen everything during my days of vanity; there is a righteous man who perishes in his righteousness, and there is a wicked man who prolongs his life in his evildoing. 16 Do not be excessively righteous, and do not be overly wise. Why should you make yourself desolate? 17 Do not be excessively wicked, and do not be a simpleminded fool. Why should you die before your time? 18 It is good that you seize one thing and also not let go of the other; for the one who fears God comes forth with both of them. 19 Wisdom strengthens a wise man more than ten men with power who are in a city. 20 Indeed, there is not a righteous man on earth who continually does good and who never sins. 21 Also, do not give your heart to all words which are spoken, so that you will not hear your slave cursing you. 22 For your heart also knows that you likewise have many times cursed others. 23 I tested all this with wisdom, and I said, “I will be wise,” but it was far from me. 24 What has been is far away and exceedingly deep. Who can find it? 25 I turned my heart to know, to explore, and to seek wisdom and an explanation, and to know the wickedness of foolishness and the simpleminded folly of madness. 26 And I found more bitter than death the woman whose heart is snares and nets, whose hands are chains. One who is good before God will escape from her, but the sinner will be captured by her. 27 “See, I have found this,” says the Preacher, “adding one thing to another to find an explanation, 28 which my soul still seeks but has not found. I have found one man out of a thousand, but I have not found a woman among all these. 29 See, I have found only this, that God made men upright, but they have sought out many devices.”