The Contrast of Wisdom and Folly1 aA good name is better than precious ointment,
and bthe day of death than the day of birth.
2It is better to go to the house of mourning
than to go to the house of feasting,
for this is the end of all mankind,
and the living will clay it to heart.
3Sorrow is better than laughter,
dfor by sadness of face the heart is made glad.
4The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning,
but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth.
5It is ebetter for a man to hear the rebuke of the wise
than to hear the song of fools.
6 fFor as the crackling of gthorns under a pot,
so is the laughter of the fools;
this also is vanity. ▼
▼The Hebrew term hebel can refer to a “vapor” or “mere breath” (see note on 1:2)
7Surely ioppression drives the wise into madness,
and ja bribe corrupts the heart.
8Better is the end of a thing than its beginning,
and kthe patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.
9 lBe not quick in your spirit to become angry,
mfor anger lodges in the heart ▼
▼Hebrew in the bosomof fools.
10Say not, “Why were the former days better than these?”
For it is not from wisdom that you ask this.
11Wisdom is good with an inheritance,
an advantage to those who osee the sun.
12For the protection of wisdom is like pthe protection of money,
and the advantage of knowledge is that qwisdom preserves the life of him who has it.
13Consider rthe work of God:
swho can make straight what he has made crooked?
14 tIn the day of prosperity be joyful, and in the day of adversity consider: God has made the one as well as the other, uso that man may not find out anything that will be after him.
15In my vvain ▼
▼The Hebrew term hebel can refer to a “vapor” or “mere breath” (see note on 1:2)life I have seen everything. There is xa righteous man who perishes in his righteousness, and there is a wicked man who yprolongs his life in his evildoing. 16Be not overly righteous, and do not zmake yourself too wise. Why should you destroy yourself? 17Be not overly wicked, neither be a fool. aaWhy should you die before your time? 18It is good that you should take hold of abthis, and from acthat adwithhold not your hand, for the one who fears God shall come out from both of them.
19 aeWisdom gives strength to the wise man more than ten rulers who are in a city.
20Surely afthere is not a righteous man on earth who does good and never sins.
21Do not take to heart all the things that people say, lest you hear agyour servant cursing you. 22Your heart knows that ahmany times you yourself have cursed others.
23All this I have tested by wisdom. aiI said, “I will be wise,” but it was far from me. 24That which has been is far off, and ajdeep, very deep; akwho can find it out?
25 alI turned my heart to know and to search out and to seek wisdom and the scheme of things, and to know the wickedness of folly and the foolishness that is madness. 26And I find something more ambitter than death: anthe woman whose heart is aosnares and nets, and whose hands are fetters. He who pleases God escapes her, but apthe sinner is taken by her. 27Behold, this is what I found, says aqthe Preacher, while adding one thing to another to find the scheme of things— 28which my soul has sought repeatedly, but I have not found. arOne man among a thousand I found, but asa woman among all these I have not found. 29See, this alone I found, that atGod made man upright, but authey have sought out many schemes.
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