The Contrast of Wisdom and Folly1 a A good name is better than precious ointment,
and b the 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 c lay it to heart.
3Sorrow is better than laughter,
d for 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 e better for a man to hear the rebuke of the wise
than to hear the song of fools.
6 f For as the crackling of g thorns 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 i oppression drives the wise into madness,
and j a bribe corrupts the heart.
8Better is the end of a thing than its beginning,
and k the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.
9 l Be not quick in your spirit to become angry,
m for 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 o see the sun.
12For the protection of wisdom is like p the protection of money,
and the advantage of knowledge is that q wisdom preserves the life of him who has it.
13Consider r the work of God:
s who can make straight what he has made crooked?
14 t In the day of prosperity be joyful, and in the day of adversity consider: God has made the one as well as the other u so that man may not find out anything that will be after him. 15In my v vain ▼
▼The Hebrew term hebel can refer to a “vapor” or “mere breath” (see note on 1:2)life I have seen everything. There is x a righteous man who perishes in his righteousness, and there is a wicked man who y prolongs his life in his evildoing. 16Be not overly righteous, and do not z make yourself too wise. Why should you destroy yourself? 17Be not overly wicked, neither be a fool. aa Why should you die before your time? 18It is good that you should take hold of ab this, and from ac that ad withhold not your hand, for the one who fears God shall come out from both of them. 19 ae Wisdom gives strength to the wise man more than ten rulers who are in a city. 20Surely af there 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 ag your servant cursing you. 22Your heart knows that ah many times you yourself have cursed others. 23All this I have tested by wisdom. ai I said, “I will be wise,” but it was far from me. 24That which has been is far off, and aj deep, very deep; ak who can find it out? 25 al I 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 am bitter than death: an the woman whose heart is ao snares and nets, and whose hands are fetters. He who pleases God escapes her, but ap the sinner is taken by her. 27Behold, this is what I found, says aq the Preacher, while adding one thing to another to find the scheme of things— 28which my soul has sought repeatedly, but I have not found. ar One man among a thousand I found, but as a woman among all these I have not found. 29See, this alone I found, that at God made man upright, but au they have sought out many schemes.
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