The Contrast of Wisdom and Folly
7 hA good name is better than precious ointment,
and ithe day of death than the day of birth.
2 It 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 jlay it to heart.
3 Sorrow is better than laughter,
kfor by sadness of face the heart is made glad.
4 The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning,
but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth.
5 It is lbetter for a man to hear the rebuke of the wise
than to hear the song of fools.
so is the laughter of the fools;
this also is vanity.1
7 Surely ooppression drives the wise into madness,
and pa bribe corrupts the heart.
8 Better is the end of a thing than its beginning,
and qthe patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.
9 rBe not quick in your spirit to become angry,
10 Say not, “Why were the former days better than these?”
For it is not from wisdom that you ask this.
11 Wisdom is good with an inheritance,
an advantage to those who tsee the sun.
12 For the protection of wisdom is like uthe protection of money,
and the advantage of knowledge is that vwisdom preserves the life of him who has it.
13 Consider wthe work of God:
xwho can make straight what he has made crooked?
15 In my avain3 life I have seen everything. There is ba righteous man who perishes in his righteousness, and there is a wicked man who cprolongs his life in his evildoing. 16 Be not overly righteous, and do not dmake yourself too wise. Why should you destroy yourself? 17 Be not overly wicked, neither be a fool. eWhy should you die before your time? 18 It is good that you should take hold of fthis, and from gthat hwithhold not your hand, for the one who fears God shall come out from both of them.
19 iWisdom gives strength to the wise man more than ten rulers who are in a city.
20 Surely jthere is not a righteous man on earth who does good and never sins.
25 pI 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. 26 And I find something more qbitter than death: rthe woman whose heart is ssnares and nets, and whose hands are fetters. He who pleases God escapes her, but tthe sinner is taken by her. 27 Behold, this is what I found, says uthe Preacher, while adding one thing to another to find the scheme of things— 28 which my soul has sought repeatedly, but I have not found. vOne man among a thousand I found, but wa woman among all these I have not found. 29 See, this alone I found, that xGod made man upright, but ythey have sought out many schemes.
Keep the King’s Command
8 Who is like the wise?
And who knows the interpretation of a thing?
zA man’s wisdom makes his face shine,
and athe hardness of his face is changed.
2 I say:1 Keep the king’s command, because of bGod’s oath to him.2 3 Be not hasty to cgo from his presence. Do not take your stand in an evil cause, for he does whatever he pleases. 4 For the word of the king is supreme, and dwho may say to him, “What are you doing?” 5 Whoever keeps a command will know no evil thing, and the wise heart will know the proper time and the just way.3 6 For there is a time and a way efor everything, although man’s trouble4 lies heavy on him. 7 For he fdoes not know what is to be, for gwho can tell him how it will be? 8 No man has power to hretain the spirit, ior power over the day of death. There is no jdischarge from war, nor will wickedness deliver those who are given to it. 9 kAll this I observed while applying my heart to all that is done under the sun, when man had power over man to his hurt.
Those Who Fear God Will Do Well
10 Then I saw the wicked buried. They used to go in and out of lthe holy place and were mpraised5 in the city where they had done such things. This also is vanity.6 11 Because nthe sentence against an evil deed is not executed speedily, othe heart of the children of man is fully set to do evil. 12 Though a sinner does evil a hundred times and pprolongs his life, yet I know that qit will be well with rthose who fear God, because they fear before him. 13 But it will snot be well with the wicked, neither will he prolong his days like ta shadow, because he does not fear before God.
Man Cannot Know God’s Ways
14 There is a vanity that takes place on earth, that there are righteous people uto whom it happens according to the deeds of the wicked, and there are wicked people vto whom it happens according to the deeds of the righteous. I said that this also is vanity. 15 And I commend joy, for man whas nothing better under the sun but to xeat and drink and be joyful, for this will go with him in his toil through the days of his life that God has given him under the sun.
16 When I applied my heart to know wisdom, and to see ythe business that is done on earth, how neither zday nor night do one’s eyes see sleep, 17 then I saw all the work of God, that aman cannot find out the work that is done under the sun. However much man may toil in seeking, he will not find it out. Even though a wise man claims to know, bhe cannot find it out.
Death Comes to All
9 But all this I laid to heart, examining it all, chow the righteous and the wise and their deeds are din the hand of God. Whether it is love or hate, man does not know; both are before him. 2 eIt is the same for all, since fthe same event happens to the righteous and the wicked, to the good and the evil,1 to the clean and the unclean, to him who sacrifices and him who does not sacrifice. As the good one is, so is the sinner, and he who gswears is as he who shuns an oath. 3 This is an evil in all that is done under the sun, that ethe same event happens to all. Also, the hearts of the children of man are full of evil, and hmadness is in their hearts while they live, and after that they go to the dead. 4 But he who is joined with all the living has hope, for a living dog is better than a dead lion. 5 For the living know that they will die, but ithe dead know nothing, and they have no more reward, for jthe memory of them is forgotten. 6 Their love and their hate and their envy have already perished, and forever they have no more share in all that is done under the sun.
Enjoy Life with the One You Love
7 Go, keat your bread with joy, and drink your wine with a merry heart, for God has already approved what you do.
9 Enjoy life with the wife whom you love, all the days of your nvain2 life that he has given you under the sun, because that is your oportion in life and in your toil at which you toil under the sun. 10 Whatever your hand finds to do, pdo it with your might,3 qfor there is no work or thought or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol, to which you are going.
Wisdom Better Than Folly
11 rAgain I saw that under the sun sthe race is not to the swift, nor tthe battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to the intelligent, nor favor to those with knowledge, but time and uchance vhappen to them all. 12 For man wdoes not know his time. Like fish that are taken in an evil net, and xlike birds that are caught in a snare, so the children of man are ysnared at an evil time, when it suddenly falls upon them.
13 I have also seen this example of wisdom under the sun, and it seemed great to me. 14 There was a little city with few men in it, and a great king came against it and besieged it, building great siegeworks against it. 15 But there was found in it za poor, wise man, and he by his awisdom delivered the city. Yet no one remembered that poor man. 16 But I say that bwisdom is better than might, though cthe poor man’s wisdom is despised and his words are not heard.
10 Dead flies make gthe perfumer’s ointment give off a stench;
so a little folly outweighs wisdom and honor.
2 hA wise man’s heart inclines him to the right,
but a fool’s heart to the left.
3 Even when the fool walks on the road, he lacks sense,
and he isays to everyone that he is a fool.
4 If the anger of the ruler rises against you, jdo not leave your place,
5 There is an evil that I have seen under the sun, as it were lan error proceeding from the ruler: 6 mfolly is set in many high places, and the rich sit in a low place. 7 nI have seen slaves oon horses, and princes walking on the ground like slaves.
8 He who pdigs a pit will fall into it,
and qa serpent will bite him who breaks through a wall.
9 rHe who quarries stones is hurt by them,
and he who ssplits logs is endangered by them.
10 If the iron is blunt, and one does not sharpen the edge,
he must use more strength,
but wisdom helps one to succeed.2
11 If the serpent bites before it is tcharmed,
there is no advantage to the charmer.
but vthe lips of a fool consume him.
13 The beginning of the words of his mouth is foolishness,
and the end of his talk is evil madness.
14 wA fool multiplies words,
though no man knows what is to be,
and who can tell him xwhat will be after him?
15 The toil of a fool wearies him,
for he does not know ythe way to the city.
16 zWoe to you, O land, when your king is a child,
and your princes feast in the morning!
17 Happy are you, O land, when your king is the son of the nobility,
and your princes feast at the proper time,
for strength, and not for adrunkenness!
18 Through sloth the roof sinks in,
and through indolence the house leaks.
19 Bread is made for laughter,
and bwine gladdens life,
and cmoney answers everything.
20 Even in your thoughts, ddo not curse the king,
nor in your ebedroom curse the rich,
for a bird of the air will carry your voice,
or some winged creature tell the matter.
Cast Your Bread upon the Waters
11 fCast your bread upon the waters,
gfor you will find it after many days.
jfor you know not what disaster may happen on earth.
3 If the clouds are full of rain,
they empty themselves on the earth,
and if a tree falls to the south or to the north,
in the place where the tree falls, there it will lie.
4 He who observes the wind will not sow,
and he who regards the clouds will not reap.
6 In the morning sow your seed, and at evening mwithhold not your hand, for you do not know which will prosper, this or that, or whether both alike will be good.
7 Light is sweet, and it is pleasant for the eyes to nsee the sun.
9 qRejoice, O young man, in your youth, and let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth. rWalk in the ways of your heart and sthe sight of your eyes. But know that for all these things tGod will bring you into judgment.
Remember Your Creator in Your Youth
12 Remember also your Creator in vthe days of your youth, before wthe evil days come and the years draw near of which xyou will say, “I have no pleasure in them”; 2 before ythe sun and the light and the moon and the stars are darkened and the clouds return after the rain, 3 in the day when the keepers of the house tremble, and the strong men are bent, and the grinders cease because they are few, and zthose who look through the windows are dimmed, 4 and athe doors on the street are shut—when bthe sound of the grinding is low, and one rises up at the sound of a bird, and all cthe daughters of song are brought low— 5 they are afraid also of what is high, and dterrors are in the way; the almond tree blossoms, the grasshopper drags itself along,1 and desire fails, because man is going to his eeternal fhome, and the gmourners go about the streets— 6 before the silver cord is snapped, or hthe golden bowl is broken, or the pitcher is ishattered at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern, 7 and jthe dust returns to the earth as it was, and kthe spirit returns to God lwho gave it. 8 mVanity2 of vanities, says nthe Preacher; all is vanity.
Fear God and Keep His Commandments
9 Besides being wise, nthe Preacher also taught the people knowledge, weighing and studying and arranging omany proverbs with great care. 10 nThe Preacher sought to find words of delight, and uprightly he wrote words of truth.
11 pThe words of the wise are like goads, and like qnails firmly fixed are the collected sayings; they are rgiven by sone Shepherd. 12 My son, beware of anything beyond these. Of making umany books there is no end, and vmuch study is a weariness of the flesh.
13 The end of the matter; all has been heard. wFear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.3 14 For xGod will bring every deed into judgment, with4 every secret thing, whether good or evil.