Ecclesiastes 7:1-29

7  A good name* is better than good oil,+ and the day of death is better than the day of birth.  Better to go to the house of mourning than to the house of feasting,+ for that is the end of every man, and the living should take it to heart.  Better is distress than laughter,+ for the sadness of the face makes the heart better.+  The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, but the heart of the stupid is in the house of rejoicing.*+  Better to listen to a wise man’s rebuke+ than to listen to the song of fools.  For as the crackling of thorns burning under the pot, so is the laughter of the fool;+ and this too is futility.  But oppression can drive the wise one into madness, and a bribe corrupts the heart.+  Better is the end of a matter than its beginning. Better to be patient than to be haughty in spirit.+  Do not be quick* to take offense,+ for the taking of offense lodges in the bosom of fools.*+ 10  Do not say, “Why were the former days better than these?” for it is not out of wisdom that you ask this.+ 11  Wisdom together with an inheritance is a good thing and an advantage to those who see the light of day.* 12  For wisdom is a protection+ just as money is a protection,+ but the advantage of knowledge is this: Wisdom preserves the life of its owner.+ 13  Consider the work of the true God, for who can straighten out what he has made crooked?+ 14  On a good day, reflect this goodness,+ but on the day of adversity,* consider that God made the one as well as the other,+ so that men cannot be certain of* anything that will happen to them in the future.+ 15  During my futile life+ I have seen everything—from the righteous one who perishes in his righteousness+ to the wicked one who lives long despite his badness.+ 16  Do not be overly righteous,+ nor show yourself excessively wise.+ Why should you bring ruin to yourself?+ 17  Do not be excessively wicked, nor be foolish.+ Why should you die before your time?+ 18  It is best to grasp one warning without letting go of the other;+ for the one who fears God will heed them both. 19  Wisdom makes a wise man more powerful than ten strong men in a city.+ 20  For there is no righteous man on earth who always does good and never sins.+ 21  Also, do not take to heart every word that people say;+ otherwise, you may hear your servant calling down evil on* you; 22  for you well know in your heart that many times you yourself have called down evil on others.+ 23  All of this I tested with wisdom, and I said: “I will become wise.” But it was beyond me. 24  What has come to be is out of reach and exceedingly deep. Who can understand it?+ 25  I directed my heart to know and to explore and to search for wisdom and the reason behind things, and to understand the wickedness of stupidity and the folly of madness.+ 26  Then I discovered this: More bitter than death is the woman who is like a hunter’s net, whose heart is like dragnets, and whose hands are like prison chains. The one who pleases the true God will escape her,+ but the sinner is captured by her.+ 27  “See, this is what I found,” says the congregator.+ “I investigated one thing after another to reach my conclusion, 28  but what I* continually sought, I have not found. One man* out of a thousand I found, but a woman among them I have not found. 29  This alone I have found: The true God made mankind upright,+ but they have sought out many schemes.”+


Or “A good reputation.” Lit., “A name.”
Or “amusement.”
Or possibly, “is the mark of a fool.”
Lit., “hurry in your spirit.”
That is, those alive.
Or “discover.”
Or “calamity.”
Lit., “cursing.”
Or “my soul.”
Or “upright man.”

Study Notes