Ecclesiastes 7 (Holman Christian Standard)

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Wise Sayings

1 A good name is better than fine perfume, and the day of one's death than the day of one's birth. 2 It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, since that is the end of all mankind, and the living should take it to heart. 3 Grief is better than laughter, for when a face is sad, a heart may be glad.a 4 The heart of the wise is in a house of mourning, but the heart of fools is in a house of pleasure. 5 It is better to listen to rebuke from a wise person than to listen to the song of fools.b 6 For like the crackling of [burning] thorns under the pot, so is the laughter of the fool. This too is futile. 7 Surely, the practice of extortion turns a wise person into a fool, and a bribe destroys the mind. 8 The end of a matter is better than its beginning; a patient spirit is better than a proud spirit. 9 Don't let your spirit rush to be angry, for anger abides in the heart of fools. 10 Don't say, "Why were the former days better than these?" For it is not wise of you to ask this. 11 Wisdom is as good as an inheritance, and an advantage to those who see the sun. 12 For wisdom is protection as money is protection, and the advantage of knowledge is that wisdom preserves the life of its owner. 13 Consider the work of God; for who can straighten out what He has made crooked? 14 In the day of prosperity be joyful, but in the day of adversity, consider: without question, God has made the one as well as the other, so that man cannot discover anything that will come after him.

Avoiding Extremes

15 In my futile lifec I have seen everything: there is a righteous man who perishes in spite of his righteousness, and there is a wicked man who lives long in spite of his evil. 16 Don't be excessively righteous, and don't be overly wise. Why should you destroy yourself? 17 Don't be excessively wicked, and don't be foolish. Why should you die before your time? 18 It is good that you grasp the one and do not let the other slip from your hand. For the one who fears God will end up with both of them. 19 Wisdom makes the wise man stronger than ten rulers of a city. 20 There is certainly no righteous man on the earth who does good and never sins. 21 Don't pay attentiond to everything people say, or you may hear your servant cursing you; 22 for you know that many times you yourself have cursed others.

What the Teacher Found

23 I have tested all this by wisdom. I resolved, "I will be wise," but it was beyond me. 24 What exists is beyond [reach] and very deep. Who can discover it? 25 I turned my thoughts to know, explore, and seek wisdom and an explanation [for things], and to know that wickedness is stupidity and folly is madness. 26 And I find more bitter than deathe the woman who is a trap,f her heart a net, and her hands chains. The one who pleases God will escape her, but the sinner will be captured by her. 27 "Look," says the Teacher, "this I have discovered, by adding one thing to another to find out the explanation, 28 which my soul continually searches for but does not find: among a thousand [people] I have found one [true] man, but among all these I have not found a true woman. 29 Only see this: I have discovered that God made people upright, but they pursued many schemes."
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