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Ecclesiastes 7 (New International Version)

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Wisdom

1 A good name is better than fine perfume,1 and the day of death better than the day of birth.2 2 It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, for death3 is the destiny4 of every man; the living should take this to heart. 3 Sorrow is better than laughter,5 because a sad face is good for the heart. 4 The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, but the heart of fools is in the house of pleasure.6 5 It is better to heed a wise man's rebuke7 than to listen to the song of fools. 6 Like the crackling of thorns8 under the pot, so is the laughter9 of fools. This too is meaningless. 7 Extortion turns a wise man into a fool, and a bribe10 corrupts the heart. 8 The end of a matter is better than its beginning, and patience11 is better than pride. 9 Do not be quickly provoked12 in your spirit, for anger resides in the lap of fools.13 10 Do not say, "Why were the old days14 better than these?" For it is not wise to ask such questions. 11 Wisdom, like an inheritance, is a good thing15 and benefits those who see the sun.16 12 Wisdom is a shelter as money is a shelter, but the advantage of knowledge is this: that wisdom preserves the life of its possessor. 13 Consider what God has done:17 Who can straighten what he has made crooked?18 14 When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider: God has made the one as well as the other.19 Therefore, a man cannot discover anything about his future. 15 In this meaningless life20 of mine I have seen both of these: a righteous man perishing in his righteousness, and a wicked man living long in his wickedness.21 16 Do not be overrighteous, neither be overwise-- why destroy yourself ? 17 Do not be overwicked, and do not be a fool-- why die before your time?22 18 It is good to grasp the one and not let go of the other. The man who fears God23 will avoid all [extremes].a 19 Wisdom24 makes one wise man more powerful25 than ten rulers in a city. 20 There is not a righteous man26 on earth who does what is right and never sins.27 21 Do not pay attention to every word people say, or you28 may hear your servant cursing you-- 22 for you know in your heart that many times you yourself have cursed others. 23 All this I tested by wisdom and I said, "I am determined to be wise"29-- but this was beyond me. 24 Whatever wisdom may be, it is far off and most profound-- who can discover it?30 25 So I turned my mind to understand, to investigate and to search out wisdom and the scheme of things31 and to understand the stupidity of wickedness and the madness of folly.32 26 I find more bitter than death the woman who is a snare,33 whose heart is a trap and whose hands are chains. The man who pleases God will escape her, but the sinner she will ensnare.34 27 "Look," says the Teacher,b35 "this is what I have discovered: "Adding one thing to another to discover the scheme of things-- 28 while I was still searching but not finding-- I found one [upright] man among a thousand, but not one [upright] woman36 among them all. 29 This only have I found: God made mankind upright, but men have gone in search of many schemes."
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