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Ecclesiastes 7 (English Standard Version)

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The Contrast of Wisdom and Folly

1 1A good name is better than precious ointment, and 2the 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 3lay it to heart. 3 Sorrow is better than laughter, 4for 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 5better for a man to hear the rebuke of the wise than to hear the song of fools. 6 6For as the crackling of 7thorns under a pot, so is the laughter of the fools; this also is vanity. 7 Surely 8oppression drives the wise into madness, and 9a bribe corrupts the heart. 8 Better is the end of a thing than its beginning, and 10the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit. 9 11Be not quick in your spirit to become angry, 12for anger lodges in the bosom of fools. 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 13see the sun. 12 For the protection of wisdom is like 14the protection of money, and the advantage of knowledge is that 15wisdom preserves the life of him who has it. 13 Consider 16the work of God: 17who can make straight what he has made crooked? 14 18In the day of prosperity be joyful, and in the day of adversity consider: God has made the one as well as the other, 19so that man may not find out anything that will be after him. 15 In my 20vain life I have seen everything. There is 21a righteous man who perishes in his righteousness, and there is a wicked man who 22prolongs his life in his evildoing. 16 Be not overly righteous, and do not 23make yourself too wise. Why should you destroy yourself? 17 Be not overly wicked, neither be a fool. 24Why should you die before your time? 18 It is good that you should take hold of 25this, and from 26that 27withhold not your hand, for the one who fears God shall come out from both of them. 19 28Wisdom gives strength to the wise man more than ten rulers who are in a city. 20 Surely 29there is not a righteous man on earth who does good and never sins. 21 Do not take to heart all the things that people say, lest you hear 30your servant cursing you. 22 Your heart knows that 31many times you yourself have cursed others. 23 All this I have tested by wisdom. 32I said, "I will be wise," but it was far from me. 24 That which has been is far off, and 33deep, very deep; 34who can find it out? 25 35I 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 36bitter than death: 37the woman whose heart is 38snares and nets, and whose hands are fetters. He who pleases God escapes her, but 39the sinner is taken by her. 27 Behold, this is what I found, says 40the 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. 41One man among a thousand I found, but 42a woman among all these I have not found. 29 See, this alone I found, that 43God made man upright, but 44they have sought out many schemes.
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