Ecclesiastes 7 (New Century Version)

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1 It is better to have respect than good perfume. The day of death is better than the day of birth. 2 It is better to go to a funeral than to a party. We all must die, and everyone living should think about this. 3 Sorrow is better than laughter, and sadness has a good influence on you. 4 A wise person thinks about death, but a fool thinks only about having a good time. 5 It is better to be criticized by a wise person than to be praised by a fool. 6 The laughter of fools is like the crackling of thorns in a cooking fire. Both are useless. 7 Even wise people are fools if they let money change their thinking. 8 It is better to finish something than to start it. It is better to be patient than to be proud. 9 Don't become angry quickly, because getting angry is foolish. 10 Don't ask, "Why was life better in the 'good old days'?" It is not wise to ask such questions. 11 Wisdom is better when it comes with money. They both help those who are alive. 12 Wisdom is like money: they both help. But wisdom is better, because it can save whoever has it. 13 Look at what God has done: No one can straighten what he has bent. 14 When life is good, enjoy it. But when life is hard, remember: God gives good times and hard times, and no one knows what tomorrow will bring. 15 In my useless life I have seen both of these: I have seen good people die in spite of their goodness and evil people live a long time in spite of their evil. 16 Don't be too right, and don't be too wise. Why destroy yourself? 17 Don't be too wicked, and don't be foolish. Why die before your time? 18 It is good to grab the one and not let go of the other; those who honor God will hold them both. 19 Wisdom makes a person stronger than ten leaders in a city. 20 Surely there is not a good person on earth who always does good and never sins. 21 Don't listen to everything people say, or you might hear your servant insulting you. 22 You know that many times you have insulted others. 23 I used wisdom to test all these things. I wanted to be wise, but it was too hard for me. 24 I cannot understand why things are as they are. It is too hard for anyone to understand. 25 I studied and tried very hard to find wisdom, to find some meaning for everything. I learned that it is foolish to be evil, and it is crazy to act like a fool. 26 I found that some women are worse than death and are as dangerous as traps. Their love is like a net, and their arms hold men like chains. A man who pleases God will be saved from them, but a sinner will be caught by them. 27 The Teacher says, "This is what I learned: I added all these things together to find some meaning for everything. 28 While I was searching, I did not find one man among the thousands I found. Nor did I find a woman among all these. 29 One thing I have learned: God made people good, but they have found all kinds of ways to be bad."
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