A good name is better than fine perfume,1 and the day of death better than the day of birth.22
It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, for death3 is the destiny4 of everyone; the living should take this to heart.
Frustration is better than laughter,5 because a sad face is good for the heart.
The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, but the heart of fools is in the house of pleasure.65
It is better to heed the rebuke7 of a wise person than to listen to the song of fools.
Like the crackling of thorns8 under the pot, so is the laughter9 of fools. This too is meaningless.
Extortion turns the wise into fools, and a bribe10 corrupts the heart.
The end of a matter is better than its beginning, and patience11 is better than pride.
Do not be quickly provoked12 in your spirit, for anger resides in the lap of fools.1310
Do not say, "Why were the old days14 better than these?" For it is not wise to ask such questions.
Wisdom, like an inheritance, is a good thing15 and benefits those who see the sun.1612
Wisdom is a shelter as money is a shelter, but the advantage of knowledge is this: Wisdom preserves the life of its possessor.
Consider what God has done:17 Who can straighten what he has made crooked?1814
When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider: God has made the one as well as the other.19 Therefore, you cannot discover anything about your future.
In this meaningless life20 of mine I have seen both of these: the righteous perishing in their righteousness, and the wicked living long in their wickedness.2116
Do not be overrighteous, neither be overwise-- why destroy yourself ?
Do not be overwicked, and do not be a fool-- why die before your time?2218
It is good to grasp the one and not let go of the other. Whoever fears God23 will avoid all [extremes].a19
Wisdom24 makes one wise person more powerful25 than ten rulers in a city.
Indeed, there is no one on earth who is righteous,26 no one who does what is right and never sins.2721
Do not pay attention to every word people say, or you28 may hear your servant cursing you--
for you know in your heart that many times you yourself have cursed others.
All this I tested by wisdom and I said, "I am determined to be wise"29-- but this was beyond me.
Whatever exists is far off and most profound-- who can discover it?3025
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.3226
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.3427
"Look," says the Teacher,b35 "this is what I have discovered: "Adding one thing to another to discover the scheme of things--
while I was still searching but not finding-- I found one [upright] man among a thousand, but not one [upright] woman36 among them all.
This only have I found: God created humankind upright, but they have gone in search of many schemes."