Ecclesiastes 7; Ecclesiastes 8; Ecclesiastes 9; 2 Corinthians 13

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. 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. 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. 15 In my futile life 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 attention to everything people say, or you may hear your servant cursing you; 22 for you know that many times you yourself have cursed others. 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 death the woman who is a trap, 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."
1 Who is like the wise person, and who knows the interpretation of a matter? A man's wisdom brightens his face, and the sternness of his face is changed. 2 Keep the king's command. Concerning an oath by God, 3 do not be in a hurry. Leave his presence, and don't persist in a bad cause, since he will do whatever he wants. 4 For the king's word is authoritative, and who can say to him, "What are you doing?" 5 The one who keeps a command will not experience anything harmful, and a wise heart knows the right time and procedure. 6 For every activity there is a right time and procedure, even though man's troubles are heavy on him. 7 Yet no one knows what will happen, because who can tell him what will happen? 8 No one has authority over the wind to restrain it, and there is no authority over the day of death; there is no furlough in battle, and wickedness will not allow those who practice it to escape. 9 All this I have seen, applying my mind to all the work that is done under the sun, at a time when one man has authority over another to his harm. 10 In such circumstances, I saw the wicked buried. They came and went from the holy place, and they were praised in the city where they did so. This too is futile. 11 Because the sentence against a criminal act is not carried out quickly, therefore the heart of people is filled [with the desire] to commit crime. 12 Although a sinner commits crime a hundred times and prolongs his life, yet I also know that it will go well with God-fearing people, for they are reverent before Him. 13 However, it will not go well with the wicked, and they will not lengthen their days like a shadow, for they are not reverent before God. 14 There is a futility that is done on the earth: there are righteous people who get what the actions of the wicked deserve, and there are wicked people who get what the actions of the righteous deserve. I say that this too is futile. 15 So I commended enjoyment, because there is nothing better for man under the sun except to eat, drink, and enjoy himself, for this will accompany him in his labor during the years of his days that God gives him under the sun. 16 When I applied my mind to know wisdom and to observe the activity that is done on the earth (even though one's eyes do not close in sleep day or night), 17 I observed all the work of God [and concluded] that man is unable to discover the work that is done under the sun. Even though a man labors hard to explore it, he cannot find it; even if the wise man claims to know it, he is unable to discover it.
1 Indeed, I took all this to heart and explained it all: the righteous, the wise, and their works are in God's hands. People don't know whether [to expect] love or hate. Everything lies ahead of them. 2 Everything is the same for everyone: there is one fate for the righteous and the wicked, for the good and the bad, for the clean and the unclean, for the one who sacrifices and the one who does not sacrifice. As it is for the good, so it is for the sinner, as for the one who takes an oath, so for the one who fears an oath. 3 This is an evil in all that is done under the sun: there is one fate for everyone. In addition, the hearts of people are full of evil, and madness is in their hearts while they live-after that they go to the dead. 4 But there is hope for whoever is joined with all the living, since a live dog is better than a dead lion. 5 For the living know that they will die, but the dead don't know anything. There is no longer a reward for them because the memory of them is forgotten. 6 Their love, their hate, and their envy have already disappeared, and there is no longer a portion for them in all that is done under the sun. 7 Go, eat your bread with pleasure, and drink your wine with a cheerful heart, for God has already accepted your works. 8 Let your clothes be white all the time, and never let oil be lacking on your head. 9 Enjoy life with the wife you love all the days of your fleeting life, which has been given to you under the sun, all your fleeting days. For that is your portion in life and in your struggle under the sun. 10 Whatever your hands find to do, do with [all] your strength, because there is no work, planning, knowledge, or wisdom in Sheol where you are going. 11 Again I saw under the sun that the race is not to the swift, or the battle to the strong, or bread to the wise, or riches to the discerning, or favor to the skillful; rather, time and chance happen to all of them. 12 For man certainly does not know his time: like fish caught in a cruel net, or like birds caught in a trap, so people are trapped in an evil time, as it suddenly falls on them. 13 I have observed that this also is wisdom under the sun, and it is significant to me: 14 There was a small city with few men in it. A great king came against it, surrounded it, and built large siege works against it. 15 Now a poor wise man was found in the city, and he delivered the city by his wisdom. Yet no one remembered that poor man. 16 And I said, "Wisdom is better than strength, but the wisdom of the poor man is despised, and his words are not heeded." 17 The calm words of the wise are heeded more than the shouts of a ruler over fools. 18 Wisdom is better than weapons of war, but one sinner can destroy much good.
1 This is the third time I am coming to you. On the testimony of two or three witnesses every word will be confirmed. 2 I gave warning, and I give warning-as when I was present the second time, so now while I am absent-to those who sinned before and to all the rest: if I come again, I will not be lenient, 3 since you seek proof of Christ speaking in me. He is not weak toward you, but powerful among you. 4 In fact, He was crucified in weakness, but He lives by God's power. For we also are weak in Him, yet toward you we will live with Him by God's power. 5 Test yourselves [to see] if you are in the faith. Examine yourselves. Or do you not recognize for yourselves that Jesus Christ is in you?-unless you fail the test. 6 And I hope you will recognize that we are not failing the test. 7 Now we pray to God that you do nothing wrong, not that we may appear to pass the test, but that you may do what is right, even though we [may appear] to fail. 8 For we are not able to do anything against the truth, but only for the truth. 9 In fact, we rejoice when we are weak and you are strong. We also pray for this: your maturity. 10 This is why I am writing these things while absent, that when I am there I will not use severity, in keeping with the authority the Lord gave me for building up and not for tearing down. 11 Finally, brothers, rejoice. Be restored, be encouraged, be of the same mind, be at peace, and the God of love and peace will be with you. 12 Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the saints greet you. 13 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with all of you.
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