A shem tov is better than precious ointment; and the yom hamavet than the day of one’s birth.
It is better to go to the bais evel (house of mourning), than to go to the bais mishteh (house of feasting); for that is the sof (end, conclusion; see 12:13) of kol haAdam; and the living will take it to heart.
Ka’as (sorrow) is better than laughter; for sadness of the countenance is good for the lev.
The lev of chachamim is in the bais evel (house of mourning); but the lev of kesilim is in the bais simchah.
It is better to hear the rebuke of the chacham, than for an ish to hear the shir kesilim.
For as is the crackling of thorns under a pot, so is the laughter of the kesil; this also is hevel.
Surely oppression maketh a chacham mad; and a bribe corrupts the heart.
Better is the acharit (end) of a thing than the reshit (beginning) thereof; and erech ruach (patience) is better than gavoah ruach (haughtiness).
Be not hasty in thy ruach to be angry; for ka’as (anger) resteth in the kheyk (bosom) of kesilim.
Say thou not, What is the cause that the yamim harishonim were better than these? For it is not because of chochmah that thou dost inquire concerning this.
Chochmah is better than a nachalah (inheritance); and by it there is an advantage to them that see the shemesh.
For chochmah is a protective tzel (shade), and kesef is as well; but the advantage of da’as is, that chochmah giveth chayyim (life) to them that possess it.
Consider the ma’aseh HaElohim; for who can make straight what Hashem hath made crooked?
In the yom tovah be joyful, but in the yom ra’ah consider: HaElohim also hath set the one over against the other in such a way that adam may not find out anything that will come after him.
All things have I seen in the yamim of my hevel; there is a tzaddik that perisheth in his tzedakah, and there is a rasha that prolongeth his life in his ra’ah.
Do not be over much the tzaddik nor over much the chacham; why cause thyself desolation?
Be not over much resha, neither be thou foolish; why shouldest thou die before thy time?
It is good that thou holdest fast to the one and withdrawest not thine hand from the other; for he is a yire Elohim (G-d fearer) who shall fulfill both.
Chochmah makes one chacham stronger than asarah shalitim (ten rulers) which are in the city.
For there is not a tzaddik upon earth, that doeth tov, and sinneth not [Ro 3:23].
Also take no heed unto kol dvarim that are spoken; lest thou hear thy eved curse thee;
For oftentimes also thine own lev hath da’as that thou thyself likewise hast cursed others.
I tested all this with chochmah; I said, I will be wise; but it was far from me.
That which is far off, and exceeding deep, whose chochmah can find it out?
I applied mine lev to have da’as, and to search, and to seek out chochmah, and the cheshbon (scheme, plan) of things, and to have da’as of resha (wickedness) of kesel (stupidity), even of sichlut (folly) and holelot (madness).
And I find more mar (bitter) than mavet the isha, whose lev is snares and traps, and her hands are as chains; whoso pleaseth HaElohim shall escape from her; but the choteh (sinner) shall be ensnared by her.
Look, this have I discovered, saith Kohelet, adding one point to another to find out the cheshbon (the scheme, plan of things);
Which yet my nefesh seeketh, but I have not found; one man among a thousand have I found, but a woman among all those have I not found.
Lo, this only have I found, that HaElohim hath made man yashar (upright, Gn 1:27); but they have sought out chishvonot rabbim (many schemes, Gn 3:6-7; Ps 51; Ro 5:12; 3:23).