Ecclesiastes 7

Life is Brief and Death is Certain!

7:1 A good reputation1 is better2 than precious3 perfume;4

likewise,5 the day of one’s6 death7 is better than the day of one’s birth.8

7:2 It is better to go to a funeral9

than a feast.10

For death11 is the destiny12 of every person,13

and the living should14 take this15 to heart.

7:3 Sorrow16 is better than laughter,

because sober reflection17 is good for the heart.18

7:4 The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning,

but the heart of fools is in the house of merrymaking.19

Frivolous Living Versus Wisdom

7:5 It is better for a person to receive20 a rebuke from those who are wise21

than to listen to the song22 of fools.

7:6 For like the crackling of quick-burning thorns23 under a cooking pot,

so is the laughter of the fool.

This kind of folly24 also is useless.25

Human Wisdom Overturned by Adversity

7:7 Surely oppression26 can turn a wise person into a fool;27

likewise,28 a bribe corrupts29 the heart.30

7:8 The end of a matter31 is better than its beginning;

likewise, patience32 is better than pride.33

7:9 Do not let yourself be quickly provoked,34

for anger resides in the lap35 of fools.

7:10 Do not say, “Why were the old days better than these days?”36

for it is not wise to ask that.37

Wisdom Can Lengthen One’s Life

7:11 Wisdom, like38 an inheritance, is a good thing;

it benefits those who see the light of day.39

7:12 For wisdom provides40 protection,41

just as42 money provides protection.43

But the advantage of knowledge is this:

Wisdom preserves the life44 of its owner.

Wisdom Acknowledges God’s Orchestration of Life

7:13 Consider the work of God:

For who can make straight what he has bent?

7:14 In times of prosperity45 be joyful,

but in times of adversity46 consider this:

God has made one as well as the other,47

so that no one can discover what the future holds.48

Exceptions to the Law of Retribution

7:15 During the days of my fleeting life49 I have seen both50 of these things:

Sometimes51 a righteous person dies prematurely52 in spite of53 his righteousness,

and sometimes54 a wicked person lives long55 in spite of his evil deeds.

7:16 So do not be excessively righteous or excessively56 wise;57

otherwise58 you might59 be disappointed.60

7:17 Do not be excessively wicked and do not be a fool;

otherwise61 you might die before your time.

7:18 It is best to take hold of one warning62 without letting go of the other warning;63

for the one who fears God will follow64 both warnings.65

Wisdom Needed Because No One is Truly Righteous

7:19 Wisdom gives a wise person more protection66

than ten rulers in a city.

7:20 For67 there is not one truly68 righteous person on the earth

who continually does good and never sins.

7:21 Also, do not pay attention to everything that people69 say;

otherwise,70 you might even hear71 your servant cursing you.

7:22 For you know in your own heart72

that you also have cursed others many times.

Human Wisdom is Limited

7:23 I have examined all this by wisdom;

I said, “I am determined73 to comprehend this”74 – but it was beyond my grasp.75

7:24 Whatever has happened is beyond human76 understanding;77

it is far deeper than anyone can fathom.78

True Righteousness and Wisdom are Virtually Nonexistent

7:25 I tried79 to understand, examine, and comprehend80

the role of81 wisdom in the scheme of things,82

and to understand the stupidity of wickedness83 and the insanity of folly.84

7:26 I discovered this:85

More bitter than death is the kind of86 woman87 who is like a hunter’s snare;88

her heart is like a hunter’s net and her hands are like prison chains.

The man who pleases God escapes her,

but the sinner is captured by her.

7:27 The Teacher says:

I discovered this while trying to discover the scheme of things, item by item.

7:28 What I have continually sought, I have not found;

I have found only89 one upright90 man among a thousand,

but I have not found one upright woman among all of them.

7:29 This alone have I discovered: God made humankind upright,

but they have sought many evil schemes.

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