Lessons from Mourning
1Better is a good reputation than precious oil and the day of death than the day of birth.
2Better to go to a house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting, since that is the end of all mankind —and the living should take it to heart.
3Grief is better than laughter, for though the face is sad, the heart may be glad.
4The heart of the wise is in a house of mourning, but the heart of fools is in a house of pleasure.
Wisdom Better Than Folly
5Better to hear a rebuke from the wise than to listen to the song of fools.
6For like the crackling of thorns under a pot, so is the laughter of the fool. This too is vapor.
7For extortion drives a wise man crazy, and a bribe corrupts the heart.
8Better the end of a matter than its beginning. Better a patient spirit than a proud one.
9Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit, for anger settles in the bosom of fools.
10Do not say, “Why were the old days better than these?” For it is not from wisdom that you ask about this.
11Wisdom is as good as an inheritance, and even better for those who see the sun.
12For wisdom is a shelter as money is a shelter, but the advantage of knowledge is this: wisdom preserves the life of the one who possesses it.
13Consider the work of God, for who can straighten what He has bent?
14In a time of prosperity, prosper! But in a time of adversity, consider: God has made one as well as the other. Therefore man cannot discover anything about his future.
15During my fleeting days I have seen both of these things: sometimes a righteous one perishes in his righteousness and sometimes a wicked one lives long in his wickedness.
16Do not be overly righteous nor overly wise— why confound yourself?
17Do not be overly wicked and do not be a fool— why die before your time?
18It is good to grasp the one and not withdraw your hand from the other. For the one who fears God will escape both extremes.
19Wisdom makes a wise man stronger than ten rulers in a city.
20Surely there is not a righteous person on earth who does what is good and doesn’t sin.
21Also, do not pay attention to every word people say, otherwise you might hear your servant mocking you—
22for your heart knows that many times you too have mocked others.
23All this I have tested with wisdom and I said, “I determined to be wise”—but it was far from me.
24Whatever it may be, it is far off and very profound—who can fathom it?
25So I turned my heart to understand, to search and seek out wisdom and an explanation of things and to know the stupidity of wickedness and madness of folly.
26I find more bitter than death the woman who is a snare, whose heart is a trap, and whose hands are chains. He who pleases God will escape her, but a sinner will be captured by her.
27“Look,” said Kohelet, “I have discovered this while adding one thing to another to find the scheme of things—
28which my soul is still seeking, but not finding—I found one upright man among a thousand, but one upright woman among them all I have not found.
29Only this have I discovered: God made mankind upright, but they went seeking after many schemes.”