Ecclesiastes 7
New American Standard Bible►► 

Wisdom and Foolishness Contrasted

1A good name is better than good [a]oil,

And the day of one’s death is better than the day of one’s birth.

2It is better to go to a house of mourning

Than to go to a house of feasting,

Because [b]that is the end of every person,

And the living [c]takes it to [d]heart.

3Sorrow is better than laughter,

For when a face is sad a heart may be happy.

4The [e]mind of the wise is in the house of mourning,

While the [f]mind of fools is in the house of pleasure.

5It is better to listen to the rebuke of a wise person

Than for one to listen to the song of fools.

6For as the [g]crackling of thorn bushes under a pot,

So is the laughter of the fool;

And this too is futility.

7For oppression makes a wise person look foolish,

And a bribe [h]corrupts the heart.

8The end of a matter is better than its beginning;

Patience of spirit is better than arrogance of spirit.

9Do not be [i]eager in your spirit to be angry,

For anger resides in the [j]heart of fools.

10Do not say, “Why is it that the former days were better than these?”

For it is not from wisdom that you ask about this.

11Wisdom along with an inheritance is good,

And an advantage to those who see the sun.

12For wisdom is [k]protection just as money is [l]protection,

But the advantage of knowledge is that wisdom keeps its possessors alive.

13Consider the work of God,

For who is able to straighten what He has bent?

14On the day of prosperity be happy,

But on the day of adversity consider:

God has made the one as well as the other

So that a person will not discover anything that will come after him.

15I have seen everything during my [m]lifetime of futility; there is a righteous person who perishes in his righteousness, and there is a wicked person who prolongs his life in his wickedness. 16Do not be excessively righteous, and do not be overly wise. Why should you ruin yourself? 17Do not be excessively wicked, and do not be foolish. Why should you die [n]before your time? 18It is good that you grasp one thing while not [o]letting go of the other; for one who fears God comes out with [p]both of them.

19Wisdom strengthens a wise person more than ten rulers who are in a city. 20Indeed, there is not a righteous person on earth who always does good and does not ever sin. 21Also, do not [q]take seriously all the words which are spoken, so that you do not hear your servant cursing you, 22for [r]you know that even you have cursed others many times as well.

23I tested all this with wisdom, and I said, “I will be wise,” but wisdom was far from me. 24What has been is remote and very [s]mysterious. Who can discover it? 25I [t]directed my [u]mind to know and to investigate, and to seek wisdom and an explanation, and to know the evil of foolishness and the foolishness of insanity. 26And I discovered as more bitter than death the woman whose heart is snares and nets, whose hands are chains. One who is pleasing to God will escape from her, but the sinner will be captured by her.

27“Behold, I have discovered this,” says the Preacher, “by adding one thing to another to find an explanation, 28which [v]I am still seeking but have not found. I have found one man among a thousand, but I have not found a woman among all these. 29Behold, I have found only this, that God made people upright, but they have sought out many schemes.”

[a] 1 I.e., olive oil
[b] 2 I.e., death
[c] 2 Lit gives
[d] 2 Lit his heart
[e] 4 Lit heart
[f] 4 Lit heart
[g] 6 Lit voice
[h] 7 Lit destroys
[i] 9 Lit hasty
[j] 9 Lit chest
[k] 12 Lit in a shadow
[l] 12 Lit in a shadow
[m] 15 Lit days
[n] 17 Lit when not your time
[o] 18 Lit resting your hand
[p] 18 Lit all of them
[q] 21 Lit give your heart to
[r] 22 Lit your heart knows
[s] 24 Lit deep
[t] 25 Lit turned about
[u] 25 Lit heart
[v] 28 Lit my soul still seeks

New American Standard Bible
Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995, 2020
by The Lockman Foundation, La Habra, Calif. All rights reserved.
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