Old Testament

Ecclesiastes 7
What Is Better?
71A good reputation is better than the best perfume, and the day of one's death is better than the day of his birth. 2Better to go to a funeral than to a feast,[] since death is the final destination for all mankind. The living must take this to heart! 3Grief is better than laughter, because a sad face does a heart good. 4The hearts of the wise think about the funeral, but the hearts of fools think about the feast.
5It is better to hear a rebuke from a wise man than to listen to a happy song from fools, 6for the fool's laughter sounds like thorns crackling under a cooking pot. This too is vapor.
7To be sure, oppressing others[] turns a wise man into a fool, and a bribe corrupts his heart.
8It is better to finish something than to begin something. A patient spirit is better than a proud spirit.
9Do not be quick to lose your temper, for outrage is embraced by fools.
10Do not say, “Why were the former days better than these?” Wisdom would not lead you to ask such a question.
11Wisdom along with an inheritance[] is good. It is an advantage for those who see the sun, 12because wisdom gives shade as money gives shade, but the advantage of knowledge is that wisdom keeps its owner alive.
Keep Your Balance
13Look at the work of God. Indeed, who can straighten what he has bent?
14On a good day, enjoy the good, but on a bad day, consider carefully. God has made the one as well as the other, so no man can find out about anything that will come later.
15During my days that vanish like vapor, I have seen it all. For instance, a righteous man perishes despite being righteous, while an evil man lives for a long time in spite of his evil.
16Do not be overly righteous. Do not trust too much in wisdom. Why ruin yourself? 17Do not be overly wicked, either, and do not be a fool. Why die before your time? 18It is good that you hang on to one alternative, but do not let go of the other, for one who fears God will avoid both extremes.[]
19Wisdom makes one wise man stronger than ten rulers who are in the city.
20There is surely not a righteous man on earth who does good and does not sin.
21Furthermore, do not take to heart all the words people say, so that you do not hear your servant cursing you. 22Yes, you know in your heart that many times you too have cursed others.
23All this I tested with wisdom. I said, “I will be wise,” but it was out of reach for me. 24What has already happened is out of reach, and deeper than deep. Who can find it?
25I turned my heart to know, to investigate, and to seek wisdom, and to find out how things fit together,[] and to know that wickedness is foolishness and stupidity is madness.
26I kept finding out that a woman whose heart is a trap is more bitter than death. Her heart is a hunter's net. Her hands are chains. The man whom God recognizes as good will escape from her, but the sinner gets trapped by her.
27“Look,” says Ecclesiastes, “this is what I found by adding one thing to another in my attempts to find how things fit together— 28this is something my soul keeps seeking but has not found. One man out of a thousand I have found, but a woman among all these I have not found.[]
29“Look, I have found only this: I have found that God made mankind[] upright, but they have gone off looking for many schemes.”


  • 7:2 The word translated feast refers to drinking more than to eating.
  • 7:7 Or extortion
  • 7:11 Or like an inheritance
  • 7:18 Or observe both principles
  • 7:25 Or the reason for things
  • 7:28 The text does not give any indication of what the point of comparison is. Suggestions include one man who has come to the same conclusions I did or one man just as eager to investigate as I am or one ideal man out of a thousand.
  • 7:29 Or Adam