Darby Bible Translation
The Value of Wisdom
1A [good] name is better than precious ointment, and the day of death than the day of one's birth.
2It is better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting: in that that is the end of all men, and the living taketh it to heart.
3Vexation is better than laughter; for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better.
4The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, but the heart of fools in the house of mirth.
5It is better for a man to hear the rebuke of the wise, than to hear the song of fools.
6For as the crackling of thorns under a pot, so is the laughter of the fool. This also is vanity.
7Surely oppression maketh a wise man mad, and a gift destroyeth the heart.
8Better is the end of a thing than its beginning; better is a patient spirit than a proud spirit.
9Be not hasty in thy spirit to be vexed; for vexation resteth in the bosom of fools.
10Say not, How is it that the former days were better than these? for thou dost not inquire wisely concerning this.
11Wisdom is as good as an inheritance, and profitable to them that see the sun.
12For wisdom is a defence [as] money is a defence; but the excellency of knowledge is, [that] wisdom maketh them that possess it to live.
13Consider the work of God; for who can make straight what he hath made crooked?
14In the day of prosperity enjoy good, and in the day of adversity consider: God hath also set the one beside the other, to the end that man should find out nothing [of what shall be] after him.
Limits of Human Wisdom
15All [this] have I seen in the days of my vanity: there is a righteous [man] that perisheth by his righteousness, and there is a wicked [man] that prolongeth [his days] by his wickedness. 16Be not righteous overmuch; neither make thyself overwise: why shouldest thou destroy thyself? 17Be not overmuch wicked, neither be thou foolish: why shouldest thou die before thy time? 18It is good that thou shouldest take hold of this; yea, also from that withdraw not thy hand: for he that feareth God cometh forth from them all.
19Wisdom strengtheneth the wise more than ten mighty [men] that are in a city. 20Surely there is not a righteous man upon earth, that doeth good and sinneth not. 21Also give not heed unto all words that are spoken, lest thou hear thy servant curse thee. 22For also thine own heart knoweth that oftentimes thou thyself likewise hast cursed others.
23All this have I tried by wisdom: I said, I will be wise; but it was far from me. 24Whatever hath been, is far off, and exceeding deep: who will find it out? 25I turned, I and my heart, to know, and to search, and to seek out wisdom and reason, and to know wickedness to be folly, and foolishness to be madness; 26and I found more bitter than death the woman whose heart is nets and snares, [and] whose hands are bands: whoso pleaseth God shall escape from her; but the sinner shall be caught by her.
27See this which I have found, saith the Preacher, [searching] one by one to find out the reason; 28which my soul yet seeketh, and I have not found: one man among a thousand have I found, but a woman among all those have I not found. 29Only see this which I have found: that God made man upright, but they have sought out many devices.