JPS Tanakh 1917
1A good name is better than precious oil;
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;
For that is the end of all men,
And the living will lay it to his heart.
3Vexation is better than laughter;
For by the sadness of the countenance the heart may be gladdened.
4The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning;
But the heart of fools is in the house of mirth.
5It is better to hear the rebuke of the wise, Than for a man 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 turneth a wise man into a fool;
And a gift destroyeth the understanding.
8Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof;
And the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.
9Be not hasty in thy spirit to be angry;
For anger resteth in the bosom of fools.
10Say not thou: ‘How was it that the former days were better than these?’ for it is not out of wisdom that thou inquirest concerning this.
11Wisdom is good with an inheritance,
Yea, a profit to them that see the sun.
12For wisdom is a defence, even as money is a defence; but the excellency of knowledge is, that wisdom preserveth the life of him that hath it.
13Consider the work of God; for who can make that straight, which He hath made crooked? 14In the day of prosperity be joyful, and in the day of adversity consider; God hath made even the one as well as the other, to the end that man should find nothing after him.
15All things have I seen in the days of my vanity; there is a righteous man that perisheth in his righteousness, and there is a wicked man that prolongeth his life in his evil-doing. 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 the one; yea, also from the other withdraw not thy hand; for he that feareth God shall discharge himself of them all.
23All this have I tried by wisdom; I said: ‘I will get wisdom’; but it was far from me. 24That which is is far off, and exceeding deep; who can find it out? 25I turned about, and applied my heart to know and to search out, and to seek wisdom and the reason of things, and to know wickedness to be folly, and foolishness to be madness; 26and I find more bitter than death the woman, whose heart is snares and nets, and her hands as bands; whoso pleaseth God shall escape from her; but the sinner shall be taken by her. 27Behold, this have I found, saith Koheleth, adding one thing to another, to find out the account; 28which yet my soul sought, but I found not; one man among a thousand have I found; but a woman among all those have I not found. 29Behold, this only have I found, that God made man upright; but they have sought out many inventions.