Ecclesiastes 7
NET BibleNew Living Translation
1A good reputation is better than precious perfume; likewise, the day of one's death is better than the day of one's birth. 1A good reputation is more valuable than costly perfume. And the day you die is better than the day you are born.
2It is better to go to a funeral than a feast. For death is the destiny of every person, and the living should take this to heart. 2Better to spend your time at funerals than at parties. After all, everyone dies— so the living should take this to heart.
3Sorrow is better than laughter, because sober reflection is good for the heart. 3Sorrow is better than laughter, for sadness has a refining influence on us.
4The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, but the heart of fools is in the house of merrymaking. 4A wise person thinks a lot about death, while a fool thinks only about having a good time.
5It is better for a person to receive a rebuke from those who are wise than to listen to the song of fools. 5Better to be criticized by a wise person than to be praised by a fool.
6For like the crackling of quick-burning thorns under a cooking pot, so is the laughter of the fool. This kind of folly also is useless. 6A fool’s laughter is quickly gone, like thorns crackling in a fire. This also is meaningless.
7Surely oppression can turn a wise person into a fool; likewise, a bribe corrupts the heart. 7Extortion turns wise people into fools, and bribes corrupt the heart.
8The end of a matter is better than its beginning; likewise, patience is better than pride. 8Finishing is better than starting. Patience is better than pride.
9Do not let yourself be quickly provoked, for anger resides in the lap of fools. 9Control your temper, for anger labels you a fool.
10Do not say, "Why were the old days better than these days?" for it is not wise to ask that. 10Don’t long for “the good old days.” This is not wise.
11Wisdom, like an inheritance, is a good thing; it benefits those who see the light of day. 11Wisdom is even better when you have money. Both are a benefit as you go through life.
12For wisdom provides protection, just as money provides protection. But the advantage of knowledge is this: Wisdom preserves the life of its owner. 12Wisdom and money can get you almost anything, but only wisdom can save your life.
13Consider the work of God: For who can make straight what he has bent? 13Accept the way God does things, for who can straighten what he has made crooked?
14In times of prosperity be joyful, but in times of adversity consider this: God has made one as well as the other, so that no one can discover what the future holds. 14Enjoy prosperity while you can, but when hard times strike, realize that both come from God. Remember that nothing is certain in this life. The Limits of Human Wisdom
15During the days of my fleeting life I have seen both of these things: Sometimes a righteous person dies prematurely in spite of his righteousness, and sometimes a wicked person lives long in spite of his evil deeds. 15I have seen everything in this meaningless life, including the death of good young people and the long life of wicked people.
16So do not be excessively righteous or excessively wise; otherwise you might be disappointed. 16So don’t be too good or too wise! Why destroy yourself?
17Do not be excessively wicked and do not be a fool; otherwise you might die before your time. 17On the other hand, don’t be too wicked either. Don’t be a fool! Why die before your time?
18It is best to take hold of one warning without letting go of the other warning; for the one who fears God will follow both warnings. 18Pay attention to these instructions, for anyone who fears God will avoid both extremes.
19Wisdom gives a wise person more protection than ten rulers in a city. 19One wise person is stronger than ten leading citizens of a town!
20For there is not one truly righteous person on the earth who continually does good and never sins. 20Not a single person on earth is always good and never sins.
21Also, do not pay attention to everything that people say; otherwise, you might even hear your servant cursing you. 21Don’t eavesdrop on others—you may hear your servant curse you.
22For you know in your own heart that you also have cursed others many times. 22For you know how often you yourself have cursed others.
23I have examined all this by wisdom; I said, "I am determined to comprehend this"--but it was beyond my grasp. 23I have always tried my best to let wisdom guide my thoughts and actions. I said to myself, “I am determined to be wise.” But it didn’t work.
24Whatever has happened is beyond human understanding; it is far deeper than anyone can fathom. 24Wisdom is always distant and difficult to find.
25I tried to understand, examine, and comprehend the role of wisdom in the scheme of things, and to understand the stupidity of wickedness and the insanity of folly. 25I searched everywhere, determined to find wisdom and to understand the reason for things. I was determined to prove to myself that wickedness is stupid and that foolishness is madness.
26I discovered this: More bitter than death is the kind of woman who is like a hunter's snare; her heart is like a hunter's net and her hands are like prison chains. The man who pleases God escapes her, but the sinner is captured by her. 26I discovered that a seductive woman is a trap more bitter than death. Her passion is a snare, and her soft hands are chains. Those who are pleasing to God will escape her, but sinners will be caught in her snare.
27The Teacher says: I discovered this while trying to discover the scheme of things, item by item. 27“This is my conclusion,” says the Teacher. “I discovered this after looking at the matter from every possible angle.
28What I have continually sought, I have not found; I have found only one upright man among a thousand, but I have not found one upright woman among all of them. 28Though I have searched repeatedly, I have not found what I was looking for. Only one out of a thousand men is virtuous, but not one woman!
29This alone have I discovered: God made humankind upright, but they have sought many evil schemes. 29But I did find this: God created people to be virtuous, but they have each turned to follow their own downward path.”
NET Bible copyright © 1996-2006 by Biblical Studies Press, L.L.C. // Used by permission. All rights reserved.Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
Ecclesiastes 6
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