Bible: Ecclesiastes 7

Life is Brief and Death is Certain!

7:1 A good reputation 1  is better 2  than precious 3  perfume; 4 

likewise, 5  the day of one’s 6  death 7  is better than the day of one’s birth. 8 

7:2 It is better to go to a funeral 9 

than a feast. 10 

For death 11  is the destiny 12  of every person, 13 

and the living should 14  take this 15  to heart.

7:3 Sorrow 16  is better than laughter,

because sober reflection 17  is good for the heart. 18 

7:4 The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning,

but the heart of fools is in the house of merrymaking. 19 

Frivolous Living Versus Wisdom

7:5 It is better for a person to receive 20  a rebuke from those who are wise 21 

than to listen to the song 22  of fools.

7:6 For like the crackling of quick-burning thorns 23  under a cooking pot,

so is the laughter of the fool.

This kind of folly 24  also is useless. 25 

Human Wisdom Overturned by Adversity

7:7 Surely oppression 26  can turn a wise person into a fool; 27 

likewise, 28  a bribe corrupts 29  the heart. 30 

7:8 The end of a matter 31  is better than its beginning;

likewise, patience 32  is better than pride. 33 

7:9 Do not let yourself be quickly provoked, 34 

for anger resides in the lap 35  of fools.

7:10 Do not say, “Why were the old days better than these days?” 36 

for it is not wise to ask that. 37 

Wisdom Can Lengthen One’s Life

7:11 Wisdom, like 38  an inheritance, is a good thing;

it benefits those who see the light of day. 39 

7:12 For wisdom provides 40  protection, 41 

just as 42  money provides protection. 43 

But the advantage of knowledge is this:

Wisdom preserves the life 44  of its owner.

Wisdom Acknowledges God’s Orchestration of Life

7:13 Consider the work of God:

For who can make straight what he has bent?

7:14 In times of prosperity 45  be joyful,

but in times of adversity 46  consider this:

God has made one as well as the other, 47 

so that no one can discover what the future holds. 48 

Exceptions to the Law of Retribution

7:15 During the days of my fleeting life 49  I have seen both 50  of these things:

Sometimes 51  a righteous person dies prematurely 52  in spite of 53  his righteousness,

and sometimes 54  a wicked person lives long 55  in spite of his evil deeds.

7:16 So do not be excessively righteous or excessively 56  wise; 57 

otherwise 58  you might 59  be disappointed. 60 

7:17 Do not be excessively wicked and do not be a fool;

otherwise 61  you might die before your time.

7:18 It is best to take hold of one warning 62  without letting go of the other warning; 63 

for the one who fears God will follow 64  both warnings. 65 

Wisdom Needed Because No One is Truly Righteous

7:19 Wisdom gives a wise person more protection 66 

than ten rulers in a city.

7:20 For 67  there is not one truly 68  righteous person on the earth

who continually does good and never sins.

7:21 Also, do not pay attention to everything that people 69  say;

otherwise, 70  you might even hear 71  your servant cursing you.

7:22 For you know in your own heart 72 

that you also have cursed others many times.

Human Wisdom is Limited

7:23 I have examined all this by wisdom;

I said, “I am determined 73  to comprehend this” 74  – but it was beyond my grasp. 75 

7:24 Whatever has happened is beyond human 76  understanding; 77 

it is far deeper than anyone can fathom. 78 

True Righteousness and Wisdom are Virtually Nonexistent

7:25 I tried 79  to understand, examine, and comprehend 80 

the role of 81  wisdom in the scheme of things, 82 

and to understand the stupidity of wickedness 83  and the insanity of folly. 84 

7:26 I discovered this: 85 

More bitter than death is the kind of 86  woman 87  who is like a hunter’s snare; 88 

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.

7:27 The Teacher says:

I discovered this while trying to discover the scheme of things, item by item.

7:28 What I have continually sought, I have not found;

I have found only 89  one upright 90  man among a thousand,

but I have not found one upright woman among all of them.

7:29 This alone have I discovered: God made humankind upright,

but they have sought many evil schemes.

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