Wisdom is better than wealth
7 A good name is better than fine oil,
and the day of death better than the birthday.
2 It is better to go to a house in mourning
than to a house party,
because that is everyone’s destiny;
and the living should take it to heart.
3 Aggravation is better than merriment
because a sad face may lead to a glad heart.
4 The wise heart is in the house that mourns,
but the foolish heart is in the house that rejoices.
5 It is better to obey the reprimand of the wise
than to listen to the song of fools,
6 because the fool’s merriment
is like nettles crackling under a kettle.
That too is pointless.
7 Oppression turns the wise into fools;
a bribe corrupts the heart.
8 The end of something is better than its beginning.
Patience is better than arrogance.
9 Don’t be too quick to get angry
because anger lives in the fool’s heart.
10 Don’t ask, “How is it that the former days were better than these?”
because it isn’t wise to ask this.
11 Wisdom is as good as[a] an inheritance—
an advantage for those who see the sun.
12 Wisdom’s protection is like the protection of money;
the advantage of knowledge is that wisdom preserves the lives of its possessors.
Good times and bad
13 Consider God’s work! Who can straighten what God has made crooked? 14 When times are good, enjoy the good; when times are bad, consider: God has made the former as well as the latter so that people can’t discover anything that will come to be after them.
15 I have seen everything in my pointless lifetime: the righteous person may die in spite of their righteousness; then again, the wicked may live long in spite of their wickedness. 16 Don’t be too righteous or too wise, or you may be dumbfounded.[b] 17 Don’t be too wicked and don’t be a fool, or you may die before your time. 18 It’s good that you take hold of one of these without letting go of the other because the one who fears God will go forth with both.
19 Wisdom makes a wise person stronger than ten rulers who are in a city. 20 Remember: there’s no one on earth so righteous as to do good only and never make a mistake.[c] 21 Don’t worry about all the things people say, so you don’t hear your servant cursing you. 22 After all, you know that you’ve often cursed others yourself!
Life is complicated
23 I tested all of this by wisdom. I thought, I will be wise, but it eluded me.
24 All that happens is elusive and utterly unfathomable. Who can grasp it? 25 I turned my mind to know, to investigate, and to seek wisdom, along with an account of things, to know that wickedness is foolishness and folly is madness.
26 I found one woman more bitter than death: she who is a trap, her heart a snare, her hands shackles. Anyone who pleases God escapes her, but a sinner is trapped by her. 27 See, this is what I found, says the Teacher, examining one matter after another to account for things. 28 But there’s something that I constantly searched for but couldn’t find: I found one man among a thousand, but I couldn’t find a woman among any of these.[d]
29 See, this alone I found: God made human beings straightforward, but they search for many complications.
8 Who is wise? And who knows the meaning of anything?
A person’s wisdom brightens the expression;
it changes the hardness of someone’s face.
Watch out for power
2 Keep[e] the king’s command
as you would keep a solemn pledge.
3 Don’t be dismayed; leave his presence.
Don’t linger in a harmful situation
because he can do whatever he wants!
4 Because the king’s word has authority,
no one can say to him, “What are you doing?”
5 Whoever keeps a command will meet no harm, and the wise heart knows the right time and the right way 6 because there’s a right time and right way for every matter. But human misfortunes are overwhelming 7 because no one knows what will happen, and no one can say when something might happen. 8 No one has control over the life-breath,[f] to retain it, and there’s no control over the day of death. There’s no release from war, and wickedness won’t deliver those who practice it.
9 I observed all of this as I paid attention to all that happens under the sun. Sometimes people exercise power over each other to their detriment. 10 Then I saw the wicked brought to their graves, with people processing from a holy place,[g] while those who had lived honestly were neglected in the city. This too is pointless.
11 The condemnation for wicked acts isn’t carried out quickly; that’s why people dare to do evil. 12 Wrongdoers may commit a hundred crimes but still live long lives. But I also know that it will go well for those who fear God, for those who are reverent before God. 13 But it will not go well for the wicked; they won’t live long at all because they aren’t reverent before God. 14 Here’s another thing that happens on earth that is pointless: the righteous get what the wicked deserve, and the wicked get what the righteous deserve. I say that this too is pointless.
15 So I commend enjoyment because there’s nothing better for people to do under the sun but to eat, drink, and be glad. This is what will accompany them in their hard work, during the lifetime that God gives under the sun.
16 Then I set my mind to know wisdom and to observe the business that happens on earth, even going without sleep day and night 17 I observed all the work of God—that no one can grasp what happens under the sun. Those who strive to know can’t grasp it. Even the wise who are set on knowing are unable to grasp it.
Everyone faces the same fate
9 So I considered all of this carefully, examining all of it: The righteous and the wise and their deeds are in God’s hand, along with both love and hate. People don’t know anything that’s ahead of them. 2 Everything is the same for everyone. The same fate awaits the righteous and the wicked, the good and the bad,[h] the pure and the impure, those who sacrifice and those who don’t sacrifice. The good person is like the wrongdoer; the same holds for those who make solemn pledges and those who are afraid to swear. 3 This is the sad thing about all that happens under the sun: the same fate awaits everyone. Moreover, the human heart is full of evil; people’s minds are full of madness while they are alive, and afterward they die. 4 Whoever is among the living can be certain about this. A living dog is definitely better off than a dead lion, 5 because the living know that they will die. But the dead know nothing at all. There is no more reward for them; even the memory of them is lost. 6 Their love and their hate, as well as their zeal, are already long gone. They will never again have a stake in all that happens under the sun.
7 Go, eat your food joyfully and drink your wine happily because God has already accepted what you do. 8 Let your garments always be white; don’t run short of oil for your head. 9 Enjoy life with your dearly loved spouse all the days of your pointless life that God[i] gives you under the sun—all the days of your pointless life![j]—because that’s your part to play[k] in this life and in your hard work under the sun. 10 Whatever you are capable of doing, do with all your might because there’s no work, thought, knowledge, or wisdom in the grave,[l] which is where you are headed.
Listen to common wisdom, not fools
11 I also observed under the sun that the race doesn’t always go to the swift, nor the battle to the mighty, nor food to the wise, nor wealth to the intelligent, nor favor to the knowledgeable, because accidents can happen to anyone. 12 People most definitely don’t know when their time will come. Like fish tragically caught in a net or like birds trapped in a snare, so are human beings caught in a time of tragedy that suddenly falls to them.
13 I also observed the following example of wisdom under the sun—it impressed me greatly: 14 There was a small town with only a few residents. A mighty king came against it, surrounded it, and waged a terrible war against it. 15 Now there lived in that town a poor but wise man who saved everyone by his wisdom. But no one remembered that poor man. 16 So I thought, Wisdom is better than might, but the wisdom of commoners is despised and their words aren’t heeded.
17 The calm words of the wise are better heeded than the racket caused by a ruler among fools.
18 Wisdom is better than weapons of war, but one incompetent person destroys much good.
- Ecclesiastes 7:11 Or Wisdom is good with
- Ecclesiastes 7:16 Or destroyed
- Ecclesiastes 7:20 Or and never sin
- Ecclesiastes 7:28 Heb uncertain
- Ecclesiastes 8:2 Correction; Heb I (say?) keep
- Ecclesiastes 8:8 Or wind
- Ecclesiastes 8:10 Or temple
- Ecclesiastes 9:2 LXX
- Ecclesiastes 9:9 Or he or that are given you
- Ecclesiastes 9:9 This phrase is missing in some LXX sources, Syr, and Tg.
- Ecclesiastes 9:9 Or portion
- Ecclesiastes 9:10 Or underworld; Heb Sheol
2 Corinthians 7:8-16
8 Even though my letter hurt you, I don’t regret it. Well—I did regret it just a bit because I see that that letter made you sad, though only for a short time. 9 Now I’m glad—not because you were sad but because you were made sad enough to change your hearts and lives. You felt godly sadness so that no one was harmed by us in any way. 10 Godly sadness produces a changed heart and life that leads to salvation and leaves no regrets, but sorrow under the influence of the world produces death. 11 Look at what this very experience of godly sadness has produced in you: such enthusiasm, what a desire to clear yourselves of blame, such indignation, what fear, what purpose, such concern, what justice! In everything you have shown yourselves to be innocent in the matter.
12 So although I wrote to you, it wasn’t for the sake of the one who did wrong, or for the sake of the one who was wronged, but to show you your own enthusiasm for us in the sight of God. 13 Because of this we have been encouraged. And in addition to our own encouragement, we were even more pleased at how happy Titus was. His mind has been put at rest by all of you. 14 If I’ve bragged about you to him in any way, I haven’t been embarrassed. Instead, our bragging to Titus has also been proven to be true, just like everything we said to you was true. 15 His devotion to you is growing even more as he remembers how all of you were obedient when you welcomed him with fear and trembling. 16 I’m happy, because I can completely depend on you.
A song. A psalm of the Korahites.
48 In the city belonging to our God,
the Lord is great and so worthy of praise!
His holy mountain 2 is a beautiful summit,
the joy of the whole world.
Mount Zion, in the far north,
is the city of the great king.
3 God is in its fortifications,
revealing himself as a place of safety.
4 Look: the kings assembled themselves,
advancing all together—
5 when they saw it, they were stunned;
they panicked and ran away frightened.
6 Trembling took hold of them right there—
like a woman giving birth,
7 or like the east wind when it smashes
the ships of Tarshish.
8 Just like we had heard,
now we’ve seen it for ourselves
in the city of the Lord of heavenly forces,
in the city of our God.
May God make it secure forever! Selah
9 We dwell on your faithful love, God,
in your temple.
10 Your praise, God, just like your reputation,
extends to the far corners of the earth.
Your strong hand is filled with righteousness.
11 Let Mount Zion be glad;
let the towns of Judah rejoice
because of your acts of justice!
12 Walk around Zion;
go all the way around it;
count its towers.
13 Examine its defenses closely;
tour its fortifications
so that you may tell future generations:
14 “This is God,
our God, forever and always!
He is the one who will lead us
even to the very end.”[a]
Thirty sayings of the wise
17 Turn your ear and hear the words of the wise;
focus your mind on my knowledge.
18 It will be pleasant if you keep the words in you,
if you have them ready on your lips.
19 So that your trust will be in the Lord,
I’m teaching you today—yes, you.