Wisdom and Folly Compared
7 1 A [good] name is better than precious ointment, and the day of death than the day of one's birth. 2 It 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. 3 Vexation is better than laughter; for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better. 4 The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, but the heart of fools in the house of mirth. 5 It is better for a man to hear the rebuke of the wise, than to hear the song of fools. 6 For as the crackling of thorns under a pot, so is the laughter of the fool. This also is vanity.
7 Surely oppression maketh a wise man mad, and a gift destroyeth the heart. 8 Better is the end of a thing than its beginning; better is a patient spirit than a proud spirit. 9 Be not hasty in thy spirit to be vexed; for vexation resteth in the bosom of fools. 10 Say not, How is it that the former days were better than these? for thou dost not inquire wisely concerning this.
11 Wisdom is as good as an inheritance, and profitable to them that see the sun. 12 For wisdom is a defence [as] money is a defence; but the excellency of knowledge is, [that] wisdom maketh them that possess it to live. 13 Consider the work of God; for who can make straight what he hath made crooked? 14 In 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. 15 All [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. 16 Be not righteous overmuch; neither make thyself overwise: why shouldest thou destroy thyself? 17 Be not overmuch wicked, neither be thou foolish: why shouldest thou die before thy time? 18 It 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. 19 Wisdom strengtheneth the wise more than ten mighty [men] that are in a city. 20 Surely there is not a righteous man upon earth, that doeth good and sinneth not. 21 Also give not heed unto all words that are spoken, lest thou hear thy servant curse thee. 22 For also thine own heart knoweth that oftentimes thou thyself likewise hast cursed others.
23 All this have I tried by wisdom: I said, I will be wise; but it was far from me. 24 Whatever hath been, is far off, and exceeding deep: who will find it out? 25 I 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; 26 and 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. 27 See this which I have found, saith the Preacher, [searching] one by one to find out the reason; 28 which 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. 29 Only see this which I have found: that God made man upright, but they have sought out many devices.
8 1 Who is as the wise? and who knoweth the explanation of things? A man's wisdom maketh his face to shine, and the boldness of his face is changed. 2 I [say], Keep the king's commandment, and [that] on account of the oath of God. 3 Be not hasty to go out of his sight; persist not in an evil thing: for he doeth whatever pleaseth him, 4 because the word of a king is power; and who may say unto him, What doest thou? 5 Whoso keepeth the commandment shall know no evil thing; and a wise man's heart knoweth time and manner.
6 For to every purpose there is time and manner. For the misery of man is great upon him; 7 for he knoweth not that which shall be; for who can tell him how it shall be? 8 There is no man who hath control over the spirit to retain the spirit; and no one hath control over the day of death; and there is no discharge in that war, neither shall wickedness deliver those that are given to it.
9 All this have I seen, and applied my heart unto every work that is done under the sun: there is a time when man ruleth man to his hurt.
The Inequalities of Life
10 And I have also seen the wicked buried and going away; and such as had acted rightly went from [the] holy place, and were forgotten in the city. This also is vanity. 11 Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the children of men is fully set in them to do evil. 12 Though a sinner do evil a hundred times, and prolong his [days], yet I know that it shall be well with them that fear God, because they fear before him; 13 but it shall not be well with the wicked, neither shall he prolong [his] days as a shadow, because he feareth not before God.
14 There is a vanity which is done upon the earth; that there are righteous [men] unto whom it happeneth according to the work of the wicked; and there are wicked [men] to whom it happeneth according to the work of the righteous. I said that this also is vanity. 15 And I commended mirth, because there is nothing better for man under the sun than to eat, and to drink, and to be merry; for that shall abide with him of his labour the days of his life, which God hath given him under the sun. 16 When I applied my heart to know wisdom, and to see the business that is done upon the earth (for also there is that neither day nor night seeth sleep with his eyes), 17 then I saw that all [is] the work of God, [and] that man cannot find out the work that is done under the sun: because however man may labour to seek [it] out, yet doth he not find [it]; and even, if a wise [man] think to know [it], he shall not be able to find [it] out.
9 1 For all this I laid to my heart and [indeed] to investigate all this, that the righteous, and the wise, and their works, are in the hand of God; man knoweth neither love nor hatred: all is before them. 2 All things [come] alike to all: one event to the righteous and to the wicked, to the good, and to the clean, and to the unclean, to him that sacrificeth and to him that sacrificeth not: as is the good, so is the sinner; he that sweareth, as he that feareth an oath. 3 This is an evil among all that is done under the sun, that one thing befalleth all: yea, also the heart of the children of men is full of evil, and madness is in their heart while they live; and after that, [they have to go] to the dead.
4 For to him that is joined to all the living there is hope; for a living dog is better than a dead lion. 5 For the living know that they shall die; but the dead know not anything, neither have they any more a reward, for the memory of them is forgotten. 6 Their love also, and their hatred, and their envy is already perished; neither have they any more for ever a portion in all that is done under the sun. 7 Go, eat thy bread with joy, and drink thy wine with a merry heart; for God hath already accepted thy works. 8 Let thy garments be always white, and let not thy head lack oil. 9 Enjoy life with the wife whom thou lovest all the days of the life of thy vanity, which he hath given thee under the sun, all the days of thy vanity; for that is thy portion in life, and in thy labour wherein thou art labouring under the sun. 10 Whatever thy hand findeth to do, do with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in Sheol, whither thou goest.
11 I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to the intelligent, nor yet favour to men of knowledge; but time and chance happeneth to them all. 12 For man also knoweth not his time: as the fishes that are taken in an evil net, and as the birds that are taken with the snare, like them are the children of men snared in an evil time, when it falleth suddenly upon them.
13 This also have I seen as wisdom under the sun, and it was great unto me. 14 There was a little city, and few men within it; and there came a great king against it, and encompassed it, and built great bulwarks against it: 15 and there was found in it a poor wise man, who by his wisdom delivered the city; but no man remembered that poor man. 16 Then said I, Wisdom is better than strength; but the poor man's wisdom is despised, and his words are not heard. 17 The words of the wise are heard in quiet more than the cry of him that ruleth among fools. 18 Wisdom is better than weapons of war; but one sinner destroyeth much good.
13 1 This third time I am coming to you. In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every matter be established. 2 I have declared beforehand, and I say beforehand as present the second time, and now absent, to those that have sinned before, and to all the rest, that if I come again I will not spare. 3 Since ye seek a proof of Christ speaking in me, (who is not weak towards you, but is powerful among you, 4 for if indeed he has been crucified in weakness, yet he lives by God's power; for indeed we are weak in him, but we shall live with him by God's power towards you,) 5 examine your own selves if ye be in the faith; prove your own selves: do ye not recognise yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you, unless indeed ye be reprobates? 6 Now I hope that ye will know that we are not reprobates.
7 But we pray to God that ye may do nothing evil; not that we may appear approved, but that ye may do what is right, and we be as reprobates. 8 For we can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth. 9 For we rejoice when we may be weak and ye may be powerful. But this also we pray for, your perfecting. 10 On this account I write these things being absent, that being present I may not use severity according to the authority which the Lord has given me for building up, and not for overthrowing.
11 For the rest, brethren, rejoice; be perfected; be encouraged; be of one mind; be at peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you. 12 Salute one another with a holy kiss. 13 All the saints salute you. 14 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit, [be] with you all.