Wisdom and Folly Compared
7 1 Better 'is' a name than good perfume, And the day of death than the day of birth. 2 Better to go unto a house of mourning, Than to go unto a house of banqueting, For that is the end of all men, And the living layeth 'it' unto his heart. 3 Better 'is' sorrow than laughter, For by the sadness of the face the heart becometh better. 4 The heart of the wise 'is' in a house of mourning, And the heart of fools in a house of mirth. 5 Better to hear a rebuke of a wise man, Than 'for' a man to hear a song of fools, 6 For as the noise of thorns under the pot, So 'is' the laughter of a fool, even this 'is' vanity.
7 Surely oppression maketh the wise mad, And a gift destroyeth the heart. 8 Better 'is' the latter end of a thing than its beginning, Better 'is' the patient of spirit, than the haughty of spirit. 9 Be not hasty in thy spirit to be angry, For anger in the bosom of fools resteth. 10 Say not thou, 'What was it, That the former days were better than these?' For thou hast not asked wisely of this.
11 Wisdom 'is' good with an inheritance, And an advantage 'it is' to those beholding the sun. 12 For wisdom 'is' a defense, money 'is' a defence, And the advantage of the knowledge of wisdom 'is', She reviveth her possessors. 13 See the work of God, For who is able to make straight that which He made crooked? 14 In a day of prosperity be in gladness, And in a day of evil consider. Also this over-against that hath God made, To the intent that man doth not find anything after him. 15 The whole I have considered in the days of my vanity. There is a righteous one perishing in his righteousness, and there is a wrong-doer prolonging 'himself' in his wrong. 16 Be not over-righteous, nor show thyself too wise, why art thou desolate? 17 Do not much wrong, neither be thou a fool, why dost thou die within thy time? 18 'It is' good that thou dost lay hold on this, and also, from that withdrawest not thy hand, for whoso is fearing God goeth out with them all. 19 The wisdom giveth strength to a wise man, more than wealth the rulers who have been in a city. 20 Because there is not a righteous man on earth that doth good and sinneth not. 21 Also to all the words that they speak give not thy heart, that thou hear not thy servant reviling thee. 22 For many times also hath thy heart known that thou thyself also hast reviled others.
23 All this I have tried by wisdom; I have said, 'I am wise,' and it 'is' far from me. 24 Far off 'is' that which hath been, and deep, deep, who doth find it? 25 I have turned round, also my heart, to know and to search, and to seek out wisdom, and reason, and to know the wrong of folly, and of foolishness the madness. 26 And I am finding more bitter than death, the woman whose heart 'is' nets and snares, her hands 'are' bands; the good before God escapeth from her, but the sinner is captured by her. 27 See, this I have found, said the Preacher, one to one, to find out the reason 28 (that still my soul had sought, and I had not found), One man, a teacher, I have found, and a woman among all these I have not found. 29 See, this alone I have found, that God made man upright, and they—they have sought out many devices.
8 1 Who 'is' as the wise? and who knoweth the interpretation of a thing? The wisdom of man causeth his face to shine, and the hardness of his face is changed. 2 I pray thee, the commandment of a king keep, even for the sake of the oath of God. 3 Be not troubled at his presence, thou mayest go, stand not in an evil thing, for all that he pleaseth he doth. 4 Where the word of a king 'is' power 'is', and who saith to him, 'What dost thou?' 5 Whoso is keeping a command knoweth no evil thing, and time and judgment the heart of the wise knoweth.
6 For to every delight there is a time and a judgment, for the misfortune of man is great upon him. 7 For he knoweth not that which shall be, for when it shall be who declareth to him? 8 There is no man ruling over the spirit to restrain the spirit, and there is no authority over the day of death, and there is no discharge in battle, and wickedness delivereth not its possessors.
9 All this I have seen so as to give my heart to every work that hath been done under the sun; a time that man hath ruled over man to his own evil.
The Inequalities of Life
10 And so I have seen the wicked buried, and they went in, even from the Holy Place they go, and they are forgotten in the city whether they had so done. This also 'is' vanity. 11 Because sentence hath not been done 'on' an evil work speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of man is full within them to do evil. 12 Though a sinner is doing evil a hundred 'times', and prolonging 'himself' for it, surely also I know that there is good to those fearing God, who fear before Him. 13 And good is not to the wicked, and he doth not prolong days as a shadow, because he is not fearing before God.
14 There is a vanity that hath been done upon the earth, that there are righteous ones unto whom it is coming according to the work of the wicked, and there are wicked ones unto whom it is coming according to the work of the righteous. I have said that this also 'is' vanity. 15 And I have praised mirth because there is no good to man under the sun except to eat and to drink, and to rejoice, and it remaineth with him of his labour the days of his life that God hath given to him under the sun. 16 When I gave my heart to know wisdom and to see the business that hath been done on the earth, (for there is also a spectator in whose eyes sleep is not by day and by night), 17 then I considered all the work of God, that man is not able to find out the work that hath been done under the sun, because though man labour to seek, yet he doth not find; and even though the wise man speak of knowing he is not able to find.
9 1 But all this I have laid unto my heart, so as to clear up the whole of this, that the righteous and the wise, and their works, 'are' in the hand of God, neither love nor hatred doth man know, the whole 'is' before them. 2 The whole 'is' as to the whole; one event is to the righteous and to the wicked, to the good, and to the clean, and to the unclean, and to him who is sacrificing, and to him who is not sacrificing; as 'is' the good, so 'is' the sinner, he who is swearing as he who is fearing an oath. 3 This 'is' an evil among all that hath been done under the sun, that one event 'is' to all, and also the heart of the sons of man is full of evil, and madness 'is' in their heart during their life, and after it—unto the dead.
4 But 'to' him who is joined unto all the living there is confidence, for to a living dog it 'is' better than to the dead lion. 5 For the living know that they die, and the dead know not anything, and there is no more to them a reward, for their remembrance hath been forgotten. 6 Their love also, their hatred also, their envy also, hath already perished, and they have no more a portion to the age in all that hath been done under the sun. 7 Go, eat with joy thy bread, and drink with a glad heart thy wine, for already hath God been pleased with thy works. 8 At all times let thy garments be white, and let not perfume be lacking on thy head. 9 See life with the wife whom thou hast loved, all the days of the life of thy vanity, that He hath given to thee under the sun, all the days of thy vanity, for it 'is' thy portion in life, even of thy labour that thou art labouring at under the sun. 10 All that thy hand findeth to do, with thy power do, for there is no work, and device, and knowledge, and wisdom in Sheol whither thou art going.
11 I have turned so as to see under the sun, that not to the swift 'is' the race, nor to the mighty the battle, nor even to the wise bread, nor even to the intelligent wealth, nor even to the skilful grace, for time and chance happen with them all. 12 For even man knoweth not his time; as fish that are taken hold of by an evil net, and as birds that are taken hold of by a snare, like these 'are' the sons of man snared at an evil time, when it falleth upon them suddenly.
13 This also I have seen: wisdom under the sun, and it is great to me. 14 A little city, and few men in it, and a great king hath come unto it, and hath surrounded it, and hath built against it great bulwarks; 15 and there hath been found in it a poor wise man, and he hath delivered the city by his wisdom, and men have not remembered that poor man! 16 And I said, 'Better 'is' wisdom than might, and the wisdom of the poor is despised, and his words are not heard.'— 17 The words of the wise in quiet are heard, More than the cry of a ruler over fools. 18 Better 'is' wisdom than weapons of conflict, And one sinner destroyeth much good!
The Excellence of Wisdom
10 1 Dead flies cause a perfumer's perfume To send forth a stink; The precious by reason of wisdom—By reason of honour—a little folly! 2 The heart of the wise 'is' at his right hand, And the heart of a fool at his left. 3 And also, when he that is a fool Is walking in the way, his heart is lacking, And he hath said to every one, 'He 'is' a fool.'
4 If the spirit of the ruler go up against thee, Thy place leave not, For yielding quieteth great sinners. 5 There is an evil I have seen under the sun, As an error that goeth out from the ruler, 6 He hath set the fool in many high places, And the rich in a low place do sit. 7 I have seen servants on horses, And princes walking as servants on the earth. 8 Whoso is digging a pit falleth into it, And whoso is breaking a hedge, a serpent biteth him. 9 Whoso is removing stones is grieved by them, Whoso is cleaving trees endangered by them. 10 If the iron hath been blunt, And he the face hath not sharpened, Then doth he increase strength, And wisdom 'is' advantageous to make right. 11 If the serpent biteth without enchantment, Then there is no advantage to a master of the tongue.
12 Words of the mouth of the wise 'are' gracious, And the lips of a fool swallow him up. 13 The beginning of the words of his mouth 'is' folly, And the latter end of his mouth 'Is' mischievous madness. 14 And the fool multiplieth words: 'Man knoweth not that which is, And that which is after him, who doth declare to him?' 15 The labour of the foolish wearieth him, In that he hath not known to go unto the city.
16 Wo to thee, O land, when thy king 'is' a youth, And thy princes do eat in the morning. 17 Happy art thou, O land, When thy king 'is' a son of freemen, And thy princes do eat in due season, For might, and not for drunkenness. 18 By slothfulness is the wall brought low, And by idleness of the hands doth the house drop. 19 For mirth they are making a feast, And wine maketh life joyful, And the silver answereth with all. 20 Even in thy mind a king revile not, And in the inner parts of thy bed-chamber Revile not the rich: For a fowl of the heavens causeth the voice to go, And a possessor of wings declareth the word.
11 1 Send forth thy bread on the face of the waters, For in the multitude of the days thou dost find it. 2 Give a portion to seven, and even to eight, For thou knowest not what evil is on the earth. 3 If the thick clouds are full of rain, On the earth they empty 'themselves'; And if a tree doth fall in the south or to the north, The place where the tree falleth, there it is. 4 Whoso is observing the wind soweth not, And whoso is looking on the thick clouds reapeth not. 5 As thou knowest not what 'is' the way of the spirit, How—bones in the womb of the full one, So thou knowest not the work of God who maketh the whole. 6 In the morning sow thy seed, And at even withdraw not thy hand, For thou knowest not which is right, this or that, Or whether both of them alike 'are' good.
7 Sweet also 'is' the light, And good for the eyes to see the sun. 8 But, if man liveth many years, In all of them let him rejoice, And remember the days of darkness, For they are many! all that is coming 'is' vanity.
Advice to the Young
9 Rejoice, O young man, in thy childhood, And let thy heart gladden thee in days of thy youth, And walk in the ways of thy heart, And in the sight of thine eyes, And know thou that for all these, Doth God bring thee into judgment. 10 And turn aside anger from thy heart, And cause evil to pass from thy flesh, For the childhood and the age 'are' vanity!
12 1 Remember also thy Creators in days of thy youth, While that the evil days come not, Nor the years have arrived, that thou sayest, 'I have no pleasure in them.' 2 While that the sun is not darkened, and the light, And the moon, and the stars, And the thick clouds returned after the rain. 3 In the day that keepers of the house tremble, And men of strength have bowed themselves, And grinders have ceased, because they have become few. And those looking out at the windows have become dim, 4 And doors have been shut in the street. When the noise of the grinding is low, And 'one' riseth at the voice of the bird, And all daughters of song are bowed down. 5 Also of that which is high they are afraid, And of the low places in the way, And the almond-tree is despised, And the grasshopper is become a burden, And want is increased, For man is going unto his home age-during, And the mourners have gone round through the street. 6 While that the silver cord is not removed, And the golden bowl broken, And the pitcher broken by the fountain, And the wheel broken at the well. 7 And the dust returneth to the earth as it was, And the spirit returneth to God who gave it.
8 Vanity of vanities, said the preacher, the whole 'is' vanity.
The Whole Duty of Man
9 And further, because the preacher was wise, he still taught the people knowledge, and gave ear, and sought out—he made right many similes. 10 The preacher sought to find out pleasing words, and, written 'by' the upright, words of truth. 11 Words of the wise 'are' as goads, and as fences planted 'by' the masters of collections, they have been given by one shepherd. 12 And further, from these, my son, be warned; the making of many books hath no end, and much study 'is' a weariness of the flesh.
13 The end of the whole matter let us hear:—'Fear God, and keep His commands, for this 'is' the whole of man. 14 For every work doth God bring into judgment, with every hidden thing, whether good or bad.'