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The Contrast of Wisdom and Folly

hA good name is better than precious ointment,

and ithe day of death than the day of birth.

It is better to go to the house of mourning

than to go to the house of feasting,

for this is the end of all mankind,

and the living will jlay it to heart.

Sorrow is better than laughter,

kfor by sadness of face the heart is made glad.

The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning,

but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth.

It is lbetter for a man to hear the rebuke of the wise

than to hear the song of fools.

mFor as the crackling of nthorns under a pot,

so is the laughter of the fools;

this also is vanity.1

Surely ooppression drives the wise into madness,

and pa bribe corrupts the heart.

Better is the end of a thing than its beginning,

and qthe patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.

rBe not quick in your spirit to become angry,

sfor anger lodges in the heart2 of fools.

10  Say not, “Why were the former days better than these?”

For it is not from wisdom that you ask this.

11  Wisdom is good with an inheritance,

an advantage to those who tsee the sun.

12  For the protection of wisdom is like uthe protection of money,

and the advantage of knowledge is that vwisdom preserves the life of him who has it.

13  Consider wthe work of God:

xwho can make straight what he has made crooked?

14 yIn the day of prosperity be joyful, and in the day of adversity consider: God has made the one as well as the other, zso that man may not find out anything that will be after him.

15 In my avain3 life I have seen everything. There is ba righteous man who perishes in his righteousness, and there is a wicked man who cprolongs his life in his evildoing. 16 Be not overly righteous, and do not dmake yourself too wise. Why should you destroy yourself? 17 Be not overly wicked, neither be a fool. eWhy should you die before your time? 18 It is good that you should take hold of fthis, and from gthat hwithhold not your hand, for the one who fears God shall come out from both of them.

19 iWisdom gives strength to the wise man more than ten rulers who are in a city.

20 Surely jthere is not a righteous man on earth who does good and never sins.

21 Do not take to heart all the things that people say, lest you hear kyour servant cursing you. 22 Your heart knows that lmany times you yourself have cursed others.

23 All this I have tested by wisdom. mI said, “I will be wise,” but it was far from me. 24 That which has been is far off, and ndeep, very deep; owho can find it out?

25 pI turned my heart to know and to search out and to seek wisdom and the scheme of things, and to know the wickedness of folly and the foolishness that is madness. 26 And I find something more qbitter than death: rthe woman whose heart is ssnares and nets, and whose hands are fetters. He who pleases God escapes her, but tthe sinner is taken by her. 27 Behold, this is what I found, says uthe Preacher, while adding one thing to another to find the scheme of things— 28 which my soul has sought repeatedly, but I have not found. vOne man among a thousand I found, but wa woman among all these I have not found. 29 See, this alone I found, that xGod made man upright, but ythey have sought out many schemes.

ESV

About English Standard Version

The English Standard Version™ is founded on the conviction that the words of the Bible are the very words of God. And because the words themselves—not just the thoughts or ideas—are inspired by God, each word must be translated with the greatest precision and accuracy. As Jesus Himself stressed, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Matt. 4:4).

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Copyright

The Classic Reference Edition, English Standard Version® (ESV®)
Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles,
a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers
All rights reserved.

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version
Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles,
a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers
All rights reserved.

ESV Text Edition: 2011

Book Introductions and Center-Column Cross-Reference System (as adapted) copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. The ESV Cross-Reference System is adapted from the original English Revised Version cross-reference system.

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