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New American Standard Bible: 1995 Update

Ecclesiastes 7:1–11:10

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Wisdom and Folly Contrasted

1 A agood name is better than a good ointment,

And the bday of one’s death is better than the day of one’s birth.

2 It is better to go to a house of mourning

Than to go to a house of feasting,

Because 1that is the aend of every man,

And the living 2btakes it to 3heart.

3 aSorrow is better than laughter,

For bwhen a face is sad a heart may be happy.

4 The 1mind of the wise is in the house of mourning,

While the 1mind of fools is in the house of pleasure.

5 It is better to alisten to the rebuke of a wise man

Than for one to listen to the song of fools.

6 For as the 1crackling of athorn bushes under a pot,

So is the blaughter of the fool;

And this too is futility.

7 For aoppression makes a wise man mad,

And a bbribe 1corrupts the heart.

8 The aend of a matter is better than its beginning;

bPatience of spirit is better than haughtiness of spirit.

9 Do not be 1aeager in your heart to be angry,

For anger resides in the bosom of fools.

10 Do not say, “Why is it that the former days were better than these?”

For it is not from wisdom that you ask about this.

11 Wisdom along with an inheritance is good

And an aadvantage to those who see the sun.

12 For awisdom is 1protection just as money is 1protection,

But the advantage of knowledge is that bwisdom preserves the lives of its possessors.

13 Consider the awork of God,

For who is bable to straighten what He has bent?

14 aIn the day of prosperity be happy,

But bin the day of adversity consider—

God has made the one as well as the other

So that man will cnot discover anything that will be after him.

15 I have seen everything during my 1alifetime of futility; there is ba righteous man who perishes in his righteousness and there is ca wicked man who prolongs his life in his wickedness.

16 Do not be excessively arighteous and do not bbe overly wise. Why should you ruin yourself?

17 Do not be excessively wicked and do not be a fool. Why should you adie before your time?

18 It is good that you grasp one thing and also not 1let go of the other; for the one who afears God comes forth with 2both of them.

19 aWisdom strengthens a wise man more than ten rulers who are in a city.

20 Indeed, athere is not a righteous man on earth who continually does good and who never sins.

21 Also, do not 1take seriously all words which are spoken, so that you will not hear your servant acursing you.

22 For 1you also have realized that you likewise have many times cursed others.

23 I tested all this with wisdom, and I said, “I will be wise,” abut it was far from me.

24 What has been is remote and aexceedingly 1mysterious. bWho can discover it?

25 I 1adirected my 2mind to know, to investigate and to seek wisdom and an explanation, and to know the evil of folly and the foolishness of madness.

26 And I discovered more abitter than death the woman whose heart is bsnares and nets, whose hands are chains. cOne who is pleasing to God will escape from her, but dthe sinner will be captured by her.

27 “Behold, I have discovered this,” says the Preacher, “adding one thing to another to find an explanation,

28 which 1I am still seeking but have not found. I have found one man among a thousand, but I have not found a awoman among all these.

29 “Behold, I have found only this, that aGod made men upright, but they have sought out many devices.”

Chapter 8

Obey Rulers

1 Who is like the wise man and who knows the interpretation of a matter? A man’s wisdom aillumines 1him and causes his bstern face to 2beam.

2 I say, “Keep the 1command of the king because of the aoath 2before God.

3 “Do not be in a hurry 1ato leave him. Do not join in an evil matter, for he will do whatever he pleases.”

4 Since the word of the king is authoritative, awho will say to him, “What are you doing?”

5 He who akeeps a royal command bexperiences no 1trouble, for a wise heart knows the proper time and procedure.

6 For athere is a proper time and procedure for every delight, though a man’s trouble is heavy upon him.

7 If no one aknows what will happen, who can tell him when it will happen?

8 aNo man has authority to restrain the wind with the wind, or authority over the day of death; and there is no discharge in the time of war, and bevil will not deliver 1those who practice it.

9 All this I have seen and applied my 1mind to every deed that has been done under the sun wherein a man has exercised aauthority over another man to his hurt.

10 So then, I have seen the wicked buried, those who used to go in and out from the holy place, and they are asoon forgotten in the city where they did thus. This too is futility.

11 Because the asentence against an evil deed is not executed quickly, therefore bthe hearts of the sons of men among them are given fully to do evil.

12 Although a sinner does evil a hundred times and may alengthen his life, still I know that it will be bwell for those who fear God, who fear 1Him openly.

13 But it will anot be well for the evil man and he will not lengthen his days like a bshadow, because he does not fear God.

14 There is futility which is done on the earth, that is, there are arighteous men to whom it 1happens according to the deeds of the wicked. On the other hand, there are bevil men to whom it 1happens according to the deeds of the righteous. I say that this too is futility.

15 So I commended pleasure, for there is nothing good for aa man under the sun except to eat and to drink and to be merry, and this will stand by him in his 1toils throughout the days of his life which God has given him under the sun.

16 When I agave my heart to know wisdom and to see the task which has been done on the earth (even though one should 1bnever sleep day or night),

17 and I saw every work of God, I concluded that aman cannot discover the work which has been done under the sun. Even though man should seek laboriously, he will not discover; and bthough the wise man should say, “I know,” he cannot discover.

Chapter 9

Men Are in the Hand of God

1 For I have taken all this to my heart and explain 1it that righteous men, wise men, and their deeds are ain the hand of God. bMan does not know whether it will be clove or hatred; anything 2awaits him.

2 aIt is the same for all. There is bone fate for the righteous and for the wicked; for the good, for the clean and for the unclean; for the man who offers a sacrifice and for the one who does not sacrifice. As the good man is, so is the sinner; as the swearer is, so is the one who 1is afraid to swear.

3 This is an evil in all that is done under the sun, that there is aone fate for all men. Furthermore, bthe hearts of the sons of men are full of evil and cinsanity is in their hearts throughout their lives. Afterwards they go to the dead.

4 For whoever is joined with all the living, there is hope; surely a live dog is better than a dead lion.

5 For the living know they will die; but the dead ado not know anything, nor have they any longer a reward, for their bmemory is forgotten.

6 Indeed their love, their hate and their zeal have already perished, and they will no longer have a ashare in all that is done under the sun.

7 Go then, aeat your bread in happiness and drink your wine with a cheerful heart; for God has already approved your works.

8 Let your aclothes be white all the time, and let not boil be lacking on your head.

9 Enjoy life with the woman whom you love all the days of your 1afleeting life which He has given to you under the sun2; for this is your breward in life and in your toil in which you have labored under the sun.

Whatever Your Hand Finds to Do

10 Whatever your hand finds to do, ado it with all your might; for there is no bactivity or planning or knowledge or wisdom in cSheol where you are going.

11 I again saw under the sun that the arace is not to the swift and the bbattle is not to the warriors, and neither is bread to the wise nor cwealth to the discerning nor favor to men of ability; for time and dchance overtake them all.

12 Moreover, man does not aknow his time: like fish caught in a treacherous net and bbirds trapped in a snare, so the sons of men are censnared at an evil time when it dsuddenly falls on them.

13 Also this I came to see as wisdom under the sun, and 1it impressed me.

14 There awas a small city with few men in it and a great king came to it, surrounded it and constructed large siegeworks against it.

15 But there was found in it a apoor wise man and he 1delivered the city bby his wisdom. Yet cno one remembered that poor man.

16 So I said, “aWisdom is better than strength.” But the wisdom of the poor man is despised and his words are not heeded.

17 The awords of the wise heard in quietness are better than the shouting of a ruler among fools.

18 aWisdom is better than weapons of war, but bone sinner destroys much good.

Chapter 10

A Little Foolishness

1 Dead flies make a aperfumer’s oil stink, so a little foolishness is weightier than wisdom and honor.

2 A wise man’s heart directs him toward the right, but the foolish aman’s heart directs him toward the left.

3 Even when the fool walks along the road, his 1sense is lacking and he 2ademonstrates to everyone that he is a fool.

4 If the ruler’s 1temper rises against you, ado not abandon your position, because bcomposure allays great offenses.

5 There is an evil I have seen under the sun, like an error which goes forth from the ruler—

6 afolly is set in many exalted places while rich men sit in humble places.

7 I have seen aslaves riding bon horses and princes walking like slaves on the land.

8 aHe who digs a pit may fall into it, and a bserpent may bite him who breaks through a wall.

9 He who quarries stones may be hurt by them, and he who splits logs may be endangered by them.

10 If the 1axe is dull and he does not sharpen its edge, then he must 2exert more strength. Wisdom has the advantage of giving success.

11 If the serpent bites 1abefore being charmed, there is no profit for the charmer.

12 aWords from the mouth of a wise man are gracious, while the lips of a bfool consume him;

13 the beginning of 1his talking is folly and the end of 2it is wicked amadness.

14 Yet the afool multiplies words. No man knows what will happen, and who can tell him bwhat will come

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