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Ecclesiastes 7 :: English Standard Version (ESV)

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The Contrast of Wisdom and Folly

Unchecked Copy BoxEcc 7:1 - A good name is better than precious ointment,
and the day of death than the day of birth.
Unchecked Copy BoxEcc 7:2 - 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 lay it to heart.
Unchecked Copy BoxEcc 7:3 - Sorrow is better than laughter,
for by sadness of face the heart is made glad.
Unchecked Copy BoxEcc 7:4 - The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning,
but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth.
Unchecked Copy BoxEcc 7:5 - It is better for a man to hear the rebuke of the wise
than to hear the song of fools.
Unchecked Copy BoxEcc 7:6 - For as the crackling of thorns under a pot,
so is the laughter of the fools;
this also is vanity.[fn]
Unchecked Copy BoxEcc 7:7 - Surely oppression drives the wise into madness,
and a bribe corrupts the heart.
Unchecked Copy BoxEcc 7:8 - Better is the end of a thing than its beginning,
and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.
Unchecked Copy BoxEcc 7:9 - Be not quick in your spirit to become angry,
for anger lodges in the heart[fn] of fools.
Unchecked Copy BoxEcc 7:10 - Say not, “Why were the former days better than these?”
For it is not from wisdom that you ask this.
Unchecked Copy BoxEcc 7:11 - Wisdom is good with an inheritance,
an advantage to those who see the sun.
Unchecked Copy BoxEcc 7:12 - For the protection of wisdom is like the protection of money,
and the advantage of knowledge is that wisdom preserves the life of him who has it.
Unchecked Copy BoxEcc 7:13 - Consider the work of God:
who can make straight what he has made crooked?
Unchecked Copy BoxEcc 7:14 - In the day of prosperity be joyful, and in the day of adversity consider: God has made the one as well as the other, so that man may not find out anything that will be after him.
Unchecked Copy BoxEcc 7:15 - In my vain[fn] life I have seen everything. There is a righteous man who perishes in his righteousness, and there is a wicked man who prolongs his life in his evildoing.
Unchecked Copy BoxEcc 7:16 - Be not overly righteous, and do not make yourself too wise. Why should you destroy yourself?
Unchecked Copy BoxEcc 7:17 - Be not overly wicked, neither be a fool. Why should you die before your time?
Unchecked Copy BoxEcc 7:18 - It is good that you should take hold of this, and from that withhold not your hand, for the one who fears God shall come out from both of them.
Unchecked Copy BoxEcc 7:19 - Wisdom gives strength to the wise man more than ten rulers who are in a city.
Unchecked Copy BoxEcc 7:20 - Surely there is not a righteous man on earth who does good and never sins.
Unchecked Copy BoxEcc 7:21 - Do not take to heart all the things that people say, lest you hear your servant cursing you.
Unchecked Copy BoxEcc 7:22 - Your heart knows that many times you yourself have cursed others.
Unchecked Copy BoxEcc 7:23 - All this I have tested by wisdom. I said, “I will be wise,” but it was far from me.
Unchecked Copy BoxEcc 7:24 - That which has been is far off, and deep, very deep; who can find it out?
Unchecked Copy BoxEcc 7:25 - I 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.
Unchecked Copy BoxEcc 7:26 - And I find something more bitter than death: the woman whose heart is snares and nets, and whose hands are fetters. He who pleases God escapes her, but the sinner is taken by her.
Unchecked Copy BoxEcc 7:27 - Behold, this is what I found, says the Preacher, while adding one thing to another to find the scheme of things—
Unchecked Copy BoxEcc 7:28 - which my soul has sought repeatedly, but I have not found. One man among a thousand I found, but a woman among all these I have not found.
Unchecked Copy BoxEcc 7:29 - See, this alone I found, that God made man upright, but they have sought out many schemes.
ESV Footnotes
The Hebrew term hebel can refer to a “vapor” or “mere breath” (see note on 1:2)
Hebrew in the bosom
The Hebrew term hebel can refer to a “vapor” or “mere breath” (see note on 1:2)

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version copyright © 2001, 2007, 2011, 2016 by Crossway Books and Bibles, a Publishing Ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

See detailed copyright information.

For more information on this translation, see the ESV Preface.

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