Wisdom is better than wealth

A good name is better than fine oil,
and the day of death better than the birthday.
It is better to go to a house in mourning
than to a house party,
because that is everyone’s destiny;
and the living should take it to heart.
Aggravation is better than merriment
because a sad face may lead to a glad heart.
The wise heart is in the house that mourns,
but the foolish heart is in the house that rejoices.
It is better to obey the reprimand of the wise
than to listen to the song of fools,
because the fool’s merriment
is like nettles crackling under a kettle.
That too is pointless.
Oppression turns the wise into fools;
a bribe corrupts the heart.
The end of something is better than its beginning.
Patience is better than arrogance.
Don’t be too quick to get angry
because anger lives in the fool’s heart.
10 Don’t ask, “How is it that the former days were better than these?”
because it isn’t wise to ask this.
11 Wisdom is as good as[a] an inheritance—
an advantage for those who see the sun.
12 Wisdom’s protection is like the protection of money;
the advantage of knowledge is that wisdom preserves the lives of its possessors.

Good times and bad

13 Consider God’s work! Who can straighten what God has made crooked? 14 When times are good, enjoy the good; when times are bad, consider: God has made the former as well as the latter so that people can’t discover anything that will come to be after them.

15 I have seen everything in my pointless lifetime: the righteous person may die in spite of their righteousness; then again, the wicked may live long in spite of their wickedness. 16 Don’t be too righteous or too wise, or you may be dumbfounded.[b] 17 Don’t be too wicked and don’t be a fool, or you may die before your time. 18 It’s good that you take hold of one of these without letting go of the other because the one who fears God will go forth with both.

19 Wisdom makes a wise person stronger than ten rulers who are in a city. 20 Remember: there’s no one on earth so righteous as to do good only and never make a mistake.[c] 21 Don’t worry about all the things people say, so you don’t hear your servant cursing you. 22 After all, you know that you’ve often cursed others yourself!

Life is complicated

23 I tested all of this by wisdom. I thought, I will be wise, but it eluded me.

24 All that happens is elusive and utterly unfathomable. Who can grasp it? 25 I turned my mind to know, to investigate, and to seek wisdom, along with an account of things, to know that wickedness is foolishness and folly is madness.

26 I found one woman more bitter than death: she who is a trap, her heart a snare, her hands shackles. Anyone who pleases God escapes her, but a sinner is trapped by her. 27 See, this is what I found, says the Teacher, examining one matter after another to account for things. 28 But there’s something that I constantly searched for but couldn’t find: I found one man among a thousand, but I couldn’t find a woman among any of these.[d]

29 See, this alone I found: God made human beings straightforward, but they search for many complications.


  1. Ecclesiastes 7:11 Or Wisdom is good with
  2. Ecclesiastes 7:16 Or destroyed
  3. Ecclesiastes 7:20 Or and never sin
  4. Ecclesiastes 7:28 Heb uncertain