7 A name* is better than good oil,+ and the day of death than the day of one’s being born.+ 2 Better is it to go to the house of mourning than to go to the banquet house,+ because that is the end of all mankind; and the one alive should take [it] to his heart. 3 Better is vexation than laughter,+ for by the crossness of the face the heart becomes better.+ 4 The heart of the wise ones is in the house of mourning,+ but the heart of the stupid ones is in the house of rejoicing.+ 5 Better is it to hear the rebuke of someone wise+ than to be the man* hearing the song of the stupid ones.+ 6 For as the sound of thorns under the pot, so is the laughter of the stupid one;+ and this too is vanity. 7 For mere oppression may make a wise one act crazy,+ and a gift+ can destroy the heart.+ 8 Better is the end afterward of a matter than its beginning.+ Better is one who is patient* than one who is haughty in spirit.+ 9 Do not hurry yourself in your spirit to become offended,+ for the taking of offense is what rests in the bosom of the stupid ones.+ 10 Do not say: “Why has it happened that the former days proved to be better than these?”+ for it is not due to wisdom+ that you have asked about this. 11 Wisdom along with an inheritance is good and is advantageous* for those seeing the sun.+ 12 For wisdom is for a protection*+ [the same as] money is for a protection;+ but the advantage of knowledge is that wisdom itself preserves alive its owners.+ 13 See the work+ of the [true] God, for who is able to make straight what he has made crooked?+ 14 On a good day prove yourself to be in goodness,+ and on a calamitous day see that the [true] God has made even this exactly as that,+ to the intent that mankind* may not discover anything at all after them.+ 15 Everything I have seen during my vain days.+ There exists the righteous one perishing in his righteousness,+ and there exists the wicked one continuing long in his badness.+ 16 Do not become righteous overmuch,+ nor show yourself excessively wise.+ Why should you cause desolation to yourself?+ 17 Do not be wicked overmuch,+ nor become foolish.+ Why should you die when it is not your time?+ 18 It is better that you should take hold of the one, but from the other also do not withdraw your hand;+ for he that fears God will go forth with them all.+ 19 Wisdom itself is stronger for the wise one than ten men in power who happened to be in a city.+ 20 For there is no man righteous in the earth that keeps doing good and does not sin.+ 21 Also, do not give your heart to all the words that people may speak,+ that you may not hear your servant calling down evil upon you.+ 22 For your own heart well knows even many times that you, even you, have called down evil upon others.+ 23 All this I have tested with wisdom. I said: “I will become wise.” But it was far from me.+ 24 What has come to be is far off and exceedingly deep. Who can find it out?+ 25 I myself turned around, even my heart did,+ to know and to explore and to search for wisdom+ and the reason of things,+ and to know about the wickedness of stupidity and the foolishness of madness;+ 26 and I was finding out: More bitter than death+ [I found] the woman who is herself nets for hunting and whose heart is dragnets [and] whose hands are fetters.+ One is good before the [true] God if one escapes from her, but one is sinning if one is captured by her.+ 27 “See! This I have found,” said the congregator,*+ “one thing [taken] after another, to find out the sum-up,+ 28 which my soul has continuously sought, but I have not found. One man out of a thousand I have found,+ but a woman among all these I have not found.+ 29 See! This only I have found, that the [true] God made mankind* upright,+ but they themselves have sought out many plans.”+
^ Lit., “long in spirit.”
^ Or, “Wisdom [compared] with a possession is better and is more profitable.”
^ Lit., “for a shadow.” Heb., betselʹ.
^ “Mankind.” Heb., ha·ʼa·dhamʹ.