7 A name is better than choice oil; and the day of death than that of one’s birth. 2 Better to go to the house of mourning than to the house of banqueting, inasmuch as that is the end of all humanity, and the living man will take it to heart. 3 Better gloominess than laughter, because by grimness in the face the mind is in good spirits. 4 Wise men’s hearts are in a house of mourning, but fools’ hearts are in a house of merrymaking. 5 * Better to listen to a wise man’s rebuke than anybody’s listening to the singing of fools. 6 * For like the sound of fires of briers, such is fools’ laughter. 7 ** And this too is nonsense, that denial of justice maddens a wise man and ruins sensible men’s brains. 8 * Better the future of a thing than its past; better a patient spirit than a pretentious spirit. 9 Do not rush into getting your spirit vexed, because vexation rests in fools’ bosoms. 10 * Do not say “What has happened, that past times were better than these?” for it is not out of wisdom that you ask about this. 11 Wisdom with an inheritance is a good thing, and to the advantage of those who see the sun. 12 * For the shade of money is like the shade of wisdom, but the advantage of knowledge is, wisdom gives life to its possessors. 13 See God’s work; for who is able to set straight what he crooks? 14 On a day of good be in a good mood, and on a day of evil see: God made this too to go with that, with a view to man’s not finding out anything that is to follow. 15 ** I have seen everything happen in my days of nonsense. There is such a thing as a right-doer perishing in his right-doing, and there is such a thing as a wrong-doer getting a long life in his wrong-doing. 16 Do not be an extreme right-doer and do not go in excessively for wisdom: why turn anchorite? 17 Do not go to extremes in doing wrong, and do not be foolish: why die before your time? 18 Better hold on to this and not let go of that, because one who fears God will get through with all of it. 19 —Wisdom is stronger for the wise man than any ten autocrats that there have been in the city.— 20 For there is no human saint on earth that does what is good and never sins. 21 Do not take notice, either, of all words that are spoken, that you may not hear your slave curse you; 22 for you know yourself that many times you yourself have cursed others. 23 All this I probed by wisdom. I thought I would be wise; but that was too far off for me. 24 What is is far off and deep, deep; who is to find it out? 25 I have gone about, my heart and I, to know and to explore and search out wisdom and science, and to know wrong to be folly, and fooling to be craziness. 26 And I find a bitterer thing than death: woman, whose heart is toils and nets and whose arms are fetters; one whom God finds good will get clear of her, but a sinner will be caught on her. 27 See, this I have found, says Koheleth, putting one thing with another to get a result, 28 that my soul still searched and I did not find. One out of a thousand of mankind I found, but a woman among all these I never did find. 29 This alone, see, I did find: that God made man straight, but they have hunted out many contrivances.
^ 7:5 Lit. than anybody listening
^ 7:6 Lit. like the sound of briers under the pot (briers and pot being the same word in Hebrew)
^ 7:7 Susp.
^ 7:7 Codd. and ruins the heart of his loins (unc.) Var. and a gift ruins a heart
^ 7:8 Lit. one patient of spirit than one proud of spirit
^ 7:10 Var. not in wisdom
^ 7:12 Var. wisdom affords a shade, money a shade
^ 7:15 Lit. seen everything in
^ 7:15 Or (twice) by his