The Value of Wisdom
1A good name [is] better than precious ointment; and the day of death than the day of one's birth.
2[It is] better to go to the house of mourning, than to go to the house of feasting: for that [is] the end of all men; and the living will lay [it] to his heart.
3Sorrow [is] better than laughter: for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better.
4The heart of the wise [is] in the house of mourning; but the heart of fools [is] in the house of mirth.
5[It is] better to hear the rebuke of the wise, than for a man to hear the song of fools.
6For as the crackling of thorns under a pot, so [is] the laughter of the fool: this also [is] vanity.
7Surely oppression maketh a wise man mad; and a gift destroyeth the heart.
8Better [is] the end of a thing than the beginning thereof: [and] the patient in spirit [is] better than the proud in spirit.
9Be not hasty in thy spirit to be angry: for anger resteth in the bosom of fools.
10Say not thou, What is [the cause] that the former days were better than these? for thou dost not enquire wisely concerning this.
11Wisdom [is] good with an inheritance: and [by it there is] profit to them that see the sun.
12For wisdom [is] a defence, [and] money [is] a defence: but the excellency of knowledge [is, that] wisdom giveth life to them that have it.
13Consider the work of God: for who can make [that] straight, which he hath made crooked?
14In the day of prosperity be joyful, but in the day of adversity consider: God also hath set the one over against the other, to the end that man should find nothing after him.
Limits of Human Wisdom
15All [things] have I seen in the days of my vanity: there is a just [man] that perisheth in his righteousness, and there is a wicked [man] that prolongeth [his life] in his wickedness.
16Be not righteous over much; neither make thyself over wise: why shouldest thou destroy thyself?
17Be not over much wicked, neither be thou foolish: why shouldest thou die before thy time?
18[It is] good that thou shouldest take hold of this; yea, also from this withdraw not thine hand: for he that feareth God shall come forth of them all.
19Wisdom strengtheneth the wise more than ten mighty [men] which are in the city.
20For [there is] not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not.
21Also take no heed unto all words that are spoken; lest thou hear thy servant curse thee:
22For oftentimes also thine own heart knoweth that thou thyself likewise hast cursed others.
23All this have I proved by wisdom: I said, I will be wise; but it [was] far from me.
24That which is far off, and exceeding deep, who can find it out?
25I applied mine heart to know, and to search, and to seek out wisdom, and the reason [of things], and to know the wickedness of folly, even of foolishness [and] madness:
26And I find more bitter than death the woman, whose heart [is] snares and nets, [and] her hands [as] bands: whoso pleaseth God shall escape from her; but the sinner shall be taken by her.
27Behold, this have I found, saith the preacher, [counting] one by one, to find out the account:
28Which yet my soul seeketh, but I find not: one man among a thousand have I found; but a woman among all those have I not found.
29Lo, this only have I found, that God hath made man upright; but they have sought out many inventions.