Ecclesiastes 7
International Standard Version

Lessons for Life

1A good name exceeds the value of fine perfume,

and the day of someone’s death exceeds the value ofa the day of his birth.

2It’s better to attend a funeralb

than to attend a banquet,c

for everyone dies eventually,

and the living will take this to heart.

3Sorrow is better than laughter,

because the heart is made better through trouble.

4For the wise person thinks carefully when in mourning,

but fools focus their thoughts on pleasure.

5It is better to listen to a wise person’s rebuke

than to listen to the praised of fools.

6For as thorns burn to heat a pot,

so also is the laughter of the fool—

even this is pointless.

Avoiding the Evils of Life

7Unjust gain makes the wise foolish,

and a bribe corrupts the heart.

8The conclusion of something is better than its beginning,

and a patient attitudee is more valuable than a proud one.f

9Never be in a hurry to become internally angry,

since anger settles down in the lap of fools.

10Never ask “Why does the pastg seem so much better than now?”h

because this question does not come from wisdom.

11Wise use of possessions is good;

it brings benefit to the living.i

12Indeed, wisdom gives protection,j just like money does,

but it’s better to know that wisdom gives life,

to those who have masteredk it.

The Works of God

13Consider the work of God:

Who is able to straighten

what he has bent?

14When times are good, be joyful;

when times are bad, consider this:

God made the one as well as the other,

so people won’t seek anything outside of his best.

15I have seen it alll during my pointless life:

both a righteous person who dies

while he is righteous,

and a wicked person who lives to an old age,

while remaining wicked.m

Practical Wisdom

16Do not be overly righteous,

nor be overly wise.

Why be self-destructive?

17Do not excel at wickedness,

nor be a fool.

Why die before your time?

18It is good for you to grab hold of this and not let go,

because whoever fears God will escape

all of these extremes.n

19Wisdom given as strength to a wise person

is better than having ten powerful men in the city.

20For there is not a single righteous man on earth

who practices good and does not sin.

21Don’t listen to everything that is spoken—

you may hear your servant cursing you,

22since you also know how often

you have cursed others.

23I used my wisdom to test all of this.

I said, “I want to be wise,”

but it was beyond me.

24Whatever it is,

it’s far off and most profound.

Who can attain it?

25I committed myself to understand,

to learn, to search for wisdom and explanations,

and to understand both the evil that is foolishness

and the stupidity that is delusion.

26I discovered for myself a bitterness

that surpasses that of death:

the woman whose heart is full ofo snares and nets,

whose hands are chains of bondage.

Whoever pleases God will escape from her,

but the transgressor will be trapped by her.

27“Look at this,” says the Teacher. “Linking one thing to another, I reached this conclusion:

28Among the things I seek but have not found:

one man among a thousand I did find,

but I have not found one woman to be wisep among all these.

29I have discovered only this:

God made human beings for righteousness,

but they seek many alternatives.”


Footnotes:
a 7:1 Lit. death than
b 7:2 Lit. house of mourning
c 7:2 Lit. house of feasting
d 7:5 Lit. song
e 7:8 Lit. spirit
f 7:8 Lit. spirit
g 7:10 Lit. the former days
h 7:10 Lit. than these
i 7:11 Lit. to those who see the sun
j 7:12 Or shade
k 7:12 Or acquired
l 7:15 Lit. seen in pointlessness
m 7:15 Lit. lives long in his evil
n 7:18 The Heb. lacks extremes
o 7:26 The Heb. lacks full of
p 7:28 The Heb. lacks to be wise



The Holy Bible: International Standard Version® Release 2.1
Copyright © 1996-2012 The ISV Foundation
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED INTERNATIONALLY.

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