Ecclesiastes 7:3
New International Version
Frustration is better than laughter, because a sad face is good for the heart.

New Living Translation
Sorrow is better than laughter, for sadness has a refining influence on us.

English Standard Version
Sorrow is better than laughter, for by sadness of face the heart is made glad.

Berean Study Bible
Sorrow is better than laughter, for a sad countenance is good for the heart.

New American Standard Bible
Sorrow is better than laughter, For when a face is sad a heart may be happy.

King James Bible
Sorrow is better than laughter: for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better.

Christian Standard Bible
Grief is better than laughter, for when a face is sad, a heart may be glad.

Contemporary English Version
Choose sorrow over laughter because a sad face may hide a happy heart.

Good News Translation
Sorrow is better than laughter; it may sadden your face, but it sharpens your understanding.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
Grief is better than laughter, for when a face is sad, a heart may be glad.

International Standard Version
Sorrow is better than laughter, because the heart is made better through trouble.

NET Bible
Sorrow is better than laughter, because sober reflection is good for the heart.

New Heart English Bible
Sorrow is better than laughter; for by the sadness of the face the heart is made good.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
Sorrow is better than laughter because, in spite of a sad face, the heart can be joyful.

JPS Tanakh 1917
Vexation is better than laughter; For by the sadness of the countenance the heart may be gladdened.

New American Standard 1977
Sorrow is better than laughter, For when a face is sad a heart may be happy.

Jubilee Bible 2000
Sorrow is better than laughter; for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made whole.

King James 2000 Bible
Sorrow is better than laughter: for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better.

American King James Version
Sorrow is better than laughter: for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better.

American Standard Version
Sorrow is better than laughter; for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made glad.

Brenton Septuagint Translation
Sorrow is better than laughter: for by the sadness of the countenance the heart will be made better.

Douay-Rheims Bible
Anger is better than laughter: because by the sadness of the countenance the mind of the offender is corrected.

Darby Bible Translation
Vexation is better than laughter; for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better.

English Revised Version
Sorrow is better than laughter: for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made glad.

Webster's Bible Translation
Sorrow is better than laughter: for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better.

World English Bible
Sorrow is better than laughter; for by the sadness of the face the heart is made good.

Young's Literal Translation
Better is sorrow than laughter, For by the sadness of the face the heart becometh better.
Study Bible
The Value of Wisdom
2It is better to enter a house of mourning than a house of feasting, since death is the end of every man, and the living should take this to heart. 3Sorrow is better than laughter, for a sad countenance is good for the heart. 4The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, but the heart of fools is in the house of pleasure.…
Cross References
2 Corinthians 7:10
Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation without regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.

Ecclesiastes 2:2
I said of laughter, "It is folly," and of pleasure, "What does it accomplish?"

Ecclesiastes 7:4
The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, but the heart of fools is in the house of pleasure.

Treasury of Scripture

Sorrow is better than laughter: for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better.

sorrow is better

Psalm 119:67,71
Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept thy word…

Psalm 126:5,6
They that sow in tears shall reap in joy…

Jeremiah 31:8,9,15-20
Behold, I will bring them from the north country, and gather them from the coasts of the earth, and with them the blind and the lame, the woman with child and her that travaileth with child together: a great company shall return thither…

by

Romans 5:3,4
And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; …

2 Corinthians 4:17
For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;

Hebrews 12:10,11
For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness…







Lexicon
Sorrow
כַּ֖עַס (ka·‘as)
Noun - masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew 3708: Vexation, anger

is better
ט֥וֹב (ṭō·wḇ)
Adjective - masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew 2896: Pleasant, agreeable, good

than laughter,
מִשְּׂחֹ֑ק (miś·śə·ḥōq)
Preposition-m | Noun - masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew 7814: Laughter, derision, sport

for
כִּֽי־ (kî-)
Conjunction
Strong's Hebrew 3588: A relative conjunction

a sad
בְרֹ֥עַ (ḇə·rō·a‘)
Preposition-b | Noun - masculine singular construct
Strong's Hebrew 7455: Badness, evil

countenance
פָּנִ֖ים (pā·nîm)
Noun - masculine plural
Strong's Hebrew 6440: The face

is good
יִ֥יטַב (yî·ṭaḇ)
Verb - Qal - Imperfect - third person masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew 3190: To be good, well, glad, or pleasing

for the heart.
לֵֽב׃ (lêḇ)
Noun - masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew 3820: The heart, the feelings, the will, the intellect, centre
(3) Sadness of the countenance.--Genesis 40:7; Nehemiah 3:3. "Anger" (margin). This is the usual meaning of the word, and so in Ecclesiastes 7:9. It is accordingly adopted here by the older translators, but the rendering of our version is required by the context.

Verse 3. - Sorrow is better than laughter. This is a further expansion of the previous maxim, כַּעַס (kaas), as contrasted with שְׂהוק, is rightly rendered "sorrow," "melancholy," or, as Ginsburg contends, "thoughtful sadness." The Septuagint has θυμός, the Vulgate ira; but auger is not the feeling produced by a visit to the house of mourning. Such a scene produces saddening reflection, which is in itself a moral training, and is more wholesome and elevating than thoughtless mirth. For by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better. The feeling which shows itself by the look of sadness (comp. Genesis 40:7; Nehemiah 2:2) has a purifying effect on the heart, gives a moral tone to the character. Professor Tayler Lewis renders the clause, "For in the sad. ness of the face the heart becometh fair;" i.e. sorrow beautifies the soul, producing, as it were, comeliness, spiritual beauty, and, in the end, serener happiness. The Vulgate translates the passage thus: Melter eat ira risu; quia per tristitiam vultus corrigitur animus deliquentis, "Better is anger than laughter, because through sadness of countenance the mind of the offender is corrected." The anger is that either of God or of good men which reproves sin; the laughter is that of sinners who thus show their connivance at or approval of evil. There can be no doubt that this is not the sense of the passage. For the general sentiment concerning the moral influence of grief and suffering, we may compare the Greek sayings, Τὰ παθήματα μαθήματα, and Τί μαθών τί παθών; which are almost equivalent in meaning (comp. AEschyl., 'Again.,' 170; Herod., 1:207). The Latins would say, "Quaenocent, docent," and we, "Pain is gain." 7:1-6 Reputation for piety and honesty is more desirable than all the wealth and pleasure in this world. It will do more good to go to a funeral than to a feast. We may lawfully go to both, as there is occasion; our Saviour both feasted at the wedding of his friend in Cana, and wept at the grave of his friend in Bethany. But, considering how apt we are to be vain and indulge the flesh, it is best to go to the house of mourning, to learn the end of man as to this world. Seriousness is better than mirth and jollity. That is best for us which is best for our souls, though it be unpleasing to sense. It is better to have our corruptions mortified by the rebuke of the wise, than to have them gratified by the song of fools. The laughter of a fool is soon gone, the end of his mirth is heaviness.
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