GOD'S WORD® Translation
1A good name is better than expensive perfume, and the day you die is better than the day you're born.
2It is better to go to a funeral than to a banquet because that is where everyone will end up. Everyone who is alive should take this to heart!
3Sorrow is better than laughter because, in spite of a sad face, the heart can be joyful.
4The minds of wise people think about funerals, but the minds of fools think about banquets.
5It is better to listen to wise people who reprimand you than to fools who sing your praises.
6The laughter of a fool is like the crackling of thorns burning under a pot. Even this is pointless.
7Oppression can turn a wise person into a fool, and a bribe can corrupt the mind.
8The end of something is better than its beginning. It is better to be patient than arrogant.
9Don't be quick to get angry, because anger is typical of fools.
10Don't ask, "Why were things better in the old days than they are now?" It isn't wisdom that leads you to ask this!
11Wisdom is as good as an inheritance. It is an advantage to everyone who sees the sun.
12Wisdom protects us just as money protects us, but the advantage of wisdom is that it gives life to those who have it.
13Consider what God has done! Who can straighten what God has bent?
14When times are good, be happy. But when times are bad, consider this: God has made the one time as well as the other so that mortals cannot predict their future.
15I have seen it all in my pointless life: Righteous people die in spite of being righteous. Wicked people go on living in spite of being wicked. 16Don't be too virtuous, and don't be too wise. Why make yourself miserable? 17Don't be too wicked, and don't be a fool. Why should you die before your time is up? 18It's good to hold on to the one and not let go of the other, because the one who fears God will be able to avoid both extremes.
19Wisdom will help a wise person more than ten rulers can help a city. 20Certainly, there is no one so righteous on earth that he always does what is good and never sins. 21Don't take everything that people say to heart, or you may hear your own servant cursing you. 22Your conscience knows that you have cursed others many times.
23I used wisdom to test all of this. I said, "I want to be wise, but it is out of my reach." 24Whatever wisdom may be, it is out of reach. It is deep, very deep. Who can find out what it is? 25I turned my attention to study, to explore, and to seek out wisdom and the reason for things. I learned that wickedness is stupid and foolishness is madness. 26I find that a woman whose thoughts are [like] traps and snares is more bitter than death itself. Even her hands are [like] chains. Whoever pleases God will escape her, but she will catch whoever continues to sin.
27The spokesman said, "This is what I've found: I added one thing to another in order to find a reason for things. 28I am still seeking a reason for things, but have not found any. I found one man out of a thousand who had it, but out of all these I didn't find one woman. 29I have found only this: God made people decent, but they looked for many ways [to avoid being decent]."