World English Bible
The Value of Wisdom
1A good name is better than fine perfume; and the day of death better than the day of one's birth.
2It 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 should take this to heart.
3Sorrow is better than laughter; for by the sadness of the face the heart is made good.
4The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning; but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth.
5It 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 extortion makes the wise man foolish; and a bribe destroys the understanding.
8Better is the end of a thing than its beginning. The patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.
9Don't be hasty in your spirit to be angry, for anger rests in the bosom of fools.
10Don't say, "Why were the former days better than these?" For you do not ask wisely about this.
11Wisdom is as good as an inheritance. Yes, it is more excellent for those who see the sun.
12For wisdom is a defense, even as money is a defense; but the excellency of knowledge is that wisdom preserves the life of him who has it.
13Consider the work of God, for who can make that straight, which he has made crooked?
14In the day of prosperity be joyful, and in the day of adversity consider; yes, God has made the one side by side with the other, to the end that man should not find out anything after him.
Limits of Human Wisdom
15All this have I seen in my days of vanity: there is a righteous man who perishes in his righteousness, and there is a wicked man who lives long in his evildoing. 16Don't be overly righteous, neither make yourself overly wise. Why should you destroy yourself? 17Don't be too wicked, neither be foolish. Why should you die before your time? 18It is good that you should take hold of this. Yes, also from that don't withdraw your hand; for he who fears God will come forth from them all.
19Wisdom is a strength to the wise man more than ten rulers who are in a city. 20Surely there is not a righteous man on earth, who does good and doesn't sin. 21Also don't take heed to all words that are spoken, lest you hear your servant curse you; 22for often your own heart knows that you yourself have likewise cursed others.
23All this have I proved in wisdom. I said, "I will be wise;" but it was far from me. 24That which is, is far off and exceedingly deep. Who can find it out? 25I turned around, and my heart sought to know and to search out, and to seek wisdom and the scheme of things, and to know that wickedness is stupidity, and that foolishness is madness. 26I find more bitter than death the woman whose heart is snares and traps, whose hands are chains. Whoever pleases God shall escape from her; but the sinner will be ensnared by her.
27"Behold, I have found this," says the Preacher, "one to another, to find out the scheme; 28which my soul still seeks; but I have not found. One man among a thousand have I found; but I have not found a woman among all those. 29Behold, this only have I found: that God made man upright; but they search for many schemes."
The World English Bible is a 1997 revision of the American Standard Version of the Holy Bible, first published in 1901. It is in the Public Domain. Please feel free to copy and distribute it freely. Thank you to Michael Paul Johnson for making this work available. For the latest information, to report corrections, or for other correspondence, visit www.ebible.org.
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