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Ecclesiastes 7 New King James Version (NKJV)

The Value of Practical Wisdom

A good name is better than precious ointment,
And the day of death than the day of one’s birth;
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 take it to heart.
[a]Sorrow is better than laughter,
For by a sad countenance the heart is made [b]better.
The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning,
But the heart of fools is in the house of mirth.

It is better to [c]hear the rebuke of the wise
Than for a man to hear the song of fools.
For like the [d]crackling of thorns under a pot,
So is the laughter of the fool.
This also is vanity.
Surely oppression destroys a wise man’s reason,
And a bribe [e]debases the heart.

The end of a thing is better than its beginning;
The patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.
Do not hasten in your spirit to be angry,
For anger rests in the bosom of fools.
10 Do not say,
“Why were the former days better than these?”
For you do not inquire wisely concerning this.

11 Wisdom is good with an inheritance,
And profitable to those who see the sun.
12 For wisdom is [f]a defense as money is a defense,
But the [g]excellence of knowledge is that wisdom gives life to those who have it.

13 Consider the work of God;
For who can make straight what He has made crooked?
14 In the day of prosperity be joyful,
But in the day of adversity consider:
Surely God has appointed the one [h]as well as the other,
So that man can find out nothing that will come after him.

15 I have seen everything in my days of vanity:

There is a just man who perishes in his righteousness,
And there is a wicked man who prolongs life in his wickedness.

16 Do not be overly righteous,
Nor be overly wise:
Why should you destroy yourself?
17 Do not be overly wicked,
Nor be foolish:
Why should you die before your time?
18 It is good that you grasp this,
And also not remove your hand from the other;
For he who fears God will [i]escape them all.

19 Wisdom strengthens the wise
More than ten rulers of the city.

20 For there is not a just man on earth who does good
And does not sin.

21 Also do not take to heart everything people say,
Lest you hear your servant cursing you.
22 For many times, also, your own heart has known
That even you have cursed others.

23 All this I have [j]proved by wisdom.
I said, “I will be wise”;
But it was far from me.
24 As for that which is far off and exceedingly deep,
Who can find it out?
25 I applied my heart to know,
To search and seek out wisdom and the reason of things,
To know the wickedness of folly,
Even of foolishness and madness.
26 And I find more bitter than death
The woman whose heart is snares and nets,
Whose hands are fetters.
[k]He who pleases God shall escape from her,
But the sinner shall be trapped by her.

27 “Here is what I have found,” says the Preacher,
Adding one thing to the other to find out the reason,
28 Which my soul still seeks but I cannot find:
One man among a thousand I have found,
But a woman among all these I have not found.
29 Truly, this only I have found:
That God made man upright,
But they have sought out many schemes.”

Footnotes:

  1. Ecclesiastes 7:3 Vexation or Grief
  2. Ecclesiastes 7:3 well or pleasing
  3. Ecclesiastes 7:5 listen to
  4. Ecclesiastes 7:6 Lit. sound
  5. Ecclesiastes 7:7 destroys
  6. Ecclesiastes 7:12 A protective shade, lit. shadow
  7. Ecclesiastes 7:12 advantage or profit
  8. Ecclesiastes 7:14 alongside
  9. Ecclesiastes 7:18 Lit. come forth from all of them
  10. Ecclesiastes 7:23 tested
  11. Ecclesiastes 7:26 Lit. He who is good before God
New King James Version (NKJV)

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Ecclesiastes 7 New International Version (NIV)

Wisdom

A good name is better than fine perfume,
    and the day of death better than the day of birth.
It is better to go to a house of mourning
    than to go to a house of feasting,
for death is the destiny of everyone;
    the living should take this to heart.
Frustration is better than laughter,
    because a sad face is good for the heart.
The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning,
    but the heart of fools is in the house of pleasure.
It is better to heed the rebuke of a wise person
    than to listen to the song of fools.
Like the crackling of thorns under the pot,
    so is the laughter of fools.
    This too is meaningless.

Extortion turns a wise person into a fool,
    and a bribe corrupts the heart.

The end of a matter is better than its beginning,
    and patience is better than pride.
Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit,
    for anger resides in the lap of fools.

10 Do not say, “Why were the old days better than these?”
    For it is not wise to ask such questions.

11 Wisdom, like an inheritance, is a good thing
    and benefits those who see the sun.
12 Wisdom is a shelter
    as money is a shelter,
but the advantage of knowledge is this:
    Wisdom preserves those who have it.

13 Consider what God has done:

Who can straighten
    what he has made crooked?
14 When times are good, be happy;
    but when times are bad, consider this:
God has made the one
    as well as the other.
Therefore, no one can discover
    anything about their future.

15 In this meaningless life of mine I have seen both of these:

the righteous perishing in their righteousness,
    and the wicked living long in their wickedness.
16 Do not be overrighteous,
    neither be overwise—
    why destroy yourself?
17 Do not be overwicked,
    and do not be a fool—
    why die before your time?
18 It is good to grasp the one
    and not let go of the other.
    Whoever fears God will avoid all extremes.[a]

19 Wisdom makes one wise person more powerful
    than ten rulers in a city.

20 Indeed, there is no one on earth who is righteous,
    no one who does what is right and never sins.

21 Do not pay attention to every word people say,
    or you may hear your servant cursing you—
22 for you know in your heart
    that many times you yourself have cursed others.

23 All this I tested by wisdom and I said,

“I am determined to be wise”
    but this was beyond me.
24 Whatever exists is far off and most profound—
    who can discover it?
25 So I turned my mind to understand,
    to investigate and to search out wisdom and the scheme of things
and to understand the stupidity of wickedness
    and the madness of folly.

26 I find more bitter than death
    the woman who is a snare,
whose heart is a trap
    and whose hands are chains.
The man who pleases God will escape her,
    but the sinner she will ensnare.

27 “Look,” says the Teacher,[b] “this is what I have discovered:

“Adding one thing to another to discover the scheme of things—
28     while I was still searching
    but not finding—
I found one upright man among a thousand,
    but not one upright woman among them all.
29 This only have I found:
    God created mankind upright,
    but they have gone in search of many schemes.”

Footnotes:

  1. Ecclesiastes 7:18 Or will follow them both
  2. Ecclesiastes 7:27 Or the leader of the assembly
New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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