1A good name is better than good perfume, and the day of one’s death is 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 humankind, 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 merrymaking.
5It is better to listen to the rebuke of the wise than for a man to listen to the song of fools.
6For as the crackling of burning thorns underneath a pot, so is the laughter of the fool. This also is pointless.
7For extortion makes the wise man foolish, and a bribe destroys the heart.
8Better is the end of a matter than its beginning. A patient spirit is better than a proud spirit.
9Do not be hasty in your spirit to be angry, for anger rests in the bosom of fools.
10Do not say, “Why were the former days better than these?” For it is not from wisdom that you ask this.
11Wisdom with an inheritance is a good thing, and an advantage for those who see the sun.
12For wisdom is a defense, even as money is a defense,a but the advantage of the knowledge of wisdom is that it preserves the life of him who has it.
13Consider the work of God, for who can make straight what he has made crooked?
15I have seen everything in my days of pointlessness: a righteous man perishes in his righteousness, and a wicked man lives long in his evildoing.
16Do not be excessively righteous, and do not be overly wise. Why should you destroy yourself?
17Do not be excessively wicked, nor be a fool. Why should you die before your time?
18It is good that you grasp the one thing, but do not withdraw your hand from the other. For the one who fears God will come out from both of them.
19Wisdom gives strength to the wise man more than ten rulers who are in a city.
20Surely there is not a righteous person on earth who does good and does not sin.
21Also, do not take to heart every word that people say, lest you hear your servant cursing you,
22for your own heart knows that many times you yourself have cursed others.
23I have tested all this with wisdom; I said, “I will be wise!” But it was beyond my reach.
24That which is, is beyond reach and deep, deep. Who can find it out?
25I turned my heart to know, and to search out, and to seek wisdom and the reason for things, and to know the wickedness of folly and the foolishness of madness.
26I find more bitter than death the woman whose heart is snares and nets, and whose hands are chains. Whoever pleases God will escape from her, but the sinner will be captured by her.
27“Behold, I have found this,” says the Sage, “adding one thing to another to find out the reason for things
28that my soul is still searching for but I have not found: one man among 1,000 I have found, but I have not found a woman among all those.
29Behold, I have found only this: God made humankind upright, but they search for many schemes.”