Wisdom for Life
1 A good reputation is more valuable than the most expensive
perfume. In the same way, the day you die is better than the day you are
2 It is better to spend your time at funerals than at
festivals. For you are going to die, and you should think about it while
there is still time.
3 Sorrow is better than laughter, for sadness has a refining
influence on us.
4 A wise person thinks much about death, while the fool
thinks only about having a good time now.
5 It is better to be criticized by a wise person than to be praised by a
6 Indeed, a fool’s laughter is quickly gone, like thorns
crackling in a fire. This also is meaningless.
7 Extortion turns wise people into fools, and bribes corrupt
8 Finishing is better than starting. Patience is better than
9 Don’t be quick-tempered, for anger is the friend of
10 Don’t long for “the good old days,” for you don’t know
whether they were any better than today.
11 Being wise is as good as being rich; in fact, it is
12 Wisdom or money can get you almost anything, but it’s
important to know that only wisdom can save your life.
13 Notice the way God does things; then fall into line. Don’t
fight the ways of God, for who can straighten out what he has made
14 Enjoy prosperity while you can. But when hard times
strike, realize that both come from God. That way you will realize that
nothing is certain in this life.
The Limits of Human Wisdom
15 In this meaningless life, I have seen everything,
including the fact that some good people die young and some wicked people
live on and on.
16 So don’t be too good or too wise! Why destroy
17 On the other hand, don’t be too wicked either—don’t be a
fool! Why should you die before your time?
18 So try to walk a middle course—but those who fear God will
succeed either way.
19 A wise person is stronger than the ten leading citizens of
20 There is not a single person in all the earth who is
always good and never sins.
21 Don’t eavesdrop on others—you may hear your servant
laughing at you.
22 For you know how often you yourself have laughed at
23 All along I have tried my best to let wisdom guide my
thoughts and actions. I said to myself, “I am determined to be wise.” But
it didn’t really work.
24 Wisdom is always distant and very difficult to find.
25 I searched everywhere, determined to find wisdom and to
understand the reason for things. I was determined to prove to myself that
wickedness is stupid and that foolishness is madness.
26 I discovered that a seductive woman is more bitter than
death. Her passion is a trap, and her soft hands will bind you. Those who
please God will escape from her, but sinners will be caught in her
27 “This is my conclusion,” says the Teacher. “I came to this
result after looking into the matter from every possible angle.
28 Just one out of every thousand men I interviewed can be
said to be upright, but not one woman!
29 I discovered that God created people to be upright, but
they have each turned to follow their own downward path.