1 A good name is better than precious ointment, and the day of death than the day of one's birth.
2 It 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 will lay it to his heart.
3 Sorrow is better than laughter, for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better.
4 The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth.
5 It is better to hear the rebuke of the wise, than for a man to hear the song of fools.
6 For as the crackling of thorns under a pot, so is the laughter of the fool. This also is vanity.
7 Surely oppression makes a wise man mad, and a gift destroys the heart.
8 Better is the end of a thing than its beginning. And the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.
9 Do not be hasty in your spirit to be angry, for anger rests in the bosom of fools.
10 Do not say, "What is the cause that the former days were better than these?" For you do not inquire wisely concerning this.
11 Wisdom is good with an inheritance, and by it there is profit to those who see the sun.
12 For wisdom is a defense, even as money is a defense, but the excellence of knowledge is that wisdom gives life to those who have it.
13 Consider the work of God, for who can make straight that which he has made crooked?
14 In the day of prosperity be joyful, but in the day of adversity consider this: God also has set one over against the other, to the end that man should find nothing after him.
15 I have seen all things in the days of my vanity. There is a just man who perishes in his righteousness, and there is a wicked man who prolongs his life in his wickedness. 16 Do not be righteous over much, neither make yourself overly wise. Why should you destroy yourself? 17 Do not be exceedingly wicked, neither be foolish. Why should you die before your time? 18 It is good that you should take hold of this, and also do not withdraw your hand from this, for he who fears God shall escape from them all.
19 Wisdom strengthens the wise more than ten mighty men who are in the city. 20 For there is not a just man upon earth who does good and does not sin. 21 Also take no heed to all words that are spoken, lest you hear your servant curse you, 22 For often your own heart knows that you yourself have likewise cursed others.
23 All this I have proved by wisdom. I said, "I will be wise," but it was far from me. 24 That which is far off and exceedingly deep, who can find it out? 25 I applied my heart to know, to search, to seek out wisdom and the reason of things, and 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, and her hands as bands. Whoever pleases God shall escape from her, but the sinner shall be taken by her.
27 "Behold, I have found this," says the preacher, "counting one by one, to find out the account, 28 Which yet my soul seeks, but I do not find. One man among a thousand I have found, but a woman among all those I have not found. 29 Behold, I have only found this: that God has made man upright, but they have sought out many inventions."
[v.7a] - Reference, Deuteronomy 16:19; Proverbs 17:23.
[v.7b] - "gift" - This form of gift is known as a bribe.
[v.14a] - "God also has set one over against the other" - That is to say, God has put the two into being separately.
[v.14b] - "to the end that man should find nothing after him" - In other words, "...so that man is not able to discern what is to come in his life." The design is to obscure man's future.
[v.20] - Reference, Psalm 14:1, 53:1, 3; Romans 3:10, 12, 19, 23; Galatians 3:22.