1 An honorable name is better than perfumed oil. Better the day of death than the day of birth.
2 Better to go to a house of mourning than to a house of feasting, for to this end all come, and let the living take this to heart: 3 Sorrow is better than laughter, for a sad face brings healing to the soul. 4 The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, while the heart of the fool is in the house of feasting.
5 Better to heed the rebuke of a wise than to listen to a fool’s song. 6 Like the crackling of thorns under a pot is the fool’s laugh.
7 Corruption makes a wise man mad, bribe blinds his heart.
8 Better to reach the end than to begin. Better patience than a haughty spirit.
9 Don’t be easily dejected, for dejection resides in the womb of fools.
10 Do not ask why former times were better than the present. It is not wisdom that prompts such a question.
11 Wisdom is as precious as an inheritance; it is a blessing for those on whom the sun shines. 12 If wisdom protects you, money will do the same. This is the benefit of acquiring wisdom: it makes its owner live.
13 See the work of God. Who can straighten what he has bent? 14 Be happy in the day of prosperity and in the day of sorrow reflect: 15 God has given both one and the other and many may discover what comes later.
16 Do not be over-righteous or excessively wise, lest you harm yourself. 17 Do not be too wicked or too stupid, lest you die before your time.
18 It is well to hold to one and not to loosen your grasp on the other. The God-fearing man copes with both.
19 Wisdom gives strength to the wise more than ten rulers in the city. 20 There is no righteous man on earth who always does good and never sins.
21 Don’t take seriously all that you hear, lest you hear your servant speak ill of you. 22 You know well how many times you have spoken ill of others!
23 After having examined all this critically I said, “I will be wise!” 24 But how far it is from me! more remote than anything, and deep, very deep. Who could discover it?
25 I set myself in all earnestness to know, study and pursue wisdom and reason, so I saw that wickedness is folly, and foolishness, stupidity.
26 I find woman more bitter than death. She is a pitfall; her heart is a snare and her arms, chains. He who pleases God will escape from her, but the sinner will be caught.
27 See what I discovered – says the Teacher – after considering them one after another, anxious to understand. 28 I have been searching but have not yet found; for a man among a thousand I may find, but not a woman among all of them.
29 See what I discovered: God made man simple, but they get lost in their many thoughts.