Advice on How to Avoid Life Catastrophes
Better Living: Things that are “Better” (7:1-14)
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: in that that is the end of all men, and the living taketh it to heart. 3 Vexation 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 in the house of mirth. 5 It is better for a man to hear the rebuke of the wise, than 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 maketh a wise man mad, and a gift destroyeth the heart. 8 Better is the end of a thing than its beginning; better is a patient spirit than a proud spirit. 9 Be not hasty in thy spirit to be vexed; for vexation resteth in the bosom of fools. 10 Say not, How is it that the former days were better than these? for thou dost not inquire wisely concerning this. 11 Wisdom is as good as an inheritance, and profitable to them that see the sun. 12 For wisdom is a defence as money is a defence; but the excellency of knowledge is, that wisdom maketh them that possess it to live. 13 Consider the work of God; for who can make straight what he hath made crooked? 14 In the day of prosperity enjoy good, and in the day of adversity consider: God hath also set the one beside the other, to the end that man should find out nothing of what shall be after him.
Balanced Living (7:15-29)
Concerning Righteousness and Wickedness (7:15-18)
15 All this have I seen in the days of my vanity: there is a righteous man that perisheth by his righteousness, and there is a wicked man that prolongeth his days by his wickedness. 16 Be not righteous overmuch; neither make thyself overwise: why shouldest thou destroy thyself? 17 Be not overmuch wicked, neither be thou foolish: why shouldest thou die before thy time? 18 It is good that thou shouldest take hold of this; yea, also from that withdraw not thy hand: for he that feareth God cometh forth from them all.
Concerning Wisdom and Strength (7:19-24)
19 Wisdom strengtheneth the wise more than ten mighty men that are in a city. 20 Surely there is not a righteous man upon earth, that doeth good and sinneth not. 21 Also give not heed unto all words that are spoken, lest thou hear thy servant curse thee. 22 For also thine own heart knoweth that oftentimes thou thyself likewise hast cursed others. 23 All this have I tried by wisdom: I said, I will be wise; but it was far from me. 24 Whatever hath been, is far off, and exceeding deep: who will find it out?
Concerning the Preacher’s Failures with Women (7:25-29)
25 I turned, I and my heart, to know, and to search, and to seek out wisdom and reason, and to know wickedness to be folly, and foolishness to be madness; 26 and I found more bitter than death the woman whose heart is nets and snares, and whose hands are bands: whoso pleaseth God shall escape from her; but the sinner shall be caught by her. 27 See this which I have found, saith the Preacher, searching one by one to find out the reason; 28 which my soul yet seeketh, and I have not found: one man among a thousand have I found, but a woman among all those have I not found. 29 Only see this which I have found: that God made man upright, but they have sought out many devices.