The Vanity of Fame
1A good name is better than precious ointment; and the day of death 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 men; and the living will lay it to his heart. 3Sorrow is better than laughter: for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better. 4The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning; but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth.
5It is better to hear the rebuke of the wise, than for a man to hear the song of fools. 6For as the crackling of thorns under a pot, so is the laughter of the fool: this also is vanity. 7Surely oppression maketh a wise man mad; and a gift destroyeth the heart.
8Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof: and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit. 9Be not hasty in thy spirit to be angry: for anger resteth in the bosom of fools. 10Say not thou, What is the cause that the former days were better than these? for thou dost not enquire wisely concerning this.
11Wisdom is good with an inheritance: and by it there is profit to them that see the sun. 12For wisdom is a defence, and money is a defence: but the excellency of knowledge is, that wisdom giveth life to them that have it. 13Consider the work of God: for who can make that straight, which he hath made crooked? 14In the day of prosperity be joyful, but in the day of adversity consider: God also hath set the one over against the other, to the end that man should find nothing after him.
15All things have I seen in the days of my vanity: there is a just man that perisheth in his righteousness, and there is a wicked man that prolongeth his life in his wickedness. 16Be not righteous over much; neither make thyself over wise: why shouldest thou destroy thyself? 17Be not over much wicked, neither be thou foolish: why shouldest thou die before thy time? 18It is good that thou shouldest take hold of this; yea, also from this withdraw not thine hand: for he that feareth God shall come forth of them all.
19Wisdom strengtheneth the wise more than ten mighty men which are in the city. 20For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not. 21Also take no heed unto all words that are spoken; lest thou hear thy servant curse thee: 22for oftentimes also thine own heart knoweth that thou thyself likewise hast cursed others.
The Quest for Wisdom
23All this have I proved by wisdom: I said, I will be wise; but it was far from me. 24That which is far off, and exceeding deep, who can find it out? 25I applied mine heart to know, and to search, and to seek out wisdom, and the reason of things, and to know the wickedness of folly, even of foolishness and madness: 26and I find more bitter than death the woman, whose heart is snares and nets, and her hands as bands: whoso pleaseth God shall escape from her; but the sinner shall be taken by her. 27Behold, this have I found, saith the Preacher, counting one by one, to find out the account: 28which yet my soul seeketh, but I find not: one man among a thousand have I found; but a woman among all those have I not found. 29Lo, this only have I found, that God hath made man upright; but they have sought out many inventions.
Rights in the Authorised (King James) Version of the Bible are vested in the Crown. Published in the United Kingdom by permission of the Crown's patentee, Cambridge University Press. This edition of the King James Authorised Version was paragraphed with sub-headings added by the British and Foreign Bible Society in 1954. © 2011 by The British and Foreign Bible Society