Thoughts about Life
1 A good reputation is better than expensive perfume; and the day you die is better than the day you are born.
2It is better to go to a home where there is mourning than to one where there is a party, because the living should always remind themselves that death is waiting for us all.
3Sorrow is better than laughter; it may sadden your face, but it sharpens your understanding.
4Someone who is always thinking about happiness is a fool. A wise person thinks about death.
5It is better to have wise people reprimand you than to have stupid people sing your praises.
6When a fool laughs, it is like thorns crackling in a fire. It doesn't mean a thing.
7You may be wise, but if you cheat someone, you are acting like a fool. If you take a bribe, you ruin your character.
8The end of something is better than its beginning.
Patience is better than pride.
9 Keep your temper under control; it is foolish to harbor a grudge.
10Never ask, “Oh, why were things so much better in the old days?” It's not an intelligent question.
11Everyone who lives ought to be wise; it is as good as receiving an inheritance 12and will give you as much security as money can. Wisdom keeps you safe—this is the advantage of knowledge.
13Think about what God has done. How can anyone straighten out what God has made crooked? 14When things are going well for you, be glad, and when trouble comes, just remember: God sends both happiness and trouble; you never know what is going to happen next.
15My life has been useless, but in it I have seen everything. Some good people may die while others live on, even though they are evil. 16So don't be too good or too wise—why kill yourself? 17But don't be too wicked or too foolish, either—why die before you have to? 18Avoid both extremes. If you have reverence for God, you will be successful anyway.
19Wisdom does more for a person than ten rulers can do for a city.
20There is no one on earth who does what is right all the time and never makes a mistake.
21Don't pay attention to everything people say—you may hear your servant insulting you, 22and you know yourself that you have insulted other people many times.
23I used my wisdom to test all of this. I was determined to be wise, but it was beyond me. 24How can anyone discover what life means? It is too deep for us, too hard to understand. 25But I devoted myself to knowledge and study; I was determined to find wisdom and the answers to my questions, and to learn how wicked and foolish stupidity is.
26I found something more bitter than death—the woman who is like a trap. The love she offers you will catch you like a net, and her arms around you will hold you like a chain. A man who pleases God can get away, but she will catch the sinner. 27Yes, said the Philosopher, I found this out little by little while I was looking for answers. 28I have looked for other answers but have found none. I found one man in a thousand that I could respect, but not one woman. 29This is all that I have learned: God made us plain and simple, but we have made ourselves very complicated.