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The Catholic Study Bible A special version of the New American Bible, with a wealth of background information useful to Catholics.

Chapter 7

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Critique of Sages on the Day of Adversity

1A good name is better than good ointment,* and the day of death than the day ofbirth. o Eccl 4, 2; Prv 22, 1; Sir 41, 13 . 2It is better to go to the house of mourning than to the house of feasting, For that is the end of every man, and the living should take it to heart. p Eccl 4, 2 . 3Sorrow is better than laughter, because when the face is sad the heartgrows wiser. 4The heart of the wise is in the house ofmourning, but the heart of fools is in the house ofmirth. 5It is better to hearken to the wise man'srebuke than to hearken to the song of fools; 6For as the crackling of thorns under apot, so is the fool's laughter.This also is vanity, 7For oppression can make a fool of a wiseman, and a bribe corrupts the heart. 8Better is the end of speech than itsbeginning; better is the patient spirit than the loftyspirit. 9Do not in spirit become quicklydiscontented, for discontent lodges in the bosom of afool.

10Do not say: How is it that former times were better than these? For it is not in wisdom that you ask about this.

11Wisdom and an inheritance are good, and an advantage to those that see thesun.

12For the protection of wisdom is as the protection of money; and the advantage of knowledge is that wisdom preserves the life of its owner.

13Consider the work of God. Who can make straight what he has made crooked? 14On a good day enjoy good things, and on an evil day consider: Both the one and the other God has made, so that man cannot find fault with him in anything.

Critique of Sages on Justice and Wickedness. 15I have seen all manner of things in my vain days: a just man perishing in his justice, and a wicked one surviving in his wickedness. 16 q 16f: Eccl 8, 12ff . “ Be not just to excess, and be not overwise, lest you be ruined.* 17Be not wicked to excess, and be not foolish. Why should you die before your time?”* 18It is good to hold to this rule, and not to let that one* go; but he who fears God will win through at all events.

19Wisdom is a better defense for the wise man than would be ten princes in the city, 20 r Jb 25, 4; Prv 20, 9; 1 Kgs 8, 46; Rom 3, 23; Jas 3, 2; 1 Jn 1, 8 . yet there is no man on earth so just as to do good and never sin.* 21 s 21f: 1 Kgs 8, 46 . Do not give heed to every word that is spoken lest you hear your servant speaking ill of you, 22for you know in your heart that you have many times spoken ill of others.

23All these things I probed in wisdom. I said, “I will acquire wisdom”; but it was beyond me. 24What exists is far‐reaching; it is deep, very deep: who can find it out? 25 t Eccl 1, 17 . I turned my thoughts toward knowledge; I sought and pursued wisdom and reason, and I recognized that wickedness is foolish and folly is madness.

Critique of Sages on Women. 26 u Prv 5, 4 . More bitter than death I find the woman who is a hunter's trap, whose heart is a snare and whose hands are prison bonds. He who is pleasing to God will escape her, but the sinner will be entrapped by her. 27Behold, this have I found, says Qoheleth, adding one thing to another that I might discover the answer 28which my soul still seeks and has not found: One man out of a thousand have I come upon, but a woman among them all I have not found.* 29Behold, only this have I found out: God made mankind straight, but men have had recourse to many calculations.*

Notes:

o: Eccl 4, 2; Prv 22, 1; Sir 41, 13 .

p: Eccl 4, 2 .

q: 16f: Eccl 8, 12ff .

r: Jb 25, 4; Prv 20, 9; 1 Kgs 8, 46; Rom 3, 23; Jas 3, 2; 1 Jn 1, 8 .

s: 21f: 1 Kgs 8, 46 .

t: Eccl 1, 17 .

u: Prv 5, 4 .

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