15 In my futile life I have seen everything: someone righteous perishes in spite of his righteousness, and someone wicked lives long in spite of his evil. 16 Don’t be excessively righteous, and don’t be overly wise. Why should you destroy yourself? 17 Don’t be excessively wicked, and don’t be foolish. Why should you die before your time? 18 It is good that you grasp the one and do not let the other slip from your hand. For the one who fears God will end up with both of them.
19 Wisdom makes the wise person stronger
than ten rulers of a city.
20 There is certainly no one righteous on the earth
who does good and never sins.
21 Don’t pay attention to everything people say, or you may hear your servant cursing you, 22 for in your heart you know that many times you yourself have cursed others.
23 I have tested all this by wisdom. I resolved, “I will be wise,” but it was beyond me. 24 What exists is beyond reach and very deep. Who can discover it? 25 I turned my thoughts to know, explore, and examine wisdom and an explanation for things, and to know that wickedness is stupidity and folly is madness. 26 And I find more bitter than death the woman who is a trap: her heart a net and her hands chains. The one who pleases God will escape her, but the sinner will be captured by her. 27 “Look,” says the Teacher, “I have discovered this by adding one thing to another to find out the explanation, 28 which my soul continually searches for but does not find: I found one person in a thousand, but none of those was a woman. 29 Only see this: I have discovered that God made people upright, but they pursued many schemes.”