Qohlat (Ecclesiastes)

Qohlat 7

1. A name* is better than a good oil, and the day of death is better than the day of birth.
2. It is better to go to the house of weepers, than to go to the house of banquet, because that is the end of every human being; and how is this good for his heart?
3. Anger is better than laughter, because through the gloominess of faces the heart is justified.*
4. The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, and the heart of the fools is in the house of joy.
5. It is better to hear the rebuke of the wise, than for a man to hear the song of fools.
6. Like the sound of thorns under the pot, thus is the laughter of fools, and this too is vanity.
7. Because slander ruins a wise man, and a present may ruin a heart.
8. The end of a lesson* is better than its beginning, and the patience of the spirit is better than the loftiness of the spirit.
9. Do not be in a rush to become angry in your spirit, because the anger of the fools rests in their bosoms.
10. Do not say, "What is happening?" Were the older days better now? Because it is not through wisdom that you ask about this.
11. That wisdom is better than the vessels of battle,* and greater than those who see the sun.*
12. Because the shade of wisdom is like the shade of money, and the wealth of knowledge of wisdom revives its owner.
13. Look at the works of Allaha, because who can steady the one whom He has disturbed?
14. On the day of blessings be blessed, and on the day of evil see yourself, this too Allaha has made opposite the other, regarding which the human being shall not be able to say anything.
15. I saw everything in my heydays: there are the righteous who are lost through their righteousness, and there are the corrupt who persist in their evil.
16. Do not become too righteous, nor too wise so as not to become insensitive.
17. Do not become too corrupt, so as not to be hated too much; do not become a fool, so as not to die before your time.*
18. It is well that you should take hold of this, and also from this do not let your hands lose their grip, because whoever fears Allaha grasps all of these.
19. Wisdom empowers the wise man, better than the rulers in a city.
20. Because there is no human being who is righteous on earth, that does good and does not sin.
21. And also do not let all the statements of the corrupt spoken [against you] to enter your heart; do not listen to your servants that revile you.
22. Because for a long time* your heart has known that you have reviled others.
23. All these I have experienced through wisdom: I said that I shall become wise, yet wisdom* distanced itself from me.
24. More than it was far, and deeper than depths; who could find it?
25. And I went around so as* my heart should know and look closely,* and to desire wisdom and thoughtfulness, and to know the depravity of fools, foolishness, and transgression.
26. And I found more bitter than death the wife who herself is the pit, and whose heart is the hunter's trap, who ties her hands around what is good; whoever is good before Allaha is delivered from her and whoever sins is taken by her.
27. "Look at at what I have found," says Qohlat, "[look] one to another to find the pretentious."
28. Again I searched my soul and did not find one out of a thousand human beings, and a wife among all of them I did not find.
29. Even though he saw that I find out, that Allaha made the human beings who are upright, yet they desired a great many pretensions.*

Translated by Victor Alexander ©2013

Footnotes
*7:1 Lit. Ar. id.: "A good reputation."
*7:3 Lit. Ar. id.: "Becomes worthy."
*7:8 Lit. Ar. id.: "Expression," or "Truism."
*7:11.1 Lit. Ar. id.: "Armaments."
*7:11.2 Lit. Ar. idiomatic expression: "Seers of sun," or "See the light."
*7:17 Lit. Ar. id.: "Not in your season."
*7:22 Lit. Ar. id.: "Many seasons."
*7:23 Lit. Ar. idiomatic construction: "And she."
*7:25.1 Lit. Ar. id.: "And."
*7:25:2 Lit. Ar. id.: "Inspect."
*7:29 Lit. Ar. idiom retained: "Nevertheless they would have many delusions."

Posted June 17, 2013

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