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Ecclesiastes 7:1 “A good name is better than precious ointment; and the day of death than the day of one’s birth.”  Can someone explain it please?


It would appear that Kohelet, the writer of Ecclesiastes, is referring to the perfumes used to prepare a body for burial. This would fit the remainder of his thoughts in this section. Seen this way it would read, “I say a good reputation is better than a lavish funeral, for it makes the day of one’s death even better than the day of one’s birth. Indeed, it is better to attend a funeral than a party, for death is the destiny of every person, and the living should take this to heart. Mourning is better than laughter because grief makes us wiser. Although the wise embrace sorrow, fools seek only pleasure.”

When a child is born we hope that they enjoy a good life but the true measure of how we lived is generally seen at the end of our time upon the earth. By observing life from birth to death and attending funerals as well as parties we can become wiser for we see that a life well lived earns a good reputation and this can help us to avoid making foolish mistakes.

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