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A name

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is better than scented oil,

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and the day of death than the day of birth.

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Having a good name is better than having luxury and pleasure. What’s more, the day of one’s death is fuller than the day of his birth.



The Hebrew simply says “a name” but it implies “a good name.” One’s name was his reputation. Obviously, no one would want to have a bad reputation or be known for evil. Most versions of the Bible translate this as “a good name” for that is the intended meaning.

2: “scented oil”

The first word means “beautiful, pleasant, good;” when used to modify oil it means “scented.” This was usually done by mixing a few drops of an essential oil into the carrier oil, which for them was olive oil. Olive oil was an important staple of life, but “scented oil” went beyond the staples of life and meant “pleasure and luxury.”


On the day you were born, if you only knew the misery you would have to endure. But on the day of your death, all that misery is now behind you.