'Better' in the Bible
Laban said, “It is better that I give her [in marriage] to you than give her to another man. Stay and work with me.”
Did we not say to you in Egypt, ‘Leave us alone; let us serve the Egyptians?’ For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians [as slaves] than to die in the wilderness.”
Why is the Lord bringing us to this land [of Canaan], to fall by the sword? Our wives and children will become plunder. Would it not be better for us to return to Egypt?”
But he said to them, “What have I done now [that is so significant] in comparison with you? Is not the gleaning (leftovers) of the grapes of [your tribe of] Ephraim better than the vintage (entire harvest) of [my clan of] Abiezer?
“Speak now in the hearing of all the leaders of Shechem, ‘Which is better for you, that seventy men, all of the sons of Jerubbaal rule over you, or that one man rule over you?’ Also, remember that I am your own bone and flesh.”
Now are you any better than Balak the son of Zippor, king of Moab? Did he ever strive against Israel, or did he ever go to war against them?
They said to him, “Keep quiet, put your hand over your mouth and come with us, and be a father and a priest to us. Is it better for you to be a priest to the house of one man, or to be a priest to a tribe and family in Israel?”
May he also be to you one who restores life and sustains your old age; for your daughter-in-law, who loves you and is better to you than seven sons, has given birth to him.”
How much better [it would have been] if only the people had eaten freely today from the spoil of their enemies which they found! For now the slaughter among the Philistines has not been great.”
Samuel said,“Has the Lord as great a delight in burnt offerings and sacrificesAs in obedience to the voice of the Lord?Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice,And to heed [is better] than the fat of rams.
So Samuel said to him, “The Lord has torn the kingdom of Israel from you today and has given it to your neighbor, who is better than you.
But David said in his heart, “Now I will die one day by the hand of Saul. There is nothing better for me than to escape to the land of the Philistines. Then Saul will give up searching for me inside the borders of Israel, and I will escape from his hand [once and for all].”
Absalom answered Joab, “I sent for you, saying, ‘Come here, so that I may send you to the king to ask, “Why have I come [back] from Geshur? It would be better for me to still be there.”’ Now then, let me see the king’s face, and if there is guilt in me, let him put me to death.”
Then Absalom and all the men of Israel said, “The advice of Hushai the Archite is better than that of Ahithophel.” For the Lord had ordained to thwart the good advice of Ahithophel, so that the Lord could bring disaster upon Absalom.
But the men said, “You should not go out [to battle with us]. For if in fact we retreat, they will not care about us; even if half of us die, they will not care about us. But you are worth ten thousand of us. So now it is better that you be ready to help us from the city [of Mahanaim].”
Moreover, the king’s servants came to bless (congratulate) our lord King David, saying, ‘May your God make the name of Solomon better (more famous) than your name and make his throne greater than your throne.’ And the king bowed himself [before God] upon the bed.
But he himself traveled a day’s journey into the wilderness, and he came and sat down under a juniper tree and asked [God] that he might die. He said, “It is enough; now, O Lord, take my life, for I am no better than my fathers.”
Ahab spoke to Naboth, saying, “Give me your vineyard, so that I may have it for a garden of vegetables and herbs, because it is near my house. I will give you a better vineyard for it, or, if you prefer, I will give you what it is worth in money.”
Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus [in Aram], better than all the waters of Israel? Could I not wash in them and be clean?” So he turned and went away in a rage.
They found rich, good pasture, and the [cleared] land was wide, quiet, and peaceful; for those who had lived there previously came from Ham [and had left it a better place for those who came after them].
but have walked in the way of the kings of Israel, and caused Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to be unfaithful [to God] as the house of Ahab was unfaithful, and you have also murdered your brothers, your father’s house (your own family), who were better than you,
If it pleases the king, let a royal command be issued by him and let it be written in the laws of the Persians and Medes so that it cannot be repealed or modified, that Vashti is no longer to come before King Ahasuerus; and let the king give her royal position to another who is better and more worthy than she.
But Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite, of the family of Ram, became indignant. His indignation was kindled and burned and he became upset with Job because he justified himself rather than God [and even expressed doubts about God’s character].
Better is the little of the righteous [who seek the will of God]Than the abundance (riches) of many wicked (godless).
Because Your lovingkindness is better than life,My lips shall praise You.
And it will please the Lord better than an oxOr a young bull with horns and hoofs.
For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand [anywhere else];I would rather stand [as a doorkeeper] at the threshold of the house of my GodThan to live [at ease] in the tents of wickedness.
It is better to take refuge in the LordThan to trust in man.
It is better to take refuge in the LordThan to trust in princes.
The law from Your mouth is better to meThan thousands of gold and silver pieces.
I have better understanding and deeper insight than all my teachers [because of Your word],For Your testimonies are my meditation.
For wisdom’s profit is better than the profit of silver,And her gain is better than fine gold.
“For wisdom is better than rubies;And all desirable things cannot compare with her.
“My fruit is better than gold, even pure gold,And my yield is better than choicest silver.
Better is he who is lightly esteemed and has a servant,Than he who [boastfully] honors himself [pretending to be what he is not] and lacks bread.
Better is a little with the [reverent, worshipful] fear of the LordThan great treasure and trouble with it.
Better is a dinner of vegetables and herbs where love is presentThan a fattened ox served with hatred.
Better is a little with righteousnessThan great income [gained] with injustice.
How much better it is to get wisdom than gold!And to get understanding is to be chosen above silver.
It is better to be humble in spirit with the lowlyThan to divide the spoil with the proud (haughty, arrogant).
He who is slow to anger is better and more honorable than the mighty [soldier],And he who rules and controls his own spirit, than he who captures a city.
Better is a dry morsel [of food served] with quietness and peaceThan a house full of feasting [served] with strife and contention.
Better is a poor man who walks in his integrityThan a [rich] man who is twisted in his speech and is a [shortsighted] fool.
That which is desirable in a man is his loyalty and unfailing love,But it is better to be a poor man than a [wealthy] liar.
It is better to live in a corner of the housetop [on the flat roof, exposed to the weather]Than in a house shared with a quarrelsome (contentious) woman.
It is better to dwell in a desert landThan with a contentious and troublesome woman.
A wise man is strong,And a man of knowledge strengthens his power;
For it is better that it be said to you, “Come up here,”Than for you to be placed lower in the presence of the prince,Whom your eyes have seen.
It is better to live in a corner of the housetop [on the flat roof, exposed to the weather]Than in a house shared with a quarrelsome (contentious) woman.
Better is an open reprimand [of loving correction]Than love that is hidden.
Do not abandon your own friend and your father’s friend,And do not go to your brother’s house in the day of your disaster.Better is a neighbor who is near than a brother who is far away.
Better is the poor who walks in his integrityThan he who is crooked and two-faced though he is rich.
Then I saw that [even secular] wisdom [that brings sorrow] is better than [the pleasures of] folly and self-indulgence as light excels darkness.
There is nothing better for a man than to eat and drink and assure himself that there is good in his labor. Even this, I have seen, is from the hand of God.
I know that there is nothing better for them than to rejoice and to do good as long as they live;
So I have seen that there is nothing better than that a man should be happy in his own works and activities, for that is his portion (share). For who will bring him [back] to see what will happen after he is gone?
But better off than either of them is the one who has not yet been born, who has not seen the evil deeds that are done under the sun.
One hand full of rest and patience is better than two fists full of labor and chasing after the wind.
Two are better than one because they have a more satisfying return for their labor;
A poor yet wise youth is better than an old and foolish king who no longer knows how to receive instruction and counsel (friendly reproof, warning)—
Guard your steps and focus on what you are doing as you go to the house of God and draw near to listen rather than to offer the [careless or irreverent] sacrifice of fools; for they are too ignorant to know they are doing evil.
It is better that you should not vow than that you should vow and not pay.
If a man fathers a hundred children and lives many years, however many they may be, but his soul is not satisfied with good things and he is not respected and is not given a proper burial [he is not laid to rest in the sepulcher of his fathers], then I say, “Better the miscarriage than he,
What the eyes see [enjoying what is available] is better than [craving] what the soul desires. This too is futility and chasing after the wind.
A good name is better than precious perfume,And the day of one’s death better than the day of one’s birth.
It is better to go to the house of mourningThan to go to the house of feasting,For that [day of death] is the end of every man,And the living will take it to heart and solemnly ponder its meaning.
Sorrow is better than laughter,For when a face is sad (deep in thought) the heart may be happy [because it is growing in wisdom].
It is better to listen to the rebuke of the wise man and pursue wisdomThan for one to listen to the song of fools and pursue stupidity.
The end of a matter is better than its beginning;Patience of spirit is better than haughtiness of spirit (pride).
Do not say, “Why were the old days better than these?”For it is not from wisdom that you ask about this.
Then I commended pleasure and enjoyment, because a man [without God] has no better thing under the sun than to eat and to drink and to be merry, for this will stand by him in his toil through the days of his life which God has given him under the sun.
[There is no exemption,] but whoever is joined with all the living, has hope; surely a live dog is better than a dead lion.
But I say that wisdom is better than strength, though the poor man’s wisdom is despised and his words are not heeded.
The words of wise men heard in quietness are better than the shouting of one who rules among fools.
Wisdom is better than weapons of war, but one sinner destroys much good.
If the serpent bites before being charmed, then there is no profit for the charmer.
(The Shulammite Bride)“May he kiss me with the kisses of his mouth!” [Solomon arrives, she turns to him, saying,]“For your love is better than wine.
“How beautiful is your love, my sister, my [promised] bride!How much better is your love than wine,And the fragrance of your oilsThan all kinds of balsam and spices.
“The bricks have fallen down,But we will rebuild [all the better] with ashlar (hewed stones);The sycamores have been cut down,But we will replace them with [expensive] cedars.”
To them I will give in My house and within My walls a memorial,And a name better than that of sons and daughters;I will give them an everlasting name which will not be cut off.
Like the cattle that go down into the valley [to find better pasture and rest],The Spirit of the Lord gave them rest.So You led Your people [O Lord]To make for Yourself a beautiful and glorious name [preparing the way for the acknowledgment of Your name by all nations].
‘Then behold, all the women who are left in the palace of the king of Judah will be brought out to the officers of the king of Babylon and those women will say [to you, King Zedekiah],“Your close friendsHave prevailed against your better judgment and have overpowered and deceived you;While your feet were sunk in the mire [of trouble],They turned back.”
Then Nebuzaradan the [chief executioner and] captain of the bodyguard took the rest of the people who remained in the city, along with those who had deserted and surrendered to him, and the rest of the [so-called better class of] people who were left and carried them into exile in Babylon.
I will multiply on you man and animal; and they will increase and be fruitful. And I will cause you to be inhabited as you were formerly, and I will do better [things] for you than at your beginning. Then you will know [with great confidence] that I am the Lord.
At the end of ten days it seemed that they were looking better and healthier than all the young men who ate the king’s finest food.
In every matter of wisdom and understanding about which the king consulted them, he found them ten times better than all the [learned] magicians and enchanters (Magi) in his whole realm.
“She will [passionately] pursue her lovers, but she will not overtake them;And she will seek them, but will not find them.Then she will say, ‘Let me go and return to my first husband,For it was better for me then than now!’
Go over to Calneh [in Babylonia] and look,And from there go [north of Damascus] to the great city of Hamath;Then go down to Gath of the Philistines.Are they better than these kingdoms [of yours],Or is their territory greater than yours?
Therefore now, O Lord, just take my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live.”
When the sun came up God prepared a scorching east wind, and the sun beat down on Jonah’s head so that he fainted and he wished to die, and said, “It is better for me to die than to live.”
Are you better than Thebes,Which was situated by the waters of the Nile,With water surrounding her,Whose defense was the sea (the Nile),Whose wall consisted of the sea?
“As for me, I baptize you with water because of [your] repentance [that is, because you are willing to change your inner self—your old way of thinking, regret your sin and live a changed life], but He (the Messiah) who is coming after me is mightier [more powerful, more noble] than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to remove [even as His slave]; He will baptize you [who truly repent] with the Holy Spirit and [you who remain unrepentant] with fire (judgment).
From that time Jesus began to preach and say, “Repent [change your inner self—your old way of thinking, regret past sins, live your life in a way that proves repentance; seek God’s purpose for your life], for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
If your right eye makes you stumble and leads you to sin, tear it out and throw it away [that is, remove yourself from the source of temptation]; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.
If your right hand makes you stumble and leads you to sin, cut it off and throw it away [that is, remove yourself from the source of temptation]; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.
How much more valuable then is a man than a sheep! So it is lawful and permissible to do good on the Sabbath.”
but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble and sin [by leading him away from My teaching], it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone [as large as one turned by a donkey] hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.
“If your hand or your foot causes you to stumble and sin, cut it off and throw it away from you [that is, remove yourself from the source of temptation]; it is better for you to enter life crippled or lame, than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into everlasting fire.
If your eye causes you to stumble and sin, pluck it out and throw it away from you [that is, remove yourself from the source of temptation]; it is better for you to enter life with only one eye, than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fiery hell.
The Son of Man is to go [to the cross], just as it is written [in Scripture] of Him; but woe (judgment is coming) to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been good for that man if he had never been born.”
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