Ecclesiastes 7

1 Many commentators combine the meaning of these two lines. The idea is that if one has made a good name for himself, then the day of his death is better than the day of his birth. However, the structure of this verse indicates that a comparison is being made. In so reading, the comparison of a good name to precious ointment is paralleled with death to birth. The first line is given as a self-evident statement. One may have wealth and luxuries, but if he is a bad reputation, he will be forever vilified by people, if not God. Thus, having a good reputation is ultimately of more benefit than wealth. In the parallel line, death is said to be better than birth. The next several verses elaborate on this concept.

Notice that birth is not seen as a bad thing, since it is being paralleled with precious ointment.

2 When we attend a funeral, it should be evident that the service is of no benefit to the deceased. Funerals are for those who are still alive. Funerals serve a dramatic reminder that our sin-riddled bodies must perish. Anyone who leaves a funeral without an increased awareness of his mortality has missed a primary purpose.
3 Sorrow often accompanies deep thought about life. The pain and fears encountered in life are very distressing. Laughter is often used as an anesthetic to the distress, but it can not make the real hardships of life go away. However, even in the midst of contemplating the sorrows of life, hope and joy can be found. Instinctively we know that justice will prevail, and God has revealed that, indeed, His goodness and love will one day take away all evil and hate. At a funeral, we are saddened at the departure of a loved one, but inwardly we can be happy knowing that all of God's people will be reunited in heaven.
4 It takes a wise heart to see that death is really the portal to something better. This world has been tragically marred by sin, and death is the ultimate product. However, God has promised that those who trust in Him will be given an eternal and good life in Him. No matter how good or bad life was for a Christian on earth, heaven will be so much better. No matter how tragic the death, those remaining alive should be glad, understanding that the believer will never suffer again. The believer is also comforted as death approaches, waiting expectantly to continue their relationship with God completely unhindered by sin.
10 Many nostalgic sayings begin with, "In the good old days..." Solomon warns against such characterization. While some would point out that our technological advancement has made life easier in general, there is a more important point to consider. We can not go back in time. Those want to live in the past will only become frustrated at their inability to do so. History is safe and predictable only because it has already happened. The present is more frightening because it is being written as we live it. We have no way of knowing for certain what will happen even one second into the future. The wise know that we can not cower during the present time. We must go forward as confidently as we can while asking God to guide our steps. If there is something wrong with the present, we must try to solve the problem, not pine away for the days before the problem came about. The past can give us clues how to solve future problems, but the past itself is not the solution.