Ecclesiastes 10:20
New International Version
Do not revile the king even in your thoughts, or curse the rich in your bedroom, because a bird in the sky may carry your words, and a bird on the wing may report what you say.

New Living Translation
Never make light of the king, even in your thoughts. And don't make fun of the powerful, even in your own bedroom. For a little bird might deliver your message and tell them what you said.

English Standard Version
Even in your thoughts, do not curse the king, nor in your bedroom curse the rich, for a bird of the air will carry your voice, or some winged creature tell the matter.

Berean Study Bible
Do not curse the king even in your thoughts, or curse the rich even in your bedroom, for a bird of the air may carry your words, and a winged creature may report your speech.

New American Standard Bible
Furthermore, in your bedchamber do not curse a king, and in your sleeping rooms do not curse a rich man, for a bird of the heavens will carry the sound and the winged creature will make the matter known.

King James Bible
Curse not the king, no not in thy thought; and curse not the rich in thy bedchamber: for a bird of the air shall carry the voice, and that which hath wings shall tell the matter.

Christian Standard Bible
Do not curse the king even in your thoughts, and do not curse a rich person even in your bedroom, for a bird of the sky may carry the message, and a winged creature may report the matter.

Contemporary English Version
Don't let yourself think about cursing the king; don't curse the rich, not even in secret. A little bird might hear and tell everything.

Good News Translation
Don't criticize the king, even silently, and don't criticize the rich, even in the privacy of your bedroom. A bird might carry the message and tell them what you said.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
Do not curse the king even in your thoughts, and do not curse a rich person even in your bedroom, for a bird of the sky may carry the message, and a winged creature may report the matter.

International Standard Version
Do not curse the king, even in your thoughts. Do not curse the rich, even in your bedroom. For a bird will fly by and tell what you say, or something with wings may talk about it.

NET Bible
Do not curse a king even in your thoughts, and do not curse the rich while in your bedroom; for a bird might report what you are thinking, or some winged creature might repeat your words.

New Heart English Bible
Do not curse the king, no, not in your thoughts; and do not curse the rich in your bedchamber: for a bird of the sky may carry your voice, and that which has wings may tell the matter.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
Don't curse the king even in your thoughts, and don't curse rich people even in your bedroom. A bird may carry your words, or some winged creature may repeat what you say.

JPS Tanakh 1917
Curse not the king, no, not in thy thought, And curse not the rich in thy bedchamber; For a bird of the air shall carry the voice, And that which hath wings shall tell the matter.

New American Standard 1977
Furthermore, in your bedchamber do not curse a king, and in your sleeping rooms do not curse a rich man, for a bird of the heavens will carry the sound, and the winged creature will make the matter known.

Jubilee Bible 2000
Do not curse the king, not even in thy thought; and do not curse the rich even in the secret place of thy bedchamber; for the birds of the air shall carry the voice, and those who have wings shall tell the matter.

King James 2000 Bible
Curse not the king, no not even in your thought; and curse not the rich in your bedchamber: for a bird of the air shall carry the voice, and that which has wings shall tell the matter.

American King James Version
Curse not the king, no not in your thought; and curse not the rich in your bedchamber: for a bird of the air shall carry the voice, and that which has wings shall tell the matter.

American Standard Version
Revile not the king, no, not in thy thought; and revile not the rich in thy bedchamber: for a bird of the heavens shall carry the voice, and that which hath wings shall tell the matter.

Brenton Septuagint Translation
Even in thy conscience, curse not the king; and curse not the rich in thy bedchamber: for a bird of the air shall carry thy voice, and that which has wings shall report thy speech.

Douay-Rheims Bible
Detract not the king, no not in thy thought; and speak not evil of the rich man in thy private chamber: because even the birds of the air will carry thy voice, and he that hath wings will tell what thou hast said.

Darby Bible Translation
Curse not the king, no, not in thy thought; and curse not the rich in thy bedchamber: for the bird of the air will carry the voice, and that which hath wings will tell the matter.

English Revised Version
Curse not the king, no, not in thy thought; and curse not the rich in thy bedchamber: for a bird of the air shall carry the voice, and that which hath wings shall tell the matter.

Webster's Bible Translation
Curse not the king, no not in thy thought; and curse not the rich in thy bed-chamber: for a bird of the air will carry the voice, and that which hath wings will tell the matter.

World English Bible
Don't curse the king, no, not in your thoughts; and don't curse the rich in your bedroom: for a bird of the sky may carry your voice, and that which has wings may tell the matter.

Young's Literal Translation
Even in thy mind a king revile not, And in the inner parts of thy bed-chamber Revile not the rich: For a fowl of the heavens causeth the voice to go, And a possessor of wings declareth the word.
Study Bible
Wisdom and Folly
19A feast is prepared for laughter, and wine makes life merry, but money is the answer for everything. 20Do not curse the king even in your thoughts, or curse the rich even in your bedroom, for a bird of the sky may carry your words, and a winged creature may report your speech.
Cross References
Luke 12:3
What you have spoken in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the housetops.

Acts 23:5
"Brothers," Paul replied, "I was not aware that he was the high priest, for it is written: 'Do not speak evil about the ruler of your people.'"

Exodus 8:3
The Nile will teem with frogs, and they will come into your palace and up to your bedroom and onto your bed, into the houses of your officials and your people, and into your ovens and kneading bowls.

Exodus 22:28
You must not blaspheme God or curse the ruler of your people.

2 Kings 6:12
But one of his servants replied, "No one, my lord the king. For Elisha, the prophet in Israel, tells the king of Israel the very words you speak in your bedroom."

Treasury of Scripture

Curse not the king, no not in your thought; and curse not the rich in your bedchamber: for a bird of the air shall carry the voice, and that which has wings shall tell the matter.

curse

Exodus 22:28
Thou shalt not revile the gods, nor curse the ruler of thy people.

Isaiah 8:21
And they shall pass through it, hardly bestead and hungry: and it shall come to pass, that when they shall be hungry, they shall fret themselves, and curse their king and their God, and look upward.

Acts 23:5
Then said Paul, I wist not, brethren, that he was the high priest: for it is written, Thou shalt not speak evil of the ruler of thy people.

thought

Ecclesiastes 7:21,22
Also take no heed unto all words that are spoken; lest thou hear thy servant curse thee: …

Luke 19:40
And he answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out.

in thy bedchamber

Luke 10:40
But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me.

Luke 12:2,3
For there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither hid, that shall not be known…







Lexicon
Do not
אַל־ (’al-)
Adverb
Strong's Hebrew 408: Not

curse
תְּקַלֵּ֔ל (tə·qal·lêl)
Verb - Piel - Imperfect - second person masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew 7043: To be slight, swift or trifling

the king
מֶ֚לֶךְ (me·leḵ)
Noun - masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew 4428: A king

even
גַּ֣ם (gam)
Conjunction
Strong's Hebrew 1571: Assemblage, also, even, yea, though, both, and

in your thoughts,
בְּמַדָּֽעֲךָ֗ (bə·mad·dā·‘ă·ḵā)
Preposition-b | Noun - masculine singular construct | second person masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew 4093: Intelligence, consciousness

[or]
אַל־ (’al-)
Adverb
Strong's Hebrew 408: Not

curse
תְּקַלֵּ֖ל (tə·qal·lêl)
Verb - Piel - Imperfect - second person masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew 7043: To be slight, swift or trifling

the rich
עָשִׁ֑יר (‘ā·šîr)
Adjective - masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew 6223: Rich

even in your bedroom,
וּבְחַדְרֵי֙ (ū·ḇə·ḥaḏ·rê)
Conjunctive waw, Preposition-b | Noun - masculine plural construct
Strong's Hebrew 2315: A chamber, room

for
כִּ֣י (kî)
Conjunction
Strong's Hebrew 3588: A relative conjunction

a bird
ע֤וֹף (‘ō·wp̄)
Noun - masculine singular construct
Strong's Hebrew 5775: Flying creatures

of the sky
הַשָּׁמַ֙יִם֙ (haš·šā·ma·yim)
Article | Noun - masculine plural
Strong's Hebrew 8064: Heaven, sky

may carry
יוֹלִ֣יךְ (yō·w·lîḵ)
Verb - Hifil - Imperfect - third person masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew 1980: To go, come, walk

your words,
הַקּ֔וֹל (haq·qō·wl)
Article | Noun - masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew 6963: A voice, sound

and a winged creature
וּבַ֥עַל (ū·ḇa·‘al)
Conjunctive waw | Noun - masculine singular construct
Strong's Hebrew 1167: A master, a husband, owner

may report
יַגֵּ֥יד (yag·gêḏ)
Verb - Hifil - Imperfect - third person masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew 5046: To be conspicuous

your speech.
דָּבָֽר׃ (dā·ḇār)
Noun - masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew 1697: A word, a matter, thing, a cause
(20) Thought.--A word of later Hebrew, found only in Daniel and Chronicles.

That which hath wings.--Literally, master of wings; and so also Proverbs 1:17. (Comp. "master of the tongue," Ecclesiastes 10:11.)

Verse 20. - Curse not the king, no not in thy thought. Under the above-mentioned circumstances, a man might be tempted to abuse and curse these ill-conditioned rulers. Koheleth warns against this error; it is dangerous to give way to it (comp. Exodus 22:28). In Ecclesiastes 8:2 the motive for submission to the king is placed on religious grounds; in the present passage the ground is prudence, regard for personal safety, which might be compromised by plain speaking, especially when one has to do with such depraved and unscrupulous persons. We may compare David's generous conduct to his cruel persecutor Saul, whom he spared because he was the Lord's anointed (1 Samuel 24:6, l0; 26:9, etc.; 2 Samuel 1:14). Madda, "thought," "consciousness," is rare, and is supposed to belong to late Hebrew (see 2 Chronicles 1:10, 11, 12; Daniel 1:4, 17). The Septuagint translates it συνείδησις: Vulgate, cogitatio. To encourage such thoughts in the mind is to run the risk of openly expressing them at some unguarded moment; for "out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh." Curse not the rich in thy bedchamber. In ability to injure, the rich stand in the same category as the king. You are not safe ἐν τανιείοις κοιτώνων σου, "in your very bedchamber," where, if anywhere, you would fancy yourself free from espionage. But "walls have ears," says the proverb (comp. Habakkuk 2:11; Luke 19:40); and the King of Syria is warned, "Elisha, the prophet that is in Israel, telleth the King of Israel the words thou speakest in thy bedchamber" (2 Kings 6:12). "That which ye have spoken in the ear in closets (ἐν τοῖς ταμιείοις) shall be proclaimed upon the housetops" (Luke 12:3). For a bird of the air shall carry the voice. A proverbial saying, common to all languages, and not to be referred especially to the story of the cranes of Ibycus (see Erasmus,' Adag.,' s.v. "Ultio malefacti") or to the employment of carrier pigeons. We say of secret information, "a little bird told me." Plumptre quotes Aristophanes, 'Aves,' 575 -

 Οὐδείς οϊδεν τὸν θησαυρὸν τὸν ἐμὸν πλὴν εἴ τις ἄρ ὄρνις

"No one knows of my treasure, save, it may be, a bird." On which the Scholiast notes, "There is a proverb extant, ' No one observes me but the passing bird'" (comp. Erasmus, ' Adag.,' s.v. "Occulta"). In Koheleth's day informers evidently plied their trade industriously, and here meet, not only with notice, but ironically with reprobation. On the general sentiment of the verse, we may quote Juvenal, 'Sat.,' 9:102, "O Corydon, Corydon," thus versified in Ginsburg's commentary -

"And dost thou seriously believe, fond swain,
The actions of the great unknown remain?
Poor Corydon! even beasts would silence break,
And stocks and stones, if servants did not, speak.
Bolt every door, stop every cranny tight,
Close every window, put out every light;
Let not a whisper reach the listening ear,
No noise, no motion; let no soul be near;
Yet all that passed at the cock's second crow,
The neighboring vintner shall, ere day-break, know."
That which hath wings (compare Latin ales); the possessor (haul) of a pair of wings, a periphrasis for "a bird," as in Proverbs 1:17. We had "master of the tongue," ver. 11; so in Daniel 8:6, 20, "having horns," is "master (haul) of horns."



10:16-20 The happiness of a land depends on the character of its rulers. The people cannot be happy when their princes are childish, and lovers of pleasure. Slothfulness is of ill consequence both to private and public affairs. Money, of itself, will neither feed nor clothe, though it answers the occasions of this present life, as what is to be had, may generally be had for money. But the soul, as it is not redeemed, so it is not maintained with corruptible things, as silver and gold. God sees what men do, and hears what they say in secret; and, when he pleases, brings it to light by strange and unsuspected ways. If there be hazard in secret thoughts and whispers against earthly rulers, what must be the peril from every deed, word, or thought of rebellion against the King of kings, and Lord of lords! He seeth in secret. His ear is ever open. Sinner! curse not THIS KING in thy inmost thought. Your curses cannot affect Him; but his curse, coming down upon you, will sink you to the lowest hell.
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