Ecclesiastes 10

Wisdom and Folly

1As dead flies bring a stench to the perfumer’s oil,

so a little folly outweighs wisdom and honor.

2A wise man’s heart inclines to the right,

but the heart of a fool to the left.

3Even as the fool walks along the road, his sense is lacking,

and he shows everyone that he is a fool.

4If the ruler’s temper flares against you, do not abandon your post,

for calmness lays great offenses to rest.

5There is an evil I have seen under the sun—

an error that proceeds from the ruler:

6Folly is appointed to great heights,

but the rich sit in lowly positions.

7I have seen slaves on horseback,

while princes go on foot like slaves.

8He who digs a pit may fall into it,

and he who breaches a wall may be bitten by a snake.

9The one who quarries stones may be injured by them,

and he who splits logs endangers himself.

10If the axe is dull and the blade unsharpened,

more strength must be exerted,

but skill produces success.

11If the snake bites before it is charmed,

there is no profit for the charmer.

12The words of a wise man’s mouth are gracious,

but the lips of a fool consume him.

13The beginning of his talk is folly,

and the end of his speech is evil madness.

14Yet the fool multiplies words.

No one knows what is coming,

and who can tell him what will come after him?

15The toil of a fool wearies him,

for he does not know the way to the city.

16Woe to you, O land whose king is a youth,a

and whose princes feast in the morning.

17Blessed are you, O land whose king is a son of nobles,

and whose princes feast at the proper time—

for strength and not for drunkenness.

18Through laziness the roof caves in,

and in the hands of the idle, the house leaks.

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 air may carry your words,

and a winged creature may report your speech.

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Ecclesiastes 9
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