International Standard Version
1As dead flies cause the perfumer's ointment to stink, so also does a little foolishness to one's reputation of wisdom and honor. 2A wise man's heart tends toward his right, but a fool's heart tends toward his left. 3Furthermore, the way a fool lives shows he has no sense; he proclaims to everyone that he's a fool. 4If your overseer gets angry at you, don't resign, because calmness pacifies great offenses.
5Here's another tragedy that I've observed on earth, a kind of error that comes from an overseer: 6Foolishness is given great honor, while the prosperous sit in lowly places. 7And I have observed servants riding on horses, while princes walk on the ground like servants.
8Whoever digs a pit may fall into it, and whoever breaks through a wall may suffer a snake bite. 9Someone who quarries stone might be injured; someone splitting logs can fall into danger. 10If someone's ax is blunt—the edge isn't sharpened— then more strength will be needed. Putting wisdom to work will bring success. 11If a serpent strikes despite being charmed, there's no point in being a snake charmer. 12The words spoken by the wise are gracious, but the lips of a fool will devour him. 13He begins his speech with foolishness, and concludes it with evil madness. 14The fool overflows with words, and no one can predict what will happen. As to what will happen after him, who can explain it? 15The work of a fool so wears him out that he can't even find his way to town. 16Woe to the land whose king is a youth and whose princes feast in the morning. 17That land is blessed whose king is of noble birth, whose princes feast at the right time, for strength, and not to become drunk. 18Through slothfulness the roof deteriorates, and a house leaks because of idleness. 19Festivals are for laughter, wine makes life pleasant, and money speaks to everything. 20Do 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.