Ecclesiastes 10
New King James Version Par ▾ 

Wisdom and Folly

1Dead[a] flies [b]putrefy the perfumer’s ointment,
And cause it to give off a foul odor;
So does a little folly to one respected for wisdom and honor.
2A wise man’s heart is at his right hand,
But a fool’s heart at his left.
3Even when a fool walks along the way,
He lacks wisdom,
And he shows everyone that he is a fool.
4If the spirit of the ruler rises against you,
Do not leave your post;
For conciliation[c] pacifies great offenses.

5There is an evil I have seen under the sun,
As an error proceeding from the ruler:
6Folly is set in [d]great dignity,
While the rich sit in a lowly place.
7I have seen servants on horses,
While princes walk on the ground like servants.

8He who digs a pit will fall into it,
And whoever breaks through a wall will be bitten by a serpent.
9He who quarries stones may be hurt by them,
And he who splits wood may be endangered by it.
10If the ax is dull,
And one does not sharpen the edge,
Then he must use more strength;
But wisdom [e]brings success.

11A serpent may bite when it is not charmed;
The [f]babbler is no different.
12The words of a wise man’s mouth are gracious,
But the lips of a fool shall swallow him up;
13The words of his mouth begin with foolishness,
And the end of his talk is raving madness.
14A fool also multiplies words.
No man knows what is to be;
Who can tell him what will be after him?
15The labor of fools wearies them,
For they do not even know how to go to the city!

16Woe to you, O land, when your king is a child,
And your princes feast in the morning!
17Blessed are you, O land, when your king is the son of nobles,
And your princes feast at the proper time—
For strength and not for drunkenness!
18Because of laziness the [g]building decays,
And through idleness of hands the house leaks.
19A feast is made for laughter,
And wine makes merry;
But money answers everything.

20Do not curse the king, even in your thought;
Do not curse the rich, even in your bedroom;
For a bird of the air may carry your voice,
And a bird in flight may tell the matter.


  1. Ecclesiastes 10:1 Lit. Flies of death
  2. Ecclesiastes 10:1 Tg., Vg. omit putrefy
  3. Ecclesiastes 10:4 Lit. healing, health
  4. Ecclesiastes 10:6 exalted positions
  5. Ecclesiastes 10:10 Lit. is a successful advantage
  6. Ecclesiastes 10:11 Lit. master of the tongue
  7. Ecclesiastes 10:18 Lit. rafters sink
The Holy Bible, New King James Version, Copyright © 1982 Thomas Nelson. All rights reserved.

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