Ecclesiastes 10:1-20

10 * Dead flies taint perfumer’s oil with foul-smelling bubbles; a little foolishness outweighs wisdom and standing. 2  A wise man’s heart is toward his right, but a fool’s heart toward his left. 3  And even on the road as the foolish man is walking his brains give out and he tells everybody he is foolish. 4 * If the ruler’s temper rises against you, do not leave your position; for coolness quiets down great faults. 5 * There is an evil which I have seen under the sun, seeming like a blunder that originates among the autocrat’s officers: 6  foolishness is put in many lofty positions and rich men sit in low places; 7  I have seen slaves on horseback and chieftains walking on the ground like slaves. 8  He who digs a pit falls into it, and he who breaks down a wall has, a snake bite him; 9  he who takes out stones gets hurt by them; he who splits wood is in danger by it. 10  If the iron has grown dull and he has not whetted, then he exerts himself; but wisdom is an advantage for giving efficiency. 11  If the snake bites without having been charmed, one is no better off for having a skilled tongue. 12 * The words of a wise man’s mouth are ingratiating, but a fool’s lips swamp him. 13 * The first words of his mouth are foolishness and the last of it is a bad case of craziness; 14  and the foolish fellow makes a lot of talk. Man does not know what will happen, and who is to tell him what is to come after him? 15 ** The fool’s trouble tires him out, as he does not know enough to walk to town. 16  Alas for you, country whose king is a boy and whose generals eat in the morning! 17  Happy are you, country whose king is a son of nobles and whose generals eat at a regular hour, for strength and not for drinking! 18 ** By indolence the timbers sag, and by unlifted hands the roof leaks. 19  They get up meals for fun, and wine makes life merry, and money provides an answer for everything. 20  Do not misspeak a king even mentally, nor a rich man in your bedchambers, for the birds of the air will convey the sound and the winged will carry word.


10:1 Or Carrion flies
10:4 Conj. checks great faults
10:5 Lit. that comes out from before the autocrat
10:12 Lit. a wise man’s mouth is grace (or favor)
10:13 Lit. The beginning of the words of his mouth is
10:15 Unc., susp.
10:15 Lit. Fools’ trouble, she tires him out
10:18 Lit. by lowness of hands
10:18 Lit. the house drips