Ecclesiastes 10:1-20

10  As dead flies cause the perfumer’s oil to stink and bubble, so a little foolishness outweighs wisdom and glory.+  The heart of the wise one leads him in the right way,* but the heart of the stupid one leads him in the wrong way.*+  In whatever way the fool walks, he is lacking good sense,*+ and he lets everyone know that he is a fool.+  If the anger* of a ruler should flare up against you, do not leave your place,+ for calmness allays great sins.+  There is something distressing that I have seen under the sun, the sort of mistake made by those in power:+  Foolishness is put in many high positions, but the rich* remain in low positions.  I have seen servants on horseback but princes walking on foot just like servants.+  The one who digs a pit may fall into it;+ and the one who breaks through a stone wall may be bitten by a snake.  The one who quarries stones may be hurt by them, and the one who splits logs may be endangered by them.* 10  If an iron tool is dull and one does not sharpen its edge, he will need to exert much effort. But wisdom helps to achieve success. 11  If the snake bites before it is charmed, there is no advantage to the skilled charmer.* 12  The words from the mouth of the wise one bring favor,+ but the lips of the stupid one are his ruin.+ 13  The first words out of his mouth are foolishness,+ and his last words are disastrous madness. 14  But the fool keeps on speaking.+ A man does not know what will happen; who can tell him what will come after him?+ 15  The hard work of the stupid one wears him out, for he does not even know how to find his way to the city. 16  How terrible for a land when the king is a boy+ and the princes start their feasting in the morning! 17  How happy for the land when the king is the son of nobles and the princes eat at the proper time for strength, not for drunkenness!+ 18  Because of extreme laziness the roof beams sag, and because of idle hands the house leaks.+ 19  Bread* is made for laughter, and wine makes life enjoyable;+ but money answers every need.+ 20  Even in your thoughts,* do not curse* the king,+ and do not curse the rich in your bedroom; for a bird* may convey the sound,* or a creature with wings may repeat what was said.


Lit., “is at his right hand.”
Lit., “is at his left hand.”
Lit., “his heart is lacking.”
Lit., “spirit; breath.”
Or “the capable.”
Or possibly, “should be careful with them.”
Lit., “the master of the tongue.”
Or “Food.”
Or possibly, “on your bed.”
Or “call down evil upon.”
Lit., “flying creature of the heavens.”
Or “message.”

Study Notes