As dead flies spoil the perfumer’s oil,
so a little folly outweighs wisdom and honor.
The mind of the wise tends toward the right,
but the mind of the fool toward the left.
Fools lack all sense even when they walk down the street;
they show everyone that they are fools.
If a ruler’s temper rises against you,
don’t leave your post, because calmness alleviates great offenses.

There’s an evil that I have seen under the sun: the kind of mistake that comes from people in power. Fools are appointed to high posts, while the rich sit in lowly positions. I have seen slaves on horseback, while princes walk on foot like slaves.

Whoever digs a pit may fall into it,
and whoever breaks through a wall
may be bitten by a snake.
Whoever quarries stones may be injured by them;
whoever splits logs
may be endangered by them.
10 If an ax is dull
and one doesn’t sharpen it first,
then one must exert more force.
It’s profitable to be skillful and wise.
11 If a snake bites before it’s charmed,
then there’s no profit
for the snake charmer.
12 Words from a wise person’s mouth are beneficial,
but fools are devoured by their own lips.
13 Fools start out talking foolishness
and end up speaking awful nonsense.
14 Fools talk too much!
No one knows what will happen;
no one can say what will happen in the future.
15 The hard work of fools tires them out
because they don’t even know the way to town!
16 Too bad for you, land,
whose king is a boy
and whose princes feast in the morning.
17 Happy is the land
whose king is dignified
and whose princes feast at the right time for energy,
not for drunkenness.
18 Through laziness, the roof sags;
through idle hands, the house leaks.
19 Feasts are made for laughter,
wine cheers the living,
and money answers everything.[a]

20 Don’t curse a king even in private; don’t curse the rich in your bedroom, because a bird could carry your voice; some winged creature could report what you said!


  1. Ecclesiastes 10:19 Or money is everyone's answer.