1Dead flies 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,
#Prov. 13:16; 18:2And he shows everyone that he is a fool.
4If the spirit of the ruler rises against you,
#Eccl. 8:3Do not leave your post;
For #1 Sam. 25:24–33; Prov. 25:15conciliation pacifies great offenses.
5There is an evil I have seen under the sun,
As an error proceeding from the ruler:
6#Esth. 3:1Folly is set in great dignity,
While the rich sit in a lowly place.
7I have seen servants #Prov. 19:10; 30:22on horses,
While princes walk on the ground like servants.
8#Ps. 7:15; Prov. 26:27He 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 brings success.
11A serpent may bite #Ps. 58:4, 5; Jer. 8:17when it is not charmed;
The babbler is no different.
12#Prov. 10:32; Luke 4:22The words of a wise man’s mouth are gracious,
But #Prov. 10:14; Eccl. 4:5the 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.
14#(Prov. 15:2); Eccl. 5:3A fool also multiplies words.
No man knows what is to be;
Who can tell him #Eccl. 3:22; 8:7what will be after him?
15The labor of fools wearies them,
For they do not even know how to go to the city!
16#Is. 3:4, 5; 5:11Woe 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 #Prov. 31:4; Is. 5:11princes feast at the proper time—
For strength and not for drunkenness!
18Because of laziness the building decays,
And #Prov. 24:30–34through idleness of hands the house leaks.
19A feast is made for laughter,
And #Judg. 9:13; Ps. 104:15; Eccl. 2:3wine makes merry;
But money answers everything.
20#Ex. 22:28; Acts 23:5Do 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.