1Dead flies will make even perfume smell bad.
In the same way, a little foolishness can ruin
a wise man’s fame for wisdom.
2A wise man’s heart leads him in the right way.
But the heart of a foolish person leads him in the wrong way.
3A foolish person is not wise.
It shows in everything he does.
Even as he walks along the road,
he shows everyone how stupid he is.
4Don’t leave your job
just because the ruler is angry with you.
It will help correct your mistakes.
5Here is something else unfair that happens here on earth.
It is the kind of mistake rulers make:
6Foolish people are given important positions
while rich people are given less important ones.
7I have seen servants ride on horses
while princes walk beside them on foot.
8Anyone who digs a pit might fall into it.
Anyone who knocks down a wall might be bitten by a snake.
9Anyone who moves large stones might be hurt by them.
And anyone who cuts logs might get hurt while doing it.
10Cutting logs with a dull ax
makes you work harder.
A wise man will sharpen his ax.
In the same way, wisdom can make any job easier.
11Someone might know how to control snakes.
But what good is such wisdom if the snake has already bitten him?
12A wise man’s words bring him praise.
But a foolish person’s words will destroy him.
13A foolish person begins by saying something foolish.
In the end he is saying even crazier things.
14A foolish person talks too much about what he will do.
No one knows the future.
No one can tell him what will happen after he dies.
15A foolish person doesn’t know even the most obvious things.
He can’t even find his way back to town.
So he has to wear himself out working.
The Value of Work
16How terrible it will be for a country
if its king is a child.
How terrible it will be for that country
if its leaders have parties all the time.
17A country is well off
if its king comes from a good family.
It is good for a country
if its leaders control their eating and drinking.
They should eat and drink for strength,
not to get drunk.
18If a person is lazy and doesn’t repair the roof,
it will begin to fall.
If he refuses to fix it,
the house will leak.
19A party makes you feel good.
And wine makes you feel happy.
But both cost you a lot of money.
20Don’t say or think bad things about the king.
And don’t say bad things about rich people even alone in your bedroom.
A little bird might report it to others.
A bird might fly to them and tell all you said.