Wisdom and Folly
1Dead flies make a perfumer’s oil stink, so a little folly outweighs wisdom and honor.
2The heart of the wise is to his right, and the heart of the fool is to his left.
3Even as the fool walks along the way, his heart lacks sense and tells everyone what a fool he is.
4If a ruler’s spirit rises up against you, do not leave your post, for composure allays great offences.
5There is a wrong I have seen under the sun like an error proceeding from a ruler.
6Fools are placed in many high positions, while the rich sit in low ones.
7I have seen slaves on horses, and princes walking on the ground like slaves.
8Whoever digs a pit may fall into it, and whoever breaks through a fence may be bitten by a snake.
9Whoever quarries stones may be hurt by them, and whoever splits logs may be endangered by them.
10If the iron axe is blunt and one doesn’t sharpen the edge, then he must exert more force. So wisdom has the advantage of giving success.
11If the snake bites before it is charmed, there is no profit for the charmer.
12Words from the mouth of the wise are gracious, but the lips of a fool destroy him.
13The words from his mouth begin as folly and end as grievous madness—
14and the fool multiplies words. No one knows what will happen, and who can tell him what will happen after him?
15The mischief of fools wearies them for he doesn’t know how to go to town.
16Oy to you, O land, when your king is a youth and your princes feast in the morning.
17Happy are you, O land, when your king is a son of nobles, and your princes eat at the proper time— in self-control and not in drunkenness!
18By laziness the rafters sag, and by idle hands the house leaks.
19A feast is made for laughter, and wine makes life glad— but money is the answer for everything.
20Do not ridicule the king— even in your thoughts, nor curse the rich in your bedroom. For a bird of the air may carry your voice, and a winged creature may report your words.