The Excellence of Wisdom
1Dead flies cause the ointment of the apothecary to send forth a stinking savor: so doth a little folly him that is in reputation for wisdom and honor. 2A wise man's heart is at his right hand; but a fool's heart at his left. 3Yea also, when he that is a fool walketh by the way, his wisdom faileth him, and he saith to every one that he is a fool. 4If the spirit of the ruler rise up against thee, leave not thy place; for yielding pacifieth great offenses.
5There is an evil which I have seen under the sun, as an error which proceedeth from the ruler: 6folly is set in great dignity, and the rich sit in low place. 7I have seen servants upon horses, and princes walking as servants upon the earth. 8He that diggeth a pit shall fall into it; and whoso breaketh a hedge, a serpent shall bite him. 9Whoso removeth stones shall be hurt therewith; and he that cleaveth wood shall be endangered thereby. 10If the iron be blunt, and he do not whet the edge, then must he put to more strength: but wisdom is profitable to direct. 11Surely the serpent will bite without enchantment; and a babbler is no better.
12The words of a wise man's mouth are gracious; but the lips of a fool will swallow up himself. 13The beginning of the words of his mouth is foolishness: and the end of his talk is mischievous madness. 14A fool also is full of words: a man cannot tell what shall be; and what shall be after him, who can tell him? 15The labor of the foolish wearieth every one of them, because he knoweth not how to go to the city.
16Woe to thee, O land, when thy king is a child, and thy princes eat in the morning! 17Blessed art thou, O land, when thy king is the son of nobles, and thy princes eat in due season, for strength, and not for drunkenness! 18By much slothfulness the building decayeth; and through idleness of the hands the house droppeth through. 19A feast is made for laughter, and wine maketh merry: but money answereth all things. 20Curse not the king, no not in thy thought; and curse not the rich in thy bedchamber: for a bird of the air shall carry the voice, and that which hath wings shall tell the matter.