1 Dead flies cause a bad smell and ruin#Or “spew” the ointment of the perfumer.
So also a little folly outweighs wisdom and honor.
2The heart of the wise inclines to his right,
but the heart of the fool inclines to his left.
3Even when the fool walks along the road, he lacks sense;
he tells everyone that he is a fool.
4If the anger of the ruler rises against you,
do not leave your post,
for calmness can undo great offenses.
5There is an evil I have seen under the sun—
it is an error that proceeds from a ruler!
6The fool is set in many high places,
but the rich sit in lowly places.
7I have even seen slaves riding on horses
and princes walking like slaves on the earth!
Accidents Happen—Even to Professionals
8Whoever digs a pit will fall into it.
Whoever breaks through a wall, a snake will bite him.
9Whoever quarries#Literally “breaks out” stones will be wounded by them.
Whoever splits logs will be endangered by them.
Hard Work and Skill Alone Cannot Succeed—Wisdom is Necessary
10If the ax is blunt but one does not sharpen its edge,
he must exert more effort,#Literally “he must be more strength”
but the advantage of wisdom is it brings success.
11If the snake bites before the charming,
the snake charmer will not succeed.#Literally “there is no advantage to the owner of the charm”
The Consequences of Foolishness
12The wise man wins favor by the words of his mouth,
but the fool is devoured by his own lips.
13He begins by saying what is foolish
and ends by uttering what is wicked delusion.
14The fool talks too much,#Literally “increases words”
for no one knows what will be.
Who can tell anyone what will happen in the future?#Literally “after him”
15The fool is so worn out by a hard day’s work
he cannot even find his way home at night.#Or “for he knows not to go to a city”
16Woe to you, O land, when your king is a youth
and your princes feast in the morning.
17Blessed are you, O land, when your king is a son of nobility
and your princes feast at the proper time—
to gain strength and not to get drunk.
18Through sloth the roof sinks in,
and through idleness of hands the house leaks.
19Feasts are held for celebration,#Literally “They make bread for laughter”
wine cheers the living,
and money answers everything.
20Do not curse the king even in your thoughts,
and do not curse the rich even in your own bedroom,
for a bird of the sky may carry your voice;
a winged messenger may repeat your words.