Ecclesiastes 10:1-20

Ecclesiastes 10:1-20 American Standard Version (ASV)

Dead flies cause the oil of the perfumer to send forth an evil odor; so doth a little folly outweigh wisdom and honor. A wise man’s heart is at his right hand; but a fool’s heart at his left. Yea also, when the fool walketh by the way, his understanding faileth him, and he saith to every one that he is a fool. If the spirit of the ruler rise up against thee, leave not thy place; for gentleness allayeth great offences. There is an evil which I have seen under the sun, as it were an error which proceedeth from the ruler: folly is set in great dignity, and the rich sit in a low place. I have seen servants upon horses, and princes walking like servants upon the earth. He that diggeth a pit shall fall into it; and whoso breaketh through a wall, a serpent shall bite him. Whoso heweth out stones shall be hurt therewith; and he that cleaveth wood is endangered thereby. If the iron be blunt, and one do not whet the edge, then must he put to more strength: but wisdom is profitable to direct. If the serpent bite before it is charmed, then is there no advantage in the charmer. The words of a wise man’s mouth are gracious; but the lips of a fool will swallow up himself. The beginning of the words of his mouth is foolishness; and the end of his talk is mischievous madness. A fool also multiplieth words: yet man knoweth not what shall be; and that which shall be after him, who can tell him? The labor of fools wearieth every one of them; for he knoweth not how to go to the city. Woe to thee, O land, when thy king is a child, and thy princes eat in the morning! Happy 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! By slothfulness the roof sinketh in; and through idleness of the hands the house leaketh. A feast is made for laughter, and wine maketh glad the life; and money answereth all things. Revile not the king, no, not in thy thought; and revile not the rich in thy bedchamber: for a bird of the heavens shall carry the voice, and that which hath wings shall tell the matter.

Ecclesiastes 10:1-20 New International Version (NIV)

As dead flies give perfume a bad smell, so a little folly outweighs wisdom and honor. The heart of the wise inclines to the right, but the heart of the fool to the left. Even as fools walk along the road, they lack sense and show everyone how stupid they are. If a ruler’s anger rises against you, do not leave your post; calmness can lay great offenses to rest. There is an evil I have seen under the sun, the sort of error that arises from a ruler: Fools are put in many high positions, while the rich occupy the low ones. I have seen slaves on horseback, while princes go on foot like slaves. Whoever digs a pit may fall into it; whoever breaks through a wall may be bitten by a snake. Whoever quarries stones may be injured by them; whoever splits logs may be endangered by them. If the ax is dull and its edge unsharpened, more strength is needed, but skill will bring success. If a snake bites before it is charmed, the charmer receives no fee. Words from the mouth of the wise are gracious, but fools are consumed by their own lips. At the beginning their words are folly; at the end they are wicked madness— and fools multiply words. No one knows what is coming— who can tell someone else what will happen after them? The toil of fools wearies them; they do not know the way to town. Woe to the land whose king was a servant and whose princes feast in the morning. Blessed is the land whose king is of noble birth and whose princes eat at a proper time— for strength and not for drunkenness. Through laziness, the rafters sag; because of idle hands, the house leaks. A feast is made for laughter, wine makes life merry, and money is the answer for everything. Do not revile the king even in your thoughts, or curse the rich in your bedroom, because a bird in the sky may carry your words, and a bird on the wing may report what you say.

Ecclesiastes 10:1-20 The Message (MSG)

Dead flies in perfume make it stink, And a little foolishness decomposes much wisdom. Wise thinking leads to right living; Stupid thinking leads to wrong living. Fools on the road have no sense of direction. The way they walk tells the story: “There goes the fool again!” If a ruler loses his temper against you, don’t panic; A calm disposition quiets intemperate rage. Here’s a piece of bad business I’ve seen on this earth, An error that can be blamed on whoever is in charge: Immaturity is given a place of prominence, While maturity is made to take a backseat. I’ve seen unproven upstarts riding in style, While experienced veterans are put out to pasture. Caution: The trap you set might catch you. Warning: Your accomplice in crime might double-cross you. Safety first: Quarrying stones is dangerous. Be alert: Felling trees is hazardous. Remember: The duller the ax the harder the work; Use your head: The more brains, the less muscle. If the snake bites before it’s been charmed, What’s the point in then sending for the charmer? The words of a wise person are gracious. The talk of a fool self-destructs— He starts out talking nonsense And ends up spouting insanity and evil. Fools talk way too much, Chattering stuff they know nothing about. A decent day’s work so fatigues fools That they can’t find their way back to town. Unlucky the land whose king is a young pup, And whose princes party all night. Lucky the land whose king is mature, Where the princes behave themselves And don’t drink themselves silly. A shiftless man lives in a tumbledown shack; A lazy woman ends up with a leaky roof. Laughter and bread go together, And wine gives sparkle to life— But it’s money that makes the world go around. Don’t bad-mouth your leaders, not even under your breath, And don’t abuse your betters, even in the privacy of your home. Loose talk has a way of getting picked up and spread around. Little birds drop the crumbs of your gossip far and wide.

Ecclesiastes 10:1-20 New American Standard Bible - NASB 1995 (NASB1995)

Dead flies make a perfumer’s oil stink, so a little foolishness is weightier than wisdom and honor. A wise man’s heart directs him toward the right, but the foolish man’s heart directs him toward the left. Even when the fool walks along the road, his sense is lacking and he demonstrates to everyone that he is a fool. If the ruler’s temper rises against you, do not abandon your position, because composure allays great offenses. There is an evil I have seen under the sun, like an error which goes forth from the ruler— folly is set in many exalted places while rich men sit in humble places. I have seen slaves riding on horses and princes walking like slaves on the land. He who digs a pit may fall into it, and a serpent may bite him who breaks through a wall. He who quarries stones may be hurt by them, and he who splits logs may be endangered by them. If the axe is dull and he does not sharpen its edge, then he must exert more strength. Wisdom has the advantage of giving success. If the serpent bites before being charmed, there is no profit for the charmer. Words from the mouth of a wise man are gracious, while the lips of a fool consume him; the beginning of his talking is folly and the end of it is wicked madness. Yet the fool multiplies words. No man knows what will happen, and who can tell him what will come after him? The toil of a fool so wearies him that he does not even know how to go to a city. Woe to you, O land, whose king is a lad and whose princes feast in the morning. Blessed are you, O land, whose king is of nobility and whose princes eat at the appropriate time—for strength and not for drunkenness. Through indolence the rafters sag, and through slackness the house leaks. Men prepare a meal for enjoyment, and wine makes life merry, and money is the answer to everything. Furthermore, in your bedchamber do not curse a king, and in your sleeping rooms do not curse a rich man, for a bird of the heavens will carry the sound and the winged creature will make the matter known.

Ecclesiastes 10:1-20 New Living Translation (NLT)

As dead flies cause even a bottle of perfume to stink, so a little foolishness spoils great wisdom and honor. A wise person chooses the right road; a fool takes the wrong one. You can identify fools just by the way they walk down the street! If your boss is angry at you, don’t quit! A quiet spirit can overcome even great mistakes. There is another evil I have seen under the sun. Kings and rulers make a grave mistake when they give great authority to foolish people and low positions to people of proven worth. I have even seen servants riding horseback like princes—and princes walking like servants! When you dig a well, you might fall in. When you demolish an old wall, you could be bitten by a snake. When you work in a quarry, stones might fall and crush you. When you chop wood, there is danger with each stroke of your ax. Using a dull ax requires great strength, so sharpen the blade. That’s the value of wisdom; it helps you succeed. If a snake bites before you charm it, what’s the use of being a snake charmer? Wise words bring approval, but fools are destroyed by their own words. Fools base their thoughts on foolish assumptions, so their conclusions will be wicked madness; they chatter on and on. No one really knows what is going to happen; no one can predict the future. Fools are so exhausted by a little work that they can’t even find their way home. What sorrow for the land ruled by a servant, the land whose leaders feast in the morning. Happy is the land whose king is a noble leader and whose leaders feast at the proper time to gain strength for their work, not to get drunk. Laziness leads to a sagging roof; idleness leads to a leaky house. A party gives laughter, wine gives happiness, and money gives everything! Never make light of the king, even in your thoughts. And don’t make fun of the powerful, even in your own bedroom. For a little bird might deliver your message and tell them what you said.

Ecclesiastes 10:1-20 King James Version (KJV)

Dead flies cause the ointment of the apothecary to send forth a stinking savour: so doth a little folly him that is in reputation for wisdom and honour. A wise man's heart is at his right hand; but a fool's heart at his left. Yea 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. If the spirit of the ruler rise up against thee, leave not thy place; for yielding pacifieth great offences. There is an evil which I have seen under the sun, as an error which proceedeth from the ruler: folly is set in great dignity, and the rich sit in low place. I have seen servants upon horses, and princes walking as servants upon the earth. He that diggeth a pit shall fall into it; and whoso breaketh an hedge, a serpent shall bite him. Whoso removeth stones shall be hurt therewith; and he that cleaveth wood shall be endangered thereby. If the iron be blunt, and he do not whet the edge, then must he put to more strength: but wisdom is profitable to direct. Surely the serpent will bite without enchantment; and a babbler is no better. The words of a wise man's mouth are gracious; but the lips of a fool will swallow up himself. The beginning of the words of his mouth is foolishness: and the end of his talk is mischievous madness. A fool also is full of words: a man cannot tell what shall be; and what shall be after him, who can tell him? The labour of the foolish wearieth every one of them, because he knoweth not how to go to the city. Woe to thee, O land, when thy king is a child, and thy princes eat in the morning! Blessed 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! By much slothfulness the building decayeth; and through idleness of the hands the house droppeth through. A feast is made for laughter, and wine maketh merry: but money answereth all things. Curse 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.

Ecclesiastes 10:1-20 New Century Version (NCV)

Dead flies can make even perfume stink. In the same way, a little foolishness can spoil wisdom. The heart of the wise leads to right, but the heart of a fool leads to wrong. Even in the way fools walk along the road, they show they are not wise; they show everyone how stupid they are. Don’t leave your job just because your boss is angry with you. Remaining calm solves great problems. There is something else wrong that happens here on earth. It is the kind of mistake rulers make: Fools are given important positions while gifted people are given lower ones; I have seen servants ride horses while princes walk like servants on foot. Anyone who digs a pit might fall into it; anyone who knocks down a wall might be bitten by a snake; anyone who moves boulders might be hurt by them; and anyone who cuts logs might be harmed by them. A dull ax means harder work. Being wise will make it easier. If a snake bites the tamer before it is tamed, what good is the tamer? The words of the wise bring them praise, but the words of a fool will destroy them. A fool begins by saying foolish things and ends by saying crazy and wicked things. A fool talks too much. No one knows the future, and no one can tell what will happen after death. Work wears fools out; they don’t even know how to get home. How terrible it is for a country whose king is a child and whose leaders eat all morning. How lucky a country is whose king comes from a good family, whose leaders eat only at mealtime and for strength, not to get drunk. If someone is lazy, the roof will begin to fall. If he doesn’t fix it, the house will leak. A party makes you feel good, wine makes you feel happy, and money buys anything. Don’t make fun of the king, and don’t make fun of rich people, even in your bedroom. A little bird might carry your words; a bird might fly and tell what you said.

Ecclesiastes 10:1-20 Amplified Bible (AMP)

Dead flies make the oil of the perfumer give off a foul odor; so a little foolishness [in one who is esteemed] outweighs wisdom and honor. A wise man’s heart turns him toward the right [which is the way of blessing], but a fool’s heart turns him toward the left [which is the way of condemnation]. Even when a fool walks along the road, his [common] sense and good judgment fail him and he demonstrates to everyone that he is a fool. If the temper of the ruler rises against you, do not leave your post [showing resistance], because composure and calmness prevent great offenses. There is an evil I have seen under the sun, like an error which proceeds from the ruler— folly is set in many exalted places and in great dignity while the rich sit in humble places. I have seen slaves riding on horses and princes walking like slaves on the ground. He who digs a pit [for others] may fall into it, and a serpent may bite him who breaks through a [stone] wall. He who quarries stones may be hurt with them, and he who splits logs may be endangered by them. If the axe is dull and he does not sharpen its edge, then he must exert more strength; but wisdom [to sharpen the axe] helps him succeed [with less effort]. If the serpent bites before being charmed, then there is no profit for the charmer. The words of a wise man’s mouth are gracious and win him favor, but the lips of a fool consume him; the beginning of his talking is foolishness and the end of his talk is wicked madness. Yet the fool multiplies words, though no man knows what will happen, and who can tell him what will come after he is gone? The labor of a fool so wearies him [because he is ignorant] that he does not even know how to go to a city. Woe to you, O land, when your king is a child and when your [incompetent] officials and princes feast in the morning. Blessed [prosperous and admired] are you, O land, when your king is a man of noble birth, and your princes and officials feast at the proper time—for strength and not for drunkenness. Through laziness the rafters [of state affairs] decay and the roof sags, and through idleness [the roof of] the house leaks. The officials make a feast for enjoyment [instead of repairing what is broken], and serve wine to make life merry, and money is the answer to everything. Moreover, do not curse the king, even in your bedroom, and in your sleeping rooms do not curse the rich, for a bird of the air will carry the sound and a winged creature will make the matter known.

Ecclesiastes 10:1-20 English Standard Version 2016 (ESV)

Dead flies make the perfumer’s ointment give off a stench; so a little folly outweighs wisdom and honor. A wise man’s heart inclines him to the right, but a fool’s heart to the left. Even when the fool walks on the road, he lacks sense, and he says to everyone that he is a fool. If the anger of the ruler rises against you, do not leave your place, for calmness will lay great offenses to rest. There is an evil that I have seen under the sun, as it were an error proceeding from the ruler: folly is set in many high places, and the rich sit in a low place. I have seen slaves on horses, and princes walking on the ground like slaves. He who digs a pit will fall into it, and a serpent will bite him who breaks through a wall. He who quarries stones is hurt by them, and he who splits logs is endangered by them. If the iron is blunt, and one does not sharpen the edge, he must use more strength, but wisdom helps one to succeed. If the serpent bites before it is charmed, there is no advantage to the charmer. The words of a wise man’s mouth win him favor, but the lips of a fool consume him. The beginning of the words of his mouth is foolishness, and the end of his talk is evil madness. A fool multiplies words, though no man knows what is to be, and who can tell him what will be after him? The toil of a fool wearies him, for he does not know the way to the city. Woe to you, O land, when your king is a child, and your princes feast in the morning! Happy are you, O land, when your king is the son of the nobility, and your princes feast at the proper time, for strength, and not for drunkenness! Through sloth the roof sinks in, and through indolence the house leaks. Bread is made for laughter, and wine gladdens life, and money answers everything. Even in your thoughts, do not curse the king, nor in your bedroom curse the rich, for a bird of the air will carry your voice, or some winged creature tell the matter.