1Dead flies give perfume a bad smell.
And a little foolishness can make a lot of wisdom useless.
2The hearts of wise people lead them on the right path.
But the hearts of foolish people take them down the wrong path.
3A foolish person doesn't have any sense at all.
He shows everyone he is foolish.
He does it even when he is walking along the road.
4Suppose a ruler gets very angry with you.
If he does, don't quit your job in the palace.
Stay calm. That will overcome the effects of your big mistakes.
5Here's something evil I've seen on this earth.
And it's the kind of mistake that rulers make.
6Foolish people are given many important jobs.
Rich people are given unimportant ones.
7I've seen slaves on horseback.
I've also seen princes who were forced to walk as if they were slaves.
8Anyone who digs a pit might fall into it.
Anyone who breaks through a wall might be bitten by a snake.
9Anyone who removes stones from rock pits might get hurt.
Anyone who cuts logs might get wounded.
10Suppose the blade of an ax is dull.
And its edge hasn't been sharpened.
Then more effort is needed to use it.
But skill will bring success.
11Suppose a snake bites before it is charmed.
Then there isn't any benefit in being a snake charmer.
12A man who is wise says gracious things.
But a foolish person is destroyed by what his own lips speak.
13At first what he says is foolish.
In the end his words are very evil.
14He talks too much. No one knows what lies ahead for him.
Who can tell him what will happen after he is gone?
15The work a foolish person does makes him tired.
He doesn't even know the way to town.
16How terrible it is for a land whose king used to be a servant!
How terrible if its princes get drunk in the morning!
17How blessed is the land whose king was born into the royal family!
How blessed if its princes eat and drink at the proper time!
How blessed if they eat and drink to become strong and not to get drunk!
18When a man won't work, the roof falls down.
When his hands aren't busy, the house leaks.
19People laugh at a dinner party.
And wine makes life happy.
People think money can buy everything.
20Don't call down curses on the king.
Don't even think about doing it.
Don't call down curses on rich people.
Don't even do it in your bedroom.
A bird might fly away and carry your words.
It might report what you said.