1Dead flies make the perfumer’s ointment stink, ferment; a little folly outweighs wisdom, esteem.
2A wise man’s heart is at his right hand, but a fool’s heart at his left.
3And also, when a fool walks along the way, his heart fails, and he shows everyone that he is a fool.
4If the spirit of the ruler rises against you, do not leave your post, for calmness lays to rest great faults.
5There is an evil I have seen under the sun, as a mistake coming from the ruler:
6Folly is set in many high positions, while the rich sit in a humble place.
7I have seen servants on horses – and rulers walking on the ground like servants.
8He who digs a pit falls into it, and whoever breaks through a wall is bitten by a snake.
9He who quarries stones is hurt by them. He who splits wood is endangered by it.
10If an iron tool is blunt, and one does not sharpen the edge, then he needs more strength, and wisdom is advantageous to make right.
11If the snake bites without enchantment, then ‘the master of the tongue’ is no better!
12Words of a wise man’s mouth show favour, but the lips of a fool swallow him up;
13the beginning of the words of his mouth is foolishness, and the end of his talk is wicked madness.
14And a fool increases words; a man knows not what shall come to be; and who declares to him what shall be after him?
15The labour of fools wearies them, because not one knows how to go to the city!
16Woe to you, O land, when your sovereign is a youth, and your rulers feast in the morning!
17Blessed are you, O land, when your sovereign is the son of nobles, and your rulers feast in due season – for strength and not for drunkenness!
18Because of laziness the framework tumbles, and through idleness of hands the house leaks.
19A feast is made for laughter, and wine gladdens life; and the silver answers all.
20Do not curse the sovereign, even in your thought; do not curse the rich, even in your bedroom; for a bird of the heavens conveys the voice, and a bird in flight makes the matter known.