1Dead flies cause the ointment of the apothecary to stink and ferment; so a little folly is weightier than wisdom and honour. 2The heart of a wise man 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 sense 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 quietness pacifieth great offences. 5There is an evil that I have seen under the sun, as an error that proceedeth from the ruler: 6folly is set in great dignities, but the rich sit in a low place. 7I have seen servants upon horses, and princes walking as servants upon the earth. 8He that diggeth a pit falleth into it; and whoso breaketh down a hedge, a serpent biteth him. 9Whoso removeth stones is hurt therewith; he that cleaveth wood is endangered thereby. 10If the iron be blunt, and one do not whet the edge, then must he apply more strength; but wisdom is profitable to give success. 11If the serpent bite before enchantment, then the charmer hath no advantage.
12The words of a wise man's mouth are gracious; but the lips of a fool swallow up himself. 13The beginning of the words of his mouth is folly; and the end of his talk is mischievous madness. 14And the fool multiplieth words: yet man knoweth not what shall be; and what shall be after him, who will tell him? 15The labour of fools wearieth them, because they know 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! 17Happy art thou, O land, when thy king is a son of nobles, and thy princes eat in due season, for strength, and not for drunkenness! 18By much sloth fulness the framework falleth in; and through idleness of the hands the house drippeth. 19A feast is made for laughter, and wine maketh life merry; but money answereth everything. 20Curse not the king, no, not in thy thought; and curse not the rich in thy bedchamber: for the bird of the air will carry the voice, and that which hath wings will tell the matter.