Bible: Ecclesiastes 10

10:1 One dead fly 1  makes the perfumer’s ointment give off a rancid stench, 2 

so a little folly can outweigh 3  much wisdom. 4 

Wisdom Can Be Nullified By the Caprice of Rulers

10:2 A wise person’s good sense protects him, 5 

but a fool’s lack of sense leaves him vulnerable. 6 

10:3 Even when a fool walks along the road he lacks sense, 7 

and shows 8  everyone what a fool he is. 9 

10:4 If the anger 10  of the ruler flares up 11  against you, do not resign 12  from your position, 13 

for a calm 14  response 15  can undo 16  great offenses.

10:5 I have seen another 17  misfortune 18  on the earth: 19 

It is an error a ruler makes. 20 

10:6 Fools 21  are placed in many positions of authority, 22 

while wealthy men sit in lowly positions.

10:7 I have seen slaves 23  on horseback

and princes walking on foot 24  like slaves.

Wisdom is Needed to Avert Dangers in Everyday Life

10:8 One who digs a pit may 25  fall into it,

and one who breaks through a wall may be bitten by a snake. 26 

10:9 One who quarries stones may be injured by them;

one who splits logs may be endangered by them.

10:10 If an iron axhead 27  is blunt and a workman 28  does not sharpen 29  its edge, 30 

he must exert a great deal of effort; 31 

so wisdom has the advantage of giving success.

10:11 If the snake should bite before it is charmed, 32 

the snake charmer 33  is in trouble. 34 

Words and Works of Wise Men and Fools

10:12 The words of a wise person 35  win him 36  favor, 37 

but the words 38  of a fool are self-destructive. 39 

10:13 At the beginning his words 40  are foolish

and at the end 41  his talk 42  is wicked madness, 43 

10:14 yet a fool keeps on babbling. 44 

No one knows what will happen;

who can tell him what will happen in the future? 45 

10:15 The toil of a stupid fool 46  wears him out, 47 

because he does not even know the way to the city. 48 

The Problem with Foolish Rulers

10:16 Woe to you, O land, when your king is childish, 49 

and your princes feast in the morning!

10:17 Blessed are you, O land, when your king is the son of nobility, 50 

and your princes feast at the proper time 51 with self-control and not in drunkenness. 52 

10:18 Because of laziness the roof 53  caves in,

and because of idle hands 54  the house leaks.

10:19 Feasts 55  are made 56  for laughter,

and wine makes life merry, 57 

but money is the answer 58  for everything.

10:20 Do not curse a king even in your thoughts,

and do not curse the rich 59  while in your bedroom; 60 

for a bird 61  might report what you are thinking, 62 

or some winged creature 63  might repeat your 64  words. 65 

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