1 Dead flies cause the oil of the perfumer to give off a bad odor;
so does a little folly outweigh wisdom and honor.
2 A wise person’s heart inclines him toward his right hand,
but a fool’s heart inclines towards his left.
3 And also, when the fool walks along the road, his understanding fails him
and he says to everyone that he is a fool.
4 If the spirit of the ruler rises up against you, do not leave your place,
for calmness lays great offenses to rest.
5 There is an evil that I have seen under the sun,
the sort of error that proceeds from the one who has power.
6 Folly is set in many high positions,
while the rich sit in a low place.
7 I have seen servants on horses
while officials walk on the ground like servants.
8 The one who digs a pit may fall into it,
and a snake may bite the one who breaks through a wall.
9 Whoever quarries stones may be injured by them.
Whoever splits wood may be endangered by it.
10 If the iron is dull and one does not sharpen the edge,
then he must use more strength;
but wisdom brings success.
11 If the snake bites before it is charmed,
then is there no advantage to having a charmer.
12 The words of a wise person’s mouth are gracious,
but the lips of a fool swallow him up.
13 The beginning of the words of his mouth is foolishness
and the end of his mouth is hurtful madness,
14 yet the fool also multiplies words.
A person does not know what will be;
and what will be after him, who can tell him?
15 The labor of fools wearies them,
for he does not know how to go to a city.
16 Woe to you, O land, when your king is a youth
and your officials feast in the morning!
17 Blessed are you, O land, when your king is the son of noblesa
and your officials feast in due season,
for strength and not for drunkenness!
18 By laziness the rafters sag,
and through idleness of the hands the house leaks.
19 People make food for laughter,
and wine gladdens one’s life,
and money answers everything.
20 Do not curse the king, no, not in your thoughts,
and do not curse the rich in your bedroom:
for a bird of the air may carry your voice,
and that which has wings may tell the matter.