1Dead flies make the perfumer's ointment give off an evil odour;
so a little folly outweighs wisdom and honour.
2A wise man's heart inclines him toward the right,
but a fool's heart toward the left.
3Even when the fool walks on the road, he lacks sense,
and he says to every one that he is a fool.
4If the anger of the ruler rises against you, do not leave your place,
for deference will make amends for great offences.
5There is an evil which I have seen under the sun, as it were an error proceeding from the ruler: 6folly is set in many high places, and the rich sit in a low place. 7I have seen slaves on horses, and princes walking on foot like slaves.
8He who digs a pit will fall into it;
and a serpent will bite him who breaks through a wall.
9He who quarries stones is hurt by them;
and he who splits logs is endangered by them.
10If the iron is blunt, and one does not whet the edge,
he must put forth more strength;
but wisdom helps one to succeed.
11If the serpent bites before it is charmed,
there is no advantage in a charmer.
12The words of a wise man's mouth win him favour,
but the lips of a fool consume him.
13The beginning of the words of his mouth is foolishness,
and the end of his talk is wicked madness.
14A fool multiplies words,
though no man knows what is to be,
and who can tell him what will be after him?
15The toil of a fool wearies him,
so that he does not know the way to the city.
16Woe to you, O land, when your king is a child,
and your princes feast in the morning!
17Happy are you, O land, when your king is the son of free men,
and your princes feast at the proper time,
for strength, and not for drunkenness!
18Through sloth the roof sinks in,
and through indolence the house leaks.
19Bread is made for laughter,
and wine gladdens life,
and money answers everything.
20Even in your thought, do not curse the king,
nor in your bedchamber curse the rich;
for a bird of the air will carry your voice,
or some winged creature tell the matter.
Scripture quotations are from the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright © 1946, 1952, 1957 and 1971 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.