Ecclesiastes 10

Wisdom Better than Folly

1 Dead flies make g the perfumer's ointment give off a stench;
so a little folly outweighs wisdom and honor.
2 h A wise man's heart inclines him to the right,
but a fool's heart to the left.
3 Even when the fool walks on the road, he lacks sense,
and he i says to everyone that he is a fool.
4 If the anger of the ruler rises against you, j do not leave your place,
k for calmness 1 will lay great offenses to rest.

5 There is an evil that I have seen under the sun, as it were l an error proceeding from the ruler: 6 m folly is set in many high places, and the rich sit in a low place. 7 n I have seen slaves o on horses, and princes walking on the ground like slaves.

8 He who p digs a pit will fall into it,
and q a serpent will bite him who breaks through a wall.
9 r He who quarries stones is hurt by them,
and he who s splits logs is endangered by them.
10 If the iron is blunt, and one does not sharpen the edge,
he must use more strength,
but wisdom helps one to succeed. 2
11 If the serpent bites before it is t charmed,
there is no advantage to the charmer.

12 The words of a wise man's mouth u win him favor, 3
but v the lips of a fool consume him.
13 The beginning of the words of his mouth is foolishness,
and the end of his talk is evil madness.
14 w A fool multiplies words,
though no man knows what is to be,
and who can tell him x what will be after him?
15 The toil of a fool wearies him,
for he does not know y the way to the city.

16 z Woe to you, O land, when your king is a child,
and your princes feast in the morning!
17 Happy are you, O land, when your king is the son of the nobility,
and your princes feast at the proper time,
for strength, and not for a drunkenness!
18 Through sloth the roof sinks in,
and through indolence the house leaks.
19 Bread is made for laughter,
and b wine gladdens life,
and c money answers everything.
20 Even in your thoughts, d do not curse the king,
nor in your e bedroom curse the rich,
for a bird of the air will carry your voice,
or some winged creature tell the matter.

  1. Cross References
    Exodus 30:25
    And you shall make of these a sacred anointing oil blended as by the perfumer; it shall be a holy anointing oil.
  2. Cross References
    Ecclesiastes 2:14
    The wise person has his eyes in his head, but the fool walks in darkness. And yet I perceived that the same event happens to all of them.
  3. Cross References
    Proverbs 13:16
    In everything the prudent acts with knowledge, but a fool flaunts his folly.
    Proverbs 18:2
    A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion.
  4. Cross References
    Ecclesiastes 8:3
    Be not hasty to go from his presence. Do not take your stand in an evil cause, for he does whatever he pleases.
  5. Cross References
    1 Samuel 25:24
    She fell at his feet and said, "On me alone, my lord, be the guilt. Please let your servant speak in your ears, and hear the words of your servant.
    1 Samuel 25:32 - 33
    And David said to Abigail, "Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, who sent you this day to meet me!
    Proverbs 25:15
    With patience a ruler may be persuaded, and a soft tongue will break a bone.
  6. Cross References
    Ecclesiastes 5:6
    Let not your mouth lead you into sin, and do not say before the messenger that it was a mistake. Why should God be angry at your voice and destroy the work of your hands?
  7. Cross References
    Esther 3:1
    After these things King Ahasuerus promoted Haman the Agagite, the son of Hammedatha, and advanced him and set his throne above all the officials who were with him.
    Proverbs 28:12
    When the righteous triumph, there is great glory, but when the wicked rise, people hide themselves.
    Proverbs 29:2
    When the righteous increase, the people rejoice, but when the wicked rule, the people groan.
  8. Cross References
    Proverbs 19:10
    It is not fitting for a fool to live in luxury, much less for a slave to rule over princes.
    Proverbs 30:22
    A slave when he becomes king, and a fool when he is filled with food.
  9. Cross References
    Esther 6:8
    Let royal robes be brought, which the king has worn, and the horse that the king has ridden, and on whose head a royal crown is set.
  10. Cross References
    Psalms 7:15
    He makes a pit, digging it out, and falls into the hole that he has made.
  11. Cross References
    Amos 5:19
    As if a man fled from a lion, and a bear met him, or went into the house and leaned his hand against the wall, and a serpent bit him.
  12. Cross References
    1 Chronicles 22:2
    David commanded to gather together the resident aliens who were in the land of Israel, and he set stonecutters to prepare dressed stones for building the house of God.
  13. Cross References
    Deuteronomy 19:5
    As when someone goes into the forest with his neighbor to cut wood, and his hand swings the axe to cut down a tree, and the head slips from the handle and strikes his neighbor so that he dies - he may flee to one of these cities and live.
  14. Cross References
    Jeremiah 8:17
    For behold, I am sending among you serpents, adders that cannot be charmed, and they shall bite you," declares the Lord.
  15. Cross References
    Proverbs 10:32
    The lips of the righteous know what is acceptable, but the mouth of the wicked, what is perverse.
    Proverbs 22:11
    He who loves purity of heart, and whose speech is gracious, will have the king as his friend.
    Luke 4:22
    And all spoke well of him and marveled at the gracious words that were coming from his mouth. And they said, "Is not this Joseph's son?
  16. Cross References
    Proverbs 18:7
    A fool's mouth is his ruin, and his lips are a snare to his soul.
  17. Cross References
    Proverbs 15:2
    The tongue of the wise commends knowledge, but the mouths of fools pour out folly.
  18. Cross References
    Ecclesiastes 3:22
    So I saw that there is nothing better than that a man should rejoice in his work, for that is his lot. Who can bring him to see what will be after him?
  19. Cross References
    Isaiah 35:8
    And a highway shall be there, and it shall be called the Way of Holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it. It shall belong to those who walk on the way; even if they are fools, they shall not go astray.
  20. Cross References
    Isaiah 3:4
    And I will make boys their princes, and infants shall rule over them.
    Isaiah 3:12
    My people - infants are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, your guides mislead you and they have swallowed up the course of your paths.
    2 Chronicles 13:7
    And certain worthless scoundrels gathered about him and defied Rehoboam the son of Solomon, when Rehoboam was young and irresolute and could not withstand them.
  21. Cross References
    Proverbs 31:4
    It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine, or for rulers to take strong drink.
    Isaiah 5:11
    Woe to those who rise early in the morning, that they may run after strong drink, who tarry late into the evening as wine inflames them!
  22. Cross References
    Psalms 104:15
    And wine to gladden the heart of man, oil to make his face shine and bread to strengthen man's heart.
  23. Cross References
    Ecclesiastes 7:12
    For the protection of wisdom is like the protection of money, and the advantage of knowledge is that wisdom preserves the life of him who has it.
  24. Cross References
    Exodus 22:28
    You shall not revile God, nor curse a ruler of your people.
  25. Cross References
    2 Kings 6:12
    And one of his servants said, "None, my lord, O king; but Elisha, the prophet who is in Israel, tells the king of Israel the words that you speak in your bedroom.
    Luke 12:3
    Therefore whatever you have said in the dark shall be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in private rooms shall be proclaimed on the housetops.
English Standard Version (ESV) The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.
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