Wisdom Better than Folly

Ecclesiastes 9

11 r Again I saw that under the sun s the race is not to the swift, nor t the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to the intelligent, nor favor to those with knowledge, but time and u chance v happen to them all. 12 For man w does not know his time. Like fish that are taken in an evil net, and x like birds that are caught in a snare, so the children of man are y snared at an evil time, when it suddenly falls upon them.

13 I have also seen this example of wisdom under the sun, and it seemed great to me. 14 There was a little city with few men in it, and a great king came against it and besieged it, building great siegeworks against it. 15 But there was found in it z a poor, wise man, and he by his a wisdom delivered the city. Yet no one remembered that poor man. 16 But I say that b wisdom is better than might, though c the poor man's wisdom is despised and his words are not heard.

17 The words of the wise heard in d quiet are better than the shouting of a ruler among fools. 18 e Wisdom is better than weapons of war, but f one sinner destroys much good.

Ecclesiastes 10

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
    Ecclesiastes 4:1
    Again I saw all the oppressions that are done under the sun. And behold, the tears of the oppressed, and they had no one to comfort them! On the side of their oppressors there was power, and there was no one to comfort them.
    Ecclesiastes 4:7
    Again, I saw vanity under the sun:
  2. Cross References
    Amos 2:14 - 15
    Flight shall perish from the swift, and the strong shall not retain his strength, nor shall the mighty save his life.
    Romans 9:16
    So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy.
  3. Cross References
    2 Chronicles 20:15
    And he said, "Listen, all Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem and King Jehoshaphat: Thus says the Lord to you, 'Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed at this great horde, for the battle is not yours but God's.
    Jeremiah 9:23
    Thus says the Lord : "Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches.
  4. Cross References
    1 Kings 22:34
    But a certain man drew his bow at random and struck the king of Israel between the scale armor and the breastplate. Therefore he said to the driver of his chariot, "Turn around and carry me out of the battle, for I am wounded.
  5. 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.
  6. Cross References
    Ecclesiastes 8:7
    For he does not know what is to be, for who can tell him how it will be?
  7. Cross References
    Proverbs 7:23
    Till an arrow pierces its liver; as a bird rushes into a snare; he does not know that it will cost him his life.
  8. Cross References
    Proverbs 29:6
    An evil man is ensnared in his transgression, but a righteous man sings and rejoices.
    Ezekiel 12:13
    And I will spread my net over him, and he shall be taken in my snare. And I will bring him to Babylon, the land of the Chaldeans, yet he shall not see it, and he shall die there.
    Hosea 7:12
    As they go, I will spread over them my net; I will bring them down like birds of the heavens; I will discipline them according to the report made to their congregation.
    Luke 21:34 - 35
    But watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap.
    1 Thessalonians 5:3
    While people are saying, "There is peace and security," then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.
  9. Cross References
    Ecclesiastes 4:13
    Better was a poor and wise youth than an old and foolish king who no longer knew how to take advice.
  10. Cross References
    Ecclesiastes 9:18
    Wisdom is better than weapons of war, but one sinner destroys much good.
    2 Samuel 20:22
    Then the woman went to all the people in her wisdom. And they cut off the head of Sheba the son of Bichri and threw it out to Joab. So he blew the trumpet, and they dispersed from the city, every man to his home. And Joab returned to Jerusalem to the king.
  11. Cross References
    Ecclesiastes 7:19
    Wisdom gives strength to the wise man more than ten rulers who are in a city.
  12. Cross References
    Mark 6:2 - 3
    And on the Sabbath he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astonished, saying, "Where did this man get these things? What is the wisdom given to him? How are such mighty works done by his hands?
  13. Cross References
    Ecclesiastes 4:6
    Better is a handful of quietness than two hands full of toil and a striving after wind.
  14. Cross References
    Ecclesiastes 9:16
    But I say that wisdom is better than might, though the poor man's wisdom is despised and his words are not heard.
  15. Cross References
    Joshua 7:1
    But the people of Israel broke faith in regard to the devoted things, for Achan the son of Carmi, son of Zabdi, son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took some of the devoted things. And the anger of the Lord burned against the people of Israel.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. 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.
  21. 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?
  22. 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.
  23. 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.
  24. 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.
  25. Cross References
    Psalms 7:15
    He makes a pit, digging it out, and falls into the hole that he has made.
  26. 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.
  27. 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.
  28. 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.
  29. 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.
  30. 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?
  31. Cross References
    Proverbs 18:7
    A fool's mouth is his ruin, and his lips are a snare to his soul.
  32. Cross References
    Proverbs 15:2
    The tongue of the wise commends knowledge, but the mouths of fools pour out folly.
  33. 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?
  34. 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.
  35. 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.
  36. 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!
  37. 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.
  38. 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.
  39. Cross References
    Exodus 22:28
    You shall not revile God, nor curse a ruler of your people.
  40. 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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