Wisdom Better than Folly

Ecclesiastes 9

11 I returned i and saw under the sun that -
The race is not to the swift,
Nor the battle to the strong,
Nor bread to the wise,
Nor riches to men of understanding,
Nor favor to men of skill;
But time and j chance happen to them all.
12 For k man also does not know his time:
Like fish taken in a cruel net,
Like birds caught in a snare,
So the sons of men are l snared in an evil time,
When it falls suddenly upon them.

13 This wisdom I have also seen under the sun, and it seemed great to me: 14 m There was a little city with few men in it; and a great king came against it, besieged it, and built great 1 snares around it. 15 Now there was found in it a poor wise man, and he by his wisdom delivered the city. Yet no one remembered that same poor man. 16 Then I said:
"Wisdom is better than n strength.
Nevertheless o the poor man's wisdom is despised,
And his words are not heard.

17 Words of the wise, spoken quietly, should be heard
Rather than the shout of a ruler of fools.
18 Wisdom is better than weapons of war;
But p one sinner destroys much good."

Ecclesiastes 10

1 Dead 2 flies 3 putrefy the perfumer's ointment,
And cause it to give off a foul odor;
So does a little folly to one respected for wisdom and honor.
2 A wise man's heart is at his right hand,
But a fool's heart at his left.
3 Even when a fool walks along the way,
He lacks wisdom,
a And he shows everyone that he is a fool.
4 If the spirit of the ruler rises against you,
b Do not leave your post;
For c conciliation 4 pacifies great offenses.

5 There is an evil I have seen under the sun,
As an error proceeding from the ruler:
6 d Folly is set in 5 great dignity,
While the rich sit in a lowly place.
7 I have seen servants e on horses,
While princes walk on the ground like servants.

8 f He who digs a pit will fall into it,
And whoever breaks through a wall will be bitten by a serpent.
9 He who quarries stones may be hurt by them,
And he who splits wood may be endangered by it.
10 If the ax is dull,
And one does not sharpen the edge,
Then he must use more strength;
But wisdom 6 brings success.
11 A serpent may bite g when it is not charmed;
The 7 babbler is no different.

12 h The words of a wise man's mouth are gracious,
But i the lips of a fool shall swallow him up;
13 The words of his mouth begin with foolishness,
And the end of his talk is raving madness.
14 j A fool also multiplies words.
No man knows what is to be;
Who can tell him k what will be after him?
15 The labor of fools wearies them,
For they do not even know how to go to the city!

16 l Woe to you, O land, when your king is a child,
And your princes feast in the morning!
17 Blessed are you, O land, when your king is the son of nobles,
And your m princes feast at the proper time -
For strength and not for drunkenness!
18 Because of laziness the 8 building decays,
And n through idleness of hands the house leaks.
19 A feast is made for laughter,
And o wine makes merry;
But money answers everything.
20 p Do not curse the king, even in your thought;
Do not curse the rich, even in your bedroom;
For a bird of the air may carry your voice,
And a bird in flight may tell the matter.

  1. Cross References
    Jeremiah 9:23
    Thus says the LORD: "Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, Let not the mighty man glory in his might, Nor let the rich man glory in his riches.
    Amos 2:14
    Therefore flight shall perish from the swift, The strong shall not strengthen his power, Nor shall the mighty deliver himself.
    Amos 2:15
    He shall not stand who handles the bow, The swift of foot shall not escape, Nor shall he who rides a horse deliver himself.
  2. Cross References
    1 Samuel 6:9
    "And watch: if it goes up the road to its own territory, to Beth Shemesh, then He has done us this great evil. But if not, then we shall know that it is not His hand that struck us - it happened to us by chance."
  3. Cross References
    Ecclesiastes 8:7
    For he does not know what will happen; So who can tell him when it will occur?
  4. Cross References
    Proverbs 29:6
    By transgression an evil man is snared, But the righteous sings and rejoices.
    Luke 12:20
    "But God said to him, 'Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?'
    Luke 12:39
    But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into.
    Luke 17:26
    And as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man:
    1 Thessalonians 5:3
    For when they say, "Peace and safety!" then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape.
  5. Cross References
    2 Samuel 20:16 - 22
    Then a wise woman cried out from the city, "Hear, hear! Please say to Joab, 'Come nearby, that I may speak with you.'
  6. Cross References
    Ecclesiastes 7:12
    For wisdom is a defense as money is a defense, But the excellence of knowledge is that wisdom gives life to those who have it.
    Ecclesiastes 7:19
    Wisdom strengthens the wise More than ten rulers of the city.
  7. Cross References
    Mark 6:2
    And when the Sabbath had come, He began to teach in the synagogue. And many hearing Him were astonished, saying, "Where did this Man get these things? And what wisdom is this which is given to Him, that such mighty works are performed by His hands!
    Mark 6:3
    Is this not the carpenter, the Son of Mary, and brother of James, Joses, Judas, and Simon? And are not His sisters here with us?" So they were offended at Him.
  8. Cross References
    Joshua 7:1 - 26
    But the children of Israel committed a trespass regarding the accursed things, for Achan the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took of the accursed things; so the anger of the LORD burned against the children of Israel.
    2 Kings 21:2 - 17
    And he did evil in the sight of the LORD, according to the abominations of the nations whom the LORD had cast out before the children of Israel.
  9. Cross References
    Proverbs 13:16
    Every prudent man acts with knowledge, But a fool lays open his folly.
    Proverbs 18:2
    A fool has no delight in understanding, But in expressing his own heart.
  10. Cross References
    Ecclesiastes 8:3
    "Do not be hasty to go from his presence. Do not take your stand for an evil thing, for he does whatever pleases him."
  11. Cross References
    1 Samuel 25:24 - 33
    So she fell at his feet and said: "On me, my lord, on me let this iniquity be! And please let your maidservant speak in your ears, and hear the words of your maidservant.
    Proverbs 25:15
    By long forbearance a ruler is persuaded, And a gentle tongue breaks a bone.
  12. Cross References
    Esther 3:1
    After these things King Ahasuerus promoted Haman, the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, and advanced him and set his seat above all the princes who were with him.
  13. Cross References
    Proverbs 19:10
    Luxury is not fitting for a fool, Much less for a servant to rule over princes.
    Proverbs 30:22
    For a servant when he reigns, A fool when he is filled with food.
  14. Cross References
    Psalms 7:15
    He made a pit and dug it out, And has fallen into the ditch which he made.
    Proverbs 26:27
    Whoever digs a pit will fall into it, And he who rolls a stone will have it roll back on him.
  15. Cross References
    Psalms 58:4
    Their poison is like the poison of a serpent; They are like the deaf cobra that stops its ear.
    Psalms 58:5
    Which will not heed the voice of charmers, Charming ever so skillfully.
    Jeremiah 8:17
    For behold, I will send serpents among you, Vipers which cannot be charmed, And they shall bite you," says the LORD.
  16. Cross References
    Proverbs 10:32
    The lips of the righteous know what is acceptable, But the mouth of the wicked what is perverse.
    Luke 4:22
    So all bore witness to Him, and marveled at the gracious words which proceeded out of His mouth. And they said, "Is this not Joseph's son?
  17. Cross References
    Proverbs 10:14
    Wise people store up knowledge, But the mouth of the foolish is near destruction.
    Ecclesiastes 4:5
    The fool folds his hands And consumes his own flesh.
  18. Cross References
    Proverbs 15:2
    The tongue of the wise uses knowledge rightly, But the mouth of fools pours forth foolishness.
    Ecclesiastes 5:3
    For a dream comes through much activity, And a fool's voice is known by his many words.
  19. Cross References
    Ecclesiastes 3:22
    So I perceived that nothing is better than that a man should rejoice in his own works, for that is his heritage. For who can bring him to see what will happen after him?
    Ecclesiastes 8:7
    For he does not know what will happen; So who can tell him when it will occur?
  20. Cross References
    Isaiah 3:4
    I will give children to be their princes, And babes shall rule over them.
    Isaiah 3:5
    The people will be oppressed, Every one by another and every one by his neighbor; The child will be insolent toward the elder, And the base toward the honorable.
    Isaiah 5:11
    Woe to those who rise early in the morning, That they may follow intoxicating drink; Who continue until night, till wine inflames them!
  21. Cross References
    Proverbs 31:4
    It is not for kings, O Lemuel, It is not for kings to drink wine, Nor for princes intoxicating drink.
    Isaiah 5:11
    Woe to those who rise early in the morning, That they may follow intoxicating drink; Who continue until night, till wine inflames them!
  22. Cross References
    Proverbs 24:30 - 34
    I went by the field of the lazy man, And by the vineyard of the man devoid of understanding.
  23. Cross References
    Judges 9:13
    But the vine said to them, 'Should I cease my new wine, Which cheers both God and men, And go to sway over trees?
    Psalms 104:15
    And wine that makes glad the heart of man, Oil to make his face shine, And bread which strengthens man's heart.
    Ecclesiastes 2:3
    I searched in my heart how to gratify my flesh with wine, while guiding my heart with wisdom, and how to lay hold on folly, till I might see what was good for the sons of men to do under heaven all the days of their lives.
  24. Cross References
    Exodus 22:28
    You shall not revile God, nor curse a ruler of your people.
    Acts 23:5
    Then Paul said, "I did not know, brethren, that he was the high priest; for it is written, 'You shall not speak evil of a ruler of your people.'
New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.
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