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Ecclesiastes 10 New King James Version (NKJV)

Wisdom and Folly

10 Dead[a] flies [b]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.
A wise man’s heart is at his right hand,
But a fool’s heart at his left.
Even when a fool walks along the way,
He lacks wisdom,
And he shows everyone that he is a fool.
If the spirit of the ruler rises against you,
Do not leave your post;
For conciliation[c] pacifies great offenses.

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

He who digs a pit will fall into it,
And whoever breaks through a wall will be bitten by a serpent.
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 [e]brings success.

11 A serpent may bite when it is not charmed;
The [f]babbler is no different.
12 The words of a wise man’s mouth are gracious,
But 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 A fool also multiplies words.
No man knows what is to be;
Who can tell him 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 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 princes feast at the proper time—
For strength and not for drunkenness!
18 Because of laziness the [g]building decays,
And through idleness of hands the house leaks.
19 A feast is made for laughter,
And wine makes merry;
But money answers everything.

20 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.

Footnotes:

  1. Ecclesiastes 10:1 Lit. Flies of death
  2. Ecclesiastes 10:1 Tg., Vg. omit putrefy
  3. Ecclesiastes 10:4 Lit. healing, health
  4. Ecclesiastes 10:6 exalted positions
  5. Ecclesiastes 10:10 Lit. is a successful advantage
  6. Ecclesiastes 10:11 Lit. master of the tongue
  7. Ecclesiastes 10:18 Lit. rafters sink
New King James Version (NKJV)

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Ecclesiastes 10 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

A Little Foolishness

10 Dead flies turn a perfumer’s oil rancid, so a little foolishness is more [a]potent than wisdom and honor. A wise person’s heart directs him toward the right, but the foolish person’s heart directs him toward the left. Even when the fool walks along the road, his [b]sense is lacking, and he [c]demonstrates to everyone that he is a fool. If the ruler’s [d]temper rises against you, do not abandon your place, because composure puts great offenses to rest.

There is an evil I have seen under the sun, like a mistake that proceeds from the ruler: foolishness is set in many exalted places while the rich sit in humble places. I have seen slaves riding on horses and princes walking like slaves on the land.

One who digs a pit may fall into it, and a serpent may bite one who breaks through a wall. One who quarries stones may be hurt by them, and one who splits logs may be endangered by them. 10 If the [e]axe is dull and he does not sharpen its [f]edge, then he must exert more strength. Wisdom has the advantage of bringing success. 11 If the serpent bites [g]before being charmed, there is no benefit for the charmer. 12 Words from the mouth of a wise person are gracious, while the lips of a fool consume him; 13 the beginning of [h]his talking is foolishness, and the end of [i]it is evil insanity. 14 Yet the fool multiplies words. No person knows what will happen, and who can tell him what will come after him? 15 The labor of [j]a fool makes him so weary that he does not even know how to go to a city. 16 Woe to you, land whose king is a boy, and whose princes [k]feast in the morning. 17 Blessed are you, land whose king is of nobility, and whose princes eat at the appropriate time—for strength and not for drunkenness. 18 Through extreme laziness the rafters sag, and through idleness the house leaks. 19 People prepare a meal for enjoyment, wine makes life joyful, and money [l]is the answer to everything. 20 Furthermore, in your bedroom do not curse a king, and in your sleeping rooms do not curse a rich person; for a bird of the sky will bring the sound, and the winged one will make your word known.

Footnotes:

  1. Ecclesiastes 10:1 Lit costly
  2. Ecclesiastes 10:3 Lit heart
  3. Ecclesiastes 10:3 Lit says
  4. Ecclesiastes 10:4 Lit spirit
  5. Ecclesiastes 10:10 Lit iron
  6. Ecclesiastes 10:10 Lit faces
  7. Ecclesiastes 10:11 Lit with no incantation
  8. Ecclesiastes 10:13 Lit the words of his mouth
  9. Ecclesiastes 10:13 Lit his mouth
  10. Ecclesiastes 10:15 Lit fools make
  11. Ecclesiastes 10:16 Lit eat
  12. Ecclesiastes 10:19 Lit answers all
New American Standard Bible (NASB)

New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995, 2020 by The Lockman Foundation. All rights reserved.

Ecclesiastes 10 Amplified Bible (AMP)

A Little Foolishness

10 Dead flies make the oil of the perfumer give off a foul odor; so a little foolishness [in one who is esteemed] outweighs wisdom and honor. A wise man’s heart turns him toward the right [which is the way of blessing], but a fool’s heart turns him toward the left [which is the way of condemnation]. Even when a fool walks along the road, his [common] sense and good judgment fail him and he demonstrates to everyone that he is a fool. If the temper of the ruler rises against you, do not leave your post [showing resistance], because composure and calmness prevent great offenses.

There is an evil I have seen under the sun, like an error which proceeds from the ruler— folly is set in many exalted places and in great dignity while the rich sit in humble places. I have seen slaves riding on horses and princes walking like slaves on the ground.

He who digs a pit [for others] may fall into it, and a serpent may bite him who breaks through a [stone] wall. He who quarries stones may be hurt with them, and he who splits logs may be endangered by them. 10 If the axe is dull and he does not sharpen its edge, then he must exert more strength; but wisdom [to sharpen the axe] helps him succeed [with less effort]. 11 If the serpent bites before being charmed, then there is no profit for the charmer. 12 The words of a wise man’s mouth are gracious and win him favor, but the lips of a fool consume him; 13 the beginning of [a]his talking is foolishness and the end of his talk is wicked madness. 14 Yet the fool multiplies words, though no man knows what will happen, and who can tell him what will come after he is gone? 15 The labor of a fool so wearies him [because he is ignorant] that he does not even know how to go to a city. 16 Woe to you, O land, when your king is a child and when your [incompetent] officials and princes feast in the morning. 17 Blessed [prosperous and admired] are you, O land, when your king is a man of noble birth, and your princes and officials feast at the proper time—for strength and not for drunkenness. 18 Through laziness the rafters [of state affairs] decay and the roof sags, and through idleness [the roof of] the house leaks. 19 The officials make a feast for enjoyment [instead of repairing what is broken], and serve wine to make life merry, and money is the answer to everything. 20 Moreover, do not curse the king, even in your bedroom, and in your sleeping rooms do not curse the rich, for a bird of the air will carry the sound and a winged creature will make the matter known.

Footnotes:

  1. Ecclesiastes 10:13 Lit the words of his mouth.
Amplified Bible (AMP)

Copyright © 2015 by The Lockman Foundation, La Habra, CA 90631. All rights reserved.

Ecclesiastes 10 New International Version (NIV)

10 As dead flies give perfume a bad smell,
    so a little folly outweighs wisdom and honor.
The heart of the wise inclines to the right,
    but the heart of the fool to the left.
Even as fools walk along the road,
    they lack sense
    and show everyone how stupid they are.
If a ruler’s anger rises against you,
    do not leave your post;
    calmness can lay great offenses to rest.

There is an evil I have seen under the sun,
    the sort of error that arises from a ruler:
Fools are put in many high positions,
    while the rich occupy the low ones.
I have seen slaves on horseback,
    while princes go on foot like slaves.

Whoever digs a pit may fall into it;
    whoever breaks through a wall may be bitten by a snake.
Whoever quarries stones may be injured by them;
    whoever splits logs may be endangered by them.

10 If the ax is dull
    and its edge unsharpened,
more strength is needed,
    but skill will bring success.

11 If a snake bites before it is charmed,
    the charmer receives no fee.

12 Words from the mouth of the wise are gracious,
    but fools are consumed by their own lips.
13 At the beginning their words are folly;
    at the end they are wicked madness—
14     and fools multiply words.

No one knows what is coming—
    who can tell someone else what will happen after them?

15 The toil of fools wearies them;
    they do not know the way to town.

16 Woe to the land whose king was a servant[a]
    and whose princes feast in the morning.
17 Blessed is the land whose king is of noble birth
    and whose princes eat at a proper time—
    for strength and not for drunkenness.

18 Through laziness, the rafters sag;
    because of idle hands, the house leaks.

19 A feast is made for laughter,
    wine makes life merry,
    and money is the answer for everything.

20 Do not revile the king even in your thoughts,
    or curse the rich in your bedroom,
because a bird in the sky may carry your words,
    and a bird on the wing may report what you say.

Footnotes:

  1. Ecclesiastes 10:16 Or king is a child
New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Ecclesiastes 10 King James Version (KJV)

10 Dead flies cause the ointment of the apothecary to send forth a stinking savour: so doth a little folly him that is in reputation for wisdom and honour.

A wise man's heart is at his right hand; but a fool's heart at his left.

Yea also, when he that is a fool walketh by the way, his wisdom faileth him, and he saith to every one that he is a fool.

If the spirit of the ruler rise up against thee, leave not thy place; for yielding pacifieth great offences.

There is an evil which I have seen under the sun, as an error which proceedeth from the ruler:

Folly is set in great dignity, and the rich sit in low place.

I have seen servants upon horses, and princes walking as servants upon the earth.

He that diggeth a pit shall fall into it; and whoso breaketh an hedge, a serpent shall bite him.

Whoso removeth stones shall be hurt therewith; and he that cleaveth wood shall be endangered thereby.

10 If the iron be blunt, and he do not whet the edge, then must he put to more strength: but wisdom is profitable to direct.

11 Surely the serpent will bite without enchantment; and a babbler is no better.

12 The words of a wise man's mouth are gracious; but the lips of a fool will swallow up himself.

13 The beginning of the words of his mouth is foolishness: and the end of his talk is mischievous madness.

14 A fool also is full of words: a man cannot tell what shall be; and what shall be after him, who can tell him?

15 The labour of the foolish wearieth every one of them, because he knoweth not how to go to the city.

16 Woe to thee, O land, when thy king is a child, and thy princes eat in the morning!

17 Blessed art thou, O land, when thy king is the son of nobles, and thy princes eat in due season, for strength, and not for drunkenness!

18 By much slothfulness the building decayeth; and through idleness of the hands the house droppeth through.

19 A feast is made for laughter, and wine maketh merry: but money answereth all things.

20 Curse not the king, no not in thy thought; and curse not the rich in thy bedchamber: for a bird of the air shall carry the voice, and that which hath wings shall tell the matter.

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