Ecclesiastes 10

10 Dead flies cause the oil of the perfumer [a]to send forth an evil odor; so doth a little folly [b]outweigh wisdom and honor. A wise man’s heart is at his right hand; but a fool’s heart at his left. Yea also, when the fool walketh by the way, his [c]understanding faileth him, and he saith [d]to every one that he is a fool. If the spirit of the ruler rise up against thee, leave not thy place; for [e]gentleness allayeth great offences. There is an evil which I have seen under the sun, as it were an error which proceedeth from the ruler: folly is set in great [f]dignity, and the rich sit in a low place. I have seen servants upon horses, and princes walking like servants upon the earth. He that diggeth a pit shall fall into it; and whoso breaketh through a wall, a serpent shall bite him. Whoso [g]heweth out stones shall be hurt therewith; and he that cleaveth wood is endangered thereby. 10 If the iron be blunt, and one do not whet the edge, then must he put to more strength: but wisdom is profitable to direct. 11 [h]If the serpent bite [i]before it is charmed, then is there no advantage in [j]the charmer. 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 [k]his talk is mischievous madness. 14 A fool also multiplieth words: yet man knoweth not what shall be; and that which shall be after him, who can tell him? 15 The labor of fools wearieth every one of them; for he knoweth not how to go to the city. 16 Woe to thee, O land, when thy king is a [l]child, and thy princes eat in the morning! 17 Happy art thou, O land, when thy king is [m]the son of nobles, and thy princes eat in due season, for strength, and not for drunkenness! 18 By slothfulness the [n]roof sinketh in; and through idleness of the hands the house leaketh. 19 A feast is made for laughter, and wine maketh glad the life; and money answereth all things. 20 Revile not the king, no, not in thy thought; and revile not the rich in thy bedchamber: for a bird of the heavens shall carry the voice, and that which hath wings shall tell the matter.


  1. Ecclesiastes 10:1 Or, to stink and putrefy
  2. Ecclesiastes 10:1 Or, him that is valued for wisdom
  3. Ecclesiastes 10:3 Hebrew heart.
  4. Ecclesiastes 10:3 Or, of
  5. Ecclesiastes 10:4 Or, calmness leaveth great sins undone
  6. Ecclesiastes 10:6 Hebrew heights.
  7. Ecclesiastes 10:9 Or, moveth stones
  8. Ecclesiastes 10:11 Or, Surely the serpent will bite where there is no enchantment; and the slanderer is no better
  9. Ecclesiastes 10:11 Hebrew without enchantment.
  10. Ecclesiastes 10:11 Hebrew the master of the tongue.
  11. Ecclesiastes 10:13 Hebrew his mouth.
  12. Ecclesiastes 10:16 Or, servant
  13. Ecclesiastes 10:17 Or, a free man
  14. Ecclesiastes 10:18 Or, rafters sink