1 As dead flies spoil a jar of perfumed oil, a little folly weighs heavier than wisdom and honor.
2 The heart of the wise man leads him to the right, the heart of the fool leads him to the left.
3 When the fool is on the road, he goes the wrong way and to all he meets he says, “There goes another fool.”
4 If the ruler gets angry with you, do not stir, for composure prevents many grave mistakes.
5 An evil I discovered under the sun, an error of rulers: 6 folly is exalted to the heights while rich men take the lowest places. 7 I have seen slaves riding on hor ses, princes go ing on foot like slaves.
8 He who digs a pit may fall into it and he who pierces a wall may be bitten by a serpent;
9 he who quarries stones may be hurt by them and he who splits logs may be wounded;
10 if the axe is blunt and the edge not sharpened, you must strike stronger blows, in all this gain with wisdom. 11 But if the serpent doesn’t allow itself to be charm ed and bites, what did the charmer gain?
12 The words from the lips of a wise man are gracious but the lips of a fool bring about his own ruin. 13 Folly marks the beginning of his speech and pure madness, the end. 14 Let him multiply his words! (Man does not know what will happen and who will let him know what comes after him?) 15 Any work wearies the fool; he doesn’t even know the way to go to town.
16 Alas for you, O land! if your ruler is a young man whose princes feast in the morning. 17 Happy the land where the king is nobly born and where the princes eat at appropriate times, as fitting to people, rather than being drunk.
18 Laziness in man causes a ceiling to sag and because of a man’s slackness a house leaks.
19 Man prepares a meal for pleasure; wine gives cheer to life while money is the answer to everything.
20 Even in your mind do not curse the king and in your bedroom do not curse the rich, for the birds of the air may tell what you say and winged carriers will make it known.