JPS Tanakh 1917
1Dead flies make the ointment of the perfumer fetid and putrid;
So doth a little folly outweigh wisdom and honour.
2A wise man’s understanding is at his right hand;
But a fool’s understanding at his left.
3Yea also, when a fool walketh by the way, his understanding faileth him,
and he saith to every one that he is a fool.
4If the spirit of the ruler rise up against thee,
Leave not thy place;
For gentleness allayeth great offences.
5There is an evil which I have seen under the sun,
Like an error which proceedeth from a ruler:
6Folly is set on great heights,
And the rich sit in low place.
7I have seen servants upon horses,
And princes walking as servants upon the earth.
8He that diggeth a pit shall fall into it;
And whoso breaketh through a fence, a serpent shall bite him.
9Whoso quarrieth stones shall be hurt therewith;
And he that cleaveth wood is endangered thereby.
10If the iron be blunt,
And one do not whet the edge,
Then must he put to more strength;
But wisdom is profitable to direct.
11If the serpent bite before it is charmed,
Then the charmer hath no advantage.
12The words of a wise man’s mouth are gracious;
But the lips of a fool will swallow up himself.
13The beginning of the words of his mouth is foolishness;
And the end of his talk is grievous madness.
14A fool also multiplieth words;
Yet man knoweth not what shall be;
And that which shall be after him,
Who can tell him?
15The labour of fools wearieth every one of them,
For he knoweth not how to go to the city.
16Woe to thee, O land, when thy king is a boy,
And thy princes feast in the morning!
17Happy art thou, O land, when thy king is a free man,
And thy princes eat in due season,
In strength, and not in drunkenness!
18By slothfulness the rafters sink in;
And through idleness of the hands the house leaketh.
19A feast is made for laughter,
And wine maketh glad the life;
And money answereth all things.
20Curse 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.