1 As dead flies cause the perfumer's ointment to stink, so also does a little foolishness to one's reputation of wisdom and honor. 2 A wise man's heart tends toward his right, but a fool's heart tends toward his left. 3 Furthermore, the way a fool lives shows he has no sense; he proclaims to everyone that he's a fool. 4 If your overseer gets angry at you, don't resign, because calmness pacifies great offenses.
5 Here's another tragedy that I've observed on earth, a kind of error that comes from an overseer:
6 Foolishness is given great honor, while the prosperous sit in lowly places. 7 And I have observed servants riding on horses, while princes walk on the ground like servants.
8 Whoever digs a pit may fall into it, and whoever breaks through a wall may suffer a snake bite. 9 Someone who quarries stone might be injured; someone splitting logs can fall into danger. 10 If someone's ax is blunt the edge isn't sharpened then more strength will be needed. Putting wisdom to work will bring success. 11 If a serpent strikes despite being charmed, there's no point in being a snake charmer. 12 The words spoken by the wise are gracious, but the lips of a fool will devour him. 13 He begins his speech with foolishness, and concludes it with evil madness. 14 The fool overflows with words, and no one can predict what will happen. As to what will happen after him, who can explain it? 15 The work of a fool so wears him out that he can't even find his way to town. 16 Woe to the land whose king is a youth and whose princes feast in the morning. 17 That land is blessed whose king is of noble birth, whose princes feast at the right time, for strength, and not to become drunk. 18 Through slothfulness the roof deteriorates, and a house leaks because of idleness. 19 Festivals are for laughter, wine makes life pleasant, and money speaks to everything. 20 Do not curse the king, even in your thoughts. Do not curse the rich, even in your bedroom. For a bird will fly by and tell what you say, or something with wings may talk about it.