Dead flies cause the oil of the perfumer to send forth an evil odor: so does a little folly outweigh wisdom and honor. 2 A wise man’s heart is at his right hand; but a fool’s heart at his left. 3 Yes also, when the fool walks by the way, his understanding fails him, and he says to every one that he is a fool. 4 If the spirit of the ruler rises up against you, leave not your place; for gentleness allays great offences.
5 There is an evil which I have seen under the sun, as it were an error which proceeds from the ruler: 6 folly is set in great dignity, and the rich sit in a low place. 7 I have seen servants upon horses, and princes walking like servants upon the earth.
8 He that digs a pit shall fall into it; and whoever breaks through a wall a serpent shall bite him. 9 Whoever moves stones shall be hurt with them and he that splits wood is endangered by them. 10 If the iron is blunt, and one does not sharpen the edge, then must he put to more strength: but wisdom is profitable to direct. 11 If the serpent bites before it is charmed, then is there no advantage in 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 his talk is mischievous madness. 14 A fool also multiplies words: yet man knows not what shall be; and that which shall be after him, who can tell him? 15 The labor of fools wearies every one of them; for he knows not how to go to the city.
16 Woe to you, O land, when your king is a child, and your princes eat in the morning! 17 Happy are you, O land, when your king is the son of nobles, and your princes eat in due season, for strength, and not for drunkenness! 18 By slothfulness the roof sinks in; and through idleness of the hands the house leaks. 19 A feast is made for laughter, and wine makes glad the life; and money answers all things. 20 Revile not the king, no, not in your thought; and revile not the rich in your bedchamber: for a bird of the heavens shall carry the voice, and that which has wings shall tell the matter.
Cast your bread upon the waters; for you shall find it after many days.
2 Give a portion to seven, yes, even to eight; for you know not what evil shall be upon the earth. 3 If the clouds are full of rain, they empty themselves upon the earth; and if a tree falls toward the south, or toward the north, in the place where the tree falls, there shall it be. 4 He that observes the wind shall not sow; and he that regards the clouds shall not reap. 5 As you know not what is the way of the wind, nor how the bones do grow in the womb of her that is with child; even so you know not the work of Elohim who does all. 6 In the morning sow your seed, and in the evening withhold not your hand; for you know not which shall prosper, whether this or that, or whether they both shall be alike good. 7 Truly the light is sweet, and a pleasant thing it is for the eyes to behold the sun. 8 But, if a man lives many years, let him rejoice in them all; but let him remember the days of darkness, for they shall be many. All that comes is vanity.
9 Rejoice, O young man, in your youth, and let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth, and walk in the ways of your heart, and in the sight of your eyes; but know that for all these things Elohim will bring you into judgment. 10 Therefore remove sorrow from your heart, and put away evil from your flesh; for youth and the dawn of life are vanity.
Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth, before the evil days come, and the years draw near, when you shall say, I have no pleasure in them; 2 before the sun, and the light, and the moon, and the stars, are darkened, and the clouds return after the rain; 3 in the day when the keepers of the house shall tremble, and the strong men shall bow themselves, and the grinders cease because they are few, and those that look out of the windows shall be darkened, 4 and the doors shall be shut in the street; when the sound of the grinding is low, and one shall rise up at the voice of a bird, and all the daughters of music shall be brought low; 5 Also, they shall be afraid of that which is high, and terrors shall be in the way; and the almond tree shall blossom, and the grasshopper shall be a burden, and desire shall fail; because man goes to his everlasting home, and the mourner go about the streets: 6 before the silver cord is loosed, or the golden bowl is broken at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern, 7 and the dust returns to the earth as it was, and the spirit returns to Elohim who gave it. 8 Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher; all is vanity.
9 And further, because the Preacher was wise, he still taught the people knowledge; yes, he pondered, and sought out, and set in order many proverbs. 10 The Preacher sought to find out acceptable words, and that which was written uprightly, even words of truth.
11 The words of the wise are as goads: and as nails well fastened are the words of the masters of assemblies, which are given from one shepherd. 12 And furthermore, my son, be admonished: of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh.
13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: all has been heard: fear Elohim, and keep his commandments; for this is the whole of man. 14 For Elohim will bring every work into judgment, with every hidden thing, whether it is good, or whether it is evil.