Ecclesiastes - Chapter 10


The King James Version Basic English Version (BBE)

1 Dead flies cause the ointment of the apothecary to send forth a stinking savour: so doth a little folly him that is in reputation for wisdom and honour.

1 Dead flies make the oil of the perfumer give out an evil smell; more valued is a little wisdom than the great glory of the foolish.

2 A wise man's heart is at his right hand; but a fool's heart at his left.

2 The heart of the wise man goes in the right direction; but the heart of a foolish man in the wrong.

3 Yea also, when he that is a fool walketh by the way, his wisdom faileth him, and he saith to every one that he is a fool.

3 And when the foolish man is walking in the way, he has no sense and lets everyone see that he is foolish.

4 If the spirit of the ruler rise up against thee, leave not thy place; for yielding pacifieth great offences.

4 If the wrath of the ruler is against you, keep in your place; in him who keeps quiet even great sins may be overlooked.

5 There is an evil which I have seen under the sun, as an error which proceedeth from the ruler:

5 There is an evil which I have seen under the sun, like an error which comes by chance from a ruler:

6 Folly is set in great dignity, and the rich sit in low place.

6 The foolish are placed in high positions, but men of wealth are kept low.

7 I have seen servants upon horses, and princes walking as servants upon the earth.

7 I have seen servants on horses, and rulers walking on the earth as servants.

8 He that diggeth a pit shall fall into it; and whoso breaketh an hedge, a serpent shall bite him.

8 He who makes a hole for others will himself go into it, and for him who makes a hole through a wall the bite of a snake will be a punishment.

9 Whoso removeth stones shall be hurt therewith; and he that cleaveth wood shall be endangered thereby.

9 He who gets out stones from the earth will be damaged by them, and in the cutting of wood there is danger.

10 If the iron be blunt, and he do not whet the edge, then must he put to more strength: but wisdom is profitable to direct.

10 If the iron has no edge, and he does not make it sharp, then he has to put out more strength; but wisdom makes things go well.

11 Surely the serpent will bite without enchantment; and a babbler is no better.

11 If a snake gives a bite before the word of power is said, then there is no longer any use in the word of power.

12 The words of a wise man's mouth are gracious; but the lips of a fool will swallow up himself.

12 The words of a wise man's mouth are sweet to all, but the lips of a foolish man are his destruction.

13 The beginning of the words of his mouth is foolishness: and the end of his talk is mischievous madness.

13 The first words of his mouth are foolish, and the end of his talk is evil crime.

14 A fool also is full of words: a man cannot tell what shall be; and what shall be after him, who can tell him?

14 The foolish are full of words; man has no knowledge of what will be; and who is able to say what will be after him?

15 The labour of the foolish wearieth every one of them, because he knoweth not how to go to the city.

15 The work of the foolish will be a weariness to him, because he has no knowledge of the way to the town.

16 Woe to thee, O land, when thy king is a child, and thy princes eat in the morning!

16 Unhappy is the land whose king is a boy, and whose rulers are feasting in the morning.

17 Blessed art thou, O land, when thy king is the son of nobles, and thy princes eat in due season, for strength, and not for drunkenness!

17 Happy is the land whose ruler is of noble birth, and whose chiefs take food at the right time, for strength and not for feasting.

18 By much slothfulness the building decayeth; and through idleness of the hands the house droppeth through.

18 When no work is done the roof goes in, and when the hands do nothing water comes into the house.

19 A feast is made for laughter, and wine maketh merry: but money answereth all things.

19 A feast is for laughing, and wine makes glad the heart; but by the one and the other money is wasted.

20 Curse 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.

20 Say not a curse against the king, even in your thoughts; and even secretly say not a curse against the man of wealth; because a bird of the air will take the voice, and that which has wings will give news of it.




Rights in the Authorized Version are vested in the Crown. Published in the United Kingdom by permission of the Crown"s patentee, Cambridge University Press.

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