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The Blue Letter Bible

Ecclesiastes 10 :: New King James Version (NKJV)

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Wisdom and Folly
Unchecked Copy BoxEcc 10:1 - Dead flies putrefy[fn] the perfumer’s ointment,
And cause it to give off a foul odor;
So does a little folly to one respected for wisdom and honor.
Unchecked Copy BoxEcc 10:2 - A wise man’s heart is at his right hand,
But a fool’s heart at his left.
Unchecked Copy BoxEcc 10:3 - Even when a fool walks along the way,
He lacks wisdom,
And he shows everyone that he is a fool.
Unchecked Copy BoxEcc 10:4 - If the spirit of the ruler rises against you,
Do not leave your post;
For conciliation pacifies great offenses.
Unchecked Copy BoxEcc 10:5 - There is an evil I have seen under the sun,
As an error proceeding from the ruler:
Unchecked Copy BoxEcc 10:6 - Folly is set in great dignity,
While the rich sit in a lowly place.
Unchecked Copy BoxEcc 10:7 - I have seen servants on horses,
While princes walk on the ground like servants.
Unchecked Copy BoxEcc 10:8 - He who digs a pit will fall into it,
And whoever breaks through a wall will be bitten by a serpent.
Unchecked Copy BoxEcc 10:9 - He who quarries stones may be hurt by them,
And he who splits wood may be endangered by it.
Unchecked Copy BoxEcc 10:10 - If the ax is dull,
And one does not sharpen the edge,
Then he must use more strength;
But wisdom brings success.
Unchecked Copy BoxEcc 10:11 - A serpent may bite when it is not charmed;
The babbler is no different.
Unchecked Copy BoxEcc 10:12 - The words of a wise man’s mouth are gracious,
But the lips of a fool shall swallow him up;
Unchecked Copy BoxEcc 10:13 - The words of his mouth begin with foolishness,
And the end of his talk is raving madness.
Unchecked Copy BoxEcc 10:14 - A fool also multiplies words.
No man knows what is to be;
Who can tell him what will be after him?
Unchecked Copy BoxEcc 10:15 - The labor of fools wearies them,
For they do not even know how to go to the city!
Unchecked Copy BoxEcc 10:16 - Woe to you, O land, when your king is a child,
And your princes feast in the morning!
Unchecked Copy BoxEcc 10:17 - Blessed are you, O land, when your king is the son of nobles,
And your princes feast at the proper time—
For strength and not for drunkenness!
Unchecked Copy BoxEcc 10:18 - Because of laziness the building decays,
And through idleness of hands the house leaks.
Unchecked Copy BoxEcc 10:19 - A feast is made for laughter,
And wine makes merry;
But money answers everything.
Unchecked Copy BoxEcc 10:20 - Do not curse the king, even in your thought;
Do not curse the rich, even in your bedroom;
For a bird of the air may carry your voice,
And a bird in flight may tell the matter.
NKJV Footnotes
Targum and Vulgate omit putrefy.

New King James Version, © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

The text of the New King James Version (NKJV) appearing on or deriving from this or any other web page is for personal use only. Any other use of the NKJV must be in conformity with the Quotation Policy for the New King James Version. For more information about the New King James Version, the Quotation Policy, and for inquiries about permission to use the New King James Version, go to

For more information on this translation, see the NKJV Preface.

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