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Ecclesiastes 10 Christian Standard Bible (CSB)

The Burden of Folly

10 Dead flies make a perfumer’s oil ferment and stink;
so a little folly outweighs wisdom and honor.
A wise person’s heart goes to the[a] right,
but a fool’s heart to the left.
Even when the fool walks along the road, his heart lacks sense,
and he shows everyone he is a fool.
If the ruler’s anger rises against you, don’t leave your post,
for calmness puts great offenses to rest.

There is an evil I have seen under the sun, an error proceeding from the presence of the ruler:

The fool is appointed to great heights,
but the rich remain in lowly positions.
I have seen slaves on horses,
but princes walking on the ground like slaves.

The one who digs a pit may fall into it,
and the one who breaks through a wall may be bitten by a snake.
The one who quarries stones may be hurt by them;
the one who splits logs may be endangered by them.
10 If the ax is dull, and one does not sharpen its edge,
then one must exert more strength;
however, the advantage of wisdom is that it brings success.
11 If the snake bites before it is charmed,
then there is no advantage for the charmer.[b]
12 The words from the mouth of a wise person are gracious,
but the lips of a fool consume him.
13 The beginning of the words from his mouth is folly,
but the end of his speaking is evil madness;
14 yet the fool multiplies words.
No one knows what will happen,
and who can tell anyone what will happen after him?
15 The struggles of fools weary them,
for they don’t know how to go to the city.
16 Woe to you, land, when your king is a youth
and your princes feast in the morning.
17 Blessed are you, land, when your king is a son of nobles
and your princes feast at the proper time—
for strength and not for drunkenness.
18 Because of laziness the roof caves in,
and because of negligent hands the house leaks.
19 A feast is prepared for laughter,
and wine makes life happy,
and money[c] is the answer for everything.
20 Do not curse the king even in your thoughts,
and do not curse a rich person even in your bedroom,
for a bird of the sky may carry the message,
and a winged creature may report the matter.


  1. 10:2 Lit his
  2. 10:11 Lit master of the tongue
  3. 10:19 Lit silver
Christian Standard Bible (CSB)

The Christian Standard Bible. Copyright © 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible®, and CSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers, all rights reserved.

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