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Ecclesiastes 10Living Bible (TLB)

10 Dead flies will cause even a bottle of perfume to stink! Yes, a small mistake can outweigh much wisdom and honor. A wise man’s heart leads him to do right, and a fool’s heart leads him to do evil. You can identify a fool just by the way he walks down the street!

If the boss is angry with you, don’t quit! A quiet spirit will quiet his bad temper.

There is another evil I have seen as I have watched the world go by, a sad situation concerning kings and rulers: For I have seen foolish men given great authority and rich men not given their rightful place of dignity! I have even seen servants riding, while princes walk like servants!

8-9 Dig a well—and fall into it! Demolish an old wall—and be bitten by a snake! When working in a quarry, stones will fall and crush you! There is risk in each stroke of your ax!

10 A dull ax requires great strength; be wise and sharpen the blade.

11 When the horse is stolen, it is too late to lock the barn.[a]

12-13 It is pleasant to listen to wise words, but a fool’s speech brings him to ruin. Since he begins with a foolish premise, his conclusion is sheer madness. 14 A fool knows all about the future and tells everyone in detail! But who can really know what is going to happen? 15 A fool is so upset by a little work that he has no strength for the simplest matter.[b]

16-17 Woe to the land whose king is a child and whose leaders are already drunk in the morning. Happy the land whose king is a nobleman and whose leaders work hard before they feast and drink, and then only to strengthen themselves for the tasks ahead! 18 Laziness lets the roof leak, and soon the rafters begin to rot. 19 A party gives laughter, and wine gives happiness, and money gives everything! 20 Never curse the king, not even in your thoughts, nor the rich man, either; for a little bird will tell them what you’ve said.


  1. Ecclesiastes 10:11 When the horse is stolen, it is too late to lock the barn, literally, “If the serpent bites before it is charmed, there is no advantage to the charmer.”
  2. Ecclesiastes 10:15 for the simplest matter, literally, “for a trip to the city.”
Living Bible (TLB)

The Living Bible copyright © 1971 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.


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