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Ecclesiastes 10-12American Standard Version (ASV)

10 Dead flies cause the oil of the perfumer [a]to send forth an evil odor; so doth a little folly [b]outweigh wisdom and honor. A wise man’s heart is at his right hand; but a fool’s heart at his left. Yea also, when the fool walketh by the way, his [c]understanding faileth him, and he saith [d]to every one that he is a fool. If the spirit of the ruler rise up against thee, leave not thy place; for [e]gentleness allayeth great offences. There is an evil which I have seen under the sun, as it were an error which proceedeth from the ruler: folly is set in great [f]dignity, and the rich sit in a low place. I have seen servants upon horses, and princes walking like servants upon the earth. He that diggeth a pit shall fall into it; and whoso breaketh through a wall, a serpent shall bite him. Whoso [g]heweth out stones shall be hurt therewith; and he that cleaveth wood is endangered thereby. 10 If the iron be blunt, and one do not whet the edge, then must he put to more strength: but wisdom is profitable to direct. 11 [h]If the serpent bite [i]before it is charmed, then is there no advantage in [j]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 [k]his talk is mischievous madness. 14 A fool also multiplieth words: yet man knoweth not what shall be; and that which shall be after him, who can tell him? 15 The labor of fools wearieth every one of them; for he knoweth not how to go to the city. 16 Woe to thee, O land, when thy king is a [l]child, and thy princes eat in the morning! 17 Happy art thou, O land, when thy king is [m]the son of nobles, and thy princes eat in due season, for strength, and not for drunkenness! 18 By slothfulness the [n]roof sinketh in; and through idleness of the hands the house leaketh. 19 A feast is made for laughter, and wine maketh glad the life; and money answereth all things. 20 Revile not the king, no, not in thy thought; and revile not the rich in thy bedchamber: for a bird of the heavens shall carry the voice, and that which hath wings shall tell the matter.

11 [o]Cast thy bread [p]upon the waters; for thou shalt find it after many days. [q]Give a portion to seven, yea, even unto eight; for thou knowest not what evil shall be upon the earth. If the clouds be full of rain, they empty themselves upon the earth; and if a tree fall [r]toward the south, or [s]toward the north, in the place where the tree falleth, there shall it be. He that observeth the wind shall not sow; and he that regardeth the clouds shall not reap. As thou knowest not what is the way of the [t]wind, nor how the bones do grow in the womb of her that is with child; even so thou knowest not the work of God who doeth all. In the morning sow thy seed, and in the evening withhold not thy hand; for thou knowest not which shall prosper, whether this or that, or whether they both shall be alike good. Truly the light is sweet, and a pleasant thing it is for the eyes to behold the sun. [u]Yea, if a man live many years, let him rejoice in them all; [v]but let him remember the days of darkness, for they shall be many. All that cometh is vanity. Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth, and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth, and walk in the ways of thy heart, and in the sight of thine eyes; but know thou, that for all these things God will bring thee into judgment. 10 Therefore remove [w]sorrow from thy heart, and put away evil from thy flesh; for youth and the dawn of life are vanity.

12 Remember also thy Creator in the days of thy youth, before the evil days come, and the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them; before the sun, and the light, and the moon, and the stars, are darkened, and the clouds return after the rain; in the day when the keepers of the house shall tremble, and the strong men shall bow themselves, and the [x]grinders cease because they are few, and those that look out of the windows shall be darkened, 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; yea, they shall be afraid [y]of that which is high, and terrors shall be in the way; and the almond-tree shall blossom, and the grasshopper [z]shall be a burden, and [aa]desire shall [ab]fail; because man goeth to his everlasting home, and the mourners go about the streets: before the silver cord is [ac]loosed, or the golden bowl is broken, or the pitcher is broken at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern, and the dust returneth to the earth as it was, and the spirit returneth unto God who gave it. Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher; all is vanity. And further, because the Preacher was wise, he still taught the people knowledge; yea, he [ad]pondered, and sought out, and set in order many proverbs. 10 The Preacher sought to find out [ae]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 [af]masters of assemblies, which are given from one shepherd. 12 [ag]And furthermore, my son, be admonished: of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh. 13 [ah]This is the end of the matter; all hath been heard: Fear God, and keep his commandments; for [ai]this is the whole duty of man. 14 For God will bring every work into judgment, [aj]with every hidden thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.


  1. Ecclesiastes 10:1 Or, to stink and putrefy
  2. Ecclesiastes 10:1 Or, him that is valued for wisdom
  3. Ecclesiastes 10:3 Hebrew heart.
  4. Ecclesiastes 10:3 Or, of
  5. Ecclesiastes 10:4 Or, calmness leaveth great sins undone
  6. Ecclesiastes 10:6 Hebrew heights.
  7. Ecclesiastes 10:9 Or, moveth stones
  8. Ecclesiastes 10:11 Or, Surely the serpent will bite where there is no enchantment; and the slanderer is no better
  9. Ecclesiastes 10:11 Hebrew without enchantment.
  10. Ecclesiastes 10:11 Hebrew the master of the tongue.
  11. Ecclesiastes 10:13 Hebrew his mouth.
  12. Ecclesiastes 10:16 Or, servant
  13. Ecclesiastes 10:17 Or, a free man
  14. Ecclesiastes 10:18 Or, rafters sink
  15. Ecclesiastes 11:1 Or, Send forth
  16. Ecclesiastes 11:1 Hebrew upon the face of the waters.
  17. Ecclesiastes 11:2 Or, Divide a portion into seven, yea, even into eight
  18. Ecclesiastes 11:3 Or, in
  19. Ecclesiastes 11:3 Or, in
  20. Ecclesiastes 11:5 Or, spirit
  21. Ecclesiastes 11:8 Or, For
  22. Ecclesiastes 11:8 Or, and remember
  23. Ecclesiastes 11:10 Or, vexation. Or, provocation
  24. Ecclesiastes 12:3 Or, grinding women
  25. Ecclesiastes 12:5 Or, of danger from on high
  26. Ecclesiastes 12:5 Or, shall drag itself along
  27. Ecclesiastes 12:5 Or, the caperberry
  28. Ecclesiastes 12:5 Or, burst
  29. Ecclesiastes 12:6 Or, snapped asunder
  30. Ecclesiastes 12:9 Or, gave ear
  31. Ecclesiastes 12:10 Hebrew words of delight.
  32. Ecclesiastes 12:11 Or, collectors of sentences
  33. Ecclesiastes 12:12 Or, And as for more than these, my son, be warned
  34. Ecclesiastes 12:13 Or, Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter
  35. Ecclesiastes 12:13 Or, this is the duty of all men
  36. Ecclesiastes 12:14 Or, concerning

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