Wisdom and Folly

10 Dead[a] flies [b]putrefy 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.
A wise man’s heart is at his right hand,
But a fool’s heart at his left.
Even when a fool walks along the way,
He lacks wisdom,
(A)And he shows everyone that he is a fool.
If the spirit of the ruler rises against you,
(B)Do not leave your post;
For (C)conciliation[c] pacifies great offenses.

There is an evil I have seen under the sun,
As an error proceeding from the ruler:
(D)Folly is set in [d]great dignity,
While the rich sit in a lowly place.
I have seen servants (E)on horses,
While princes walk on the ground like servants.

(F)He who digs a pit will fall into it,
And whoever breaks through a wall will be bitten by a serpent.
He who quarries stones may be hurt by them,
And he who splits wood may be endangered by it.
10 If the ax is dull,
And one does not sharpen the edge,
Then he must use more strength;
But wisdom [e]brings success.

11 A serpent may bite (G)when it is not charmed;
The [f]babbler is no different.
12 (H)The words of a wise man’s mouth are gracious,
But (I)the lips of a fool shall swallow him up;
13 The words of his mouth begin with foolishness,
And the end of his talk is raving madness.
14 (J)A fool also multiplies words.
No man knows what is to be;
Who can tell him (K)what will be after him?
15 The labor of fools wearies them,
For they do not even know how to go to the city!

16 (L)Woe to you, O land, when your king is a child,
And your princes feast in the morning!
17 Blessed are you, O land, when your king is the son of nobles,
And your (M)princes feast at the proper time—
For strength and not for drunkenness!
18 Because of laziness the [g]building decays,
And (N)through idleness of hands the house leaks.
19 A feast is made for laughter,
And (O)wine makes merry;
But money answers everything.

20 (P)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.

The Value of Diligence

11 Cast your bread (Q)upon the waters,
(R)For you will find it after many days.
(S)Give a serving (T)to seven, and also to eight,
(U)For you do not know what evil will be on the earth.

If the clouds are full of rain,
They empty themselves upon the earth;
And if a tree falls to the south or the north,
In the place where the tree falls, there it shall lie.
He who observes the wind will not sow,
And he who regards the clouds will not reap.

As (V)you do not know what is the way of the [h]wind,
(W)Or how the bones grow in the womb of her who is with child,
So you do not know the works of God who makes everything.
In the morning sow your seed,
And in the evening do not withhold your hand;
For you do not know which will prosper,
Either this or that,
Or whether both alike will be good.

Truly the light is sweet,
And it is pleasant for the eyes (X)to behold the sun;
But if a man lives many years
And (Y)rejoices in them all,
Yet let him (Z)remember the days of darkness,
For they will be many.
All that is coming is vanity.

Seek God in Early Life

Rejoice, O young man, in your youth,
And let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth;
(AA)Walk in the [i]ways of your heart,
And [j]in the sight of your eyes;
But know that for all these
(AB)God will bring you into judgment.
10 Therefore remove [k]sorrow from your heart,
And (AC)put away evil from your flesh,
(AD)For childhood and [l]youth are vanity.

Seek God in Early Life

12 Remember(AE) now your Creator in the days of your youth,
Before the [m]difficult days come,
And the years draw near (AF)when you say,
“I have no pleasure in them”:
While the sun and the light,
The moon and the stars,
Are not darkened,
And the clouds do not return after the rain;
In the day when the keepers of the house tremble,
And the strong men bow down;
When the grinders cease because they are few,
And those that look through the windows grow dim;
When the doors are shut in the streets,
And the sound of grinding is low;
When one rises up at the sound of a bird,
And all (AG)the daughters of music are brought low.
Also they are afraid of height,
And of terrors in the way;
When the almond tree blossoms,
The grasshopper is a burden,
And desire fails.
For man goes to (AH)his eternal home,
And (AI)the mourners go about the streets.

Remember your Creator before the silver cord is [n]loosed,
Or the golden bowl is broken,
Or the pitcher shattered at the fountain,
Or the wheel broken at the well.
(AJ)Then the dust will return to the earth as it was,
(AK)And the spirit will return to God (AL)who gave it.

“Vanity(AM) of vanities,” says the Preacher,
“All is vanity.”

The Whole Duty of Man

And moreover, because the Preacher was wise, he still taught the people knowledge; yes, he pondered and sought out and (AN)set[o] in order many proverbs. 10 The Preacher sought to find [p]acceptable words; and what was written was upright—words of truth. 11 The words of the wise are like goads, and the words of [q]scholars are like well-driven nails, given by one Shepherd. 12 And further, my son, be admonished by these. Of making many books there is no end, and (AO)much study is wearisome to the flesh.

13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter:

(AP)Fear God and keep His commandments,
For this is man’s all.
14 For (AQ)God will bring every work into judgment,
Including every secret thing,
Whether good or evil.


  1. Ecclesiastes 10:1 Lit. Flies of death
  2. Ecclesiastes 10:1 Tg., Vg. omit putrefy
  3. Ecclesiastes 10:4 Lit. healing, health
  4. Ecclesiastes 10:6 exalted positions
  5. Ecclesiastes 10:10 Lit. is a successful advantage
  6. Ecclesiastes 10:11 Lit. master of the tongue
  7. Ecclesiastes 10:18 Lit. rafters sink
  8. Ecclesiastes 11:5 Or spirit
  9. Ecclesiastes 11:9 Impulses
  10. Ecclesiastes 11:9 As you see to be best
  11. Ecclesiastes 11:10 vexation
  12. Ecclesiastes 11:10 Prime of life
  13. Ecclesiastes 12:1 Lit. evil
  14. Ecclesiastes 12:6 So with Qr., Tg.; Kt. removed; LXX, Vg. broken
  15. Ecclesiastes 12:9 arranged
  16. Ecclesiastes 12:10 Lit. delightful
  17. Ecclesiastes 12:11 Lit. masters of assemblies

Excel in Giving

Moreover, brethren, we make known to you the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia: that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and (A)their deep poverty abounded in the riches of their liberality. For I bear witness that according to their ability, yes, and beyond their ability, they were freely willing, imploring us with much urgency [a]that we would receive the gift and (B)the fellowship of the ministering to the saints. And not only as we had hoped, but they first (C)gave themselves to the Lord, and then to us by the (D)will of God. So (E)we urged Titus, that as he had begun, so he would also complete this grace in you as well. But as (F)you abound in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all diligence, and in your love for us—see (G)that you abound in this grace also.

Christ Our Pattern

(H)I speak not by commandment, but I am testing the sincerity of your love by the diligence of others. For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, (I)that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become (J)rich.

10 And in this (K)I give advice: (L)It is to your advantage not only to be doing what you began and (M)were desiring to do a year ago; 11 but now you also must complete the doing of it; that as there was a readiness to desire it, so there also may be a completion out of what you have. 12 For (N)if there is first a willing mind, it is accepted according to what one has, and not according to what he does not have.

13 For I do not mean that others should be eased and you burdened; 14 but by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may supply their lack, that their abundance also may supply your lack—that there may be equality. 15 As it is written, (O)“He who gathered much had nothing left over, and he who gathered little had no lack.”

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  1. 2 Corinthians 8:4 NU, M omit that we would receive, thus changing text to urgency for the favor and fellowship

The Confidence of the Foolish

To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of the sons of Korah.

49 Hear this, all peoples;
Give ear, all inhabitants of the world,
Both low and high,
Rich and poor together.
My mouth shall speak wisdom,
And the meditation of my heart shall give understanding.
I will incline my ear to a proverb;
I will disclose my [a]dark saying on the harp.

Why should I fear in the days of evil,
When the iniquity at my heels surrounds me?
Those who (A)trust in their wealth
And boast in the multitude of their riches,
None of them can by any means redeem his brother,
Nor (B)give to God a ransom for him—
For (C)the redemption of their souls is costly,
And it shall cease forever—
That he should continue to live eternally,
And (D)not [b]see the Pit.

10 For he sees wise men die;
Likewise the fool and the senseless person perish,
And leave their wealth to others.
11 [c]Their inner thought is that their houses will last forever,
Their dwelling places to all generations;
They (E)call their lands after their own names.
12 Nevertheless man, though in honor, does not [d]remain;
He is like the beasts that perish.

13 This is the way of those who are (F)foolish,
And of their posterity who approve their sayings. Selah
14 Like sheep they are laid in the grave;
Death shall feed on them;
(G)The upright shall have dominion over them in the morning;
(H)And their beauty shall be consumed in [e]the grave, far from their dwelling.
15 But God (I)will redeem my soul from the power of [f]the grave,
For He shall (J)receive me. Selah

16 Do not be afraid when one becomes rich,
When the glory of his house is increased;
17 For when he dies he shall carry nothing away;
His glory shall not descend after him.
18 Though while he lives (K)he blesses himself
(For men will praise you when you do well for yourself),
19 He shall go to the generation of his fathers;
They shall never see (L)light.[g]
20 A man who is in honor, yet does not understand,
(M)Is like the beasts that perish.

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  1. Psalm 49:4 riddle
  2. Psalm 49:9 experience corruption
  3. Psalm 49:11 LXX, Syr., Tg., Vg. Their graves shall be their houses forever
  4. Psalm 49:12 So with MT, Tg.; LXX, Syr., Vg. understand (cf. v. 20)
  5. Psalm 49:14 Or Sheol
  6. Psalm 49:15 Or Sheol
  7. Psalm 49:19 The light of life

20 Have I not written to you excellent things
Of counsels and knowledge,
21 (A)That I may make you know the certainty of the words of truth,
(B)That you may answer words of truth
To those who [a]send to you?

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  1. Proverbs 22:21 Or send you

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