Ecclesiastes 10

1 A few dead flies in a bottle of perfume cause it to have a bad smell.

In the same way, one foolish thing can destroy a lot of wisdom.

2 If you are wise,

you know the right way to go.

But a fool is stupid and he goes the wrong way.

3 Even when fools walk along the road,

they show that they are stupid.

Everyone can see that they are not wise.

4 If your master becomes angry with you,

do not leave your place.

Be patient and answer him quietly.

Then he will forgive your mistakes.

5 I have seen another terrible thing that happens on the earth.

It happens when a ruler does a silly thing.

6 A ruler may give fools too much authority.

At the same time, rich people have no authority.

7 Slaves ride on horses, as important people do.

At the same time, princes have to walk, as slaves do.

8 If you dig a deep hole, you might fall into it.

If you knock down a wall, a snake might bite you.

9 If you cut stones out of the ground, a stone might hurt you.

If you cut wood into pieces, a piece of it might hurt you.

10 If your axe is not sharp,

you will need to be very strong to use it.

If you are wise, you will make the axe's edge sharp again.

That is how wisdom helps you to do things well.

11 Someone may have power over dangerous snakes.

But that will not help him if the snake bites him first.

12 People respect a wise person,

because of the things that he says.

But the words of a fool will destroy him.

13 When a fool starts to speak,

he says silly things.

When he finishes,

he is saying crazy things that are wicked.

14 But he never stops talking.

Nobody knows what will happen in the future.

Nobody can tell us what will happen after we die.

15 When a fool does any work,

he quickly becomes tired.

He is so tired that he forgets the way to town.

16 A country is in terrible trouble

if its ruler is young and foolish.

If its leaders go to parties all day,

a country is in trouble.

17 But if a country's ruler belongs to a good family,

that country will be a happy place.

Its leaders only enjoy parties at the proper time.

They control themselves and they do not become drunk.

18 If a man is too lazy to work on his house,

its roof will fall down.

Rain will make his rooms wet.

19 Good food and wine help us to laugh and to be happy.

But you need to have money to buy everything.

20 Do not say bad things about the king.

Do not even think about it!

Even when you are in your bedroom,

do not say bad things about rich people.

A little bird might hear you.

It might tell people what you have said.