Better to be wise than to be a fool
13 I saw another example of wisdom. 14 There was a city that only a few people lived in. A foreign king attacked that city. His army was ready to knock down the walls round the city. 15 But a poor man, who was very wise, lived in the city. And he knew how to save the city. He saved it, but people soon forgot him. 16 So, it may be good to be strong. But it is better to be wise. That is what I thought about it. But if you are poor, nobody listens to you. It does not matter how wise you are. People will not listen to you, anyway.
17 A wise man will speak quietly.
When he speaks quietly, it is good to listen to him.
The loud words of a king that is a fool do not mean a lot. The quiet words of a wise man mean more.
18 A wise person can do more than a soldier can do.
You may be wise. But one bad person can destroy all the good things that you have done.
9:18There is only one thing that a person can be sure about. He or she will die in the end. But while we are alive, we cannot change things. Our life does not seem very fair. It may be difficult, even for a wise man.
1 A jar of perfume soon has a bad smell if there are even a few dead flies in it.
So one silly thing can destroy the good things that a wise man has done.
2 If you are wise, you can do the right thing. You will know what is right. That is why you can do the right thing.
If you think like a fool, you will do wrong things.
3 We know that fools are silly.
It is easy to recognize a fool.
You have only to watch what he does.
Then you will see that he is a fool.
4 Do not leave your job when your master gets angry.
Be quiet and say nothing to him.
Your master will forget that you have made him angry.
He will still let you work for him.
5 I have seen something on the earth that is very bad.
I saw a ruler who did the wrong thing.
6 Rulers give power to fools. But they do not give it to rich people.
7 Rulers let slaves ride on horses.
But the masters of those slaves have to walk.
8 If you dig a deep hole, you will fall into it.
If you knock down a wall, a snake will come out. And it will bite you.
9 You will hurt yourself when you are getting stones from under the ground.
If you are cutting wood, a piece of it might hurt you.
10 If your axe is not sharp, it will be difficult to use.
If you are wise, you can do the right thing. You will know what is right. That is why you can do the right thing.
11 You may know how to cause a snake to do what you want it to do.
But that will not help you if the snake bites you first.
12 People like a wise man because of the things that he says.
But a fool's own words can hurt the fool badly.
13 Fools do not think before they speak.
They say things and then those things cause problems for them. And those things cause problems for other people, too.
14 And fools always talk a lot.
They talk about things that may happen.
But none of us really knows what future things will be like.
15 When a fool does some work, it soon makes him tired.
He is so tired that he forgets the way to town.
16 Sometimes a country will have a very young king.
If he rules like a child, there will be bad problems in that country.
And the leaders of the country might go to parties all the time. And then the problems will be worse.
17 But a country will become rich if its ruler is wise.
It will become rich if its leaders do not go to parties all the time.
18 A man may be too lazy to do repairs to the roof on his house.
If he does not do the repairs, water will get into the house. And the house will fall down.
19 Eat good food and drink good wine. If you do that, you will be happy.
When you have a lot of money, you can buy anything. You can buy anything that you want.
20 Do not say bad things about the king.
Do not say bad things about rich people.
Do not even think that you might do that.
A little bird may hear you. And it might tell people what you said.
10:20This chapter includes several proverbs about people who are wise or not wise. The Teacher has seen the things that happen in our lives. He wants us to understand what he has seen. He shows that somebody may be a fool. But it is certainly better to be wise.