Ecclesiastes 10

The Characteristics of Folly and the Ways it is Manifested
Ecclesiastes 10

The Characteristics of Folly (10:1-3)

Folly Mars the Finest of Reputations (10:1)

1 Dead flies cause the ointment of the apothecary to stink and ferment; so a little folly is weightier than wisdom and honour.

Folly is as Easy to Fall into as Wisdom (10:2)

2 The heart of a wise man is at his right hand; but a fool’s heart at his left.

Folly Betrays its Own Stupidity by Calling Others Fools (10:3)

3 Yea also, when he that is a fool walketh by the way, his sense faileth him, and he saith to every one that he is a fool.

The Wise Thing to Do When the Spirit of the Ruler Rises against You (10:4)

4 If the spirit of the ruler rise up against thee, leave not thy place; for quietness pacifieth great offences.

Folly is Manifested in Government and Labor (10:5-20)

5 There is an evil that I have seen under the sun, as an error that proceedeth from the ruler: 6 folly is set in great dignities, but the rich sit in a low place. 7 I have seen servants upon horses, and princes walking as servants upon the earth. 8 He that diggeth a pit falleth into it; and whoso breaketh down a hedge, a serpent biteth him. 9 Whoso removeth stones is hurt therewith; he that cleaveth wood is endangered thereby. 10 If the iron be blunt, and one do not whet the edge, then must he apply more strength; but wisdom is profitable to give success. 11 If the serpent bite before enchantment, then the charmer hath no advantage. 12 The words of a wise man’s mouth are gracious; but the lips of a fool swallow up himself. 13 The beginning of the words of his mouth is folly; and the end of his talk is mischievous madness. 14 And the fool multiplieth words: yet man knoweth not what shall be; and what shall be after him, who will tell him? 15 The labour of fools wearieth them, because they know not how to go to the city. 16 Woe to thee, O land, when thy king is a child, and thy princes eat in the morning! 17 Happy art thou, O land, when thy king is a son of nobles, and thy princes eat in due season, for strength, and not for drunkenness! 18 By much sloth fulness the framework falleth in; and through idleness of the hands the house drippeth. 19 A feast is made for laughter, and wine maketh life merry; but money answereth everything. 20 Curse not the king, no, not in thy thought; and curse not the rich in thy bedchamber: for the bird of the air will carry the voice, and that which hath wings will tell the matter.