Chapter 10

(1) Dead flies will cause even a bottle of perfume to stink! Yes, an ounce of foolishness can outweigh a pound of wisdom and honor. (2) The hearts of the wise lead them to do right, and the hearts of the foolish lead them to do evil. (3) You can identify fools just by the way they walk down the street!

(4) If your boss is angry with you, don’t quit! A quiet spirit can overcome even great mistakes. (5) There is another evil I have seen as I have watched the world go by. Kings and rulers make a grave mistake (6) if they give foolish people great authority, and if they fail to give people of proven worth their rightful place of dignity. (7) I have even seen servants riding like princes – and princes walking like servants. (8) When you dig a well, you may fall in. When you demolish an old wall, you could be bitten by a snake. (9) When you work in a quarry, stones might fall and crush you! When you chop wood, there is danger with each stroke of your ax! Such are the risks of life. (10) Since a dull ax requires great strength, sharpen the blade. That’s the value of wisdom; it helps you succeed. (11) It does no good to charm a snake after it has bitten you.

(12) It is pleasant to listen to wise words, but the speech of fools brings them to ruin. (13) Since fools base their thoughts on foolish premises, their conclusions will be wicked madness. (14) Foolish people claim to know all about the future and tell everyone the details! But who can really know what is going to happen? (15) Fools are so exhausted by a little work that they have no strength for even the simplest tasks.

(16) Destruction is certain for the land whose king is a child and whose leaders feast in the morning. (17) Happy is the land whose king is a nobleman and whose leaders feast only to gain strength for their work, not to get drunk. (18) Laziness lets the roof leak, and soon the rafters begin to rot. (19) A party gives laughter, and wine gives happiness, and money gives everything! (20) Never make light of the king, even in your thoughts. And don’t make fun of a rich man, either. A little bird may tell them what you have said.

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