Chapter 10

1Dead flies turn the perfumer's ointment fetid and putrid; so a little folly outweighs massive wisdom.

אזְבוּבֵי מָוֶת יַבְאִישׁ יַבִּיעַ שֶׁמֶן רוֹקֵחַ יָקָר מֵחָכְמָה מִכָּבוֹד סִכְלוּת מְעָט׃

2A wise man's mind tends toward the right hand, a fool's toward the left.

בלֵב חָכָם לִימִינוֹ וְלֵב כְּסִיל לִשְׂמֹאלוֹ׃

3A fool's mind is also wanting when he travels, and he lets everybody know he is a fool.

גוְגַם־בַּדֶּרֶךְ כשהסכל [כְּשֶׁסָּכָל] הֹלֵךְ לִבּוֹ חָסֵר וְאָמַר לַכֹּל סָכָל הוּא׃

4If the wrath of a lord flares up against you, don't give up your post; for when wrath abates, grave offenses are pardoned.

דאִם־רוּחַ הַמּוֹשֵׁל תַּעֲלֶה עָלֶיךָ מְקוֹמְךָ אַל־תַּנַּח כִּי מַרְפֵּא יַנִּיחַ חֲטָאִים גְּדוֹלִים׃

5Here is an evil I have seen under the sun as great as an error committed by a ruler:

היֵשׁ רָעָה רָאִיתִי תַּחַת הַשָּׁמֶשׁ כִּשְׁגָגָה שֶׁיֹּצָא מִלִּפְנֵי הַשַּׁלִּיט׃

6Folly was placed on lofty heights, while rich men sat in low estate.

ונִתַּן הַסֶּכֶל בַּמְּרוֹמִים רַבִּים וַעֲשִׁירִים בַּשֵּׁפֶל יֵשֵׁבוּ׃

7I have seen slaves on horseback, and nobles walking on the ground like slaves.

זרָאִיתִי עֲבָדִים עַל־סוּסִים וְשָׂרִים הֹלְכִים כַּעֲבָדִים עַל־הָאָרֶץ׃

8He who digs a pit will fall into it; he who breaches a stone fence will be bitten by a snake.

חחֹפֵר גּוּמָּץ בּוֹ יִפּוֹל וּפֹרֵץ גָּדֵר יִשְּׁכֶנּוּ נָחָשׁ׃

9He who quarries stones will be hurt by them; he who splits wood will be harmed by it.

טמַסִּיעַ אֲבָנִים יֵעָצֵב בָּהֶם בּוֹקֵעַ עֵצִים יִסָּכֶן בָּם׃

10If the ax has become dull and he has not whetted the edge, he must exert more strength. Thus the advantage of a skill [depends on the exercise of] prudence.

יאִם־קֵהָה הַבַּרְזֶל וְהוּא לֹא־פָנִים קִלְקַל וַחֲיָלִים יְגַבֵּר וְיִתְרוֹן הכשיר [הַכְשֵׁר] חָכְמָה׃

11If the snake bites because no spell was uttered, no advantage is gained by the trained charmer.

יאאִם־יִשֹּׁךְ הַנָּחָשׁ בְּלוֹא־לָחַשׁ וְאֵין יִתְרוֹן לְבַעַל הַלָּשׁוֹן׃

12A wise man's talk brings him favor, but a fool's lips are his undoing.

יבדִּבְרֵי פִי־חָכָם חֵן וְשִׂפְתוֹת כְּסִיל תְּבַלְּעֶנּוּ׃

13His talk begins as silliness and ends as disastrous madness.

יגתְּחִלַּת דִּבְרֵי־פִיהוּ סִכְלוּת וְאַחֲרִית פִּיהוּ הוֹלֵלוּת רָעָה׃

14Yet the fool talks and talks! A man cannot know what will happen; who can tell him what the future holds?

ידוְהַסָּכָל יַרְבֶּה דְבָרִים לֹא־יֵדַע הָאָדָם מַה־שֶׁיִּהְיֶה וַאֲשֶׁר יִהְיֶה מֵאַחֲרָיו מִי יַגִּיד לוֹ׃

15A fool's exertions tire him out, for he doesn't know how to get to a town.

טועֲמַל הַכְּסִילִים תְּיַגְּעֶנּוּ אֲשֶׁר לֹא־יָדַע לָלֶכֶת אֶל־עִיר׃

16Alas for you, O land whose king is a lackey and whose ministers dine in the morning!

טזאִי־לָךְ אֶרֶץ שֶׁמַּלְכֵּךְ נָעַר וְשָׂרַיִךְ בַּבֹּקֶר יֹאכֵלוּ׃

17Happy are you, O land whose king is a master and whose ministers dine at the proper time—with restraint, not with guzzling!

יזאַשְׁרֵיךְ אֶרֶץ שֶׁמַּלְכֵּךְ בֶּן־חוֹרִים וְשָׂרַיִךְ בָּעֵת יֹאכֵלוּ בִּגְבוּרָה וְלֹא בַשְּׁתִי׃

18Through slothfulness the ceiling sags, Through lazy hands the house caves in.

יחבַּעֲצַלְתַּיִם יִמַּךְ הַמְּקָרֶה וּבְשִׁפְלוּת יָדַיִם יִדְלֹף הַבָּיִת׃

19They make a banquet for revelry; wine makes life merry, and money answers every need.

lis-KHOK o-SEEM LE-khem v'-YA-yin y'-sa-MAKH kha-YEEM v'-ha-KE-sef ya-a-NEH et ha-KOL

יטלִשְׂחוֹק עֹשִׂים לֶחֶם וְיַיִן יְשַׂמַּח חַיִּים וְהַכֶּסֶף יַעֲנֶה אֶת־הַכֹּל׃

 10:19   Money answers every need

Following the previous verse which opposes laziness, this verse encourages man to be industrious and to earn money. Metzudat David comments that unlike other pleasures, money is helpful in all situations. Whether a person is sick or healthy, happy or depressed, everybody benefits from financial stability. The Hebrew word for ‘money’ is kesef (כסף), related to the verb kasaf (כ-ס-ף) which means to ‘yearn.’ Money is something for which all people yearn, and that is what gives it its value. However, as King Shlomo warns in other verses (see 5:9), the pursuit of wealth for its own sake is futile; it must only be used in the service of Hashem.

20Don't revile a king even among your intimates. Don't revile a rich man even in your bedchamber; For a bird of the air may carry the utterance, And a winged creature may report the word.

כגַּם בְּמַדָּעֲךָ מֶלֶךְ אַל־תְּקַלֵּל וּבְחַדְרֵי מִשְׁכָּבְךָ אַל־תְּקַלֵּל עָשִׁיר כִּי עוֹף הַשָּׁמַיִם יוֹלִיךְ אֶת־הַקּוֹל וּבַעַל הכנפים [כְּנָפַיִם] יַגֵּיד דָּבָר׃