Talks

Talk
Proverbs for a broken word
Ecclesiastes 10-11

Audio:

Bible Passage

Ecclesiastes 10–11 (Listen)

10:1   Dead flies make the perfumer's ointment give off a stench;
    so a little folly outweighs wisdom and honor.
  A wise man's heart inclines him to the right,
    but a fool's heart to the left.
  Even when the fool walks on the road, he lacks sense,
    and he says to everyone that he is a fool.
  If the anger of the ruler rises against you, do not leave your place,
    for calmness1 will lay great offenses to rest.

There is an evil that I have seen under the sun, as it were an error proceeding from the ruler: folly is set in many high places, and the rich sit in a low place. I have seen slaves on horses, and princes walking on the ground like slaves.

  He who digs a pit will fall into it,
    and a serpent will bite him who breaks through a wall.
  He who quarries stones is hurt by them,
    and he who splits logs is endangered by them.
10   If the iron is blunt, and one does not sharpen the edge,
    he must use more strength,
    but wisdom helps one to succeed.2
11   If the serpent bites before it is charmed,
    there is no advantage to the charmer.
12   The words of a wise man's mouth win him favor,3
    but the lips of a fool consume him.
13   The beginning of the words of his mouth is foolishness,
    and the end of his talk is evil madness.
14   A fool multiplies words,
    though no man knows what is to be,
    and who can tell him what will be after him?
15   The toil of a fool wearies him,
    for he does not know the way to the city.
16   Woe to you, O land, when your king is a child,
    and your princes feast in the morning!
17   Happy are you, O land, when your king is the son of the nobility,
    and your princes feast at the proper time,
    for strength, and not for drunkenness!
18   Through sloth the roof sinks in,
    and through indolence the house leaks.
19   Bread is made for laughter,
    and wine gladdens life,
    and money answers everything.
20   Even in your thoughts, do not curse the king,
    nor in your bedroom curse the rich,
  for a bird of the air will carry your voice,
    or some winged creature tell the matter.

Cast Your Bread upon the Waters

11:1   Cast your bread upon the waters,
    for you will find it after many days.
  Give a portion to seven, or even to eight,
    for you know not what disaster may happen on earth.
  If the clouds are full of rain,
    they empty themselves on the earth,
  and if a tree falls to the south or to the north,
    in the place where the tree falls, there it will lie.
  He who observes the wind will not sow,
    and he who regards the clouds will not reap.

As you do not know the way the spirit comes to the bones in the womb4 of a woman with child, so you do not know the work of God who makes everything.

In the morning sow your seed, and at evening withhold not your hand, for you do not know which will prosper, this or that, or whether both alike will be good.

Light is sweet, and it is pleasant for the eyes to see the sun.

So if a person lives many years, let him rejoice in them all; but let him remember that the days of darkness will be many. All that comes is vanity.5

Rejoice, O young man, in your youth, and let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth. Walk in the ways of your heart and the sight of your eyes. But know that for all these things God will bring you into judgment.

10 Remove vexation from your heart, and put away pain6 from your body, for youth and the dawn of life are vanity.

Footnotes

[1] 10:4 Hebrew healing
[2] 10:10 Or wisdom is an advantage for success
[3] 10:12 Or are gracious
[4] 11:5 Some Hebrew manuscripts, Targum; most Hebrew manuscripts As you do not know the way of the wind, or how the bones grow in the womb
[5] 11:8 The Hebrew term hebel can refer to a “vapor” or “mere breath”; also verse 10 (see note on 1:2)
[6] 11:10 Or evil

(ESV)