The Bible – Old Testament
More weighty than wisdom or wealth is a little folly!
1 The wise man’s understanding turns him to his right; the fool’s understanding turns him to his left.
When the fool walks through the street, in his lack of understanding he calls everything foolish.
Should the anger of the ruler burst upon you, forsake not your place; for mildness abates great offenses.
I have seen under the sun another evil, like a mistake that proceeds from the ruler:
a fool put in lofty position while the rich sit in lowly places.
I have seen slaves on horseback, while princes walked on the ground like slaves.
He who digs a pit may fall into it, and he who breaks through a wall may be bitten by a serpent.
He who moves stones may be hurt by them, and he who chops wood is in danger from it.
If the iron becomes dull, though at first he made easy progress, he must increase his efforts; but the craftsman has the advantage of his skill.
If the serpent bites because it has not been charmed, then there is no advantage for the charmer.
Words from the wise man’s mouth win favor, but the fool’s lips consume him.
The beginning of his words is folly, and the end of his talk is utter madness;
yet the fool multiplies words. Man knows not what is to come, for who can tell him what is to come after him?
2 When will the fool be weary of his labor, he who knows not the way to the city?
Woe to you, O land, whose king was a servant, and whose princes dine in the morning!
Blessed are you, O land, whose king is of noble birth, and whose princes dine at the right time (for vigor and not in drinking bouts).
When hands are lazy, the rafters sag; when hands are slack, the house leaks.
Bread and oil call forth merriment and wine makes the living glad, but money answers for everything.
Even in your thoughts do not make light of the king, nor in the privacy of your bedroom revile the rich. Because the birds of the air may carry your voice, a winged creature may tell what you say.
1  It is doubtful whether the author is endorsing either direction; cf ⇒ Proverb 4:25-27.
2  He who . . . city: perhaps a proverbial expression for supreme stupidity.