Ecclesiastes Chapter 10 to 12 : Easy-to-Read Version  | SearchSearch | Next Version | Previous Page | Next Page |

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10 A few dead flies will make even the best perfume smell bad. In the same way, a little foolishness can ruin much wisdom and honor. 2A wise man’s thoughts lead him in the right way. But the thoughts of a foolish person leads him the wrong way. 3A fool shows his foolishness, even when he is just walking down the road. So everyone sees that he is a foolish person. 4Don’t quit your job just because the boss is angry at you. If you remain calm and helpful, you can correct even great mistakes.* 5Here is something else that I have seen in this life. And it is not fair. It is the kind of mistake that rulers make: 6Foolish people are given important positions, while rich people get jobs that are not important. 7I have seen people that should be servants riding on horses, while people that should be rulers were walking {beside them like slaves}.

Every Job Has Its Dangers

8A person that digs a hole might fall into it. A person that knocks down a wall might be bitten by a snake. 9A person that moves large stones might be hurt by them. And a person that cuts trees is in danger—{the trees might fall on him}. 10But wisdom will make any job easier. It is very hard to cut with a dull knife. But if a person sharpens the knife, then the job is easier. {Wisdom is like that.} 11A person might know how to control snakes. But that skill is useless if a snake bites someone when he is not around. {Wisdom is like that.} 12A wise man’s words bring praise. But a foolish person’s words bring destruction. 13A foolish person begins by saying foolish things. In the end, he is saying crazy things. 14A foolish person is always talking {about what he will do}. But no one knows what will happen in the future. No one can tell what will happen later. 15A foolish person isn’t smart enough to find his way home, so he must work hard all his life.

The Value of Work

16It is very bad for a country if the king is like a child. And it is very bad for a country if its rulers use all their time eating. 17But it is very good for a country if the king comes from a good family.* And it is very good for a country if the rulers control their eating and drinking. Those rulers eat and drink to become strong, not to become drunk. 18If a person is too lazy to work, his house will begin to leak, and the roof will fall in. 19People enjoy eating, and wine makes life happier. But money solves a lot of problems.


20Don’t say bad things about the king. Don’t even think bad things about him. And don’t say bad things about rich people, even if you are alone in your home. Why? Because a little bird might fly and tell them everything you said.

If you … great mistakes Literally, “A healer can put to rest great sins.” The word “healer” means a person that is forgiving and that tries to help other people. comes from a good family Literally, “is a son of freedmen.” This is a person that was never a slave and whose parents were not slaves.

Boldly Face the Future

11 Do good things every place you go.* After a while, the good things you do will come back to you. 2Invest what you have in several different things.* You don’t know what bad things might happen on earth. 3{There are some things you can be sure of.} If clouds are full of rain, then they will pour water on the earth. If a tree falls—to the south or to the north—then it will stay where it falls. 4{But there are some things that you can’t be sure of. You must take a chance.} If a person waits for perfect weather, then he will never plant his seeds. And if a person is afraid that every cloud will bring rain, then he will never harvest his crops. 5You don’t know where the wind blows. And you don’t know how a baby grows in its mother’s body. In the same way, you don’t know what God will do—and he makes everything happen. 6So begin planting early in the morning, and don’t stop working until evening. Why? Because you don’t know which things will make you rich. Maybe everything you do will be successful. 7It is good to be alive! It is nice to see the light from the sun. 8You should enjoy every day of your life, no matter how long you live! But remember that you will die. And you will be dead much longer than you were alive! And after you are dead, you can’t do anything!

Serve God While You are Young

9So young people, enjoy yourselves while you are young. Be happy! Do whatever your heart leads you to do. Do whatever you want. But remember that God will judge you for everything you do. 10Don’t let your anger control you. And don’t let your body lead you to sin.* People do foolish things in the dawn of life while they are young. 

Do good ... go Or, “Throw your bread on the water.” Invest what you have in several different things Or, “Give a part to seven, or even eight.” Don’t let … sin Or, “Don’t worry about things. Protect yourself from troubles.”

The Problems of Old Age

12  Remember your Creator while you are young, before the bad times {of old age} come—before the years come when you say, “I have wasted my life.”* 2{Remember your Creator while you are young,} before the time comes when the sun and the moon and the stars become dark to you. {And troubles come again and again} like one storm after another. 3At that time, your arms will lose their strength. Your legs will become weak and bent. Your teeth will fall out and you will not be able to chew your food. Your eyes will not see clearly. 4You will become hard of hearing. You will not hear the noise in the streets. Even the stone grinding your grain will seem quiet to you. You won’t be able to hear the women singing. But even the sound of a bird singing will wake you early in the morning {because you won’t be able to sleep}. 5You will be afraid of high places. You will be afraid of tripping over every small thing in your path. Your hair will become white like the flowers on an almond tree. You will drag yourself along like a grasshopper when you walk. You will lose your desire {to live}.* And then you will go to your eternal home (the grave). The mourners* will gather in the streets {as they carry your body to the grave}.


6{Remember your Creator while you are young,} before the silver rope snaps and the golden bowl is crushed, {before your life becomes useless} like a jar broken at the well, {before your life becomes wasted} like a stone cover on a well that breaks and falls in. 7Your body came from the earth. And when you die, your body will go back to the earth. But your spirit came from God. And when you die, your spirit will go back to God. 8Everything is so meaningless. The Teacher says that it is all a waste of time!*


9The Teacher was very wise. He used his wisdom to teach the people. The Teacher very carefully studied and arranged* many wise teachings. 10The Teacher tried very hard to find the right words. And he wrote the teachings that are true and dependable. 11Words from wise men are like sharp sticks that people use to make their animals go the right way. Those teachings are like strong pegs that won’t break. {You can trust those teachings to show you the right way to live.} Those wise teachings all come from the same Shepherd (God). 12So son, {study those teachings,} but be careful about other books. People are always writing books, and too much study will make you very tired. 13–14Now, what should we learn from all the things that are written in this book?* The most important thing a person can do is to respect God and obey his commands. Why? Because God knows about all the things people do—even the secret things. He knows about all the good things and all the bad things. He will judge everything people do.

I have wasted my life Literally, “I take no pleasure in them.” This might mean, “I don’t like the things I did when I was young” or “I don’t enjoy life now that I am old.” desire {to live} Or, “appetite” or “sexual desire.” The Hebrew is hard to understand here. mourners People that cry at a funeral. In Bible times, there were professional mourners that people hired to show great sadness at a person’s funeral. meaningless … a waste of time The Hebrew word means “vapor or breath” or “something that is useless, meaningless, empty, wrong, or a waste of time.” arranged This Hebrew word means, “to make straight, arrange, correct, edit.” Now … book Literally, “The sum of the matter, when all is heard, is: …”

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