Qohlat (Ecclesiastes)

Qohlat 10

1. Like the flies that die and ruin a vessel of delicious oil, great foolishness is harder than wisdom and much glory.
2. The heart of the wise man is on his right, and the heart of the fool is on his left.
3. And also when the fool walks along the way, his heart is deficient, and whatever he thinks is foolishness.
4. If the spirit of the ruler rises against you, do not leave your country, because the healer causes many sins to be forgiven.
5. There is evil that I have seen under the sun, like the deception that emerges before a ruler.
6. When the fool sits on the mighty heights, the wealthy sit comfortably.
7. I saw servants on horses, and the authorities walking like servants on the earth.
8. Whoever digs a pitfall falls in it himself, and whoever breaks through a hedge is bitten by a snake.
9. Whoever hones rocks,* he is injured by them, and whoever carves wood,* it becomes his undoing.*
10. If an [iron] sword becomes dull and its face is polished and it kills many, likewise* wisdom is of benefit to the successful.
11. And if the serpent strikes without the incantation, there is no benefit from the [snake] charmer.
12. The words of a wise person are praiseworthy, and the lips of the fool [end up] sinking him.
13. From the beginning of his words his mouth [speaks] foolishness, and at the end of his mouth [there follows] the naked* evil.
14. And the fool adds* to the words; a human being knows not what becomes of them. [As for] what happens after him, who can show* him?
15. The work of fools is exhausting for them, because they do not know [how] to go to the city.
16. Woe to you, O city, whose king is asleep and your rulers eat in the morning.
17. Blessed are you, the city whose king is the son of the free and your rulers eat in their time, in prosperity and not in drinking [revelry.]
18. A roof sags [on account of] weakness,* and a house leaks [on account of] weak* hands.
19. For joy they make the bread and wine, and oil so as they may be happy for Life,* and money softens them up and leads them astray.
20. Even in your mind do not ridicule the king, nor in the warmth of your bed revile the wealthy, because a creature of the sky shall carry your voice, and the master of the flying creatures shall see* your intestines.

Translated by Victor Alexander ©2013

*10:9.1 Lit. Ar. idiom retained: "Builds false altars."
*10:9.2 Lit. Ar. idiom retained: "Makes idols."
*10:9.3 Lit. Ar. id.: "Brokenness."
*10:10 Lit. Ar. id.: "And."
*10:13 Lit. Ar. id.: Or: "Shameful."
*10:14.1 Lit. Ar. id.: Or: "Exaggerates."
*10:14.2 Lit. Ar. id.: "Foretell."
*10:18.1 Lit. Ar. id.: "Lameness."
*10:18.2 Lit. Ar. id.: "Lame."
*10:19 Lit. Ar. idiom retained: "For lives," or "forever."
*10:20 Lit. Ar. id.: "Reveal."

Posted July 9, 2013

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