Verse 1 – Dead flies putrefy the perfumer’s ointment, and cause it to give off a foul odor; so does a little folly to one respect for wisdom and honor.
Verse 2 – A wise man’s heart is at his right hand, but a fool’s heart at his left.
Verse 3 – Even when a fool walks along the way, he lacks wisdom, and he shows everyone that he is a fool.
Verse 4 – If the spirit of the ruler rises against you, do not leave your post; for conciliation pacifies great offenses.
Verse 4, is simply saying to watch your reaction when someone above you in authority is angry.
Verse 5 – There is an evil I have seen under the sin, as an error proceeding from the ruler:
Verse 6 – Folly is set in great dignity, while the rich sit in a lowly place.
Verse 7 – I have seen servants on horses, while princes walk on the ground like servants.
Have you ever seen someone with less skill and less intelligence be promoted to a higher position, while someone who is more qualified get looked over or passed by?
Verse 8 – He who digs a pit will fall into it, and whoever breaks through a wall will be bitten by a serpent.
Digging a pit is plotting to do evil against another. Breaking through a wall is breaking into a house or a place you don’t belong. When someone does either of these they will most likely end up injured or arrested.
Verse 9 – He who quarries stones may be hurt by them, and he who splits wood may be endangered by it.
Verse 10 – If the ax is dull, and one does not sharpen the edge, then he must use more strength;
Let’s take these two verse spiritually. If we don’t take the gifts God gives each one of us, and put them to good use, they will become dull and lay dormant.
Verse 11 – A serpent may bite when it is not charmed; the babblers is no different.
A serpent biting is no different from someone blabbering their mouth about someone else – both will hurt.
Verse 12 – The words of a wise man’s mouth are gracious, but the lips of a fool shall swallow him up;
Verse 13 – The words of his mouth begin with foolishness, and the end of his talk is raving madness.
Verse 14 – A fool also multiplies words. No man knows what is to be; who can tell him what will be after him?
Everything that proceeds from a wise person’s mouth is gracious and kind. It’s also creditable to themselves and others. However, a fool will boast, lie, and speak hurtful words about others.
Verse 15 – The labor of fools wearies them, for they do not even know how to go to the city.
Verse 16 – Woe to you, O land, when your king is a child, and your princes feast in the morning!
Verse 17 – Blessed are you, O land, when your king is the son of nobles, and your princes feast at the proper time building’s decays, and through idleness of hands the house leaks.
When a nation; a business; a home, doesn’t have wise leadership, it will start to decay. Selfishness and laziness will sit by while “Rome burns!”
Verse 19 – A fest is made for laughter, and wine makes merry; but money answers everything.
Some would like to think that money can clear every problem, but just like wine, the thrill is only temporary. Yes, money is necessary to survive in this world, but we are warned against the love of money in Matthew 6:24. The love of money is dangerous, because we learn to trust it more than God.
Verse 20 – Do not curse the king, even in your thought; do not curse the rich, even in your bedroom; for a bird of the air may carry your voice, and bird in flight may tell the matter.
We should take care not to envy the wealthy. Don’t despise your rich neighbor. Depend on the Lord for everything pertaining to life with expectancy.