1Wine is a mocker; strong drink a brawler. Whoever is led astray by it is not wise.
2The fear of the king is like a roaring lion; he who provokes him forfeits his life.
3It is an honor to a man to remain aloof from strife, but every fool is quick to quarrel.
4The sluggard does not plow for reason of winter; at harvest he seeks, but has nothing.
5The plan of a man’s heart is deep water, but a man of understanding draws it out.
6Many a man proclaims his loyal love, but a faithful man who can find?
7The righteous walks in his integrity; blessed are his sons after him!
8When the king sits on the throne of judgment, he winnows all evil with his eyes.
9Who says, “I have made my heart clean, and am purified from sin?”
10Differing weights and measures are both alike an abomination to the LORD.
The Teacher begins chapter 20 with some more practical observations about existence. Being drunk is not wise (1), and you should never provoke powerful people to anger (2). It is foolish to seek out a fight, but honorable to stay away from one (3). Lazy people tend to be poor (4), but a man of understanding can help you plan (5). Men talk a big talk, but how many are actually faithful? (6). When a man walks in righteousness, he brings blessing on his kids (7), and those tasked with judgment are in the business of eradicating evil (8). No one can claim to be without sin (9), and God hates cheating (10).