Ecclesiastes 10:10

NET ©

If an iron axhead is blunt and a workman does not sharpen its edge, he must exert a great deal of effort; so wisdom has the advantage of giving success.

NIV ©

If the axe is dull and its edge unsharpened, more strength is needed but skill will bring success.

NASB ©

If the axe is dull and he does not sharpen its edge, then he must exert more strength. Wisdom has the advantage of giving success.

NLT ©

Since a dull ax requires great strength, sharpen the blade. That’s the value of wisdom; it helps you succeed.

MSG ©

Remember: The duller the ax the harder the work; Use your head: The more brains, the less muscle.

BBE ©

If the iron has no edge, and he does not make it sharp, then he has to put out more strength; but wisdom makes things go well.

NRSV ©

If the iron is blunt, and one does not whet the edge, then more strength must be exerted; but wisdom helps one to succeed.

NKJV ©

If the ax is dull, And one does not sharpen the edge, Then he must use more strength; But wisdom brings success.

KJV
If the iron
<01270>
be blunt
<06949> (8765)_,
and he do not whet
<07043> (8773)
the edge
<06440>_,
then must he put
<01396> (8762)
to more strength
<02428>_:
but wisdom
<02451>
[is] profitable
<03504>
to direct
<03787> (8687)_.
HEBREW
hmkx
<02451>
*ryskh
<03787>
Nwrtyw
<03504>
rbgy
<01396>
Mylyxw
<02428>
lqlq
<07043>
Mynp
<06440>
al
<03808>
awhw
<01931>
lzrbh
<01270>
hhq
<06949>
Ma (10:10)
<0518>
LXXM
ean
<1437>  
CONJ
ekpesh
<1601>  
V-AAS-3S
to
<3588>  
T-NSN
sidhrion
 
N-NSN
kai
<2532>  
CONJ
autov
<846>  
D-NSM
proswpon
<4383>  
N-ASN
etaraxen
<5015>  
V-AAI-3S
kai
<2532>  
CONJ
dunameiv
<1411>  
N-APF
dunamwsei
<1412>  
V-FAI-3S
kai
<2532>  
CONJ
perisseia
<4050>  
N-NSF
tou
<3588>  
T-GSM
andreiou
 
A-GSM
sofia
<4678>  
N-NSF
NET © [draft] ITL
If
<0518>
an iron
<01270>
axhead
<06949>
is blunt
<01396>

<02428>

<07043>
and a workman does not
<03808>
sharpen its edge, he must
<07043>
exert
<03787>
a great deal of effort; so wisdom
<02451>
has the advantage
<03504>
of giving success.
NET © Notes

tn The term “ax head” does not appear in the Hebrew text, but is supplied in the translation for clarity. The preceding noun “iron” functions as a metonymy of material (i.e., iron) for the object with which it is associated (i.e., ax head).

tn Heb “he”; the referent (the workman) is implied, and has been specified in the translation for clarity

tn The verb קלל in the Pilpel means “to sharpen; to make a blade sharp” (HALOT 1104 s.v. קלל 1).This denominative verb is derived from the rare noun II קָלַל “smooth; shiny” (referring to bronze; Ezek 1:7; Dan 10:6; HALOT 1105 s.v.). Sharpening the blade or head of a bronze ax will make it smooth and shiny. It is not derived from I קָלַל (qalal) “to treat light” or the noun I קְלָלָה (qÿlalah) “curse.” Nor is it related to I קָלַל “to shake” (Ezek 21:26); cf. HALOT 1104. BDB 886 s.v. קָלַל 2 erroneously relates it to I קָלַל, suggesting “to whet” or “to move quickly to and fro.”

tn Heb “face.”

tn Heb “strength.” The term וַחֲיָלִים (vakhayalim, conjunction + plural noun from חַיִל, khayil, “strength; efficiency”) is an example of a plural of intensification (GKC 397-98 §124.e). The point is that it is a waste of a great deal of strength and energy. If a person is not smart, he will have to use a lot of energy and waste his efficiency.