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Ecclesiastes 10:1

Dead flies cause the ointment of the perfumer to send forth a foul odor: so does a little folly to him that is respected for wisdom and honor.
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Augustine of Hippo

AD 430
Indeed, it is said that Beelzebub means prince of flies; and it has been written of them, “Dying flies spoil the sweetness of the oil.” .

Didymus the Blind

AD 398
These flies bring death as well as life. For example there is a divinized fly about which Elijah has said, “Is there no God in Israel that you are sending to inquire of the fly, the God of Ekron?” I would be astonished if they really did divinize a fly. Rather he hereby has described the worthlessness of their enterprise. ...

Fulgentius of Ruspe

AD 533
What is called the prince of flies is shown to be prince of the wicked; another text of Scripture refers to him by saying, “Dead flies destroy the perfumer’s sweet ointment.” Who destroy except those who grieve the Holy Spirit either by the crime of infidelity or by the filthy obscenity of unclean deeds, while befouling themselves either with a false faith or an evil way of life? Letter , To Scarila. ...

George Leo Haydock

AD 1849
Ointment. A fly cannot live in it. (Pliny, xi. 19.) Hence the smallest faults must be avoided, (Calmet) and superfluous cares, (St. Gregory) as well as the conversation of the wicked, (Thaumat.) particularly of heretics. (St. Augustine, contra Fulg. 14.) Detractors may be compared to flies: they seek corruption A little leaven corrupteth the whole lump, 1 Corinthians v. 6. (Calmet) The wicked infect their companions, and vice destroys all former virtues. (Worthington) Wisdom, or "a small. Folly is more precious than wisdom", of the world, 1 Corinthians i. 25., and iii. 18. Dulce est desipere in loco. (Horace, iv. ode 12.) Hebrew, "folly spoils things more precious than wisdom. "A small fault is often attended with the worst consequences, (chap. ix. 18.) as David and Roboam experienced, 2 Kings xxiv., and 3 Kings xii. 14. (Calmet) Septuagint, "a little wisdom is to be honoured above the great glory of foolishness. "Protestants, "dead flies cause the ointment of the apothecary to s...

Gregory the Wonderworker

AD 270
Moreover, flies falling into myrrh, and suffocated therein, make both the appearance of that pleasant ointment and the anointing therewith an unseemly thing; and to be mindful of wisdom and of folly together is in no way proper. The wise man, indeed, is his own leader to right actions; but the fool inclines to erring courses, and will never make his folly available as a guide to what is noble. Yea, his thoughts also are vain and full of folly. But if ever a hostile spirit fall upon you, my friend, withstand it courageously, knowing that God is able to propitiate even a mighty multitude of offenses. These also are the deeds of the prince and father of all wickedness: that the fool is set on high, while the man richly gifted with wisdom is humbled; and that the slaves of sin are seen riding on horseback, while men dedicated to God walk on foot in dishonour, the wicked exulting the while. But if any one devises another's hurt, he forgets that he is preparing a snare for himself first and ...

Gregory the Wonderworker

AD 270
Flies falling into perfume, and drowning, make the appearance and use of that pleasant oil unseemly; so, too, it is improper to have both wisdom and foolishness together in one’s mind.

The Apostolic Constitutions

AD 375
“Dead flies spoil the whole pot of sweet ointment,” and “when a king hearkens to unrighteous counsel, all the servants under him are wicked.” So one scabbed sheep, if not separated from those that are whole, infects the rest with the same distemper; and a person infected with the plague is to be avoided by all; and a mad dog is dangerous to everyone that it touches. If, therefore, we neglect to separate the transgressor from the church of God, we shall make the “Lord’s house a den of thieves.” . ...

Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. - 2 Peter 1:20

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