Ben Sira 28
New American Bible (Revised Edition)
1 The vengeful will face the Lord’s vengeance;
indeed he remembers their sins in detail.(A)
2 Forgive your neighbor the wrong done to you;
then when you pray, your own sins will be forgiven.(B)
3 Does anyone nourish anger against another
and expect healing from the Lord?(C)
4 Can one refuse mercy to a sinner like oneself,
yet seek pardon for one’s own sins?
5 If a mere mortal cherishes wrath,
who will forgive his sins?
6 Remember your last days and set enmity aside;
remember death and decay, and cease from sin!(D)
7 Remember the commandments and do not be angry with your neighbor;
remember the covenant of the Most High, and overlook faults.
8 Avoid strife and your sins will be fewer,
for the hot-tempered kindle strife;
9 The sinner disrupts friendships
and sows discord among those who are at peace.(E)
10 The more the wood, the greater the fire,(F)
the more the cruelty, the fiercer the strife;
The greater the strength, the sterner the anger,
the greater the wealth, the greater the wrath.
11 Pitch and resin make fire flare up,
and a hasty quarrel provokes bloodshed.
The Evil Tongue[a]
12 If you blow on a spark, it turns into flame,
if you spit on it, it dies out;
yet both you do with your mouth!
13 Cursed be gossips and the double-tongued,
for they destroy the peace of many.(G)
14 A meddlesome tongue subverts many,
and makes them refugees among peoples.
It destroys strong cities,
and overthrows the houses of the great.
15 A meddlesome tongue drives virtuous women from their homes,
and robs them of the fruit of their toil.
16 Whoever heed it will find no rest,
nor will they dwell in peace.
17 A blow from a whip raises a welt,
but a blow from the tongue will break bones.
18 Many have fallen by the edge of the sword,
but not as many as by the tongue.(H)
19 Happy the one who is sheltered from it,
and has not endured its wrath;
Who has not borne its yoke
nor been bound with its chains.
20 For its yoke is a yoke of iron,
and its chains are chains of bronze;
21 The death it inflicts is an evil death,
even Sheol is preferable to it.
22 It will have no power over the godly,
nor will they be burned in its flame.
23 But those who forsake the Lord will fall victim to it,
as it burns among them unquenchably;
It will hurl itself against them like a lion,
and like a leopard, it will tear them to pieces.
24 As you fence in your property with thorns,
so make a door and a bolt for your mouth.(I)
25 As you lock up your silver and gold,
so make balances and scales for your words.
26 Take care not to slip by your tongue
and fall victim to one lying in ambush.
- 28:12–26 Further treatment of sins of the tongue and the havoc that results; cf. 5:9–6:1; 19:5–17; 20:18–26; 23:7–15. Gossips and the double-tongued destroy domestic peace (vv. 12–16). The whip, the sword, chains, even Sheol, are not so cruel as the suffering inflicted by an evil tongue (vv. 17–21). Not the godly but those who forsake the Lord are victims of their evil tongues (vv. 22–23). Therefore, guard your mouth and tongue as you would guard treasure against an enemy (vv. 24–26).