Ben Sira 7
New American Bible (Revised Edition)
Conduct Toward God and Neighbor[a]
1 Do no evil, and evil will not overtake you;[b]
2 avoid wickedness, and it will turn away from you.
3 Do not sow in the furrows of injustice,
lest you harvest it sevenfold.(A)
4 Do not seek from God authority
or from the king a place of honor.
5 Do not parade your righteousness before the Lord,
and before the king do not flaunt your wisdom.(B)
6 Do not seek to become a judge
if you do not have the strength to root out crime,
Lest you show fear in the presence of the prominent
and mar your integrity.
7 Do not be guilty of any evil before the city court
or disgrace yourself before the assembly.
8 Do not plot to repeat a sin;
even for one, you will not go unpunished.
9 Do not say, “He will appreciate my many gifts;
the Most High God will accept my offerings.”(C)
10 Do not be impatient in prayer
or neglect almsgiving.
11 Do not ridicule the embittered;
Remember: there is One who exalts and humbles.[c]
12 Do not plot mischief against your relative
or against your friend and companion.
13 Refuse to tell lie after lie,
for it never results in good.
14 Do not babble in the assembly of the elders
or repeat the words of your prayer.[d](D)
15 Do not hate hard work;
work was assigned by God.(E)
16 Do not esteem yourself more than your compatriots;
remember, his wrath will not delay.
17 More and more, humble your pride;
what awaits mortals is worms.[e](F)
Duties of Family Life, Religion and Charity[f]
18 Do not barter a friend for money,
or a true brother for the gold of Ophir.[g]
19 Do not reject a sensible wife;
a gracious wife is more precious than pearls.
20 Do not mistreat a servant who works faithfully,
or laborers who devote themselves to their task.(G)
21 Love wise servants as yourself;
do not refuse them freedom.[h]
22 Do you have livestock? Look after them;
if they are dependable, keep them.
23 Do you have sons? Correct them
and cure their stubbornness[i] in their early youth.(H)
24 Do you have daughters? Keep them chaste,
and do not be indulgent to them.(I)
25 Give your daughter in marriage, and a worry comes to an end;
but give her to a sensible man.
26 Do you have a wife? Do not mistreat her,
but do not trust the wife you hate.
27 With your whole heart honor your father;
your mother’s birth pangs do not forget.(J)
28 Remember, of these parents you were born;
what can you give them for all they gave you?
29 With all your soul fear God
and revere his priests.
30 With all your strength love your Maker
and do not neglect his ministers.
31 Honor God and respect the priest;
give him his portion as you have been commanded:(K)
First fruits and contributions,
his portion of victims and holy offerings.[j]
32 To the poor also extend your hand,
that your blessing may be complete.
33 Give your gift to all the living,
and do not withhold your kindness from the dead.[k]
34 Do not avoid those who weep,
but mourn with those who mourn.(L)
35 Do not hesitate to visit the sick,
because for such things you will be loved.(M)
36 In whatever you do, remember your last days,
and you will never sin.[l]
- 7:1–17 In the conduct of social relations wisdom forbids evil and injustice (vv. 1–3), pride (vv. 5, 15–17), ambition and partiality (vv. 4, 6), public disorder (v. 7), presumption and impatience toward God (vv. 9–10), ridicule (v. 11), mischief and deceit toward one’s neighbor (vv. 8, 12–13). See the several wisdom poems in Prv 1–9.
- 7:1 There is a play on “evil” which means both moral wrong and material calamity.
- 7:11 One who exalts and humbles: God; cf. 1 Sm 2:7; Ps 75:8; Lk 1:52.
- 7:14 Repeat…prayer: brevity of speech is a wisdom ideal; toward superiors and God it is a sign of respect; cf. Eccl 5:1; Mt 6:7.
- 7:17 Worms: i.e., corruption; the Septuagint adds “fire.”
- 7:18–36 Respect and appreciation, justice and kindness should characterize relations toward members of the household (vv. 18–28), God and the priests (vv. 29–31), the poor and afflicted, the living and the dead (vv. 32–35).
- 7:18 Ophir: the port, at present unidentified, to which the ships of Solomon sailed and from which they brought back gold and silver; cf. note on Ps 45:10.
- 7:21 After six years of service a Hebrew slave was entitled to freedom; cf. Ex 21:2; Dt 15:12–15.
- 7:23 Cure their stubbornness: keep them from rebellious pride; so with the Greek. Cf. 30:1–13. The Hebrew text, probably not original here, reads: “Choose wives for them while they are young.”
- 7:31 First fruits…holy offerings: cf. Ex 29:27; Lv 7:31–34; Nm 18:8–20; Dt 18:1–5.
- 7:33 This seems to refer to the observances ordained toward the dead, that is, proper mourning and burial. Cf. 2 Sm 21:12–14; Tb 1:17–18; 12:12.
- 7:36 Never sin: because the last days of the sinner, it was presumed, would be troubled.