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Sirach 11:7-28 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

Deliberation and Caution

Do not find fault before you investigate;
    examine first, and then criticize.
Do not answer before you listen,
    and do not interrupt when another is speaking.
Do not argue about a matter that does not concern you,
    and do not sit with sinners when they judge a case.

10 My child, do not busy yourself with many matters;
    if you multiply activities, you will not be held blameless.
If you pursue, you will not overtake,
    and by fleeing you will not escape.
11 There are those who work and struggle and hurry,
    but are so much the more in want.
12 There are others who are slow and need help,
    who lack strength and abound in poverty;
but the eyes of the Lord look kindly upon them;
    he lifts them out of their lowly condition
13 and raises up their heads
    to the amazement of the many.

14 Good things and bad, life and death,
    poverty and wealth, come from the Lord.[a]
17 The Lord’s gift remains with the devout,
    and his favor brings lasting success.
18 One becomes rich through diligence and self-denial,
    and the reward allotted to him is this:
19 when he says, “I have found rest,
    and now I shall feast on my goods!”
he does not know how long it will be
    until he leaves them to others and dies.

20 Stand by your agreement and attend to it,
    and grow old in your work.
21 Do not wonder at the works of a sinner,
    but trust in the Lord and keep at your job;
for it is easy in the sight of the Lord
    to make the poor rich suddenly, in an instant.
22 The blessing of the Lord is[b] the reward of the pious,
    and quickly God causes his blessing to flourish.
23 Do not say, “What do I need,
    and what further benefit can be mine?”
24 Do not say, “I have enough,
    and what harm can come to me now?”
25 In the day of prosperity, adversity is forgotten,
    and in the day of adversity, prosperity is not remembered.
26 For it is easy for the Lord on the day of death
    to reward individuals according to their conduct.
27 An hour’s misery makes one forget past delights,
    and at the close of one’s life one’s deeds are revealed.
28 Call no one happy before his death;
    by how he ends, a person becomes known.[c]


  1. Sirach 11:14 Other ancient authorities add as verses 15 and 16, 15 Wisdom, understanding, and knowledge of the law come from the Lord; affection and the ways of good works come from him. 16 Error and darkness were created with sinners; evil grows old with those who take pride in malice.
  2. Sirach 11:22 Heb: Gk is in
  3. Sirach 11:28 Heb: Gk and through his children a person becomes known
New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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