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Sirach 11 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

The Deceptiveness of Appearances

11 The wisdom of the humble lifts their heads high,
    and seats them among the great.
Do not praise individuals for their good looks,
    or loathe anyone because of appearance alone.
The bee is small among flying creatures,
    but what it produces is the best of sweet things.
Do not boast about wearing fine clothes,
    and do not exalt yourself when you are honored;
for the works of the Lord are wonderful,
    and his works are concealed from humankind.
Many kings have had to sit on the ground,
    but one who was never thought of has worn a crown.
Many rulers have been utterly disgraced,
    and the honored have been handed over to others.

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]

Care in Choosing Friends

29 Do not invite everyone into your home,
    for many are the tricks of the crafty.
30 Like a decoy partridge in a cage, so is the mind of the proud,
    and like spies they observe your weakness;[d]
31 for they lie in wait, turning good into evil,
    and to worthy actions they attach blame.
32 From a spark many coals are kindled,
    and a sinner lies in wait to shed blood.
33 Beware of scoundrels, for they devise evil,
    and they may ruin your reputation forever.
34 Receive strangers into your home and they will stir up trouble for you,
    and will make you a stranger to your own family.


  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
  4. Sirach 11:30 Heb: Gk downfall
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.

Sirach 12 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

12 If you do good, know to whom you do it,
    and you will be thanked for your good deeds.
Do good to the devout, and you will be repaid—
    if not by them, certainly by the Most High.
No good comes to one who persists in evil
    or to one who does not give alms.
Give to the devout, but do not help the sinner.
    Do good to the humble, but do not give to the ungodly;
hold back their bread, and do not give it to them,
    for by means of it they might subdue you;
then you will receive twice as much evil
    for all the good you have done to them.
For the Most High also hates sinners
    and will inflict punishment on the ungodly.[a]
Give to the one who is good, but do not help the sinner.
A friend is not known[b] in prosperity,
    nor is an enemy hidden in adversity.
One’s enemies are friendly[c] when one prospers,
    but in adversity even one’s friend disappears.
10 Never trust your enemy,
    for like corrosion in copper, so is his wickedness.
11 Even if he humbles himself and walks bowed down,
    take care to be on your guard against him.
Be to him like one who polishes a mirror,
    to be sure it does not become completely tarnished.
12 Do not put him next to you,
    or he may overthrow you and take your place.
Do not let him sit at your right hand,
    or else he may try to take your own seat,
and at last you will realize the truth of my words,
    and be stung by what I have said.

13 Who pities a snake charmer when he is bitten,
    or all those who go near wild animals?
14 So no one pities a person who associates with a sinner
    and becomes involved in the other’s sins.
15 He stands by you for a while,
    but if you falter, he will not be there.
16 An enemy speaks sweetly with his lips,
    but in his heart he plans to throw you into a pit;
an enemy may have tears in his eyes,
    but if he finds an opportunity he will never have enough of your blood.
17 If evil comes upon you, you will find him there ahead of you;
    pretending to help, he will trip you up.
18 Then he will shake his head, and clap his hands,
    and whisper much, and show his true face.


  1. Sirach 12:6 Other ancient authorities add and he is keeping them for the day of their punishment
  2. Sirach 12:8 Other ancient authorities read punished
  3. Sirach 12:9 Heb: Gk grieved
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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