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Sirach 18:15-33 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

The Right Spirit in Giving Alms

15 My child, do not mix reproach with your good deeds,
    or spoil your gift by harsh words.
16 Does not the dew give relief from the scorching heat?
    So a word is better than a gift.
17 Indeed, does not a word surpass a good gift?
    Both are to be found in a gracious person.
18 A fool is ungracious and abusive,
    and the gift of a grudging giver makes the eyes dim.

The Need of Reflection and Self-control

19 Before you speak, learn;
    and before you fall ill, take care of your health.
20 Before judgment comes, examine yourself;
    and at the time of scrutiny you will find forgiveness.
21 Before falling ill, humble yourself;
    and when you have sinned, repent.
22 Let nothing hinder you from paying a vow promptly,
    and do not wait until death to be released from it.
23 Before making a vow, prepare yourself;
    do not be like one who puts the Lord to the test.
24 Think of his wrath on the day of death,
    and of the moment of vengeance when he turns away his face.
25 In the time of plenty think of the time of hunger;
    in days of wealth think of poverty and need.
26 From morning to evening conditions change;
    all things move swiftly before the Lord.

27 One who is wise is cautious in everything;
    when sin is all around, one guards against wrongdoing.
28 Every intelligent person knows wisdom,
    and praises the one who finds her.
29 Those who are skilled in words become wise themselves,
    and pour forth apt proverbs.[a]


30 Do not follow your base desires,
    but restrain your appetites.
31 If you allow your soul to take pleasure in base desire,
    it will make you the laughingstock of your enemies.
32 Do not revel in great luxury,
    or you may become impoverished by its expense.
33 Do not become a beggar by feasting with borrowed money,
    when you have nothing in your purse.[c]


  1. Sirach 18:29 Other ancient authorities add Better is confidence in the one Lord than clinging with a dead heart to a dead one.
  2. Sirach 18:30 This heading is included in the Gk text.
  3. Sirach 18:33 Other ancient authorities add for you will be plotting against your own life
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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