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Sirach 22:27-23:15 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

A Prayer for Help against Sinning

27 Who will set a guard over my mouth,
    and an effective seal upon my lips,
so that I may not fall because of them,
    and my tongue may not destroy me?
23 O Lord, Father and Master of my life,
    do not abandon me to their designs,
    and do not let me fall because of them!
Who will set whips over my thoughts,
    and the discipline of wisdom over my mind,
so as not to spare me in my errors,
    and not overlook my[a] sins?
Otherwise my mistakes may be multiplied,
    and my sins may abound,
and I may fall before my adversaries,
    and my enemy may rejoice over me.[b]
O Lord, Father and God of my life,
    do not give me haughty eyes,
    and remove evil desire from me.
Let neither gluttony nor lust overcome me,
    and do not give me over to shameless passion.

Discipline of the Tongue[c]

Listen, my children, to instruction concerning the mouth;
    the one who observes it will never be caught.
Sinners are overtaken through their lips;
    by them the reviler and the arrogant are tripped up.
Do not accustom your mouth to oaths,
    nor habitually utter the name of the Holy One;
10 for as a servant who is constantly under scrutiny
    will not lack bruises,
so also the person who always swears and utters the Name
    will never be cleansed[d] from sin.
11 The one who swears many oaths is full of iniquity,
    and the scourge will not leave his house.
If he swears in error, his sin remains on him,
    and if he disregards it, he sins doubly;
if he swears a false oath, he will not be justified,
    for his house will be filled with calamities.

Foul Language

12 There is a manner of speaking comparable to death;[e]
    may it never be found in the inheritance of Jacob!
Such conduct will be far from the godly,
    and they will not wallow in sins.
13 Do not accustom your mouth to coarse, foul language,
    for it involves sinful speech.
14 Remember your father and mother
    when you sit among the great,
or you may forget yourself in their presence,
    and behave like a fool through bad habit;
then you will wish that you had never been born,
    and you will curse the day of your birth.
15 Those who are accustomed to using abusive language
    will never become disciplined as long as they live.


  1. Sirach 23:2 Gk their
  2. Sirach 23:3 Other ancient authorities add From them the hope of your mercy is remote
  3. Sirach 23:7 This heading is included in the Gk text.
  4. Sirach 23:10 Syr be free
  5. Sirach 23:12 Other ancient authorities read clothed about with death
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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