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Sirach 6:1-7:14 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

and do not become an enemy instead of a friend;
for a bad name incurs shame and reproach;
    so it is with the double-tongued sinner.

Do not fall into the grip of passion,[a]
    or you may be torn apart as by a bull.[b]
Your leaves will be devoured and your fruit destroyed,
    and you will be left like a withered tree.
Evil passion destroys those who have it,
    and makes them the laughingstock of their enemies.

Friendship, False and True

Pleasant speech multiplies friends,
    and a gracious tongue multiplies courtesies.
Let those who are friendly with you be many,
    but let your advisers be one in a thousand.
When you gain friends, gain them through testing,
    and do not trust them hastily.
For there are friends who are such when it suits them,
    but they will not stand by you in time of trouble.
And there are friends who change into enemies,
    and tell of the quarrel to your disgrace.
10 And there are friends who sit at your table,
    but they will not stand by you in time of trouble.
11 When you are prosperous, they become your second self,
    and lord it over your servants;
12 but if you are brought low, they turn against you,
    and hide themselves from you.
13 Keep away from your enemies,
    and be on guard with your friends.

14 Faithful friends are a sturdy shelter:
    whoever finds one has found a treasure.
15 Faithful friends are beyond price;
    no amount can balance their worth.
16 Faithful friends are life-saving medicine;
    and those who fear the Lord will find them.
17 Those who fear the Lord direct their friendship aright,
    for as they are, so are their neighbors also.

Blessings of Wisdom

18 My child, from your youth choose discipline,
    and when you have gray hair you will still find wisdom.
19 Come to her like one who plows and sows,
    and wait for her good harvest.
For when you cultivate her you will toil but little,
    and soon you will eat of her produce.
20 She seems very harsh to the undisciplined;
    fools cannot remain with her.
21 She will be like a heavy stone to test them,
    and they will not delay in casting her aside.
22 For wisdom is like her name;
    she is not readily perceived by many.

23 Listen, my child, and accept my judgment;
    do not reject my counsel.
24 Put your feet into her fetters,
    and your neck into her collar.
25 Bend your shoulders and carry her,
    and do not fret under her bonds.
26 Come to her with all your soul,
    and keep her ways with all your might.
27 Search out and seek, and she will become known to you;
    and when you get hold of her, do not let her go.
28 For at last you will find the rest she gives,
    and she will be changed into joy for you.
29 Then her fetters will become for you a strong defense,
    and her collar a glorious robe.
30 Her yoke[c] is a golden ornament,
    and her bonds a purple cord.
31 You will wear her like a glorious robe,
    and put her on like a splendid crown.[d]

32 If you are willing, my child, you can be disciplined,
    and if you apply yourself you will become clever.
33 If you love to listen you will gain knowledge,
    and if you pay attention you will become wise.
34 Stand in the company of the elders.
    Who is wise? Attach yourself to such a one.
35 Be ready to listen to every godly discourse,
    and let no wise proverbs escape you.
36 If you see an intelligent person, rise early to visit him;
    let your foot wear out his doorstep.
37 Reflect on the statutes of the Lord,
    and meditate at all times on his commandments.
It is he who will give insight to[e] your mind,
    and your desire for wisdom will be granted.

Miscellaneous Advice

Do no evil, and evil will never overtake you.
Stay away from wrong, and it will turn away from you.
Do[f] not sow in the furrows of injustice,
    and you will not reap a sevenfold crop.

Do not seek from the Lord high office,
    or the seat of honor from the king.
Do not assert your righteousness before the Lord,
    or display your wisdom before the king.
Do not seek to become a judge,
    or you may be unable to root out injustice;
you may be partial to the powerful,
    and so mar your integrity.
Commit no offense against the public,
    and do not disgrace yourself among the people.

Do not commit a sin twice;
    not even for one will you go unpunished.
Do not say, “He will consider the great number of my gifts,
    and when I make an offering to the Most High God, he will accept it.”
10 Do not grow weary when you pray;
    do not neglect to give alms.
11 Do not ridicule a person who is embittered in spirit,
    for there is One who humbles and exalts.
12 Do not devise[g] a lie against your brother,
    or do the same to a friend.
13 Refuse to utter any lie,
    for it is a habit that results in no good.
14 Do not babble in the assembly of the elders,
    and do not repeat yourself when you pray.

Footnotes:

  1. Sirach 6:2 Heb: Meaning of Gk uncertain
  2. Sirach 6:2 Meaning of Gk uncertain
  3. Sirach 6:30 Heb: Gk Upon her
  4. Sirach 6:31 Heb: Gk crown of gladness
  5. Sirach 6:37 Heb: Gk will confirm
  6. Sirach 7:3 Gk My child, do
  7. Sirach 7:12 Heb: Gk plow
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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