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Various Sins

21 Have you sinned, my son? Do so no more,
    but pray about your former sins.
Flee from sin as from a snake;
    for if you approach sin, it will bite you.
Its teeth are lion’s teeth,
    and destroy the souls of men.
All lawlessness is like a two-edged sword;
    there is no healing for its wound.

Terror and violence will lay waste riches;
    thus the house of the proud will be laid waste.
The prayer of a poor man goes from his lips to the ears of God,[a]
    and his judgment comes speedily.
Whoever hates reproof walks in the steps of the sinner,
    but he that fears the Lord will repent in his heart.
He who is mighty in speech is known from afar;
    but the sensible man, when he slips, is aware of it.

A man who builds his house with other people’s money
    is like one who gathers stones for his burial mound.[b]
An assembly of the wicked is like tow gathered together,
    and their end is a flame of fire.
10 The way of sinners is smoothly paved with stones,
    but at its end is the pit of Hades.

Wisdom and Foolishness

11 Whoever keeps the law controls his thoughts,
    and wisdom is the fulfilment of the fear of the Lord.
12 He who is not clever cannot be taught,
    but there is a cleverness which increases bitterness.
13 The knowledge of a wise man will increase like a flood,
    and his counsel like a flowing spring.
14 The mind of a fool is like a broken jar;
    it will hold no knowledge.

15 When a man of understanding hears a wise saying,
    he will praise it and add to it;
when a reveler hears it, he dislikes it
    and casts it behind his back.
16 A fool’s narration is like a burden on a journey,
    but delight will be found in the speech of the intelligent.
17 The utterance of a sensible man will be sought in the assembly,
    and they will ponder his words in their minds.

18 Like a house that has vanished, so is wisdom to a fool;
    and the knowledge of the ignorant is unexamined talk.
19 To a senseless man education is fetters on his feet,
    and like manacles on his right hand.
20 A fool raises his voice when he laughs,
    but a clever man smiles quietly.
21 To a sensible man education is like a golden ornament,
    and like a bracelet on the right arm.

22 The foot of a fool rushes into a house,
    but a man of experience stands respectfully before it.
23 A boor peers into the house from the door,
    but a cultivated man remains outside.
24 It is ill-mannered for a man to listen at a door,
    and a discreet man is grieved by the disgrace.
25 The lips of strangers will speak of these things,[c]
    but the words of the prudent will be weighed in the balance.
26 The mind of fools is in their mouth,
    but the mouth of wise men is in[d] their mind.
27 When an ungodly man curses his adversary,[e]
    he curses his own soul.
28 A whisperer defiles his own soul
    and is hated in his neighborhood.


  1. Sirach 21:5 Gk his ears
  2. Sirach 21:8 Other authorities read for the winter
  3. Sirach 21:25 The Greek text of this line is uncertain
  4. Sirach 21:26 Other authorities omit in
  5. Sirach 21:27 Or curses Satan

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