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37 Each friend shall say, And I have coupled friendship; but that is a friend, a friend by name alone. [Each friend shall say, And I friendship coupled; but there is a friend, by only name a friend.]

Whether sorrow is not till to death? Forsooth a fellow of (the) table and a friend shall be turned to enmity. [Whether not sorrow is unto death? A meat-fellow forsooth a friend to enmity shall be turned.]

A! the worst presumption, whereof art thou made to cover dry malice, and the guilefulness thereof? [O! most shrewd (or most depraved) presumption, whence art thou formed to cover dry malice, and the treachery of it?]

A fellow of (the) table shall be merry with a friend in delightings, and in the day of tribulation he shall be (an) adversary.

A fellow of (the) table shall have sorrow with a friend, for cause [or because] of the womb (or the belly); and he shall take (up a) shield against an enemy.

Forget thou not thy friend in thy soul, and be thou not unmindful of him in thy works. Do not thou take counsel with the father of thy wife; and hide thou counsel from them that have envy to thee.

Each counsellor showeth counsel, but there is a counsellor to, [or in], (or only for) himself.

Keep thy soul from an evil counsellor; first know thou, what is his need, and what he shall think in his soul; lest peradventure he send a stake into the earth, [From an evil counsellor keep thy soul; first know thou, what be the need of him, and what he in his inwit shall think; lest peradventure he put a pole, or a pale, or a stake, into the earth,]

and say to thee, Thy way is good, and (then) he stand againward, to see what shall befall to thee. [and say to thee, Good is thy way, and stand againward, to see what fall to thee.]

10 With an unreligious man treat thou[a] (not) of (or about) holiness, and with an unjust man (not) of (or about) rightfulness, [With an unreligious man treat of holiness, and with the unrightwise man of rightwiseness,][b]

11 and with a woman (not) of (or about) these things which she hateth. With a fearedful man treat thou (not) of (or about) battle, with a merchant (not) of (or about) carrying over of merchandises to chapping,; with a buyer, (not) of (or about) selling, with an envious man, (not) of (or about) graces to be done; with an unpiteous man, (not) of (or about) pity, with an unhonest man, (not) of (or about) honesty, with a workman of the field, (not) of (or about) each work; with a workman hired by the year, (not) of (or about) the ending of the year, with a slow servant, (not) of (or about) much working. Give thou not attention to these men in all counsel, [and with a woman of those things that she envieth. Do thou not counsel with him that hath thee suspect, and from men envying to thee, hide thou thy counsel. With the dreadful treat of battle, and with the merchant, treat of (ex)changing; with the buyer, of selling, with the envious man, of graces to be done; with the unpiteous, of pity, with the unhonest, of honesty, with the worker, of all work; with the annual worker, of the full ending of the year, with the slow servant, of much working. Take thou not heed to these in all counsel,]

12 but be thou busy with an holy man, whomever thou knowest (is) keeping God’s dread, whose soul is after thy soul. Whoever doubteth in darknesses, shall not have sorrow with thee.

13 And establish thou the heart of good counsel with thee; for why another thing is not more than it (is) to thee. [And heart of good counsel set thou with thee; there is not forsooth to thee other more than it.]

14 The soul of an holy man telleth out truths sometime; more than seven beholders [or seven lookers about] sitting on high for to behold.

15 And in all these things beseech thou the Highest, that he (ad)dress, (or direct), [or right rule] thy way in truth.

16 Before all works a soothfast (or a true) word go before thee; and a steadfast counsel go before each deed. [Before all works a very word go before thee; and before all deeds stable counsel.]

17 A wicked, [or A shrewd, (or A depraved)] word shall change the heart,

18 of which heart four parts come forth; good and evil, life and death; and a busy tongue is lord of those. [of the which four parts spring; good and evil, life and death; and the lordshipper of these is a busy tongue.]

19 A wise man hath taught many men, and (or but) he is (not) sweet to his (own) soul.

20 He that speaketh sophistically, either by sophism, is hateful; he shall be defrauded in each thing. [Who sophistically speaketh, is hateful; in all thing he shall be beguiled.]

21 For why grace is not given of (or from) the Lord to him, for he is defrauded of all wisdom.

22 A wise man is wise to his (own) soul, and the fruits of his wit be worthy to be praised. [There is a wise man wise to his soul, and the fruits of the wit of him be praiseable.]

23 A wise man teacheth his people, and the fruits of his wit be faithful.

24 A wise man shall be filled with blessings, and they that see him shall praise him.

25 The life of a man is in the number of days; but the days of Israel be unnumberable.

26 A wise man in the people shall inherit honour, and his name shall be living without end.

27 Son, assay thy soul in thy life; and if it is wicked, give thou not power to it;

28 for why not all things speed to (or be expedient for) all men, and not each kind pleaseth each soul. [forsooth not all things to all speed or to all good, and not to each soul each kind pleaseth.]

29 Do not thou be greedy in each eating, and shed thou not out thee on each meat. [Do thou not be greedy in all plenteous meat-giving, and pour thee not out upon each meat.]

30 For in many meats shall be sickness, and greediness shall nigh (or shall approach) unto choler.

31 Many men died for gluttony; but he that is abstinent, shall increase (his) life. [For (or From) gluttony many men died; who forsooth is abstinent, shall add life.]


  1. Sirach 37:10 The author of this book speaketh here (and also in verse 11) in scorn, and understandeth the contrary of his saying.
  2. Sirach 37:10 In verse 12 of the Early Version, but not in the Later Version, the following sentence appears: Do thou not counsel with him that hath thee suspect, and from men envying to thee, hide thou thy counsel. See verse 10 of the KJV, opposite.