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Sirach 11 Common English Bible (CEB)

11 The wisdom of humble people
raises up their heads,
    and it will seat them among officials.
Don’t praise people
for their beautiful looks,
    and don’t despise people
    for their appearance.
The bee is small among flying creatures,
    but its produce is the origin
    of everything sweet.
Don’t take pride in the way you dress,
    and don’t promote yourself
    when you are being honored,[a]
        because the Lord’s works
        are wonderful,
        and his works are hidden
        from humans.
Many tyrants have sat on the ground,
    and one who was never expected
    to rule has worn a crown.
Many rulers have been
completely dishonored,
    and those once held in honor
    have been handed over to others.

On deliberation

Don’t find fault before you investigate;
    consider first, and then reprimand.
Don’t answer before you listen,
    and don’t interrupt someone
    who is speaking.
Don’t argue about something
that doesn’t matter to you,
    and don’t deliberate in a court case
    between sinners.

10 My child, don’t be busy with many things;
        if you multiply pursuits,
        you won’t be held guiltless.
    If you pursue them,
    you won’t overtake them,
        and when you flee, you won’t escape.
11 Some people work hard, struggle,
and hurry—
    and end up even more deeply in need.
12 Others are sluggish and need support,
    lacking strength
and immersed in poverty.
The Lord has looked upon them
with kindness,
    and has restored them
from their low position.
13 He has raised up their heads,
    and many have been amazed at them.

14 Good things and bad, life and death,
    poverty and wealth come from the Lord.[b]
17 The Lord’s gift remains with the godly,
    and his favor will always bring success.
18 Some become rich from diligence
and greed,[c]
    and this is part of their reward:
19     When they say, “I’ve found rest,
        and now I’ll eat of my good things,”
    they don’t know when the time
    will come
        when they will leave these things
        to others and die.

20 Stand by your agreement,
devote attention to accomplishing it,
    and grow old in your work.
21 Don’t be amazed at the works of sinners,
    but trust in the Lord
    and continue your work,
        because it is easy in God’s sight
    to make the poor person
    quickly and suddenly rich.
22 The Lord’s blessing is part
of the godly person’s wages,
    and God’s good pleasure
    causes a person to flourish very quickly.
23 Don’t say, “What do I need?
    What good things will be mine
    from now on?”
24 Don’t say, “I have enough.
    What harm can come upon me
    from now on?”
25 At a time of prosperity,
adversity is forgotten,
    and at a time of adversity,
    prosperity is not remembered.
26 It is easy for the Lord to pay back people
    according to their ways
    in the hour of death.
27 An hour of misery
makes one forget luxury;
    the end of a person’s life
    reveals his or her deeds.
28 Don’t call anyone happy
before their death;
    people are known
    through their children.[d]

Friends and associates

29 Don’t bring just anyone into your house,
    because deceitful people
    set many ambushes.
30 The hearts of arrogant people
are like decoy birds in a cage;
    and like spies
    they will observe your downfall.[e]
31 They set up ambushes
and turn good into bad;
    they place blame
    on praiseworthy actions.
32 From a fire’s spark come many coals,
    and sinful people plot and connive
    to shed blood.
33 Beware of evildoers, for they plan
evil things, and they might bring
lasting disgrace upon you.
34 If you allow strangers to live with you,
    they will twist you around in confusion
    and make you a stranger
    to your own family.


  1. Sirach 11:4 Heb Don’t mock someone wearing a linen undergarment, and don’t make fun of someone in bitter circumstances.
  2. Sirach 11:14 LXXb adds 11:15–16 Wisdom and knowledge and understanding of the law are from the Lord; love and the ways of good works come from him. Error and darkness were created together with sinners, and evil grows old along with those who exult in evil.
  3. Sirach 11:18 Heb self-denial
  4. Sirach 11:28 Heb A person is known by the way he or she dies.
  5. Sirach 11:30 Heb weakness
Common English Bible (CEB)

Copyright © 2011 by Common English Bible

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