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Sirach 11 Good News Translation (GNT)

11 If a poor person is wise, he has good reason to be proud, and he will be thought of as someone great.

Appearances

Do not compliment a person on his good looks. On the other hand, do not look down on someone who is unattractive. Compared to most flying things, a bee is very small, but the honey it makes is the sweetest of foods. Don't make fun of someone who has fallen on hard times and is dressed in rags.[a] The Lord does wonderful things that human beings never notice. Many are the kings who have ended their careers sitting on the ground, while their crowns were worn by those no one had heard of before. Many are the rulers who have suffered disgrace. Many are the famous people who have fallen into the power of others.

Be Cautious

Before you start criticizing, get your facts straight and think the matter through. Don't interrupt while someone is speaking; hear what he has to say before you answer. Don't get into an argument over something that is none of your business. Don't take part in decisions that are being made by sinners.

10 My child, don't get involved in too many things. If you try to do too much, you will suffer for it. You won't be able to finish your work, and you won't be able to get away from it either. 11 For instance, here is someone who never stops working like a slave, but gets further behind all the time. 12 On the other hand, someone else may be very poor and not up to his task. He may be slow, and he may need help, but the Lord is pleased with him and pulls him out of his bad situation. 13 When he is back on his feet again, everyone is astounded.

14 Everything comes from the Lord: success and failure, poverty and wealth, life and death. 15 Wisdom, understanding, knowledge of the Law, love, and the doing of good deeds—all these come from the Lord. 16 Error and darkness have been with sinners from the beginning, and those who enjoy evil will have it with them into their old age. 17 The Lord's gifts to religious people are gifts that endure. If he approves of you, you will always be successful. 18 Someone may grow rich by working hard and denying himself pleasure, but what does he get for it? 19 He says to himself,

Now I can finally sit back and enjoy what I have worked for. But he has no idea how long it will be before he must die and leave his wealth to others.

20 Stand by your duty and stick to it; grow old at your work. 21 Don't be jealous of what sinners achieve; just stick to your own work, and trust the Lord. It is very easy for the Lord to make a poor person suddenly rich. 22 Devout people will receive the Lord's blessing as their reward, and that blessing can be given in a moment. 23 Don't be concerned about what you need, or what success the future holds for you. 24 On the other hand, don't think that you have everything you need or that nothing can go wrong for you in the future. 25 When things are going well, people don't think about hard times; and when things are going badly, they forget about prosperity. 26 The Lord can easily wait until the day of our death to reward or punish us. 27 At that time our deeds are open for all to see; all our happiness can be erased in that one moment of misery. 28 So then, don't think of anyone's life as happy until it is over, because all the evidence is not in until the person is dead.[b]

Be Careful in Choosing Friends

29 Be careful about the kind of person you invite into your home, because clever people can fool you in many ways. 30 A proud person is a decoy to lure you into danger; like a spy, he will look for your weaknesses.[c] 31 He will make good appear evil and find fault with the noblest actions. 32 A single spark can set a pile of coals ablaze, and a sinner is just waiting for a chance to do violence. 33 Watch out for such people and their evil plans; they will ruin you permanently. 34 If you bring a stranger home with you, it will only cause trouble, even between you and your own family.

Footnotes:

  1. Sirach 11:4 Hebrew Don't...rags; Greek Don't take pride in fine clothes, and don't let compliments go to your head.
  2. Sirach 11:28 Hebrew all...dead; Greek a man will be known by his children.
  3. Sirach 11:30 Hebrew look...weaknesses; Greek wait for your downfall.
Good News Translation (GNT)

Copyright © 1992 by American Bible Society

Sirach 11 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

The Deceptiveness of Appearances

11 The wisdom of the humble lifts their heads high,
    and seats them among the great.
Do not praise individuals for their good looks,
    or loathe anyone because of appearance alone.
The bee is small among flying creatures,
    but what it produces is the best of sweet things.
Do not boast about wearing fine clothes,
    and do not exalt yourself when you are honored;
for the works of the Lord are wonderful,
    and his works are concealed from humankind.
Many kings have had to sit on the ground,
    but one who was never thought of has worn a crown.
Many rulers have been utterly disgraced,
    and the honored have been handed over to others.

Deliberation and Caution

Do not find fault before you investigate;
    examine first, and then criticize.
Do not answer before you listen,
    and do not interrupt when another is speaking.
Do not argue about a matter that does not concern you,
    and do not sit with sinners when they judge a case.

10 My child, do not busy yourself with many matters;
    if you multiply activities, you will not be held blameless.
If you pursue, you will not overtake,
    and by fleeing you will not escape.
11 There are those who work and struggle and hurry,
    but are so much the more in want.
12 There are others who are slow and need help,
    who lack strength and abound in poverty;
but the eyes of the Lord look kindly upon them;
    he lifts them out of their lowly condition
13 and raises up their heads
    to the amazement of the many.

14 Good things and bad, life and death,
    poverty and wealth, come from the Lord.[a]
17 The Lord’s gift remains with the devout,
    and his favor brings lasting success.
18 One becomes rich through diligence and self-denial,
    and the reward allotted to him is this:
19 when he says, “I have found rest,
    and now I shall feast on my goods!”
he does not know how long it will be
    until he leaves them to others and dies.

20 Stand by your agreement and attend to it,
    and grow old in your work.
21 Do not wonder at the works of a sinner,
    but trust in the Lord and keep at your job;
for it is easy in the sight of the Lord
    to make the poor rich suddenly, in an instant.
22 The blessing of the Lord is[b] the reward of the pious,
    and quickly God causes his blessing to flourish.
23 Do not say, “What do I need,
    and what further benefit can be mine?”
24 Do not say, “I have enough,
    and what harm can come to me now?”
25 In the day of prosperity, adversity is forgotten,
    and in the day of adversity, prosperity is not remembered.
26 For it is easy for the Lord on the day of death
    to reward individuals according to their conduct.
27 An hour’s misery makes one forget past delights,
    and at the close of one’s life one’s deeds are revealed.
28 Call no one happy before his death;
    by how he ends, a person becomes known.[c]

Care in Choosing Friends

29 Do not invite everyone into your home,
    for many are the tricks of the crafty.
30 Like a decoy partridge in a cage, so is the mind of the proud,
    and like spies they observe your weakness;[d]
31 for they lie in wait, turning good into evil,
    and to worthy actions they attach blame.
32 From a spark many coals are kindled,
    and a sinner lies in wait to shed blood.
33 Beware of scoundrels, for they devise evil,
    and they may ruin your reputation forever.
34 Receive strangers into your home and they will stir up trouble for you,
    and will make you a stranger to your own family.

Footnotes:

  1. Sirach 11:14 Other ancient authorities add as verses 15 and 16, 15 Wisdom, understanding, and knowledge of the law come from the Lord; affection and the ways of good works come from him. 16 Error and darkness were created with sinners; evil grows old with those who take pride in malice.
  2. Sirach 11:22 Heb: Gk is in
  3. Sirach 11:28 Heb: Gk and through his children a person becomes known
  4. Sirach 11:30 Heb: Gk downfall
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.

Ben Sira 11 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 11

The wisdom of the poor lifts their head high
    and sets them among princes.
Do not praise anyone for good looks;
    or despise anyone because of appearance.

The bee is least among winged creatures,
    but it reaps the choicest of harvests.
Do not mock the one who wears only a loin-cloth,
    or scoff at a person’s bitter day.
For strange are the deeds of the Lord,
    hidden from mortals his work.[a]
Many are the oppressed who rise to the throne;
    some that none would consider wear a crown.[b]
Many are the exalted who fall into utter disgrace,
    many the honored who are given into the power of the few.

Moderation and Patience[c]

Before investigating, do not find fault;
    examine first, then criticize.
Before listening, do not say a word,
    interrupt no one in the midst of speaking.
Do not dispute about what is not your concern;
    in the quarrels of the arrogant do not take part.

10 My son, why increase your anxiety,
    since whoever is greedy for wealth will not be blameless?
Even if you chase after it, you will never overtake it;
    and by fleeing you will not escape.
11 One may work and struggle and drive,
    and fall short all the same.
12 Others go their way broken-down drifters,
    with little strength and great misery—
Yet the eye of the Lord looks favorably upon them,
    shaking them free of the stinking mire.
13 He lifts up their heads and exalts them
    to the amazement of the many.

14 [d]Good and evil, life and death,
    poverty and riches—all are from the Lord.[e]
17 The Lord’s gift remains with the devout;
    his favor brings lasting success.
18 Some become rich through a miser’s life,
    and this is their allotted reward:
19 When they say: “I have found rest,
    now I will feast on my goods,”
They do not know how long it will be
    till they die and leave them to others.[f]

20 My child, stand by your agreement and attend to it,
    grow old while doing your work.
21 Do not marvel at the works of a sinner,
    but trust in the Lord and wait for his light;
For it is easy in the eyes of the Lord
    suddenly, in an instant, to make the poor rich.

22 God’s blessing is the lot of the righteous,
    and in due time their hope bears fruit.
23 Do not say: “What do I need?
    What further benefits can be mine?”
24 Do not say: “I am self-sufficient.
    What harm can come to me now?”
25 The day of prosperity makes one forget adversity;
    the day of adversity makes one forget prosperity.

26 For it is easy for the Lord on the day of death[g]
    to repay mortals according to their conduct.
27 A time of affliction brings forgetfulness of past delights;
    at the end of life one’s deeds are revealed.
28 Call none happy before death,
    for how they end, they are known.

Care in Choosing Friends

29 Not everyone should be brought into your house,
    for many are the snares of the crafty.
30 Like a decoy partridge in a cage, so is the heart of the proud,
    and like a spy they will pick out the weak spots.
31 For they lie in wait to turn good into evil,
    and to praiseworthy deeds they attach blame.
32 One spark kindles many coals;
    a sinner lies in wait for blood.
33 Beware of scoundrels, for they breed only evil,
    and they may give you a lasting stain.
34 Admit strangers into your home, and they will stir up trouble
    and make you a stranger to your own family.

Footnotes:

  1. 11:4 The implication is similar to Eccl 7:13; 8:17: the mysterious work of God.
  2. 11:5 Cf. 1 Sm 2:8; Ps 75:8; 105:17–22; Lk 1:52.
  3. 11:7–28 Discretion should regulate conduct toward others (vv. 7–9); as regards personal interests, one should avoid solicitude for the passing external benefits of life and property (vv. 10–14, 18–19, 21, 23–25) and cultivate the lasting inward gifts of wisdom, virtue (vv. 20, 22), and patience (vv. 25–28).
  4. 11:14 In mysterious ways God ultimately governs the lives of men and women.
  5. 11:14

    Other ancient texts read as vv. 15–16:

    15Wisdom and understanding and knowledge of the Law,

    love and virtuous paths, are from the Lord.

    16Error and darkness were formed with sinners from their birth,

    and evil grows old with those who exult in evil.

  6. 11:19 Cf. the parable of the rich man, Lk 12:16–21.
  7. 11:26–28 Ben Sira thought that divine retribution took place only in the present life, and even at the end of life; cf. 9:12; 14:16–17.
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Sirach 11 New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised (NRSVA)

The Deceptiveness of Appearances

11 The wisdom of the humble lifts their heads high,
    and seats them among the great.
Do not praise individuals for their good looks,
    or loathe anyone because of appearance alone.
The bee is small among flying creatures,
    but what it produces is the best of sweet things.
Do not boast about wearing fine clothes,
    and do not exalt yourself when you are honoured;
for the works of the Lord are wonderful,
    and his works are concealed from humankind.
Many kings have had to sit on the ground,
    but one who was never thought of has worn a crown.
Many rulers have been utterly disgraced,
    and the honoured have been handed over to others.

Deliberation and Caution

Do not find fault before you investigate;
    examine first, and then criticize.
Do not answer before you listen,
    and do not interrupt when another is speaking.
Do not argue about a matter that does not concern you,
    and do not sit with sinners when they judge a case.

10 My child, do not busy yourself with many matters;
    if you multiply activities, you will not be held blameless.
If you pursue, you will not overtake,
    and by fleeing you will not escape.
11 There are those who work and struggle and hurry,
    but are so much the more in want.
12 There are others who are slow and need help,
    who lack strength and abound in poverty;
but the eyes of the Lord look kindly upon them;
    he lifts them out of their lowly condition
13 and raises up their heads
    to the amazement of many.

14 Good things and bad, life and death,
    poverty and wealth, come from the Lord.[a]
17 The Lord’s gift remains with the devout,
    and his favour brings lasting success.
18 One becomes rich through diligence and self-denial,
    and the reward allotted to him is this:
19 when he says, ‘I have found rest,
    and now I shall feast on my goods!’
he does not know how long it will be
    until he leaves them to others and dies.

20 Stand by your agreement and attend to it,
    and grow old in your work.
21 Do not wonder at the works of a sinner,
    but trust in the Lord and keep at your job;
for it is easy in the sight of the Lord
    to make the poor rich suddenly, in an instant.
22 The blessing of the Lord is[b] the reward of the pious,
    and quickly God causes his blessing to flourish.
23 Do not say, ‘What do I need,
    and what further benefit can be mine?’
24 Do not say, ‘I have enough,
    and what harm can come to me now?’
25 In the day of prosperity, adversity is forgotten,
    and in the day of adversity, prosperity is not remembered.
26 For it is easy for the Lord on the day of death
    to reward individuals according to their conduct.
27 An hour’s misery makes one forget past delights,
    and at the close of one’s life one’s deeds are revealed.
28 Call no one happy before his death;
    by how he ends, a person becomes known.[c]

Care in Choosing Friends

29 Do not invite everyone into your home,
    for many are the tricks of the crafty.
30 Like a decoy partridge in a cage, so is the mind of the proud,
    and like spies they observe your weakness;[d]
31 for they lie in wait, turning good into evil,
    and to worthy actions they attach blame.
32 From a spark many coals are kindled,
    and a sinner lies in wait to shed blood.
33 Beware of scoundrels, for they devise evil,
    and they may ruin your reputation for ever.
34 Receive strangers into your home and they will stir up trouble for you,
    and will make you a stranger to your own family.

Footnotes:

  1. Sirach 11:14 Other ancient authorities add as verses 15 and 16, 15 Wisdom, understanding, and knowledge of the law come from the Lord; affection and the ways of good works come from him. 16 Error and darkness were created with sinners; evil grows old with those who take pride in malice.
  2. Sirach 11:22 Heb: Gk is in
  3. Sirach 11:28 Heb: Gk and through his children a person becomes known
  4. Sirach 11:30 Heb: Gk downfall
New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised (NRSVA)

New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicised Edition, copyright © 1989, 1995 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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