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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.


  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

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