19 1 If you do, you[a] will never get rich; if you don't pay attention to small matters, you will gradually ruin yourself.2 Wine and women make sensible men do foolish things. A man who goes to prostitutes gets more and more careless,3 and that carelessness will cost him his life. Worms will feed on his decaying body.
4 It is silly to trust people too quickly. If you sin, you are hurting yourself.5 If wickedness makes you happy, you will be condemned.
6 Avoid idle talk, and you will avoid a lot of trouble.7 Never repeat what you hear, and you will have no regrets.8 Don't tell it to your friends or your enemies unless it would be sinful to keep it to yourself.9 Whoever hears you will take note of it, and sooner or later will hate you for it.10 Have you heard a rumor? Let it die with you. Be brave! It won't make you explode.11 A foolish person trying to keep a secret suffers like a woman in labor.12 Any time he hears a secret, it's like an arrow stuck in his leg.
13 If you hear that a friend has done something wrong, ask him about it. Maybe it isn't true. If it is true, he won't do it again.14 If you hear that a neighbor has said something he shouldn't, ask him about it. Maybe he didn't say it. If he did, he won't say it again.15 If you hear something bad about a friend, ask him about it. It might be a lie. Don't believe everything you hear.16 A person may say something carelessly and not really mean it. Everyone has sinned in this way at one time or another.17 If you hear something that makes you angry with your neighbor, ask him about it before you threaten him. Leave the matter to the Law of the Most High.[b]
Recognizing Real Wisdom
20 Fear the Lord and keep his Law; that is what Wisdom is all about.[c]22 You may know everything there is to know about wickedness, but that does not make you wise. It is not sensible to follow the advice of sinners.23 It is possible to use cleverness for wicked purposes, but some people act like fools because they don't know any better.24 A devout person, even if he is not very intelligent, is better off than the cleverest of sinners.25 It is possible to be marvelously clever and still be dishonest, or to get what you want by being absurdly polite.
26 Then there are those wicked people who go about looking very solemn and mournful, but who are only trying to deceive you.27 They will turn their faces away and pretend not to hear you, but they'll take advantage of you when you least expect it.28 If for some reason they are unable to sin now, they'll get around to it at the first opportunity.29 You can know people by their appearance. The first time you look at them, you can tell if they have good sense.30 Their character shows in the way they dress, the way they laugh, and the way they walk.
Sirach 19:1Hebrew If you do, you; Greek A worker who drinks too much.
Sirach 19:17Some manuscripts add verses 17c-19: and don't be angry. 18 Fearing the Lord is the first step toward his accepting you; he will love you if you are wise. 19 Learn the Lord's commands. It is a discipline that gives life. Those who do what pleases him enjoy the fruit of the tree of immortality.
Sirach 19:20Some manuscripts add verses 20b-21: and what the knowledge of his omnipotence means. 21 If a servant refuses to obey his master, but later does obey, the master is still angry.
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