Sirach 20 Good News Translation (GNT)
Knowing When to Talk
20 A person can be rebuked in the wrong way; it may be wiser to keep quiet than to speak. 2 But it is much better to rebuke the person than to keep your anger bottled up. 3 Admit when you are wrong, and you will avoid embarrassment. 4 Using force to get a point across is like a castrated man trying to rape a young woman. 5 Some people are thought to be wise because they don't talk much; others are disliked because they talk too much. 6 Some people keep quiet because they don't have anything to say; others keep quiet because they know the right time to speak. 7 A wise person will not speak until the right moment, but a bragging fool doesn't know when that time is. 8 No one can stand a person who talks too long and will not give others a chance to speak.
Sudden Changes of Fortune
9 Bad luck can sometimes lead to success, and a stroke of good luck can sometimes lead to loss.
10 Generosity will sometimes do you no good, but at other times it will repay you double.
11 Honor can be followed by disgrace, but there are people who have risen from obscurity to places of honor.
12 Sometimes what seems like a real bargain can turn out to be a very expensive mistake.
13 When a person with good judgment speaks, he wins friends. A stupid person, though, can shower compliments on everybody, and it won't help him a bit. 14 If such a person gives you something, it won't do any good; it won't be as valuable as he thinks it is.[a] 15 He isn't generous with anything but criticism, which he will shout for all the world to hear. If he lends you something today, he'll want it back tomorrow. (Don't you hate people like that?) 16 Then that fool will say,
Nobody likes me. Nobody appreciates what I do for them. They'll take what I give them, but then talk about me behind my back. 17 And he's right—he's a constant joke to everyone.
18 A slip of the tongue is worse than a slip on the pavement; the wicked will go to ruin just as suddenly as a person slips and falls.
19 An impolite person is like one of those off-color stories that ignorant people are always telling.
20 Nobody takes a proverb seriously when some fool quotes it at the wrong time.
21 If a person is too poor to afford sin, he can rest without a guilty conscience.
22 You can lose all your self-respect by being reluctant to speak up in the presence of stupidity.
23 If you promise a friend something because you are too bashful to say no, you're needlessly making an enemy.
24 Lying is an ugly blot on a person's character, but ignorant people do it all the time. 25 A thief is better than a habitual liar, but both are headed for ruin. 26 A liar has no honor. He lives in constant disgrace.
Stewardship of Wisdom
27 Speak wisely, and you will get ahead in the world. Influential people appreciate good sense. 28 They will excuse your errors if they like you, so cultivate the soil and reap the harvest!
29 Gifts and bribes make even the wise blind to the truth, and prevent them from being honest in their criticism.
30 Wisdom that is not expressed is like a treasure that has been hidden—both are useless. 31 But a person who covers up his foolishness is better than one who keeps his wisdom to himself.
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