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Various Sins

21 Have you sinned, my child? Do so no more,
    but ask forgiveness for your past sins.
Flee from sin as from a snake;
    for if you approach sin, it will bite you.
Its teeth are lion’s teeth,
    and can destroy human lives.
All lawlessness is like a two-edged sword;
    there is no healing for the wound it inflicts.

Panic and insolence will waste away riches;
    thus the house of the proud will be laid waste.[a]
The prayer of the poor goes from their lips to the ears of God,[b]
    and his judgment comes speedily.
Those who hate reproof walk in the sinner’s steps,
    but those who fear the Lord repent in their heart.
The mighty in speech are widely known;
    when they slip, the sensible person knows it.

Whoever builds his house with other people’s money
    is like one who gathers stones for his burial mound.[c]
An assembly of the wicked is like a bundle of tow,
    and their end is a blazing fire.
10 The way of sinners is paved with smooth stones,
    but at its end is the pit of Hades.

Wisdom and Foolishness

11 Whoever keeps the law controls his thoughts,
    and the fulfillment of the fear of the Lord is wisdom.
12 The one who is not clever cannot be taught,
    but there is a cleverness that increases bitterness.
13 The knowledge of the wise will increase like a flood,
    and their counsel like a life-giving spring.
14 The mind[d] of a fool is like a broken jar;
    it can hold no knowledge.

15 When an intelligent person hears a wise saying,
    he praises it and adds to it;
when a fool[e] hears it, he laughs at[f] it
    and throws it behind his back.
16 A fool’s chatter is like a burden on a journey,
    but delight is found in the speech of the intelligent.
17 The utterance of a sensible person is sought in the assembly,
    and they ponder his words in their minds.

18 Like a house in ruins is wisdom to a fool,
    and to the ignorant, knowledge is talk that has no meaning.
19 To a senseless person education is fetters on his feet,
    and like manacles on his right hand.
20 A fool raises his voice when he laughs,
    but the wise[g] smile quietly.
21 To the sensible person education is like a golden ornament,
    and like a bracelet on the right arm.

22 The foot of a fool rushes into a house,
    but an experienced person waits respectfully outside.
23 A boor peers into the house from the door,
    but a cultivated person remains outside.
24 It is ill-mannered for a person to listen at a door;
    the discreet would be grieved by the disgrace.

25 The lips of babblers speak of what is not their concern,[h]
    but the words of the prudent are weighed in the balance.
26 The mind of fools is in their mouth,
    but the mouth of the wise is in[i] their mind.
27 When an ungodly person curses an adversary,[j]
    he curses himself.
28 A whisperer degrades himself
    and is hated in his neighborhood.


  1. Sirach 21:4 Other ancient authorities read uprooted
  2. Sirach 21:5 Gk his ears
  3. Sirach 21:8 Other ancient authorities read for the winter
  4. Sirach 21:14 Syr Lat: Gk entrails
  5. Sirach 21:15 Syr: Gk reveler
  6. Sirach 21:15 Syr: Gk dislikes
  7. Sirach 21:20 Syr Lat: Gk clever
  8. Sirach 21:25 Other ancient authorities read of strangers speak of these things
  9. Sirach 21:26 Other ancient authorities omit in
  10. Sirach 21:27 Or curses Satan

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