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Sirach 23 Common English Bible (CEB)

23 Lord, Father, and master of my life,
    don’t abandon me to their will,
    and don’t let me fall because of them.
Who will station whips
to keep my thoughts in line
    and set the discipline of wisdom
    over my heart,
    so that I might not be spared my faults
    due to ignorance
    and my sins not go unnoticed?
Otherwise, my acts of ignorance
might multiply,
    and my sins might increase,
    and I’ll fall before my adversaries,
    and my enemy will rejoice over me.[a]
Lord, Father, God of my life,
    don’t let me have prideful eyes;
    turn desire away from me.
Don’t allow gluttony or sexual desire
to overtake me,
    and don’t hand me over
    to a shameless spirit.[b]

Instruction about the mouth[c]

Listen, my children, to instruction
about your mouth;
    whoever follows my instruction
    will never succumb to it.
The lips of sinners will seize them
    and make abusers
    and the arrogant stumble.
Don’t let your mouth
get used to making solemn pledges,
    and don’t get accustomed
    to saying the name of the holy one.
10 Just as a household slave
who is constantly examined
        won’t be lacking bruises,
    so also the person who always swears
    and speaks the Lord’s name
        will never be cleansed from sin.
11 People who make many solemn pledges
will be full of lawlessness,
        and a scourge won’t depart
        from their house.
    If they break their solemn pledges,
    their sin is on them,
    and if they disregard it, they sin doubly,
    and if they swear falsely,
    they won’t be justified,
        but their houses will be full of misery.

12 There is a way of speaking
that’s comparable to death;
    don’t let it be found
    among Jacob’s descendants.
    All these things will stay far away
    from the godly,
    and they will not wallow in their sins.
13     Don’t grow accustomed
    to saying coarse things,
    because to do so is to engage
    in sinful speech.
14 Remember your father and mother,
        because you sit in the council
        among officials.
    This way, you won’t forget yourself
    in front of them
        and act foolishly out of habit—
    then you’d wish
    that you hadn’t been born,
        and you’d curse the day of your birth.
15 People who are accustomed
to reproachful words
    will never learn anything
    their whole life.

On sex

16 Two types of people multiply sins,
        and a third will bring wrath.
    A hot temperament that burns like fire
        will never be quenched until it is spent.
    People who are promiscuous
    with their kin
        will never stop until the fire burns out.
17 To promiscuous people all bread is sweet;
    they don’t become weary until they die.
18 There are people
who violate their marriage bed,
        saying to themselves, Who will see me?
    Darkness envelops me;
    the walls hide me;
        no one will see me.
        Why do I have a care?
        The Most High
        will never recall my sins.
19 They fear human eyes,
    but they are unaware
    that the eyes of the Lord
        are ten thousand times brighter
        than the sun;
    they observe all the ways
    of human beings
        and look into hidden places.
20 Before all things were created,
God knew them;
    so as well after they were finished.
21 These people will be punished
in the streets of the city,
    and when they least expect it,
    they will be seized.

22 So it is with a woman
when she is unfaithful to her husband
    and she presents him with an heir
    by another man.
23 First, she’s disobeyed
the Law of the Most High;
    second, she’s wronged her husband;
    third, she’s committed adultery
    by her illicit sexual behavior
        and produced children
        by another man.
24 She will be led into the assembly,
    and her punishment
    will be upon her children.
25 Her children won’t take root,
    and her branches won’t bear fruit.
26 She will leave behind a cursed memory,
    and her reproach won’t be wiped clean.
27 And those who remain will know
    that nothing is better
    than fearing the Lord,
    and nothing is sweeter than keeping the Lord’s commandments.[d]


  1. Sirach 23:3 LXXb adds The hope of your mercy is far from them.
  2. Sirach 23:6 LXX soul
  3. Sirach 23:7 The title appears in Gk manuscripts.
  4. Sirach 23:27 LXXb adds 23:28 It is a great glory to follow God; to be received by him is to have a long life.
Common English Bible (CEB)

Copyright © 2011 by Common English Bible

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