Sirach 23 Revised Standard Version (RSV)
23 O Lord, Father and Ruler of my life,
do not abandon me to their counsel,
and let me not fall because of them!
2 O that whips were set over my thoughts,
and the discipline of wisdom over my mind!
That they may not spare me in my errors,
and that it may not pass by my sins;
3 in order that my mistakes may not be multiplied,
and my sins may not abound;
then I will not fall before my adversaries,
and my enemy will not rejoice over me.
4 O Lord, Father and God of my life,
do not give me haughty eyes,
5 and remove from me evil desire.
6 Let neither gluttony nor lust overcome me,
and do not surrender me to a shameless soul.
Discipline of the Tongue
7 Listen, my children, to instruction concerning speech;
the one who observes it will never be caught.
8 The sinner is overtaken through his lips,
the reviler and the arrogant are tripped by them.
9 Do not accustom your mouth to oaths,
and do not habitually utter the name of the Holy One;
10 for as a servant who is continually examined under torture
will not lack bruises,
so also the man who always swears and utters the Name
will not be cleansed from sin.
11 A man who swears many oaths will be filled with iniquity,
and the scourge will not leave his house;
if he offends, his sin remains on him,
and if he disregards it, he sins doubly;
if he has sworn needlessly, he will not be justified,
for his house will be filled with calamities.
12 There is an utterance which is comparable to death;
may it never be found in the inheritance of Jacob!
For all these errors will be far from the godly,
and they will not wallow in sins.
13 Do not accustom your mouth to lewd vulgarity,
for it involves sinful speech.
14 Remember your father and mother
when you sit among great men;
lest you be forgetful in their presence,
and be deemed a fool on account of your habits;
then you will wish that you had never been born,
and you will curse the day of your birth.
15 A man accustomed to use insulting words
will never become disciplined all his days.
Concerning Sexual Sins
16 Two sorts of men multiply sins,
and a third incurs wrath.
The soul heated like a burning fire
will not be quenched until it is consumed;
a man who commits fornication with his near of kin
will never cease until the fire burns him up.
17 To a fornicator all bread tastes sweet;
he will never cease until he dies.
18 A man who breaks his marriage vows
says to himself, “Who sees me?
Darkness surrounds me, and the walls hide me,
and no one sees me. Why should I fear?
The Most High will not take notice of my sins.”
19 His fear is confined to the eyes of men,
and he does not realize that the eyes of the Lord
are ten thousand times brighter than the sun;
they look upon all the ways of men,
and perceive even the hidden places.
20 Before the universe was created, it was known to him;
so it was also after it was finished.
21 This man will be punished in the streets of the city,
and where he least suspects it, he will be seized.
22 So it is with a woman who leaves her husband
and provides an heir by a stranger.
23 For first of all, she has disobeyed the law of the Most High;
second, she has committed an offense against her husband;
and third, she has committed adultery through harlotry
and brought forth children by another man.
24 She herself will be brought before the assembly,
and punishment will fall on her children.
25 Her children will not take root,
and her branches will not bear fruit.
26 She will leave her memory for a curse,
and her disgrace will not be blotted out.
27 Those who survive her will recognize
that nothing is better than the fear of the Lord,
and nothing sweeter than to heed the commandments of the Lord.
Revised Standard Version (RSV)
Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright © 1946, 1952, and 1971 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.