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27 Many have committed sin for gain,[a]
    and those who seek to get rich will avert their eyes.
As a stake is driven firmly into a fissure between stones,
    so sin is wedged in between selling and buying.
If a person is not steadfast in the fear of the Lord,
    his house will be quickly overthrown.

Tests in Life

When a sieve is shaken, the refuse appears;
    so do a person’s faults when he speaks.
The kiln tests the potter’s vessels;
    so the test of a person is in his conversation.
Its fruit discloses the cultivation of a tree;
    so a person’s speech discloses the cultivation of his mind.
Do not praise anyone before he speaks,
    for this is the way people are tested.

Reward and Retribution

If you pursue justice, you will attain it
    and wear it like a glorious robe.
Birds roost with their own kind,
    so honesty comes home to those who practice it.
10 A lion lies in wait for prey;
    so does sin for evildoers.

Varieties of Speech

11 The conversation of the godly is always wise,
    but the fool changes like the moon.
12 Among stupid people limit your time,
    but among thoughtful people linger on.
13 The talk of fools is offensive,
    and their laughter is wantonly sinful.
14 Their cursing and swearing make one’s hair stand on end,
    and their quarrels make others stop their ears.
15 The strife of the proud leads to bloodshed,
    and their abuse is grievous to hear.

Betraying Secrets

16 Whoever betrays secrets destroys confidence,
    and will never find a congenial friend.
17 Love your friend and keep faith with him;
    but if you betray his secrets, do not follow after him.
18 For as a person destroys his enemy,
    so you have destroyed the friendship of your neighbor.
19 And as you allow a bird to escape from your hand,
    so you have let your neighbor go, and will not catch him again.
20 Do not go after him, for he is too far off,
    and has escaped like a gazelle from a snare.
21 For a wound may be bandaged,
    and there is reconciliation after abuse,
    but whoever has betrayed secrets is without hope.

Hypocrisy and Retribution

22 Whoever winks the eye plots mischief,
    and those who know him will keep their distance.
23 In your presence his mouth is all sweetness,
    and he admires your words;
but later he will twist his speech
    and with your own words he will trip you up.
24 I have hated many things, but him above all;
    even the Lord hates him.
25 Whoever throws a stone straight up throws it on his own head,
    and a treacherous blow opens up many wounds.
26 Whoever digs a pit will fall into it,
    and whoever sets a snare will be caught in it.
27 If a person does evil, it will roll back upon him,
    and he will not know where it came from.
28 Mockery and abuse issue from the proud,
    but vengeance lies in wait for them like a lion.
29 Those who rejoice in the fall of the godly will be caught in a snare,
    and pain will consume them before their death.

Anger and Vengeance

30 Anger and wrath, these also are abominations,
    yet a sinner holds on to them.


  1. Sirach 27:1 Other ancient authorities read a trifle

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