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Sirach 29 Good News Translation (GNT)

Loans and Repayment

29 Be kind enough to lend to your neighbor when he needs help. You are keeping the Lord's commands if you help him. If he needs something, lend it to him. And when you are in debt, pay it back as soon as you can. If you meet your obligations, you will always be able to borrow what you need. Many people treat a loan as something they found and can keep, causing embarrassment to those who helped them. Some people will speak politely, bow, and scrape until they get the loan they want, but when the time comes to pay it back, they'll put it off, say that it's inconvenient, and make a lot of worthless excuses. If the lender insists on being paid, he can count himself lucky to get back half. If he doesn't insist, the borrower has robbed him and made an unnecessary enemy. All the lender will get from him are curses, insults, and disrespect, but never any gratitude.

Many people refuse to lend at all, not because they are stingy, but because[a] they don't want to be cheated if they can avoid it.

Generosity

Nevertheless, be understanding with those who are poor. Don't keep them waiting for your generosity. The Lord has commanded us to help the poor; don't refuse them the help they need. 10 It is better to lose your money by helping a relative or a friend than to lose it by letting it rust away under a rock somewhere. 11 Use your wealth as the Most High has commanded; this will do you more good than keeping your money for yourself. 12 Count among your treasures the fact that you give to the poor. It will save you from all kinds of trouble 13 and will be a better defense against your enemies than the strongest shield or stoutest spear.

Guaranteeing Debts

14 A good man is willing to guarantee his neighbor's debts. Only someone who has lost all sense of decency would refuse to do so. 15 If someone does this favor for you, don't forget it; he has risked his good name for you. 16 There are some ungrateful sinners who abandon those who stand behind them, and they cause them loss of property. 17 Guaranteeing loans has ruined many prosperous people and caused them unsettling storms of trouble. 18 Influential people have lost their homes over it and have had to go wandering in foreign countries. 19 A sinner who hopes to make a profit by guaranteeing a loan is going to find himself involved in lawsuits. 20 So help your neighbor as much as you can, but protect yourself against the dangers involved.

Home and Hospitality

21 The necessities of life are water, food, clothing, and a home where you can have privacy. 22 It is better to be poor and live under your own crude roof than to enjoy lavish banquets in other people's homes. 23 Be happy with what you have, even if it isn't very much, and don't listen to anyone who would insult your home and family.[b] 24 Going from house to house is a miserable way to live. Anywhere you go, you don't dare speak. 25 You welcome the guests and pour the drinks, and nobody thanks you. Instead, people humiliate you by saying things like:

26 Stranger! Come here and set the table! I want to eat what you've got there! Give it here! 27 Go away, stranger! I've got an important guest! My brother is coming to visit, and I need the room!

28 Being denied hospitality or having a moneylender hound you—these are hard things for any sensitive person to endure.

Footnotes:

  1. Sirach 29:7 not because...stingy, but because; some manuscripts have therefore, because of this wickedness.
  2. Sirach 29:23 don't listen...family; or don't listen to insults from your family; some manuscripts do not have these words; one ancient translation has don't get a reputation for living off other people.
Good News Translation (GNT)

Copyright © 1992 by American Bible Society

Sirach 29 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

On Lending and Borrowing

29 The merciful lend to their neighbors;
    by holding out a helping hand they keep the commandments.
Lend to your neighbor in his time of need;
    repay your neighbor when a loan falls due.
Keep your promise and be honest with him,
    and on every occasion you will find what you need.
Many regard a loan as a windfall,
    and cause trouble to those who help them.
One kisses another’s hands until he gets a loan,
    and is deferential in speaking of his neighbor’s money;
but at the time for repayment he delays,
    and pays back with empty promises,
    and finds fault with the time.
If he can pay, his creditor[a] will hardly get back half,
    and will regard that as a windfall.
If he cannot pay, the borrower[b] has robbed the other of his money,
    and he has needlessly made him an enemy;
he will repay him with curses and reproaches,
    and instead of glory will repay him with dishonor.
Many refuse to lend, not because of meanness,
    but from fear[c] of being defrauded needlessly.

Nevertheless, be patient with someone in humble circumstances,
    and do not keep him waiting for your alms.
Help the poor for the commandment’s sake,
    and in their need do not send them away empty-handed.
10 Lose your silver for the sake of a brother or a friend,
    and do not let it rust under a stone and be lost.
11 Lay up your treasure according to the commandments of the Most High,
    and it will profit you more than gold.
12 Store up almsgiving in your treasury,
    and it will rescue you from every disaster;
13 better than a stout shield and a sturdy spear,
    it will fight for you against the enemy.

On Guaranteeing Debts

14 A good person will be surety for his neighbor,
    but the one who has lost all sense of shame will fail him.
15 Do not forget the kindness of your guarantor,
    for he has given his life for you.
16 A sinner wastes the property of his guarantor,
17     and the ungrateful person abandons his rescuer.
18 Being surety has ruined many who were prosperous,
    and has tossed them about like waves of the sea;
it has driven the influential into exile,
    and they have wandered among foreign nations.
19 The sinner comes to grief through surety;
    his pursuit of gain involves him in lawsuits.
20 Assist your neighbor to the best of your ability,
    but be careful not to fall yourself.

Home and Hospitality

21 The necessities of life are water, bread, and clothing,
    and also a house to assure privacy.
22 Better is the life of the poor under their own crude roof
    than sumptuous food in the house of others.
23 Be content with little or much,
    and you will hear no reproach for being a guest.[d]
24 It is a miserable life to go from house to house;
    as a guest you should not open your mouth;
25 you will play the host and provide drink without being thanked,
    and besides this you will hear rude words like these:
26 “Come here, stranger, prepare the table;
    let me eat what you have there.”
27 “Be off, stranger, for an honored guest is here;
    my brother has come for a visit, and I need the guest-room.”
28 It is hard for a sensible person to bear
    scolding about lodging[e] and the insults of the moneylender.

Footnotes:

  1. Sirach 29:6 Gk he
  2. Sirach 29:6 Gk he
  3. Sirach 29:7 Other ancient authorities read many refuse to lend, therefore, because of such meanness; they are afraid
  4. Sirach 29:23 Lat: Gk reproach from your family; other ancient authorities lack this line
  5. Sirach 29:28 Or scolding from the household
New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 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.

Ben Sira 29 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 29

Loans, Alms and Surety[a]

The merciful lend to their neighbor,
    by holding out a helping hand, they keep the commandments.
Lend to your neighbor in his time of need,
    and pay back your neighbor in time.
Keep your promise and be honest with him,
    and at all times you will find what you need.
Many borrowers ask for a loan
    and cause trouble for those who help them.
Till he gets a loan, he kisses the lender’s hand
    and speaks softly of his creditor’s money,
But at time of payment, delays,
    makes excuses, and finds fault with the timing.
If he can pay, the lender will recover barely half,
    and will consider that a windfall.
If he cannot pay, the lender is cheated of his money
    and acquires an enemy at no extra charge;
With curses and insults the borrower will repay,
    and instead of honor will repay with abuse.
Many refuse to lend, not out of meanness,
    but from fear of being cheated needlessly.

But with those in humble circumstances be patient;
    do not keep them waiting for your alms.
Because of the commandment, help the poor,
    and in their need, do not send them away empty-handed.
10 Lose your money for relative or friend;
    do not hide it under a stone to rot.
11 Dispose of your treasure according to the commandments of the Most High,
    and that will profit you more than the gold.
12 [b]Store up almsgiving in your treasury,
    and it will save you from every evil.
13 Better than a mighty shield and a sturdy spear
    it will fight for you against the enemy.

14 [c]A good person will be surety for a neighbor,
    but whoever has lost a sense of shame will fail him.
15 Do not forget the kindness of your backer,
    for he has given his very life for you.
16 A sinner will turn the favor of a pledge into misfortune,
17     and the ungrateful will abandon his rescuer.
18 Going surety has ruined many who were prosperous
    and tossed them about like waves of the sea;
It has exiled the prominent
    and sent them wandering through foreign lands.
19 The sinner will come to grief through surety,
    and whoever undertakes too much will fall into lawsuits.
20 Help your neighbor according to your means,
    but take care lest you fall yourself.

Frugality and Its Rewards[d]

21 Life’s prime needs are water, bread, and clothing,
    and also a house for decent privacy.
22 Better is the life of the poor under the shadow of their own roof
    than sumptuous banquets among strangers.
23 Whether little or much, be content with what you have:
    then you will hear no reproach as a parasite.
24 It is a miserable life to go from house to house,
    for where you are a guest you dare not open your mouth.
25 You will entertain and provide drink without being thanked;
    besides, you will hear these bitter words:
26 “Come here, you parasite, set the table,
    let me eat the food you have there!
27 Go away, you parasite, for one more worthy;
    for my relative’s visit I need the room!”
28 Painful things to a sensitive person
    are rebuke as a parasite and insults from creditors.

Footnotes:

  1. 29:1–20 Some practical maxims concerning the use of wealth. Give to the poor (vv. 8–9), lend to a needy neighbor, but repay when a loan falls due lest the lender’s burden be increased (vv. 1–5) and his kindness abused (vv. 6–7); through charity build up defense against evil (vv. 10–13). Help your neighbor according to your means, but take care not to fall (v. 20), for the shameless play false and bring their protectors and themselves to misfortune and ruin (vv. 14–19).
  2. 29:12–13 In Ben Sira’s day, almsgiving and righteousness were practically identified.
  3. 29:14–17 Ben Sira is more lenient on going surety than earlier sages; cf. Prv 6:1–5.
  4. 29:21–28 Those who provide their own basic needs of food, clothing and dwelling, and are content with what they have, preserve their freedom and self-respect (vv. 21–23). But if they live as guests, even among the rich, they expose themselves to insult and rebuke (vv. 24–28).
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Sirach 29 New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised Catholic Edition (NRSVACE)

On Lending and Borrowing

29 The merciful lend to their neighbours;
    by holding out a helping hand they keep the commandments.
Lend to your neighbour in his time of need;
    repay your neighbour when a loan falls due.
Keep your promise and be honest with him,
    and on every occasion you will find what you need.
Many regard a loan as a windfall,
    and cause trouble to those who help them.
One kisses another’s hands until he gets a loan,
    and is deferential in speaking of his neighbour’s money;
but at the time for repayment he delays,
    and pays back with empty promises,
    and finds fault with the time.
If he can pay, his creditor[a] will hardly get back half,
    and will regard that as a windfall.
If he cannot pay, the borrower[b] has robbed the other of his money,
    and he has needlessly made him an enemy;
he will repay him with curses and reproaches,
    and instead of glory will repay him with dishonour.
Many refuse to lend, not because of meanness,
    but from fear[c] of being defrauded needlessly.

Nevertheless, be patient with someone in humble circumstances,
    and do not keep him waiting for your alms.
Help the poor for the commandment’s sake,
    and in their need do not send them away empty-handed.
10 Lose your silver for the sake of a brother or a friend,
    and do not let it rust under a stone and be lost.
11 Lay up your treasure according to the commandments of the Most High,
    and it will profit you more than gold.
12 Store up almsgiving in your treasury,
    and it will rescue you from every disaster;
13 better than a stout shield and a sturdy spear,
    it will fight for you against the enemy.

On Guaranteeing Debts

14 A good person will be surety for his neighbour,
    but one who has lost all sense of shame will fail him.
15 Do not forget the kindness of your guarantor,
    for he has given his life for you.
16 A sinner wastes the property of his guarantor,
17     and the ungrateful person abandons his rescuer.
18 Being surety has ruined many who were prosperous,
    and has tossed them about like waves of the sea;
it has driven the influential into exile,
    and they have wandered among foreign nations.
19 The sinner comes to grief through surety;
    his pursuit of gain involves him in lawsuits.
20 Assist your neighbour to the best of your ability,
    but be careful not to fall yourself.

Home and Hospitality

21 The necessities of life are water, bread, and clothing,
    and also a house to assure privacy.
22 Better is the life of the poor under their own crude roof
    than sumptuous food in the house of others.
23 Be content with little or much,
    and you will hear no reproach for being a guest.[d]
24 It is a miserable life to go from house to house;
    as a guest you should not open your mouth;
25 you will play the host and provide drink without being thanked,
    and besides this you will hear rude words like these:
26 ‘Come here, stranger, prepare the table;
    let me eat what you have there.’
27 ‘Be off, stranger, for an honoured guest is here;
    my brother has come for a visit, and I need the guest-room.’
28 It is hard for a sensitive person to bear
    scolding about lodging[e] and the insults of the moneylender.

Footnotes:

  1. Sirach 29:6 Gk he
  2. Sirach 29:6 Gk he
  3. Sirach 29:7 Other ancient authorities read many refuse to lend, therefore, because of such meanness; they are afraid
  4. Sirach 29:23 Lat: Gk reproach from your family; other ancient authorities lack this line
  5. Sirach 29:28 Or scolding from the household
New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised Catholic Edition (NRSVACE)

New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicised Catholic Edition, copyright © 1989, 1993, 1995 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.

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