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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.


  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