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Sirach 29Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (RSVCE)

On Lending and Borrowing

29 He that shows mercy will lend to his neighbor,
    and he that strengthens him with his hand keeps the commandments.
Lend to your neighbor in the time of his need;
    and in turn, repay your neighbor promptly.
Confirm your word and keep faith with him,
    and on every occasion you will find what you need.
Many persons regard a loan as a windfall,
    and cause trouble to those who help them.
A man will kiss another’s hands until he gets a loan,
    and will lower his voice in speaking of his neighbor’s money;
but at the time for repayment he will delay,
    and will pay in words of unconcern,
    and will find fault with the time.
If the lender[a] exert pressure, he will hardly get back half,
    and will regard that as a windfall.
If he does not, the borrower[b] has robbed him of his money,
    and he has needlessly made him his enemy;
he will repay him with curses and reproaches,
    and instead of glory will repay him with dishonor.
Because of such wickedness, therefore,[c] many have refused to lend;
    they have been afraid of being defrauded needlessly.

Nevertheless, be patient with a man in humble circumstances,
    and do not make him wait for your alms.
Help a poor man for the commandment’s sake,
    and because of his need do not send him away empty.
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 all affliction;
13 more than a mighty shield and more than a heavy spear,
    it will fight on your behalf against your enemy.

On Guaranteeing Debts

14 A good man will be surety for his neighbor,
    but a man who has lost his sense of shame will fail him.
15 Do not forget all the kindness of your surety,
    for he has given his life for you.
16 A sinner will overthrow the prosperity of his surety,
17     and one who does not feel grateful will abandon his rescuer.
18 Being surety has ruined many men who were prosperous,
    and has shaken them like a wave of the sea;
it has driven men of power into exile,
    and they have wandered among foreign nations.
19 The sinner who has fallen into suretyship
    and pursues gain will fall into lawsuits.
20 Assist your neighbor according to your ability,
    but take heed to yourself lest you fall.

Home and Hospitality

21 The essentials for life are water and bread
    and clothing and a house to cover one’s nakedness.
22 Better is the life of a poor man under the shelter of his roof
    than sumptuous food in another man’s house.
23 Be content with little or much.[d]
24 It is a miserable life to go from house to house,
    and where you are a stranger you may not open your mouth;
25 you will play the host and provide drink without being thanked,
    and besides this you will hear bitter words:
26 “Come here, stranger, prepare the table,
    and if you have anything at hand, let me have it to eat.”
27 “Give place, stranger, to an honored person;
    my brother has come to stay with me; I need my house.”
28 These things are hard to bear for a man who has feeling:
    scolding about lodging[e] and the reproach of the moneylender.


  1. Sirach 29:6 Gk he
  2. Sirach 29:6 Gk he
  3. Sirach 29:7 Other authorities read It is not because of wickedness that
  4. Sirach 29:23 Other authorities add and you will not hear reproach for your sojourning.
  5. Sirach 29:28 Or from the household, or (Syr) from the host
Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (RSVCE)

The Revised Standard Version of the Bible: Catholic Edition, copyright © 1965, 1966 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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