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Sirach 31:12-31 Good News Translation (GNT)

Behavior at Dinner Parties

12 When you sit down at a fancy banquet, don't let your mouth hang open, and don't say,
    Look at all that food! 13 It is impolite to have a greedy eye; remember that. Nothing in creation is greedier than the eye; that is why it sheds tears so often.[a] 14 Don't reach out for everything you see, and don't elbow people out of the way to get at the food. 15 Be considerate of the other people at the table and treat them the way you want to be treated. 16 When you get your food, eat it like a human being. Don't smack and slurp; nobody can stand that. 17 It's good manners to be the first to stop eating; stuffing yourself is offensive. 18 If there are many people present, don't try to be the first to be served. 19 A little bit is plenty for anyone with good manners. Besides, you won't be short of breath when you go to bed. 20 People who eat too much get stomach aches and cannot sleep. If you don't overeat, you can get a good night's sleep and wake up early the next morning feeling fine. 21 But if you do get a stomach ache from eating too much, go off and vomit[b] and you will feel better. 22 My child, if you listen to what I am saying and put it into practice, one of these days you will thank me for it. Be moderate[c] in everything you do, and you will never get sick.

23 People appreciate a generous host, and he deserves their praise. 24 But everybody in town will complain about a host who is stingy with food, and their complaints are justified.

25 Don't try to prove your manhood by how much you can drink. Wine has been the ruin of many. 26 An arrogant person's character shows through when he is in a drunken argument, in the same way that iron is tested when it is heated red-hot and then dipped in water. 27 Wine can put new life into you if you drink it in moderation. What would life be like without it? Wine was created to make us happy. 28 If you drink it in moderation and at the right time, it can lift your spirits and make you cheerful, 29 but if you drink when you are angry and upset, it leads to headaches, embarrassment, and disgrace.[d] 30 A drunken fool can lose his temper and hurt himself. His drinking makes him weak and an easy target for angry blows. 31 Never rebuke a person when you have both been drinking. Don't hurt his feelings while he is having a good time. It's not the time to criticize anyone, or to ask him to pay back a debt.


  1. Sirach 31:13 Hebrew so often; Greek on every face.
  2. Sirach 31:21 go off and vomit; some manuscripts have get up in the middle of the meal.
  3. Sirach 31:22 Hebrew moderate; Greek industrious.
  4. Sirach 31:29 Hebrew when you are...disgrace; Greek too much, it leads to bitterness, offense, and stumbling.
Good News Translation (GNT)

Copyright © 1992 by American Bible Society

Sirach 31:12-31 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

Table Etiquette

12 Are you seated at the table of the great?[a]
    Do not be greedy at it,
    and do not say, “How much food there is here!”
13 Remember that a greedy eye is a bad thing.
    What has been created more greedy than the eye?
    Therefore it sheds tears for any reason.
14 Do not reach out your hand for everything you see,
    and do not crowd your neighbor[b] at the dish.
15 Judge your neighbor’s feelings by your own,
    and in every matter be thoughtful.
16 Eat what is set before you like a well brought-up person,[c]
    and do not chew greedily, or you will give offense.
17 Be the first to stop, as befits good manners,
    and do not be insatiable, or you will give offense.
18 If you are seated among many persons,
    do not help yourself[d] before they do.

19 How ample a little is for a well-disciplined person!
    He does not breathe heavily when in bed.
20 Healthy sleep depends on moderate eating;
    he rises early, and feels fit.
The distress of sleeplessness and of nausea
    and colic are with the glutton.
21 If you are overstuffed with food,
    get up to vomit, and you will have relief.
22 Listen to me, my child, and do not disregard me,
    and in the end you will appreciate my words.
In everything you do be moderate,[e]
    and no sickness will overtake you.
23 People bless the one who is liberal with food,
    and their testimony to his generosity is trustworthy.
24 The city complains of the one who is stingy with food,
    and their testimony to his stinginess is accurate.

Temperance in Drinking Wine

25 Do not try to prove your strength by wine-drinking,
    for wine has destroyed many.
26 As the furnace tests the work of the smith,[f]
    so wine tests hearts when the insolent quarrel.
27 Wine is very life to human beings
    if taken in moderation.
What is life to one who is without wine?
    It has been created to make people happy.
28 Wine drunk at the proper time and in moderation
    is rejoicing of heart and gladness of soul.
29 Wine drunk to excess leads to bitterness of spirit,
    to quarrels and stumbling.
30 Drunkenness increases the anger of a fool to his own hurt,
    reducing his strength and adding wounds.
31 Do not reprove your neighbor at a banquet of wine,
    and do not despise him in his merrymaking;
speak no word of reproach to him,
    and do not distress him by making demands of him.


  1. Sirach 31:12 Heb Syr: Gk at a great table
  2. Sirach 31:14 Gk him
  3. Sirach 31:16 Heb: Gk like a human being
  4. Sirach 31:18 Gk reach out your hand
  5. Sirach 31:22 Heb Syr: Gk industrious
  6. Sirach 31:26 Heb: Gk tests the hardening of steel by dipping
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.

Sirach 31:12-31 Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition (DRA)

12 Art thou set at a great table? be not the first to open thy mouth upon it.

13 Say not: There are many things which are upon it.

14 Remember that a wicked eye is evil.

15 What is created more wicked than an eye? therefore shall it weep over all the face when it shall see.

16 Stretch not out thy hand first, lest being disgraced with envy thou be put to confusion.

17 Be not hasty in a feast.

18 Judge of the disposition of thy neighbour by thyself.

19 Use as a frugal man the things that are set before thee: lest if thou eatest much, thou be hated.

20 Leave off first, for manners' sake: and exceed not, lest thou offend.

21 And if thou sittest among many, reach not thy hand out first of all: and be not the first to ask for drink.

22 How sufficient is a little wine for a man well taught, and in sleeping thou shalt not be uneasy with it, and thou shalt feel no pain.

23 Watching, and choler, and gripes, are with an intemperate man:

24 Sound and wholesome sleep with a moderate man: he shall sleep till morning, and his soul shall be delighted with him.

25 And if thou hast been forced to eat much, arise, go out, and vomit: and it shall refresh thee, and thou shalt not bring sickness upon thy body.

26 Hear me, my son, and despise me not: and in the end thou shalt find my words.

27 In all thy works be quick, and no infirmity shall come to thee.

28 The lips of many shall bless him that is liberal of his bread, and the testimony of his truth is faithful.

29 Against him that is niggardly of his bread, the city will murmur, and the testimony of his niggardliness is true.

30 Challenge not them that love wine: for wine hath destroyed very many.

31 Fire trieth hard iron: so wine drunk to excess shall rebuke the hearts of the proud.

'Sirach 31:12-31' not found for the version: The Message.
The Message (MSG)

Copyright © 1993, 2002, 2018 by Eugene H. Peterson

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