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Sirach 31Revised Standard Version (RSV)

Right Attitude toward Riches

31 Wakefulness over wealth wastes away one’s flesh,
    and anxiety about it removes sleep.
Wakeful anxiety prevents slumber,
    and a severe illness carries off sleep.[a]
The rich man toils as his wealth accumulates,
    and when he rests he fills himself with his dainties.
The poor man toils as his livelihood diminishes,
    and when he rests he becomes needy.

He who loves gold will not be justified,
    and he who pursues money will be led astray[b] by it.
Many have come to ruin because of gold,
    and their destruction has met them face to face.
It is a stumbling block to those who are devoted to it,
    and every fool will be taken captive by it.
Blessed is the rich man who is found blameless,
    and who does not go after gold.
Who is he? And we will call him blessed,
    for he has done wonderful things among his people.
10 Who has been tested by it and been found perfect?
    Let it be for him a ground for boasting.
Who has had the power to transgress and did not transgress,
    and to do evil and did not do it?
11 His prosperity will be established,
    and the assembly will relate his acts of charity.

Table Etiquette

12 Are you seated at the table of a great man?[c]
    Do not be greedy[d] at it,
    and do not say, “There is certainly much upon it!”
13 Remember that a greedy[e] eye is a bad thing.
    What has been created more greedy[f] than the eye?
    Therefore it sheds tears from every face.
14 Do not reach out your hand for everything you see,
    and do not crowd your neighbor[g] at the dish.
15 Judge your neighbor’s feelings by your own,
    and in every matter be thoughtful.
16 Eat like a human being what is set before you,
    and do not chew greedily, lest you be hated.
17 Be the first to stop eating, for the sake of good manners,
    and do not be insatiable, lest you give offense.
18 If you are seated among many persons,
    do not reach out your hand before they do.

19 How ample a little is for a well-disciplined man!
    He does not breathe heavily upon his bed.
20 Healthy sleep depends on moderate eating;
    he rises early, and feels fit.[h]
The distress of sleeplessness and of nausea
    and colic are with the glutton.
21 If you are overstuffed with food,
    get up in the middle of the meal, and you will have relief.
22 Listen to me, my son, and do not disregard me,
    and in the end you will appreciate my words.
In all your work be industrious,
    and no sickness will overtake you.

23 Men will praise the one who is liberal with food,
    and their testimony to his excellence is trustworthy.
24 The city will complain of the one who is niggardly with food,
    and their testimony to his niggardliness is accurate.

Temperance in Drinking Wine

25 Do not aim to be valiant over wine,
    for wine has destroyed many.
26 Fire and water prove[i] the temper of steel,
    so wine tests hearts in the strife of the proud.
27 Wine is like life to men,
    if you drink it in moderation.
What is life to a man who is without wine?
    It has been created to make men glad.
28 Wine drunk in season and temperately
    is rejoicing of heart and gladness of soul.
29 Wine drunk to excess is bitterness of soul,
    with provocation and stumbling.
30 Drunkenness increases the anger of a fool to his injury,
    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 afflict him by making demands of him.

Footnotes:

  1. Sirach 31:2 Other authorities read sleep carries off a severe illness
  2. Sirach 31:5 Heb Syr: Gk will be filled
  3. Sirach 31:12 Heb Syr: Gk at a great table
  4. Sirach 31:12 Gk open your throat
  5. Sirach 31:13 Gk evil
  6. Sirach 31:13 Gk evil
  7. Sirach 31:14 Gk him
  8. Sirach 31:20 Gk his soul is with him
  9. Sirach 31:26 Gk The furnace by dipping proves
Revised Standard Version (RSV)

Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright © 1946, 1952, and 1971 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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