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False Friends

37 Every friend says, “I too am a friend”;
    but some friends are friends only in name.
Is it not a sorrow like that for death itself
    when a dear friend turns into an enemy?
O inclination to evil, why were you formed
    to cover the land with deceit?
Some companions rejoice in the happiness of a friend,
    but in time of trouble they are against him.
Some companions help a friend for their stomachs’ sake,
    yet in battle they will carry his shield.
Do not forget a friend during the battle,[a]
    and do not be unmindful of him when you distribute your spoils.[b]

Caution in Taking Advice

All counselors praise the counsel they give,
    but some give counsel in their own interest.
Be wary of a counselor,
    and learn first what is his interest,
    for he will take thought for himself.
He may cast the lot against you
    and tell you, “Your way is good,”
    and then stand aside to see what happens to you.
10 Do not consult the one who regards you with suspicion;
    hide your intentions from those who are jealous of you.
11 Do not consult with a woman about her rival
    or with a coward about war,
with a merchant about business
    or with a buyer about selling,
with a miser about generosity[c]
    or with the merciless about kindness,
with an idler about any work
    or with a seasonal laborer about completing his work,
with a lazy servant about a big task—
    pay no attention to any advice they give.
12 But associate with a godly person
    whom you know to be a keeper of the commandments,
who is like-minded with yourself,
    and who will grieve with you if you fail.
13 And heed[d] the counsel of your own heart,
    for no one is more faithful to you than it is.
14 For our own mind sometimes keeps us better informed
    than seven sentinels sitting high on a watchtower.
15 But above all pray to the Most High
    that he may direct your way in truth.

True and False Wisdom

16 Discussion is the beginning of every work,
    and counsel precedes every undertaking.
17 The mind is the root of all conduct;
18     it sprouts four branches,[e]
good and evil, life and death;
    and it is the tongue that continually rules them.
19 Some people may be clever enough to teach many,
    and yet be useless to themselves.
20 A skillful speaker may be hated;
    he will be destitute of all food,
21 for the Lord has withheld the gift of charm,
    since he is lacking in all wisdom.
22 If a person is wise to his own advantage,
    the fruits of his good sense will be praiseworthy.[f]
23 A wise person instructs his own people,
    and the fruits of his good sense will endure.
24 A wise person will have praise heaped upon him,
    and all who see him will call him happy.
25 The days of a person’s life are numbered,
    but the days of Israel are without number.
26 One who is wise among his people will inherit honor,[g]
    and his name will live forever.

Concerning Moderation

27 My child, test yourself while you live;
    see what is bad for you and do not give in to it.
28 For not everything is good for everyone,
    and no one enjoys everything.
29 Do not be greedy for every delicacy,
    and do not eat without restraint;
30 for overeating brings sickness,
    and gluttony leads to nausea.
31 Many have died of gluttony,
    but the one who guards against it prolongs his life.


  1. Sirach 37:6 Heb: Gk in your heart
  2. Sirach 37:6 Heb: Gk him in your wealth
  3. Sirach 37:11 Heb: Gk gratitude
  4. Sirach 37:13 Heb: Gk establish
  5. Sirach 37:18 Heb: Gk As a clue to changes of heart four kinds of destiny appear
  6. Sirach 37:22 Other ancient witnesses read trustworthy
  7. Sirach 37:26 Other ancient authorities read confidence

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