Sirach 37Revised Standard Version (RSV)
37 Every friend will say, “I too am a friend”;
but some friends are friends only in name.
2 Is it not a grief to the death
when a companion and friend turns to enmity?
3 O evil imagination, why were you formed
to cover the land with deceit?
4 Some companions rejoice in the happiness of a friend,
but in time of trouble are against him.
5 Some companions help a friend for their stomach’s sake,
and in the face of battle take up the shield.
6 Do not forget a friend in your heart,
and be not unmindful of him in your wealth.
Caution in Taking Advice
7 Every counselor praises counsel,
but some give counsel in their own interest.
8 Be wary of a counselor,
and learn first what is his interest—
for he will take thought for himself—
lest he cast the lot against you
9 and tell you, “Your way is good,”
and then stand aloof to see what will happen to you.
10 Do not consult the one who looks at you suspiciously;
hide your counsel 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 barter
or with a buyer about selling,
with a grudging man about gratitude
or with a merciless man about kindness,
with an idler about any work
or with a man hired for a year about completing his work,
with a lazy servant about a big task—
pay no attention to these in any matter of counsel.
12 But stay constantly with a godly man
whom you know to be a keeper of the commandments,
whose soul is in accord with your soul,
and who will sorrow with you if you fail.
13 And establish the counsel of your own heart,
for no one is more faithful to you than it is.
14 For a man’s soul sometimes keeps him better informed
than seven watchmen sitting high on a watchtower.
15 And besides all this pray to the Most High
that he may direct your way in truth.
True and False Wisdom
16 Reason is the beginning of every work,
and counsel precedes every undertaking.
17 As a clue to changes of heart
18 four turns of fortune appear,
good and evil, life and death;
and it is the tongue that continually rules them.
19 A man may be shrewd and the teacher of many,
and yet be unprofitable to himself.
20 A man skilled in words may be hated;
he will be destitute of all food,
21 for grace was not given him by the Lord,
since he is lacking in all wisdom.
22 A man may be wise to his own advantage,
and the fruits of his understanding may be trustworthy on his lips.
23 A wise man will instruct his own people,
and the fruits of his understanding will be trustworthy.
24 A wise man will have praise heaped upon him,
and all who see him will call him happy.
25 The life of a man is numbered by days,
but the days of Israel are without number.
26 He who is wise among his people will inherit confidence,
and his name will live for ever.
27 My son, test your soul while you live;
see what is bad for it and do not give it that.
28 For not everything is good for every one,
and not every person enjoys everything.
29 Do not have an insatiable appetite for any luxury,
and do not give yourself up to food;
30 for overeating brings sickness,
and gluttony leads to nausea.
31 Many have died of gluttony,
but he who is careful to avoid it prolongs his life.
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.