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Sirach 4Common English Bible (CEB)

Don’t deprive a poor person’s life,
    and don’t avoid looking
    the needy in the eyes.
Don’t grieve a hungry person,
    and don’t make a person
    in dire straits angry.
Don’t trouble an angry person,
    and don’t put off giving to the needy.
Don’t keep rejecting the plea
of someone in distress,
    and don’t turn your face
    away from the poor.
Don’t turn your
eyes away from someone begging,
    and don’t give anyone an opportunity
    to curse you.
If some curse you
in their bitter circumstances,
    the one who made them
    will hear their prayer.

Behave yourself pleasantly in the assembly,
    and bow your head
    to an influential person.
Listen to the poor,
    and reply with peaceful
    and gentle speech.
Set the wronged free
from the hand of the wrongdoer,
    and don’t be timid
    when you give judgment.
10 Be like a parent to orphans,
    and take care of their mothers
    as you would your own wife or husband.
    Do this, and you will be like a child
    of the Most High,
    and God will love you
    more than your own mother does.

Submission to Wisdom

11 Wisdom will exalt[a]
her children
    and take hold of those who seek her.
12 Whoever loves her loves life.
    Those who wake early for her
    will be filled with gladness.
13 Those who possess her will inherit glory.
    The Lord blesses the place
    where they enter.[b]
14 Those who serve her will serve
the holy one;
    the Lord loves those who love her.
15 Whoever obeys her will judge nations.
    Whoever is devoted to her
    will live with confidence.
16 If they persevere in faith,
they will inherit her,
    and their descendants will possess her.
17 At first she will walk
in twists and turns with them.
    She will bring fear and dread upon them,
    and she will torture them
    with her discipline
        until she trusts them completely.
        She will test them
        with her commandments,
18         and again she will come straight back to them, make them glad,
        and reveal to them her secrets.
19 If they go astray,
she will leave them behind
    and hand them over to their downfall.

Shame and speech

20 Watch closely for the right opportunity,
    be on guard against evil,
    and don’t be ashamed of yourself.
21 There’s a kind of shame
that brings about sin,
    and there’s a kind of shame
that brings good reputation and favor.
22 Don’t show partiality to your own hurt,
    and don’t show respect
    to your own downfall.
23 Don’t keep from speaking
in a time of need,[c]
24     for wisdom will show itself
    in one’s speech,
        and education through one’s words.
25 Don’t contradict the truth,
    but don’t be ashamed
    when you don’t know the answer.
26 Don’t be ashamed to confess your sins,
    and don’t force the flow of a river.
27 Don’t lower yourself before a fool,
    and don’t show partiality
    toward the powerful.
28     Fight to the death on behalf of truth,
    and the Lord God will fight for you.

29 Don’t be bold to speak,
    but sluggish and slack
    when it comes to action.
30 Don’t be like a lion in your house,
    putting on airs
    among your household slaves.
31 Don’t stretch your hand out
to receive and withdraw it
when it is time to pay back.


  1. Sirach 4:11 Heb teaches
  2. Sirach 4:13 Or perhaps she enters
  3. Sirach 4:23 Heb at the right moment; LXXb adds and don’t hide your wisdom in beauty.
Common English Bible (CEB)

Copyright © 2011 by Common English Bible


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