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Precepts for Everyday Living

Do not rely on your wealth,
    or say, “I have enough.”
Do not follow your inclination and strength
    in pursuing the desires of your heart.
Do not say, “Who can have power over me?”
    for the Lord will surely punish you.

Do not say, “I sinned, yet what has happened to me?”
    for the Lord is slow to anger.
Do not be so confident of forgiveness[a]
    that you add sin to sin.
Do not say, “His mercy is great,
    he will forgive[b] the multitude of my sins,”
for both mercy and wrath are with him,
    and his anger will rest on sinners.
Do not delay to turn back to the Lord,
    and do not postpone it from day to day;
for suddenly the wrath of the Lord will come upon you,
    and at the time of punishment you will perish.
Do not depend on dishonest wealth,
    for it will not benefit you on the day of calamity.

Do not winnow in every wind,
    or follow every path.[c]
10 Stand firm for what you know,
    and let your speech be consistent.
11 Be quick to hear,
    but deliberate in answering.
12 If you know what to say, answer your neighbor;
    but if not, put your hand over your mouth.

13 Honor and dishonor come from speaking,
    and the tongue of mortals may be their downfall.
14 Do not be called double-tongued[d]
    and do not lay traps with your tongue;
for shame comes to the thief,
    and severe condemnation to the double-tongued.
15 In great and small matters cause no harm,[e]


  1. Sirach 5:5 Heb: Gk atonement
  2. Sirach 5:6 Heb: Gk he (or it) will atone for
  3. Sirach 5:9 Gk adds so it is with the double-tongued sinner (see 6.1)
  4. Sirach 5:14 Heb: Gk a slanderer
  5. Sirach 5:15 Heb Syr: Gk be ignorant

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