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Sirach 11:2-20 Revised Standard Version (RSV)

Do not praise a man for his good looks,
    nor loathe a man because of his appearance.
The bee is small among flying creatures,
    but her product is the best of sweet things.
Do not boast about wearing fine clothes,
    nor exalt yourself in the day that you are honored;
for the works of the Lord are wonderful,
    and his works are concealed from men.
Many kings have had to sit on the ground,
    but one who was never thought of has worn a crown.
Many rulers have been greatly disgraced,
    and illustrious men have been handed over to others.

Deliberation and Caution

Do not find fault before you investigate;
    first consider, and then reprove.
Do not answer before you have heard,
    nor interrupt a speaker in the midst of his words.
Do not argue about a matter which does not concern you,
    nor sit with sinners when they judge a case.

10 My son, do not busy yourself with many matters;
    if you multiply activities you will not go unpunished,
and if you pursue you will not overtake,
    and by fleeing you will not escape.
11 There is a man who works, and toils, and presses on,
    but is so much the more in want.
12 There is another who is slow and needs help,
    who lacks strength and abounds in poverty;
but the eyes of the Lord look upon him for his good;
    he lifts him out of his low estate
13 and raises up his head,
    so that many are amazed at him.

14 Good things and bad, life and death,
    poverty and wealth, come from the Lord.[a]
17 The gift of the Lord endures for those who are godly,
    and what he approves will have lasting success.
18 There is a man who is rich through his diligence and self-denial,
    and this is the reward allotted to him:
19 when he says, “I have found rest,
    and now I shall enjoy[b] my goods!”
he does not know how much time will pass
    until he leaves them to others and dies.
20 Stand by your covenant[c] and attend to it,
    and grow old in your work.


  1. Sirach 11:14 Other authorities add as verses 15 and 16, 15 Wisdom, understanding, and knowledge of the law come from the Lord; affection and the ways of good works come from him. 16 Error and darkness were created with sinners; evil will grow old with those who take pride in malice.
  2. Sirach 11:19 Gk eat of
  3. Sirach 11:20 Heb task
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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