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Sirach 18:19-33 Revised Standard Version (RSV)

The Need of Reflection and Self-control

19 Before you speak, learn,
    and before you fall ill, take care of your health.
20 Before judgment, examine yourself,
    and in the hour of visitation you will find forgiveness.
21 Before falling ill, humble yourself,
    and when you are on the point of sinning, turn back.
22 Let nothing hinder you from paying a vow promptly,
    and do not wait until death to be released from it.
23 Before making a vow,[a] prepare yourself;
    and do not be like a man who tempts the Lord.
24 Think of his wrath on the day of death,
    and of the moment of vengeance when he turns away his face.
25 In the time of plenty think of the time of hunger;
    in the days of wealth think of poverty and need.
26 From morning to evening conditions change,
    and all things move swiftly before the Lord.

27 A wise man is cautious in everything,
    and in days of sin he guards against wrongdoing.
28 Every intelligent man knows wisdom,
    and he praises the one who finds her.
29 Those who understand sayings become skilled themselves,
    and pour forth apt proverbs.


30 Do not follow your base desires,
    but restrain your appetites.
31 If you allow your soul to take pleasure in base desire,
    it will make you the laughingstock of your enemies.
32 Do not revel in great luxury,
    lest you become impoverished by its expense.
33 Do not become a beggar by feasting with borrowed money,
    when you have nothing in your purse.


  1. Sirach 18:23 Or offering a prayer
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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