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Sirach 19:4-17 Revised Standard Version (RSV)

Against Loose Talk

One who trusts others too quickly is lightminded,
    and one who sins does wrong to himself.
One who rejoices in wickedness[a] will be condemned,[b]
    and for one who hates gossip evil is lessened.
Never repeat a conversation,
    and you will lose nothing at all.
With friend or foe do not report it,
    and unless it would be a sin for you, do not disclose it;
for some one has heard you and watched you,
    and when the time comes he will hate you.
10 Have you heard a word? Let it die with you.
    Be brave! It will not make you burst!
11 With such a word a fool will suffer pangs
    like a woman in labor with a child.
12 Like an arrow stuck in the flesh of the thigh,
    so is a word inside a fool.

13 Question a friend, perhaps he did not do it;
    but if he did anything, so that he may do it no more.
14 Question a neighbor, perhaps he did not say it;
    but if he said it, so that he may not say it again.
15 Question a friend, for often it is slander;
    so do not believe everything you hear.
16 A person may make a slip without intending it.
    Who has never sinned with his tongue?
17 Question your neighbor before you threaten him;
    and let the law of the Most High take its course.[c]


  1. Sirach 19:5 Other authorities read heart
  2. Sirach 19:5 Other authorities add but he who withstands pleasures crowns his life. He who controls his tongue will live without strife,
  3. Sirach 19:17 Other authorities add and do not be angry. 18 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of acceptance, and wisdom obtains his love. 19 The knowledge of the Lord’s commandments is life-giving discipline; and those who do what is pleasing to him enjoy the fruit of the tree of immortality.
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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