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Sirach 3:17-31 Revised Standard Version (RSV)


17 My son, perform your tasks in meekness;
    then you will be loved by those whom God accepts.
18 The greater you are, the more you must humble yourself;
    so you will find favor in the sight of the Lord.[a]
20 For great is the might of the Lord;
    he is glorified by the humble.
21 Seek not what is too difficult for you,
    nor investigate what is beyond your power.
22 Reflect upon what has been assigned to you,
    for you do not need what is hidden.
23 Do not meddle in what is beyond your tasks,
    for matters too great for human understanding have been shown you.
24 For their hasty judgment has led many astray,
    and wrong opinion has caused their thoughts to slip.[b]

26 A stubborn mind will be afflicted at the end,
    and whoever loves danger will perish by it.
27 A stubborn mind will be burdened by troubles,
    and the sinner will heap sin upon sin.
28 The affliction of the proud has no healing,
    for a plant of wickedness has taken root in him.
29 The mind of the intelligent man will ponder a parable,
    and an attentive ear is the wise man’s desire.

Alms for the Poor

30 Water extinguishes a blazing fire:
    so almsgiving atones for sin.
31 Whoever requites favors gives thought to the future;
    at the moment of his falling he will find support.


  1. Sirach 3:18 Other authorities add as verse 19, Many are lofty and renowned, but to the meek he reveals his secrets.
  2. Sirach 3:24 Other authorities add as verse 25, If you have no eyes you will be without light; if you lack knowledge do not profess to have it.
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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