December 09, 2002 Copyright © by United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
- 1 My son, if you have sinned, do so no more, and for your past sins pray to be forgiven.
- Flee from sin as from a serpent. that will bite you if you go near it; Its teeth are lion's teeth, destroying the souls of men.
- Every offense is a two-edged sword; when it cuts, there can be no healing.
- Violence and arrogance wipe out wealth; so too a proud man's home is destroyed.
- Prayer from a poor man's lips is heard at once, and justice is quickly granted him.
- He who hates correction walks the sinner's path, but he who fears the LORD repents in his heart.
- Widely known is the boastful speaker but the wise man knows his own faults.
- He who builds his house with another's money is collecting stones for his funeral mound.
- A band of criminals is like a bundle of tow; they will end in a flaming fire.
- 2 The path of sinners is smooth stones that end in the depths of the nether world.
- 3 He who keeps the law controls his impulses; he who is perfect in fear of the LORD has wisdom.
- He can never be taught who is not shrewd, but one form of shrewdness is thoroughly bitter.
- A wise man's knowledge wells up in a flood, and his counsel, like a living spring;
- A fool's mind is like a broken jar-- no knowledge at all can it hold.
- When an intelligent man hears words of wisdom, he approves them and adds to them; The wanton hears them with scorn and casts them behind his back.
- A fool's chatter is like a load on a journey, but there is charm to be found upon the lips of the wise.
- The views of a prudent man are sought in an assembly, and his words are considered with care.
- Like a house in ruins is wisdom to a fool; the stupid man knows it only as inscrutable words.
- Like fetters on the legs is learning to a fool, like a manacle on his right hand.
- A fool raises his voice in laughter, but the prudent man at the most smiles gently.
- Like a chain of gold is learning to a wise man, like a bracelet on his right arm.
- The fool steps boldly into a house, while the well-bred man remains outside;
- A boor peeps through the doorway of a house, but a cultured man keeps his glance cast down.
- It is rude for one to listen at a door; a cultured man would be overwhelmed by the disgrace of it.
- The lips of the impious talk of what is not their concern, but the words of the prudent are carefully weighed.
- Fools' thoughts are in their mouths, wise men's words are in their hearts.
- 4 When a godless man curses his adversary he really curses himself.
- A slanderer besmirches himself, and is hated by his neighbors.
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1 [1-10] Under various figures, the consequences of sin are described as destructive of wealth, and even of bodily life, and deserving of death and a place in the depths of the nether world (Sirach 21:2-4, 6a, 8-10). Through prayer, forgiveness can be sought (Sirach 21:1), and through fear of the Lord, repentance is achieved (Sirach 1:5, 6b).
2  The path of sinners . . . nether world: eternal retribution is not yet proposed in this reference. It became clearly revealed through the teaching of Christ; cf Matthew 7:13, 14; 25:1-46; Luke 16:19-31.
3 [11-28] The mind of the wise man is a fountain of knowledge (Sirach 21:13, 15); his will is trained to keep the law (Sirach 21:11); his words are gracious, valued, carefully weighed, sincere (Sirach 21:16-17, 25-26); his conduct is respectful, cultured and restrained (Sirach 21:20, 22-24). The fool's mind is devoid of knowledge and impenetrable to it (Sirach 21:12, 14, 18, 19); his will rejects it (Sirach 21:15); his talk is burdensome (16), his laughter unrestrained (Sirach 21:20), his conversation shallow and meddlesome (Sirach 21:25, 26); his conduct is bold and rude (Sirach 21:22-24); his abuse of others redounds on himself (Sirach 21:27-28).
4  Adversary: this can be understood in the sense that, if a man curses one who led him into sin, he implicitly curses himself for having yielded to the sin; or in the sense that the enemy is the man's own sinful nature; or even in the sense that the enemy is the devil, since the Hebrew word used here is satan. Cf 1 Chron 21:1; Zechariah 3:2; 2 Peter 2:12, 13; Jude 1:9.
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