December 09, 2002 Copyright © by United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
- 1 The sluggard is like a stone in the mud; everyone hisses at his disgrace.
- The sluggard is like a lump of dung; whoever touches him wipes his hands.
- An unruly child is a disgrace to its father; if it be a daughter she brings him to poverty.
- A thoughtful daughter becomes a treasure to her husband, a shameless one is her father's grief.
- A hussy shames her father and her husband; by both she is despised.
- 2 Like a song in time of mourning is inopportune talk, but lashes and discipline are at all times wisdom.
- Teaching a fool is like gluing a broken pot, or like disturbing a man in the depths of sleep;
- He talks with a slumberer who talks with a fool, for when it is over, he will say, "What was that?"
- Weep over the dead man, for his light has gone out; weep over the fool, for sense has left him.
- Weep but a little over the dead man, for he is at rest; but worse than death is the life of a fool.
- Seven days of mourning for the dead, but for the wicked fool a whole lifetime.
- Speak but seldom with the stupid man, be not the companion of a brute;
- Beware of him lest you have trouble and be spattered when he shakes himself; Turn away from him and you will find rest and not be wearied by his lack of sense.
- What is heavier than lead, and what is its name but "Fool"?
- Sand and salt and an iron mass are easier to bear than a stupid man.
- 3 Masonry bonded with wooden beams is not loosened by an earthquake; Neither is a resolve constructed with careful deliberation shaken in a moment of fear.
- A resolve that is backed by prudent understanding is like the polished surface of a smooth wall.
- Small stones lying on an open height will not remain when the wind blows; Neither can a timid resolve based on foolish plans withstand fear of any kind.
- 4 One who jabs the eye brings tears: he who pierces the heart bares its feelings.
- He who throws stones at birds drives them away, and he who insults a friend breaks up the friendship.
- Should you draw a sword against a friend, despair not, it can be undone.
- Should you speak sharply to a friend, fear not, you can be reconciled. But a contemptuous insult, a confidence broken, or a treacherous attack will drive away any friend.
- Make fast friends with a man while he is poor; thus will you enjoy his prosperity with him. In time of trouble remain true to him, so as to share in his inheritance when it comes.
- Before flames burst forth an oven smokes; so does abuse come before bloodshed.
- From a friend in need of support no one need hide in shame;
- But from him who brings harm to his friend all will stand aloof who hear of it.
- 5 Who will set a guard over my mouth, and upon my lips an effective seal, That I may not fail through them, that my tongue may not destroy me?
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1 [1-15] To Sirach, a lazy person and an unruly child are a cause of shame and disgrace; everyone wishes to be rid of them (Sirach 22:1-5). A wicked fool is as senseless as a man asleep or dead, but the grief he causes others lasts a lifetime (Sirach 22:7-11). He is like a brute, troublesome and intolerable (Sirach 22:12-15).
2  Like a song . . . is . . . talk: some understand talk in the sense of a rebuke unheeded by the unruly as a joyful song is out of place among mourners. Corporal punishment, however, is always effective.
3 [16-18] A prudent mind firmly resolved is undisturbed by violent and conflicting thoughts, whereas a foolish person is tossed about by the winds of fear, like small stones whipped about by high winds.
4 [19-26] As disputes and violence weaken friendship, and disloyalty and abuse of confidence destroy it utterly (Sirach 22:19-22, 24, 26), so kindness to a poor man in time of poverty and adversity builds up friendship and merits a share in his prosperity and inheritance (Sirach 22:23, 25).
5 [22:27-23:6] The sage implores the divine assistance to preserve him through stern discipline from sins of the tongue (Sirach 22:27; 23:1); ignorance of mind and weakness of will (Sirach 22:2, 3); and inclinations of the senses and the flesh, lest he fall into the hands of his enemies, or become a prey of shameful desires (Sirach 23:3-6).
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