- The poor man's wisdom lifts his head high and sets him among princes.
- Praise not a man for his looks; despise not a man for his appearance.
- Least is the bee among winged things, but she reaps the choicest of all harvests.
- Mock not the worn cloak and jibe at no man's bitter day: For strange are the works of the LORD, hidden from men his deeds.
- 1 The oppressed often rise to a throne, and some that none would consider wear a crown.
- The exalted often fall into utter disgrace; the honored are given into enemy hands.
- 2 Before investigating, find no fault; examine first, then criticize.
- Before hearing, answer not, and interrupt no one in the middle of his speech.
- Dispute not about what is not your concern; in the strife of the arrogant take no part.
- My son, why increase your cares, since he who is avid for wealth will not be blameless? Even if you run after it, you will never overtake it; however you seek it, you will not find it.
- One may toil and struggle and drive, and fall short all the more.
- Another goes his way a weakling and a failure, with little strength and great misery-- Yet the eyes of the LORD look favorably upon him; he raises him free of the vile dust,
- Lifts up his head and exalts him to the amazement of the many.
- 3 Good and evil, life and death, poverty and riches, are from the LORD.
- 4 Wisdom and understanding and knowledge of affairs, love and virtuous paths are from the LORD.
- Error and darkness were formed with sinners from their birth, and evil grows old with evildoers.
- The LORD'S gift remains with the just; his favor brings continued success.
- A man may become rich through a miser's life, and this is his allotted reward:
- 5 When he says: "I have found rest, now I will feast on my possessions," He does not know how long it will be till he dies and leaves them to others.
- My son, hold fast to your duty, busy yourself with it, grow old while doing your task.
- Admire not how sinners live, but trust in the LORD and wait for his light; For it is easy with the LORD suddenly, in an instant, to make a poor man rich.
- God's blessing is the lot of the just man, and in due time his hopes bear fruit.
- Say not: "What do I need? What further pleasure can be mine?"
- Say not: "I am independent. What harm can come to me now?"
- The day of prosperity makes one forget adversity; the day of adversity makes one forget prosperity.
- 6 For it is easy with the LORD on the day of death to repay man according to his deeds.
- A moment's affliction brings forgetfulness of past delights; when a man dies, his life is revealed.
- Call no man happy before his death, for by how he ends, a man is known.
- Bring not every man into your house, for many are the snares of the crafty one;
- Though he seem like a bird confined in a cage, yet like a spy he will pick out the weak spots.
- The talebearer turns good into evil; with a spark he sets many coals afire.
- The evil man lies in wait for blood, and plots against your choicest possessions.
- Avoid a wicked man, for he breeds only evil, lest you incur a lasting stain.
- Lodge a stranger with you, and he will subvert your course, and make a stranger of you to your own household.
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Footnotes1 Cf 1 Sam 2:8; Psalm 105:17-22; Luke 1:52.
2 [7-25] Discretion regulates a man's conduct toward others and their affairs (Sirach 11:7-9); as regards his own interests, a man should avoid solicitude for the passing external benefits of life and property (Sirach 11:10-14,18,19, 21,23-25) and cultivate the lasting inward gifts of wisdom and virtue (Sirach 11:15,17,20,22).
3 Divine Providence ultimately governs the lives of men. Evil: misfortune and calamity sent by God either in punishment or as an incentive to repentance or to greater virtue.
4 [15-16] Some ancient witnesses omit these two verses.
5 Cf the parable of the rich man, Luke 12:16-21.
6 [26-28] Sirach, writing before Christian revelation, did not go beyond the hour of death to find full divine retribution.
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