- 1 Do no evil, and evil will not overtake you;
- avoid wickedness, and it will turn aside from you.
- Sow not in the furrows of injustice, lest you harvest it sevenfold.
- Seek not from the LORD authority, nor from the king a place of honor.
- Parade not your justice before the Lord, and before the king flaunt not your wisdom.
- Seek not to become a judge if you have not strength to root out crime, Or you will show favor to the ruler and mar your integrity.
- Be guilty of no evil before the city's populace, nor disgrace yourself before the assembly.
- Do not plot to repeat a sin; not even for one will you go unpunished.
- Say not: "He will appreciate my many gifts; the Most High will accept my offerings."
- Be not impatient in prayers, and neglect not the giving of alms.
- 2 Laugh not at an embittered man; be mindful of him who exalts and humbles.
- Plot no mischief against your brother, nor against your friend and companion.
- Delight not in telling lie after lie, for it never results in good.
- 3 Thrust not yourself into the deliberations of princes, and repeat not the words of your prayer.
- Hate not laborious tasks, nor farming, which was ordained by the Most High.
- Do not esteem yourself better than your fellows; remember, his wrath will not delay.
- More and more, humble your pride; what awaits man is worms.
- 4 5 Barter not a friend for money, nor a dear brother for the gold of Ophir.
- Dismiss not a sensible wife; a gracious wife is more precious than corals.
- Mistreat not a servant who faithfully serves, nor a laborer who devotes himself to his task.
- 6 Let a wise servant be dear to you as your own self; refuse him not his freedom.
- If you have livestock, look after them; if they are dependable, keep them.
- 7 If you have sons, chastise them; bend their necks from childhood.
- If you have daughters, keep them chaste, and be not indulgent to them.
- Giving your daughter in marriage ends a great task; but give her to a worthy man.
- If you have a wife, let her not seem odious to you; but where there is ill-feeling, trust her not.
- With your whole heart honor your father; your mother's birthpangs forget not.
- Remember, of these parents you were born; what can you give them for all they gave you?
- With all your soul, fear God, revere his priests.
- With all your strength, love your Creator, forsake not his ministers.
- 8 Honor God and respect the priest; give him his portion as you have been commanded: First fruits and contributions, due sacrifices and holy offerings.
- To the poor man also extend your hand, that your blessing may be complete;
- 9 Be generous to all the living, and withhold not your kindness from the dead.
- Avoid not those who weep, but mourn with those who mourn;
- Neglect not to visit the sick-- for these things you will be loved.
- In whatever you do, remember your last days, and you will never sin.
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Footnotes1 [1-17] In the conduct of social relations wisdom forbids evil and injustice (Sirach 7:1-3), pride (Sirach 7:5, 15-17), ambition and human respect (Sirach 7:4, 6), public disorder (Sirach 7:7), presumption and impatience toward God (Sirach 7:9-10), ridicule (Sirach 7:11), mischief and deceit toward one's neighbor (Sirach 7:8,12-13).
2 Him who exalts and humbles: God; cf 1 Sam 2:7; Psalm 75:8; Luke 1:52.
3 Repeat not . . . prayer: brevity of speech in dealings with superiors and more especially with God is a sign of reverence and respect; cf Eccl 5:1; Matthew 6:7.
4 [18-36] The duties of respect and appreciation, justice and kindness should characterize relations toward members of the household (Sirach 7:18-28), and also toward God and his priests (Sirach 7:29-31), the poor and afflicted, the living and the dead (Sirach 7:32-36). 5 Ophir was the port, at present unidentified, to which the ships of Solomon sailed and from which they brought back gold and silver; cf note on Psalm 45:10.
6 After six years of service a Hebrew slave was entitled to freedom, cf Exodus 21:2; Deut 15:12-15.
7 Bend their necks: keep them from rebellious pride; so with the Greek. Cf Sirach 30:12. The present Hebrew text, which is probably not original here, reads: "Choose wives for them while they are young."
8 First fruits . . . holy offerings: cf Exodus 29:27; Lev 7:31-34; Numbers 18:8-20; Deut 18:1-5.
9 This seems to refer to the observances ordained toward the dead, that is, proper mourning and burial. Cf 2 Sam 21:12-14; Tobit 1:20; 12:12. When this verse is read in the light of later teaching, prayers for the souls of the deceased would also be recommended. Cf 2 Macc 12:43-45.
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