The Bible in Its Traditions

Sirach 11:1–36


The wisdom of one who is humble will exalt his head, and will cause him to sit down in the midst of great men.

Wisdom lifteth up the head of him that is of low degree, and maketh him to sit among great men.

You should not praise a man for his beauty, and you should not despise a man for his appearances.

Commend not a man for his beauty; neither abhor a man for his outward appearance.


The bee is small among flying things, but its fruit holds the summit of sweetness.


You should not glory in clothing at any time, and you should not let yourself be extolled in the day of your honor. For the works of the Most High alone are wondrous; and glorious and hidden and unseen are his works.

Boast not of thy clothing and raiment, and exalt not thyself in the day of honour: for the works of the Lord are wonderful, and his works among men are hidden.

Many tyrants have sat upon a throne, and one whom no one would admire has worn a diadem.

Many kings have sat down upon the ground; and one that was never thought of hath worn the crown.

Many powerful men have been powerfully cast down, and the illustrious have been handed over into the hands of others.

Many mighty men have been greatly disgraced; and the honourable delivered into other men’s hands.

Before you inquire, you should not place blame on anyone; and when you have inquired, reprove justly.

Blame not before thou hast examined the truth: understand first, and then rebuke.

Before you listen, you should not respond a word; and you should not interrupt in the middle of a discourse.

Answer not before thou hast heard the cause: neither interrupt men in the midst of their talk.

You should not contend in a matter which does not concern you, and you should not sit in judgment together with sinners.

Strive not in a matter that concerneth thee not; and sit not in judgement with sinners.

10  Son, you should not be involved in many matters. And if you become rich, you will not be free from transgression. For if you pursue, you will not apprehend; and if you run ahead, you will not escape.

10  My son, meddle not with many matters: for if thou meddle much, thou shalt not be innocent; and if thou follow after, thou shalt not obtain, neither shalt thou escape by fleeing.

11  There is an impious man who labors and hurries and grieves, but all the more will he be without abundance.

11  There is one that laboureth, and taketh pains, and maketh haste, and is so much the more behind.

12  There is a debilitated man in need of recovery, who is lacking in strength and abundant in poverty.

12  Again, there is another that is slow, and hath need of help, wanting ability, and full of poverty; yet the eye of the Lord looked upon him for good, and set him up from his low estate,

13  Yet the eye of God has looked with favor upon him for his benefit, and he has lifted him up from his humiliation, and he has exalted his head. And many have wondered at him, and they have honored God.

13  And lifted up his head from misery; so that many that saw from him is peace over all the

14  Good things and misfortune, life and death, poverty and wealth, are from God.

14  Prosperity and adversity, life and death, poverty and riches, come of the Lord.

15  Wisdom, and discipline, and knowledge of the law are with God. Love and the ways of good things are with him.

15  Wisdom, knowledge, and understanding of the law, are of the Lord: love, and the way of good works, are from him.


16  Error and darkness have been created by sinners. And those who exult in evil, grow old in evil.


17  The gift of God remains with the just man, and his advancement will have success unto eternity.

17  The gift of the Lord remaineth with the ungodly, and his favour bringeth prosperity for ever.

18  There is one who is enriched by spending sparingly, and this is the extent of his reward.

18  There is that waxeth rich by his wariness and pinching, and this his the portion of his reward

19  About this, he says: “I have found rest for myself, and now I alone will eat from my goods.”

19  Whereas he saith, I have found rest, and now will eat continually of my goods; and yet he knoweth not what time shall come upon him, and that he must leave those things to others, and die.


20  But he does not know how much time will pass before death approaches, and then he must leave everything behind to others and die.


21  Stand fast in your covenant, and become familiar with it, and grow old in the work of your commandments.

Sir11:20  Be stedfast in thy covenant, and be conversant therein, and wax old in thy work.

22  You should not spend time in the works of sinners. Instead, trust in God and remain in your own place.

Sir11:21  Marvel not at the works of sinners; but trust in the Lord, and abide in thy labour: for it is an easy thing in the sight of the Lord on the sudden to make a poor man rich.


23  For it is easy, in the eyes of God, to make a pauper suddenly rich.


24  The blessing of God hurries to reward the just man, and in a fleeting hour his advancement bears fruit.

Sir11:22  The blessing of the Lord is in the reward of the godly, and suddenly he maketh his blessing flourish.

25  You should not say: “What do I need?” or, “What good will there be for me in this?”

Sir11:23  Say not, What profit is there of my service? and what good things shall I have hereafter?

26  You should not say: “I have enough for myself,” or, “What could be worse than this?”

Sir11:24  Again, say not, I have enough, and possess many things, and what evil shall I have hereafter?

27  In a day of good things, you should not be forgetful of misfortunes. And in a day of misfortunes, you should not be forgetful of good things.

Sir11:25  In the day of prosperity there is a forgetfulness of affliction: and in the day of affliction there is no more remembrance of prosperity.

28  For it is easy, in the sight of God, on the day of one’s passing, to repay each one according to his ways.

Sir11:26  For it is an easy thing unto the Lord in the day of death to reward a man according to his ways.


29  The affliction of an hour causes one to forget great delights, and in the end of a man is the uncovering of his works.


30  You should not praise any man before death. For a man is known by his children.

Sir11:28  Judge none blessed before his death: for a man shall be known in his children.

31  You should not bring every man into your house. For many are the snares of the deceitful.

Sir11:29  Bring not every man into thine house: for the deceitful man hath many trains.

32  For as a stomach with a bad smell vomits, and as a partridge is led into a cage, and like a deer led into a snare, so also is the heart of the arrogant. And it is like a bystander watching his neighbor fall.

Sir11:30  Like as a partridge taken and kept in a cage, so is the heart of the proud; and like as a spy, watcheth he for thy fall

33  For it lies in ambush, and then turns good into evil, and it will place the blame on the elect.

Sir11:31  For he lieth in wait, and turneth good into evil, and in things worthy praise will lay blame upon thee.

34  From one spark, a great fire grows; and from one deceitful man, much blood flows. But a very sinful man lies in ambush for blood.

Sir11:32  Of a spark of fire a heap of coals is kindled: and a sinful man layeth wait for blood.

35  Pay close attention to yourself before a harmful man, for he fabricates evils. Otherwise, he may lead over you a whispered reproach unceasingly.

Sir11:33  Take heed of a mischievous man, for he worketh wickedness; lest he bring upon thee a perpetual blot.

36  Receive a stranger to yourself, and he will overthrow you with a whirlwind, and he will alienate you from what is your very own.

Sir11:34  Receive a stranger into thine house, and he will disturb thee, and turn thee out of thine own.