The Bible in Its Traditions

Sirach 12:1–19


If you do good, know to whom you do it, and there will be many thanks for your good deeds.

When thou wilt do good know to whom thou doest it; so shalt thou be thanked for thy benefits.


Do good to the just, and you will find great recompense, and if not from him, certainly from the Lord.


For there is no good for someone who is always occupied in evil, or who does not give alms. For the Most High holds hatred for sinners, but he takes pity on the repentant.

There can no good come to him that is always occupied in evil, nor to him that giveth no alms.

Give to the merciful, and you should not assist the sinner. For the impious and the sinner will be repaid with the vengeance being held for them on the day of retribution.

Give to the godly man, and help not a sinner.

Give to the good, but you should not receive from a sinner.

Do well unto him that is lowly, but give not to the ungodly: hold back thy bread, and give it not unto him, lest he overmaster thee thereby: for else thou shalt receive twice as much evil for all the good thou shalt have done unto him.

Do good to the humble, but you should not give to the impious; withhold your bread, do not give it to him, otherwise he may overpower you with it.

For the most High hateth sinners, and will repay vengeance unto the ungodly, and keepeth them against the mighty day of their punishment.

For you will find twice the evil for all the good you will have done to him. For the Most High also holds hatred for sinners, and he will repay vengeance to the impious.

Give unto the good, and help not the sinner.

A friend will not be known in good times, and an enemy will not be hidden in adversity.

A friend cannot be known in prosperity: and an enemy cannot be hidden in adversity.

By the good fortune of a man, his enemies are grieved; and by his misfortune, a friend is revealed.

In the prosperity of a man enemies will be grieved: but in his adversity even a friend will depart.

10  You should never trust your enemy. For his wickedness rusts like a brass pot.

10  Never trust thine enemy: for like as iron rusteth, so is his wickedness.

11  And if he humbles himself and goes about bowed down, increase your alertness and guard yourself from him.

11  Though he humble himself, and go crouching, yet take good heed and beware of him, and thou shalt be unto him as if thou hadst wiped a lookingglass, and thou shalt know that his rust hath not been altogether wiped away.

12  You should not sit down anywhere near him, nor should you allow him to sit at your right hand, lest perhaps he may turn toward your place, and seek your seat, and then, in the very end, you would understand my words and be stung by my sermon.

12  Set him not by thee, lest, when he hath overthrown thee, he stand up in thy place; neither let him sit at thy right hand, lest he seek to take thy seat, and thou at the last remember my words, and be pricked therewith.

13  Who will take pity on an enchanter struck by a serpent, or on someone who draws near to wild beasts? And so it is with one who keeps company with an iniquitous man and is involved in his sins.

13  Who will pity a charmer that is bitten with a serpent, or any such as come nigh wild beasts?

14  So one that goeth to a sinner, and is defiled with him in his sins, who will pity?

14  For one hour, he will abide with you. But if you begin to turn aside, he will not permit it.

Sir12:15  For a while he will abide with thee, but if thou begin to fall, he will not tarry.

15  An enemy speaks sweetly with his lips, but in his heart, he waits in ambush, so that he may throw you into a pit.

Sir12:16  An enemy speaketh sweetly with his lips, but in his heart he imagineth how to throw thee into a pit: he will weep with his eyes, but if he find opportunity, he will not be satisfied with blood.


16  An enemy has tears in his eyes. But if he finds an opportunity, he will not be satisfied with blood.

17  And if misfortunes happen upon you, you will find him there first.


18  An enemy has tears in his eyes, but while pretending to help you, he will dig under your feet.

Sir12:19  If adversity come upon thee, thou shalt find him there first; and though he pretend to help thee, yet shall he undermine thee.


19  He will shake his head, and clap his hands, and whisper much, and change his expression.