The Bible in Its Traditions

Sirach 13:1–26


Whoever touches pitch will be contaminated by it. And whoever associates with the arrogant will be clothed by arrogance.

He that toucheth pitch shall be defiled therewith; and he that hath fellowship with a proud man shall be like unto him.

Whoever associates with those more honorable than himself sets a burden on himself. And so, you should have no fellowship with someone who is wealthier than you.

Burden not thyself above thy power while thou livest; and have no fellowship with one that is mightier and richer than thyself: for how agree the kettle and the earthen pot together? for if the one be smitten against the other, it shall be broken.


What will the cooking pot have in common with the earthen vessel? And when they collide with one another, one will be broken.


The rich man has suffered no injustice, and yet he fumes. But the poor man, though he has been wounded, will remain silent.

Sir13:3  The rich man hath done wrong, and yet he threateneth withal: the poor is wronged, and he must intreat also.

If you are generous, he will take you up; and when you have nothing, he will cast you aside.

Sir13:4  If thou be for his profit, he will use thee: but if thou have nothing, he will forsake thee.

If you possess, he will feast with you, and he will empty you, and he will not grieve over you.

Sir13:5  If thou have any thing, he will live with thee: yea, he will make thee bare, and will not be sorry for it.

If he has need of you, he will deceive you; and while smiling, he will give you hope. He will converse with you pleasantly, and he will say: “What is it that you need?”

Sir13:6  If he have need of thee, he will deceive thee, and smile upon thee, and put thee in hope; he will speak thee fair, and say, What wantest thou?

And he will impress you with his foods, until he has drained you two or three times, and in the very end, he will ridicule you. And afterward, when he sees you, he will abandon you, and he will shake his head at you.

Sir13:7  And he will shame thee by his meats, until he have drawn thee dry twice or thrice, and at the last he will laugh thee to scorn afterward, when he seeth thee, he will forsake thee, and shake his head at thee.


Humble yourself before God, and wait for his hands.


10  Be careful. Otherwise, having been seduced into foolishness, you will be humiliated.

Sir13:8  Beware that thou be not deceived and brought down in thy jollity.


11  Do not choose to be low in your wisdom, otherwise, having been brought low, you will be seduced into foolishness.


12  If you are invited by someone who is more powerful than you, you should decline. Otherwise, he will invite you all the more.

Sir13:9  If thou be invited of a mighty man, withdraw thyself, and so much the more will he invite thee.

13  You cannot be rude to him, lest you be pushed away. And you cannot stray far from him, lest you be forgotten.

Sir13:10  Press thou not upon him, lest thou be put back; stand not far off, lest thou be forgotten.

14  You cannot hold a discussion with him as with an equal. You should not trust his many words. For by much talking, he will probe you, and while smiling, he will question you about your secrets.

Sir13:11  Affect not to be made equal unto him in talk, and believe not his many words: for with much communication will he tempt thee, and smiling upon thee will get out thy secrets

15  His cruel mind will store up your words; and he will not spare you from affliction, nor from prison.

Sir13:12  But cruelly he will lay up thy words, and will not spare to do thee hurt, and to put thee in prison.

16  Be cautious of yourself, and attend diligently to what you are hearing. For you are walking toward your own destruction.

Sir13:13  Observe, and take good heed, for thou walkest in peril of thy overthrowing: when thou hearest these things, awake in thy sleep.


17  Yet truly, while listening to these things, consider it as if it were a dream, and you will awaken.


18  Love God for your entire life, and call upon him for your salvation.

Sir13:14  Love the Lord all thy life, and call upon him for thy salvation.

19  Every animal loves its own kind; so also every man loves those closest to himself.

Sir13:15  Every beast loveth his like, and every man loveth his neighbour.

20  All flesh will join with whatever is similar to itself, and every man will associate with whomever is similar to himself.

Sir13:16  All flesh consorteth according to kind, and a man will cleave to his like.

21  If a wolf would at any time have fellowship with a lamb, so also would a sinner have fellowship with the just.

Sir13:17  What fellowship hath the wolf with the lamb? so the sinner with the godly.

22  What fellowship does a holy man have with a dog? Or what portion do the wealthy have with the poor?

Sir13:18  What agreement is there between the hyena and a dog? and what peace between the rich and the poor?

23  In the desert, the wild donkey is the prey of the lion. So also are the poor the pasture of the rich.

Sir13:19  As the wild ass is the lion’s prey in the wilderness: so the rich eat up the poor.

24  And just as humility is an abomination to the arrogant, so also does the rich man abhor the poor man.

Sir13:20  As the proud hate humility: so doth the rich abhor the poor.

25  When a wealthy man has been shaken, he is strengthened by his friends. But when a lowly man has fallen, he is expelled even by those who know him well.

Sir13:21  A rich man beginning to fall is held up of his friends: but a poor man being down is thrust away by his friends.

26  When a rich man has been deceived, many will help him recover; he has spoken arrogantly, and yet they justify him.

Sir13:22  When a rich man is fallen, he hath many helpers: he speaketh things not to be spoken, and yet men justify him: the poor man slipped, and yet they rebuked him too; he spake wisely, and could have no place.