The Bible in Its Traditions

Sirach 19:1–30


An inebriated worker will not be wealthy. And whoever despises littleness will fall a little at a time.

A labouring man that A is given to drunkenness shall not be rich: and he that contemneth small things shall fall by little and little.


Wine and women cause wise men to fall away, and then they will complain against those who understand.


And whoever joins himself to fornicators will become wicked. Decay and worms will inherit him, and he will be denounced as the greater example, and his soul will be deducted from the number.

Moths and worms shall have him to heritage, and a bold man shall be taken away.

Whoever is quick to believe has a trivial heart and will be diminished. And whoever offends against his own soul will have even less.

He that is hasty to give credit is lightminded; and he that sinneth shall offend against his own soul.

Whoever rejoices in iniquity will be condemned. And whoever hates correction will have less in life. But whoever hates excessive talk extinguishes evil.

Whoso taketh pleasure in wickedness shall be condemned: but he that resisteth pleasures crowneth his life.

Whoever sins against his own soul will be punished. And whoever rejoices in malice will be condemned.

He that can rule his tongue shall live without strife; and he that hateth babbling shall have less evil.

You should not repeat a wicked and harsh word, and then you will not be diminished.

Rehearse not unto another that which is told unto thee, and thou shalt fare never the worse.

Do not reveal your mind to friend or foe. And if there is a sin within you, do not disclose it.

Whether it be to friend or foe, talk not of other men’s lives; and if thou canst without offence, reveal them not.

For he will listen to you and watch you, and while pretending to defend your sin, he will despise you, and so he will be whenever he is with you.

For he heard and observed thee, and when time cometh he will hate thee.

10  Have you heard a word against your neighbor? Let it die within you, trusting that it will not burst forth from you.

10  If thou hast heard a word, let it die with thee; and be bold, it will not burst thee.

11  Before the face of a word, a foolish man labors, like a woman groaning as she gives birth to a child.

11  A fool travaileth with a word, as a woman in labour of a child.

12  Like an arrow fixed in the flesh of the thigh, so is a word in the heart of a foolish man.

12  As an arrow that sticketh in a man’s thigh, so is a word within a fool’s belly.

13  Correct a friend, though perhaps there was a misunderstanding, and he may say, “I did not do it.” Or, if he did do it, correct him, so that he may not do it again.

13  Admonish a friend, it may be he hath not done it: and if he have done it, that he do it no more.

14  Correct your neighbor, for perhaps he did not say it. But if he did say it, correct him, so that he may not say it again.

14  Admonish thy friend, it may be he hath not said it: and if he have, that he speak it not again.

15  Correct your friend. For often a fault has been committed.

15  Admonish a friend: for many times it is a slander, and believe not every tale.

16  And do not believe every word. There is one who slips with his word, but not with his heart.

16  There is one that slippeth in his speech, but not from his heart; and who is he that hath not offended with his tongue?

17  Admonish thy neighbour before thou threaten him; and not being angry, give place to the law of the most High.

17  For who is there who has not offended with his words? Correct your neighbor before you reprimand him.

17  The fear of the Lord is the first step to be accepted of him, and wisdom obtaineth his love.

18  The knowledge of the commandments of the Lord is the doctrine of life: and they that do things that please him shall receive the fruit of the tree of immortality.

18  And make a place for the fear of the Most High. For all wisdom is fear of God, and it is wise to fear God, and in all wisdom is the orderly disposition of the law.

18  The fear of the Lord is all wisdom; and in all wisdom is the performance of the law, and the knowledge of his omnipotency.

19  If a servant say to his master, I will not do as it pleaseth thee; though afterward he do it, he angereth him that nourisheth him.

19  But the discipline of wickedness is not wisdom. And there is no prudence in the thoughts of sinners.

Sir19:20  The knowledge of wickedness is not wisdom, neither at any time the counsel of sinners prudence.


20  There is a wickedness, and in it there is abomination. And there is a foolish man who has been diminished in wisdom.


21  Better is a man who has been diminished in wisdom because his mind is failing, but with the fear of God, than he who abounds in intelligence, but with transgression against the law of the Most High.

Sir19:22  He that hath small understanding, and feareth God, is better than one that hath much wisdom, and transgresseth the law of the most High.

22  There is a certain cleverness, and it is unjust.

Sir19:23  There is an exquisite subtilty, and the same is unjust; and there is one that turneth aside to make judgement appear; and there is a wise man that justifieth in judgement.

23  And there is one who utters a careful word, explaining away the truth. There is one who humbles himself wickedly, for his interior is filled with deceit.

Sir19:24  There is a wicked man that hangeth down his head sadly; but inwardly he is full of deceit,

24  And there is one who lowers himself excessively with a great debasement. And there is one who inclines his face downward, and pretends as if he did not see what has not been made known.

Sir19:25  Casting down his countenance, and making as if he heard not: where he is not known, he will do thee a mischief before thou be aware.

25  And if he is prevented from sinning by a lack of ability, and then finds an opportunity for evildoing, he will do evil.

Sir19:26  And if for want of power he be hindered from sinning, yet when he findeth opportunity he will do evil.

26  A man is recognized by his appearances. But when you meet an understanding man, he is recognized by his face.

Sir19:27  A man may be known by his look, and one that hath understanding by his countenance, when thou meetest him.

27  The clothing of the body, and the laughter of the teeth, and the walk of a man, give a report about him.

Sir19:28  A man’s attire, and excessive laughter, and gait, shew what he is.


28  There is a lying correction in the anger of a contemptuous man. And there is a judgment which does not prove to be good. But there is one who is silent, and the same is prudent.