The Bible in Its Traditions

Sirach 19:18–30


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.