The Bible in Its Traditions

Sirach 21:1–31


Son, have you sinned? You should not add further sins. Then too, for your former sins, pray so that they may be forgiven you.

My son, hast thou sinned? do so no more, but ask pardon for thy former sins.

Flee from sins, as if from the face of a serpent. For if you approach them, they will take hold of you.

Flee from sin as from the face of a serpent: for if thou comest too near it, it will bite thee: the teeth thereof are as the teeth of a lion, slaying the souls of men.


Their teeth are like the teeth of a lion, bringing death to the souls of men.


All iniquity is like a two-edged spear; there is no healing in its wound.

Sir21:3  All iniquity is as a two edged sword, the wounds whereof cannot be healed.

Reproach and injury will make resources useless. And a house that is exceedingly wealthy will become powerless through pride. In this way, the resources of the arrogant will be eradicated.

Sir21:4  To terrify and do wrong will waste riches: thus the house of proud men shall be made desolate.

Supplications from the mouth of the pauper will reach all the way to the ears of God, and judgment will come to him quickly.

Sir21:5  A prayer out of a poor man’s mouth reacheth to the ears of God, and his judgement cometh speedily.

Whoever hates correction is walking in the steps of a sinner. But whoever fears God will convert within his heart.

Sir21:6  He that hateth to be reproved is in the way of sinners: but he that feareth the Lord will repent from his heart.

He who has power by means of a bold tongue will be known from far away. But an understanding man knows to slip past him.

Sir21:7  An eloquent man is known far and near; but a man of understanding knoweth when he slippeth.

Whoever builds his house, paid for by another, is like one who gathers his building stones in winter.

Sir21:8  He that buildeth his house with other men’s money is like one that gathereth himself stones for the tomb of his burial.

10  The synagogue of sinners is like stubble piled up; for the end of them both is a burning fire.

Sir21:9  The congregation of the wicked is like tow wrapped together: and the end of them is a flame of fire to destroy them.

11  The way of sinners is paved and level, and at their end is hell and darkness and punishments.

Sir21:10  The way of sinners is made plain with stones, but at the end thereof is the pit of hell.

12  Whoever observes justice will obtain an understanding of it.

Sir21:11  He that keepeth the law of the Lord getteth the understanding thereof: and the perfection of the fear of the Lord is wisdom.


13  The consummation of the fear of God is wisdom and understanding.


14  One who is not wise in goodness will not accept instruction.

12  He that is not wise will not be taught: but there is a wisdom which multiplieth bitterness.

13  The knowledge of a wise man shall abound like a flood: and his counsel is like a pure fountain of life.


15  Now there is a wisdom which abounds in evil. But there is no understanding where there is bitterness.

16  The knowledge of the wise will increase like a flood, and his counsel will continue like a fountain of life.


17  The heart of the foolish is like a broken vessel, for it will not hold any wisdom.

Sir21:14  The inner parts of a fool are like a broken vessel, and he will hold no knowledge as long as he liveth.

18  A knowledgeable man will praise any wise word he hears, and he will apply it to himself. The self-indulgent man has heard it, and it displeases him, and so he casts it behind his back.

Sir21:15  If a skilful man hear a wise word, he will commend it, and add unto it: but as soon as one of no understanding heareth it, it displeaseth him, and he casteth it behind his back.

19  The talk of the foolish is like a burden on a journey. But in the lips of the understanding, grace will be found.

Sir21:16  The talking of a fool is like a burden in the way: but grace shall be found in the lips of the wise.

20  The mouth of the prudent is sought in the Church, and they will consider his words in their hearts.

Sir21:17  They enquire at the mouth of the wise man in the congregation, and they shall ponder his words in their heart.

21  Like a house which has been demolished, so is wisdom to the foolish. And the knowledge of the unwise is like meaningless words.

Sir21:18  As is a house that is destroyed, so is wisdom to a fool: and the knowledge of the unwise is as talk without sense.

22  Doctrine to the senseless is like fetters on the feet, and like chains on the right hand.

Sir21:19  Doctrine unto fools is as fetters on the feet, and like manacles on the right hand.

23  A foolish man lifts up his voice in laughter. But a wise man will not even laugh quietly to himself.

Sir21:20  A fool lifteth up his voice with laughter; but a wise man doth scarce smile a little.

24  Doctrine is to the prudent like a gold ornament, and like an armband on the right arm.

Sir21:21  Learning is unto a wise man as an ornament of gold, and like a bracelet upon his right arm.

25  The feet of the foolish step easily into his neighbor’s house. But an experienced man will be apprehensive in the presence of the powerful.

Sir21:22  A foolish man’s foot is soon in his neighbour’s house: but a man of experience is ashamed of him.

26  A senseless man will gaze through a window into the house. But a man who has been well-taught will stand outside.

Sir21:23  A fool will peep in at the door into the house: but he that is well nurtured will stand without.

27  It is foolish for a man to listen through the door. And a prudent man will be grieved at this disgrace.

Sir21:24  It is the rudeness of a man to hearken at the door: but a wise man will be grieved with the disgrace.

28  The lips of the imprudent will describe senseless things. But the words of the prudent will be weighed on a balance.

Sir21:25  The lips of talkers will be telling such things as pertain not unto them: but the words of such as have understanding are weighed in the balance.

29  The hearts of the foolish are in their mouths. But the mouths of the wise are with their hearts.

Sir21:26  The heart of fools is in their mouth: but the mouth of the wise is in their heart.

30  Whenever the impious curse the devil, they curse their own soul.

Sir21:27  When the ungodly curseth Satan, he curseth his own soul.

31  Those who whisper accusations defile their own souls, and they will be hated by all. And whoever abides with them will be hateful. The silent and understanding man will be honored.

Sir21:28  A whisperer defileth his own soul, and is hated wheresoever he dwelleth.