The Bible in Its Traditions

Sirach 22:1–34


The lazy man is pelted with a dirty stone, and all will speak about his rejection.

A slothful man is compared to a filthy stone, and every one will hiss him out to his disgrace.

The lazy man is pelted with the dung of oxen, and all who touch him will brush off their hands.

A slothful man is compared to the filth of a dunghill: every man that takes it up will shake his hand.

An undisciplined son is the shame of his father, but an undisciplined daughter will be to his degradation.

An evilnurtured man is the dishonour of his father that begat him: and a foolish daughter is born to his loss.

A prudent daughter brings an inheritance to her husband. But she who causes shame will be a disgrace to him who conceived her.

A wise daughter shall bring an inheritance to her husband: but she that liveth dishonestly is her father’s heaviness.

She who is bold shames her father and her husband, and she will not be less offensive to the impious. For she will be held in dishonor by both.

She that is bold dishonoureth both her father and her husband, but they both shall despise her.

An untimely explanation is like music in a time of mourning. But the sharp correction and doctrine of wisdom are ever timely.

A tale out of season is as musick in mourning: but stripes and correction of wisdom are never out of time.

Whoever teaches the foolish is like someone who glues together a broken pot.

Whoso teacheth a fool is as one that glueth a potsherd together, and as he that waketh one from a sound sleep.


Whoever explains a word to one who is not listening is like someone who suddenly awakens a sleeping person from a deep sleep.


Whoever explains wisdom to the senseless is like one speaking to a sleeping person. And at the end of the explanation, he says: “Who is this?”

Sir22:8  He that telleth a tale to a fool speaketh to one in a slumber: when he hath told his tale, he will say, What is the matter?


10  If children live honestly, and have wherewithal, they shall cover the baseness of their parents.

10  But children, being haughty, through disdain and want of nurture do stain the nobility of their kindred.


11  Weep over the dead, for his light has failed. And weep over the foolish, for his understanding has failed.

Sir22:11  Weep for the dead, for he hath lost the light: and weep for the fool, for he wanteth understanding: make little weeping for the dead, for he is at rest: but the life of the fool is worse than death.


12  Weep only a little over the dead, for he is at rest.

13  But the wicked life of a wicked fool is worse than death.


14  The mourning for the dead is seven days; but for the foolish and the impious, it is all the days of their life.

Sir22:12  Seven days do men mourn for him that is dead; but for a fool and an ungodly man all the days of his life.

15  You should not talk at length with the foolish, and you should not go with the senseless.

Sir22:13  Talk not much with a fool, and go not to him that hath no understanding: beware of him, lest thou have trouble, and thou shalt never be defiled with his fooleries: depart from him, and thou shalt find rest, and never be disquieted with madness.


16  Keep yourself from him, so that you may not have problems, and so that you will not be polluted by his sin.

17  Turn away from him, and you will find rest, and you will not be discouraged by his foolishness.


18  What is heavier than lead? And what else can he be called but foolish?

19  Sand, and salt, and an iron weight are each easier to bear than an imprudent man, who is both foolish and impious.


20  A bundle of wood strapped together in the foundation of a building will not be loosened. And similar is the heart that has been strengthened by thoughtful counsel.

Sir22:16  As timber girt and bound together in a building cannot be loosed with shaking: so the heart that is stablished by advised counsel shall fear at no time.

21  The thoughts of one who is understanding will not be corrupted by fear in any situation.

Sir22:17  A heart settled upon a thought of understanding is as a fair plaistering on the wall of a gallery.

22  Just as chaff in a high place, or a wall made of mortar without stones set within, will not continue against the face of the wind,

Sir22:18  Pales set on an high place will never stand against the wind: so a fearful heart in the imagination of a fool cannot stand against any fear.


23  so also a timid heart, and the thoughts of the senseless, will not withstand the forcefulness of fear.

24  Despite a cowardly heart, the thoughts of the foolish will not fear any situation; yet neither will one who continues always in the precepts of God.


25  He who jabs an eye produces tears. And he who jabs the heart produces understanding.

Sir22:19  He that pricketh the eye will make tears to fall: and he that pricketh the heart maketh it to shew her knowledge.

26  He who throws a stone at birds will drive them away. So also, he who accuses his friend dissolves the friendship.

Sir22:20  Whoso casteth a stone at the birds frayeth them away: and he that upbraideth his friend breaketh friendship.

27  But if you have drawn a sword against a friend, you should not despair; for there may be a way back.

Sir22:21  Though thou drewest a sword at thy friend, yet despair not: for there may be a returning to favour.

28  If you have opened a harsh mouth against a friend, you should not fear; for there may be a reconciliation. However, if there are accusations, or abuse, or arrogance, or the revealing of secrets, or a wound from deceitfulness, in all these cases, a friend will flee away.

Sir22:22  If thou hast opened thy mouth against thy friend, fear not; for there may be a reconciliation: except for upbraiding, or pride, or disclosing of secrets, or a treacherous wound: for for these things every friend will depart.

29  Hold to faithfulness with a friend in his poverty, so that you may also rejoice in his prosperity.

Sir22:23  Be faithful to thy neighbour in his poverty, that thou mayest rejoice in his prosperity: abide stedfast unto him in the time of his trouble, that thou mayest be heir with him in his heritage: for a mean estate is not always to be contemned: nor the rich that is foolish to be had in admiration.


30  In the time of his tribulation, remain faithful to him, so that you may also be an heir with him in his inheritance.


31  Just as the steam from an oven, or the smoke from a fire, rises up before a flame, so also do curses and insults and threats rise up before bloodshed.

Sir22:24  As the vapour and smoke of a furnace goeth before the fire; so reviling before blood.

32  I shall not be ashamed to greet a friend, nor shall I hide myself from his face. And if misfortunes befall me because of him, I will endure.

Sir22:25  I will not be ashamed to defend a friend; neither will I hide myself from him.

33  Anyone who hears of this will be wary around him.

Sir22:26  And if any evil happen unto me by him, every one that heareth it will beware of him.

34  Who will provide a keeper for my mouth, and a reliable seal over my lips, so that I may not fall because of them, and so that my tongue does not destroy me?

Sir22:27  Who shall set a watch before my mouth, and a seal of wisdom upon my lips, that I fall not suddenly by them, and that my tongue destroy me not?