The Bible in Its Traditions

Sirach 29:1–34


He shows mercy who lends to his neighbor, for he keeps the commandments by strengthening him.

He that is merciful will lend unto his neighbour; and he that strengtheneth his hand keepeth the commandments.

Lend to your neighbor in his time of need, and receive it again from your neighbor in his time.

Lend to thy neighbour in time of his need, and pay thou thy neighbour again in due season.

Keep your word, and act faithfully with him, and then you will find whatever you need in every time.

Keep thy word, and deal faithfully with him, and thou shalt always find the thing that is necessary for thee.

Many have treated a loan like found money, and they offered trouble to those who helped them.

Many, when a thing was lent them, reckoned it to be found, and put them to trouble that helped them.

Until they receive, they kiss the hands of the giver, and they humble their voice in promises.

Till he hath received, he will kiss a man’s hand; and for his neighbour’s money he will speak submissly: but when he should repay, he will prolong the time, and return words of grief, and complain of the time.


But at the time of repayment, they will ask for more time, and they will speak annoying and complaining words, and they will make excuses for the time.


Then, if he is able to repay, he will turn away. He will pay barely one half, and he will consider it as if he had found it.

Sir29:6  If he prevail, he shall hardly receive the half, and he will count as if he had found it: if not, he hath deprived him of his money, and he hath gotten him an enemy without cause: he payeth him with cursings and railings; and for honour he will pay him disgrace.


But if not, then he will defraud him of his money, and he will have him as an enemy without cause.

And he will repay him with accusations and curses, and he will repay him with contempt, instead of with honor and kindness.


10  Many have refused to lend, not because of wickedness, but because they were afraid to be defrauded without cause.

Sir29:7  Many therefore have refused to lend for other men’s ill dealing, fearing to be defrauded.

11  Yet truly, be more steadfast toward the humble, and you should not delay in acts of mercy toward them.

Sir29:8  Yet have thou patience with a man in poor estate, and delay not to shew him mercy.

12  Assist the poor because of the commandment. And you should not send him away empty because of his dire need.

Sir29:9  Help the poor for the commandment’s sake, and turn him not away because of his poverty.

13  Lose your money to your brother and your friend. For you should not hide it under a stone to be lost.

Sir29:10  Lose thy money for thy brother and thy friend, and let it not rust under a stone to be lost.

14  Let your treasure be in the precepts of the Most High, and it will benefit you more than gold.

Sir29:11  Lay up thy treasure according to the commandments of the most High, and it shall bring thee more profit than gold.

15  Store your alms in the hearts of the poor, and it will obtain help for you against all evil.

Sir29:12  Shut up alms in thy storehouses: and it shall deliver thee from all affliction.


16  Better than the shield or the lance of a powerful man,


17  it will fight for you against your enemy.

Sir29:13  It shall fight for thee against thine enemies better than a mighty shield and strong spear.

18  A good man offers credit for the sake of his neighbor. But one who abandons him to himself will perish in shame.

Sir29:14  An honest man is surety for his neighbour: but he that is impudent will forsake him.

19  You should not forget the kindness of your benefactor. For he has offered his life on your behalf.

Sir29:15  Forget not the friendship of thy surety, for he hath given his life for thee.


20  The sinner and the unclean flee from such promises.


21  A sinner attributes to himself the goods of his loan. And an ungrateful mind will abandon the one who has freed him.

Sir29:16  A sinner will overthrow the good estate of his surety

22  A man offers credit to his neighbor. But when he will have lost respect, he will abandon him.

Sir29:17  And he that is of an unthankful mind will leave him in danger that delivered him.

23  A wicked promise has destroyed many who had good intentions, and has tossed them like a wave on the ocean.

Sir29:18  Suretiship hath undone many of good estate, and shaken them as a wave of the sea: mighty men hath it driven from their houses, so that they wandered among strange nations.


24  It has caused powerful men to travel around, and they have wandered amid foreign nations.


25  A sinner transgressing the commandment of the Lord will fall into a wicked promise. And he who undertakes many things will fall into judgment.

Sir29:19  A wicked man transgressing the commandments of the Lord shall fall into suretiship: and he that undertaketh and followeth other men’s business for gain shall fall into suits.

26  Help your neighbor to recover according to your ability, but attend to yourself, lest you also fall.

Sir29:20  Help thy neighbour according to thy power, and beware that thou thyself fall not into the same.

27  The primary need in a man’s life is water and bread, and clothing, and a house to protect modesty.

Sir29:21  The chief thing for life is water, and bread, and clothing, and an house to cover shame.

28  A pauper’s food under a roof of boards is better than a splendid feast on a sojourn away from home.

Sir29:22  Better is the life of a poor man in a mean cottage, than delicate fare in another man’s house.

29  Let yourself be pleased with little instead of much, and you will not hear the reproach of being away from home.

Sir29:23  Be it little or much, hold thee contented, that thou hear not the reproach of thy house.

30  It is a wicked life to go from house to house as a guest. For wherever he is a guest, he will not act confidently, nor open his mouth.

Sir29:24  For it is a miserable life to go from house to house: for where thou art a stranger, thou darest not open thy mouth.

31  He will entertain, and feed, and give drink to the ungrateful, and beyond this, he will listen to bitter words

Sir29:25  Thou shalt entertain, and feast, and have no thanks: moreover thou shalt hear bitter words

32  “Go, my guest, and set the table, and let others eat from what you have in your hand.”

Sir29:26  Come, thou stranger, and furnish a table, and feed me of that thou hast ready.

33  “Depart from the honored face of my friends. For it has become necessary for my house to host my brother instead.”

Sir29:27  Give place, thou stranger, to an honourable man; my brother cometh to be lodged, and I have need of mine house.


34  These things are grievous to a man having understanding: to take advantage of a household, and to reproach a lender.