The Bible in Its Traditions

Sirach 31:1–38


Watching for wealth consumes the flesh, and thinking about it takes away sleep.

Sir31:Sir34:1  Watching for riches consumeth the flesh, and the care thereof driveth away sleep.

Anticipation in thought distracts the mind, and a grievous infirmity makes the soul sober.

Sir31:Sir34:2  Watching care will not let a man slumber, as a sore disease breaketh sleep,

The rich man has labored in gathering wealth, and in his rest, he will be filled with his goods.

Sir31:Sir34:3  The rich hath great labour in gathering riches together; and when he resteth, he is filled with his delicates.

The poor man has labored in his lowly way, and in the end, he may still be in need.

Sir31:Sir34:4  The poor laboureth in his poor estate; and when he leaveth off, he is still needy.

Whoever loves gold will not be justified. And whoever pursues consumption will be consumed by it.

Sir31:Sir34:5  He that loveth gold shall not be justified, and he that followeth corruption shall have enough thereof.

Many have been caused to fall because of gold, and it became their ruin by its beauty.

Sir31:Sir34:6  Gold hath been the ruin of many, and their destruction was present.

Gold is a stumbling block to those who sacrifice for it. Woe to those who pursue it eagerly, for all the imprudent will perish by it.

Sir31:Sir34:7  It is a stumblingblock unto them that sacrifice unto it, and every fool shall be taken therewith.

Blessed is the rich man who is found to be without blemish. And blessed is he who has not gone after gold, nor placed his hope in money or treasures.

Sir31:Sir34:8  Blessed is the rich that is found without blemish, and hath not gone after gold.

Who is he? For we should praise him. For he has done wonderful things in his life.

Sir31:Sir34:9  Who is he? and we will call him blessed: for wonderful things hath he done among his people.

10  He has been tested by it, and has become perfect; he will have eternal glory. He was able to transgress, but he has not transgressed. He was able to do evil, but he has not done evil.

Sir31:Sir34:10  Who hath been tried thereby, and found perfect? then let him glory. Who might offend, and hath not offended? or done evil, and hath not done it?

11  Therefore, his good things are established in the Lord, and the entire Church of the saints will proclaim his almsgiving.

Sir31:Sir34:11  His goods shall be established, and the congregation shall declare his alms.

12  Are you seated at a great table? You should not open your mouth over it first.

13  You should not speak in this way: “There are many things that are upon it.”

Sir31:Sir34:12  If thou sit at a bountiful table, be not greedy upon it, and say not, There is much meat on it.


13  Remember that a wicked eye is evil.

14  What has been made more wicked than the eye? Therefore, when it sees, it will shed tears over the entire face.


14  You should not extend your hand first, for then, having been corrupted by envy, you would be ashamed.

15  You should not press forward at a feast.

Sir31:Sir34:14  Stretch not thine hand whithersoever it looketh, and thrust it not with him into the dish.

15  Understand which things are your neighbor’s and not your own.

Sir31:Sir34:15  Judge not thy neighbour by thyself: and be discreet in every point.

16  Make use of the things that are set before you, just as a frugal man would. Otherwise, if you eat much, you will be hated.

Sir31:Sir34:16  Eat as it becometh a man, those things which are set before thee; and devour not, lest thou be hated.

17  Cease eating first, for the sake of discipline. And do not eat to excess, lest you offend.

Sir31:Sir34:17  Leave off first for manners’ sake; and be not unsatiable, lest thou offend.

18  And if you sit in the midst of many, you should not extend your hand before they do, and you should not be the first to ask for a drink.

Sir31:Sir34:18  When thou sittest among many, reach not thine hand out first of all.

19  How sufficient is a little wine for a well-taught man! For in sleep, you will not labor because of it, and you will not feel pain.

Sir31:Sir34:19  A very little is sufficient for a man well nurtured, and he fetcheth not his wind short upon his bed.

20  Worry, and disease, and torment are with an intemperate man.

21  A healthy sleep is with a temperate man. He will sleep until morning, and his soul will be delighted with him.

Sir31:Sir34:20  Sound sleep cometh of moderate eating: he riseth early, and his wits are with him: but the pain of watching, and choler, and pangs of the belly, are with an unsatiable man.

21  And if you have been coaxed into eating too much, rise up, go outside, and vomit. And it will refresh you, and you will not bring sickness upon your body.

Sir31:Sir34:21  And if thou hast been forced to eat, arise, go forth, vomit, and thou shalt have rest.

22  Listen to me, son, for you should not spurn me. And in the very end, you will discover my words.

Sir31:Sir34:22  My son, hear me, and despise me not, and at the last thou shalt find as I told thee: in all thy works be quick, so shall there no sickness come unto thee.


23  In all your works, be prompt, and then no infirmity will befall you.


24  The lips of many will bless the splendid in bread. For the testimony of his truthfulness is faithful.

Sir31:Sir34:23  Whoso is liberal of his meat, men shall speak well of him; and the report of his good housekeeping will be believed.

25  The city will murmur against the wicked in bread. For the testimony against his wickedness is true.

Sir31:Sir34:24  But against him that is a niggard of his meat the whole city shall murmur; and the testimonies of his niggardness shall not be doubted of.

26  Do not choose to provoke those who love wine. For wine has destroyed many.

Sir31:Sir34:25  Shew not thy valiantness in wine; for wine hath destroyed many.

27  Fire tests the hardness of iron; similarly, drinking wine to inebriation will rebuke the hearts of the arrogant.

Sir31:Sir34:26  The furnace proveth the edge by dipping: so doth wine the hearts of the proud by drunkenness.

28  Drinking wine in sobriety gives a contented life to men. If you drink it in moderation, you will be sober.

Sir31:Sir34:27  Wine is as good as life to a man, if it be drunk moderately: what life is then to a man that is without wine? for it was made to make men glad.


29  What is life to him who is diminished by wine?

30  What can cheat him of his life? Death.

31  From the beginning, wine was created for cheerfulness, but not for inebriation.


32  Wine taken in moderation lifts up the mind and the heart.

Sir31:Sir34:28  Wine measurably drunk and in season bringeth gladness of the heart, and cheerfulness of the mind


33  Sober drinking is healthful to mind and body.


34  Wine taken in excess stirs up conflict and anger, and brings many to ruin.

Sir31:Sir34:29  But wine drunken with excess maketh bitterness of the mind, with brawling and quarrelling.


35  Wine taken in excess is bitter to the soul.


36  The effects of inebriation are a stumbling block to the imprudent, diminishing strength and causing wounds.

Sir31:Sir34:30  Drunkenness increaseth the rage of a fool till he offend: it diminisheth strength, and maketh wounds.

37  You should not argue with your neighbor during a banquet of wine. And you should not spurn him in his cheerfulness.

Sir31:Sir34:31  Rebuke not thy neighbour at the wine, and despise him not in his mirth: give him no despiteful words, and press not upon him with urging him to drink.


38  You should not speak words of reproach to him. And you should not press him with repeated requests.