The Bible in Its Traditions

Sirach 31:12–24


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.