The Bible in Its Traditions

Sirach 32:1–13

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Have they appointed you as a leader? Do not be willing to be extolled. Be among them as one of them.

Sir32:Sir35:1  If thou be made the master of a feast, lift not thyself up, but be among them as one of the rest; take diligent care for them, and so sit down.

Have concern for them, and in this way sit down with them, and when you have explained all your concerns, sit back.

Sir32:Sir35:2  And when thou hast done all thy office, take thy place, that thou mayest be merry with them, and receive a crown for thy well ordering of the feast.

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Then you may rejoice because of them, and you may receive a crown as an adornment of grace, and so obtain the dignity of the assembly.

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Speak, you who are greater by birth. For it is fitting for you

Sir32:Sir35:3  Speak, thou that art the elder, for it becometh thee, but with sound judgement; and hinder not musick.

to speak the first word with careful knowledge. But you should not hinder the music.

Sir32:Sir35:4  Pour not out words where there is a musician, and shew not forth wisdom out of time.

Where no one is listening, you should not pour out words. And do not choose to be extolled improperly for your wisdom.

Sir32:Sir35:5  A concert of musick in a banquet of wine is as a signet of carbuncle set in gold.

A gemstone of garnet is set amid an ornament of gold, and a concert of music is set amid a banquet of wine.

Sir32:Sir35:6  As a signet of an emerald set in a work of gold, so is the melody of musick with pleasant wine.

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Just as a signet of emerald is set amid a work of gold, so is a melody of music set amid delightful and moderate wine.

Listen silently, and for your reverence, good graces will be added to you.

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10  Young man, speak in your own case only reluctantly.

Sir32:Sir35:7  Speak, young man, if there be need of thee: and yet scarcely when thou art twice asked.

11  If you have been asked twice, let your response be concise.

Sir32:Sir35:8  Let thy speech be short, comprehending much in few words; be as one that knoweth and yet holdeth his tongue.

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12  In many matters, be as if you lack knowledge, and listen silently as well as intently.

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13  In the midst of great men, you should not be presumptuous. And where the elders are present, you should not speak much.

Sir32:Sir35:9  If thou be among great men, make not thyself equal with them; and when ancient men are in place, use not many words.