The Bible in Its Traditions

Sirach 37:1–34


Every friend will say: “I also am a close friend.” But there is a friend who is a friend in name only. Is this not a grief even unto death?

Every friend saith, I am his friend also: but there is a friend, which is only a friend in name.

But a companion and friend may turn into an enemy.

Is it not a grief unto death, when a companion and friend is turned to an enemy?

O wicked presumption! From what were you created that you would cover the dry land with your malice and deceitfulness?

O wicked imagination, whence camest thou in to cover the earth with deceit?

A companion may rejoice with his friend in good times, but in a time of tribulation, he will be an adversary.

There is a companion, which rejoiceth in the prosperity of a friend, but in the time of trouble will be against him.


There is a companion who commiserates with a friend for the sake of the stomach, but he will shield himself from the enemy.


You should not forget your friend in your soul, and you should not be unmindful of him in your wealth.

Forget not thy friend in thy mind, and be not unmindful of him in thy riches.


Do not choose to consult with someone who waits in ambush for you. And hide your counsel from those who rival you.


Every counselor offers advice, but some are counselors only for themselves.

Sir37:7  Every counsellor extolleth counsel; but there is some that counselleth for himself.

Guard your soul from a counselor. And know beforehand what his interests are. For he will form thoughts from his own soul.

Sir37:8  Beware of a counsellor, and know before what need he hath; for he will counsel for himself; lest he cast the lot upon thee,

10  Otherwise, he may set a signpost in the ground, and he may say to you

Sir37:9  And say unto thee, Thy way is good: and afterward he stand on the other side, to see what shall befall thee.


11  “Your own way is good.” But then he will stand at a distance to see what befalls you.


12  Do not discuss holiness with an irreligious man, nor justice with one who is unjust. You should not speak with a woman about her who is a rival, nor with a coward about war, nor with a merchant about exaggeration, nor with a buyer about selling, nor with a spiteful man about giving thanks,

Sir37:10  Consult not with one that suspecteth thee: and hide thy counsel from such as envy thee.

13  nor with the impious about piety, nor with the dishonest about honesty, nor with the field worker about other kinds of work,

Sir37:11  Neither consult with a woman touching her of whom she is jealous; neither with a coward in matters of war; nor with a merchant concerning exchange; nor with a buyer of selling; nor with an envious man of thankfulness; nor with an unmerciful man touching kindness; nor with the slothful for any work; nor with an hireling for a year of finishing work; nor with an idle servant of much business: hearken not unto these in any matter of counsel.


14  nor with a worker hired for a year about the end of the year, nor with a lazy servant about great works. You should pay no heed to these persons in any matter of counsel.


15  But be continually with a holy man, with anyone whom you know to observe the fear of God,

Sir37:12  But be continually with a godly man, whom thou knowest to keep the commandments of the Lord, whose, mind is according to thy mind, and will sorrow with thee, if thou shalt miscarry.


16  whose soul is in agreement with your own soul, and who, when you falter in the dark, will share your sorrows.


17  And establish a heart of good counsel within yourself. For there is nothing of greater usefulness to you than this.

Sir37:13  And let the counsel of thine own heart stand: for there is no man more faithful unto thee than it.

18  At any time, the soul of a holy man declares more truths than seven vigilant watchmen sitting in a high place.

Sir37:14  For a man’s mind is sometime wont to tell him more than seven watchmen, that sit above in an high tower.

19  But concerning all things, pray to the Most High, so that he may direct your way in truth.

Sir37:15  And above all this pray to the most High, that he will direct thy way in truth.

20  In all your works, let a true word precede you, with steadfast counsel before every deed.

Sir37:16  Let reason go before every enterprise, and counsel before every action.

21  A wicked word can change the heart. From the heart four kinds of things arise: good and evil, life and death. And the tongue is continually their ruler. There is a man who is an astute teacher of many, and yet this is useless to his own soul.

17  The countenance is a sign of changing of the heart.

18  Four manner of things appear: good and evil, life and death: but the tongue ruleth over them continually.

22  A man of experience has taught many, and this is pleasant to his own soul.

Sir37:19  There is one that is wise and teacheth many, and yet is unprofitable to himself.

23  Whoever speaks mere rhetoric is hateful; he will be deceived in every matter.

Sir37:20  There is one that sheweth wisdom in words, and is hated: he shall be destitute of all food.

24  Grace is not given to him from the Lord. For he has been deprived of all wisdom.

Sir37:21  For grace is not given, him from the Lord, because he is deprived of all wisdom.

25  There is a wise man who is wise within his own soul, and the fruit of his understanding is praiseworthy.

Sir37:22  Another is wise to himself; and the fruits of understanding are commendable in his mouth.


26  A wise man instructs his own people, and the fruit of his understanding is faithful.


27  A wise man will be filled with blessings, and those who see will praise him.

Sir37:24  A wise man shall be filled with blessing; and all they that see him shall count him happy.

28  The life of a man is in the number of his days. But the days of Israel are innumerable.

Sir37:25  The days of the life of man may be numbered: but the days of Israel are innumerable.

29  A wise man will inherit honor among the people, and his name will live in eternity.

Sir37:26  A wise man shall inherit glory among his people, and his name shall be perpetual.

30  Son, test your own mind in your life, and if it is lacking, you should not give it authority.

Sir37:27  My son, prove thy soul in thy life, and see what is evil for it, and give not that unto it.

31  For not all things are fitting for all persons, and not every kind of thing is agreeable to every soul.

Sir37:28  For all things are not profitable for all men, neither hath every soul pleasure in every thing.

32  Do not choose to be eager during any feast, and you should not act with excess toward any food.

Sir37:29  Be not unsatiable in any dainty thing, nor too greedy upon meats

33  For in excessive eating there will be infirmity, and gluttony will continue even unto illness.

Sir37:30  For excess of meats bringeth sickness, and surfeiting will turn into choler.

34  By excessive drinking, many have passed away. But he who abstains will add to his life.

Sir37:31  By surfeiting have many perished; but he that taketh heed prolongeth his life.