The Bible in Its Traditions

Sirach 4:1–36


Son, you should not cheat the poor out of alms, nor should you avert your eyes from a poor man.

My son, defraud not the poor of his living, and make not the needy eyes to wait long.

You should not despise the hungry soul, and you should not aggravate a poor man in his need.

Make not an hungry soul sorrowful; neither provoke a man in his distress.

You should not afflict the heart of the needy, and you should not delay an offer to someone in anguish.

Add not more trouble to an heart that is vexed; and defer not to give to him that is in need.

You should not make requests of one who is greatly troubled, and you should not avert your face from the indigent.

Reject not the supplication of the afflicted; neither turn away thy face from a poor man.

You should not avert your eyes from the needy out of anger. And you should not abandon those who seek help from you, so that they speak curses behind your back.

Turn not away thine eye from the needy, and give him none occasion to curse thee

For the pleadings of him who speaks curses of you, in the bitterness of his soul, will be heeded. For the One who made him will heed him.

For if he curse thee in the bitterness of his soul, his prayer shall be heard of him that made him.

Make yourself a friend to the congregation of the poor, and humble your soul before an elder, and humble your head before the great.

Get thyself the love of the congregation, and bow thy head to a great man.

Turn your ear without sadness toward the poor, and repay your debt, and respond to him peacefully in meekness.

Let it not grieve thee to bow down thine ear to the poor, and give him a friendly answer with meekness.

Free him who suffers injury at the hand of the arrogant, and do not carry animosity in your soul.

Deliver him that suffereth wrong from the hand of the oppressor; and be not fainthearted when thou sittest in judgement.

10  In judging, be merciful to the orphan, like a father, and be merciful to their mother, like a husband.

10  Be as a father unto the fatherless, and instead of an husband unto their mother: so shalt thou be as the son of the most High, and he shall love thee more than thy mother doth.


11  And then you shall be like an obedient son of the Most High, and he will take pity on you more than a mother would.


12  Wisdom breathes life into her sons, and she lifts up those who are seeking her, and she will precede them in the way of justice.

Sir4:11  Wisdom exalteth her children, and layeth hold of them that seek her.

13  And he who loves her loves life. And those who watch for her shall embrace her delights.

Sir4:12  He that loveth her loveth life; and they that seek to her early shall be filled with joy.

14  Those who hold to her will inherit life. And whatever place she enters, God will bless.

Sir4:13  He that holdeth her fast shall inherit glory; and wheresoever she entereth, the Lord will bless.

15  Those who serve her will yield to what is holy. And God loves those who love wisdom.

Sir4:14  They that serve her shall minister to the Holy One: and them that love her the Lord doth love.

16  He who listens to her shall judge the nations. And he who gazes upon her will remain secure.

Sir4:15  Whoso giveth ear unto her shall judge the nations: and he that attendeth unto her shall dwell securely.

17  If he believes in her, he will inherit her, and whatever arises from him will be confirmed.

Sir4:16  If a man commit himself unto her, he shall inherit her; and his generation shall hold her in possession.

18  For she walks with him through temptation, and she chooses him from the beginning.

Sir4:17  For at the first she will walk with him by crooked ways, and bring fear and dread upon him, and torment him with her discipline, until she may trust his soul, and try him by her laws.


19  She will lead fear and dread and trials over him, and she will crucify him with the tribulation of her doctrine, until she has tested him in his thoughts and she can trust in his soul.


20  And then she will strengthen him, and lead him along a straight path, and rejoice in him.

Sir4:18  Then will she return the straight way unto him, and comfort him, and shew him her secrets.


21  And she will disclose her secrets to him, and she will store up treasure, of the knowledge and understanding of justice, in him.


22  But if he has wandered astray, she will leave him behind, and she will deliver him into the hands of his enemy.

Sir4:19  But if he go wrong, she will forsake him, and give him over to his own ruin.

23  Son, be continually observant, and keep away from evil.

Sir4:20  Observe the opportunity, and beware of evil; and be not ashamed when it concerneth thy soul.


24  For the sake of your soul, you should not be ashamed to speak the truth.


25  For there is a shame that brings sin, and there is a shame that brings glory and grace.


26  You should not accept a face contrary to your own face, nor should you accept a lie contrary to your own soul.

Sir4:22  Accept no person against thy soul, and let not the reverence of any man cause thee to fall.


27  You should not enjoy the fall of your neighbor.


28  Neither should you withhold words at an opportunity for salvation. You should not conceal your wisdom in her beauty.

Sir4:23  And refrain not to speak, when there is occasion to do good, and hide not thy wisdom in her beauty.

29  For wisdom is discerned within speech. And understanding and knowledge and doctrine are discerned in the words of those who understand and by their steadfastness in the works of justice.

Sir4:24  For by speech wisdom shall be known: and learning by the word of the tongue.

30  You should not contradict a word of truth in any way. Otherwise, by a falsehood born of ignorance, you will be confounded.

Sir4:25  In no wise speak against the truth; but be abashed of the error of thine ignorance.

31  You should not be ashamed to confess your sins, but do not subject yourself to any man because of sin.

Sir4:26  Be not ashamed to confess thy sins; and force not the course of the river.

32  Do not choose to stand against the face of the powerful, for you should not strive against the current of the river.

Sir4:27  Make not thyself an underling to a foolish man; neither accept the person of the mighty.

33  Suffer for justice, on behalf of your soul, and struggle, even unto death, on behalf of justice, and God will fight against your enemies on your behalf.

Sir4:28  Strive for the truth unto death, and the Lord shall fight for thee.

34  Do not choose to be quick with your words, nor unproductive or neglectful in your works.

Sir4:29  Be not hasty in thy tongue, and in thy deeds slack and remiss.

35  Do not choose to be like a lion in your house, distressing those of your household, and oppressing those who are subject to you.

Sir4:30  Be not as a lion in thy house, nor frantick among thy servants.

36  Do not let your hand be open when receiving, but closed when giving.

Sir4:31  Let not thine hand be stretched out to receive, and shut when thou shouldest repay.