The Bible in Its Traditions

Sirach 6:1–37


Do not be willing to become an enemy instead of a friend to your neighbor. For an evil man will inherit reproach and disgrace, as will every sinner who is envious and double-tongued.

Instead of a friend become not an enemy; for thereby thou shalt inherit an ill name, shame, and reproach: even so shall a sinner that hath a double tongue.

You should not extol yourself, like a bull, in the thoughts of your soul, lest perhaps your strength may be cast down through foolishness,

Extol not thyself in the counsel of thine own heart; that thy soul be not torn in pieces as a bull straying alone.

which would consume your leaves, and destroy your fruit, and leave you behind like a dry tree in the desert.

Thou shalt eat up thy leaves, and lose thy fruit, and leave thyself as a dry tree.

For a wicked soul will destroy the one who has it. For it gladly provides enemies to him, and it will lead him to the fate of the impious.

A wicked soul shall destroy him that hath it, and shall make him to be laughed to scorn of his enemies.

A sweet word multiplies friends and mitigates enemies. And thankful words abound in a good man.

Sweet language will multiply friends: and a fairspeaking tongue will increase kind greetings.

Allow many to be at peace with you, but allow one out of a thousand to be your counselor.

Be in peace with many: nevertheless have but one counsellor of a thousand.

If you would obtain a friend, test him before you accept him, and do not trust him readily.

If thou wouldest get a friend, prove him first and be not hasty to credit him.

For there is a friend according to his own time, but he will not remain in the day of tribulation.

For some man is a friend for his own occasion, and will not abide in the day of thy trouble.

And there is a friend who can be turned to animosity. And there is a friend who will reveal hatred and ridicule and insults.

And there is a friend, who being turned to enmity, and strife will discover thy reproach.

10  And there is a friend who is a companion at table, but he will not remain in a day of need.

10  Again, some friend is a companion at the table, and will not continue in the day of thy affliction.

11  A friend, if he remains steadfast, will be to you as you are to yourself, and he will act with faithfulness among those of your household.

11  But in thy prosperity he will be as thyself, and will be bold over thy servants.

12  If he humbles himself before you and hides himself from your face, you shall have a noble and harmonious friendship.

12  If thou be brought low, he will be against thee, and will hide himself from thy face.

13  Distance yourself from your enemies, and pay attention to your friends.

13  Separate thyself from thine enemies, and take heed of thy friends.


14  A faithful friend is a strong shelter, and whoever has found one has found a treasure.


15  Nothing is comparable to a faithful friend, and no weight of silver or gold is worth more than the goodness of his fidelity.

15  Nothing doth countervail a faithful friend, and his excellency is invaluable.


16  A faithful friend is a medicine for life and immortality; and those who fear the Lord will find one.


17  He who fears God will have a similar good friendship, because his friend will be like him.

17  Whoso feareth the Lord shall direct his friendship aright: for as he is, so shall his neighbour be also.

18  Son, from your youth receive instruction, and then you will find wisdom, even to your grey hairs.

18  My son, gather instruction from thy youth up: so shalt thou find wisdom till thine old age.

19  Approach wisdom like one who plows and sows, and then wait for her good fruits.

19  Come unto her as one that ploweth and soweth, and wait for her good fruits: for thou shalt not toil much in labouring about her, but thou shalt eat of her fruits right soon.

20  For in doing her work, you will labor a little, but you will soon eat from her produce.

20  She is very unpleasant to the unlearned: he that is without understanding will not remain with her.

21  How exceedingly harsh is wisdom to unlearned men! And so, the witless will not remain with her.

21  She will lie upon him as a mighty stone of trial; and he will cast her from him ere it be long.

22  She will be to them like a great stone of trial, and they will cast her away from them without delay.

22  For wisdom is according to her name, and she is not manifest unto many.

23  For the wisdom of doctrine is in accord with her name, and she is not manifest to many. But she continues with those by whom she is recognized, even in the sight of God.

23  Give ear, my son, receive my advice, and refuse not my counsel,

24  Listen, son, and accept an understanding counsel, for you should not discard my advice.

24  And put thy feet into her fetters, and thy neck into her chain.

25  Set your feet in her fetters and your neck in her chains.

25  Bow down thy shoulder, and bear her, and be not grieved with her bonds.

26  Incline your shoulder, and carry her, for you will not be grieved by her bindings.

26  Come unto her with thy whole heart, and keep her ways with all thy power.

27  Approach her with all your soul, and serve her ways with all your strength.

27  Search, and seek, and she shall be made known unto thee: and when thou hast got hold of her, let her not go.

28  Examine her, and she will be revealed to you, and when you have obtained her, you should not abandon her.

28  For at the last thou shalt find her rest, and that shall be turned to thy joy.

29  For, in the very end, you will find rest in her, and she will turn into your delight.

29  Then shall her fetters be a strong defence for thee, and her chains a robe of glory.

30  Then her fetters will be a strong protection and a firm foundation for you, and her chains will be a robe of glory.

30  For there is a golden ornament upon her, and her bands are purple lace.

31  For in her is the beauty of life, and her bindings are a healing bandage.

31  Thou shalt put her on as a robe of honour, and shalt put her about thee as a crown of joy.

32  You will be clothed with her as with a robe of glory, and you will set her upon your head like a crown of rejoicing.

32  My son, if thou wilt, thou shalt be taught: and if thou wilt apply thy mind, thou shalt be prudent.

33  Son, if you heed me, you will learn. And if you adapt your mind, you will be wise.

33  If thou love to hear, thou shalt receive understanding: and if thou bow thine ear, thou shalt be wise,

34  If you incline your ear, you will receive doctrine. And if you love to listen, you will be wise.

34  Stand in the multitude of the elders; and cleave unto him that is wise.

35  Stand among the multitude of prudent elders, and join yourself to their wisdom from the heart, so that you may be able to hear every discourse about God, and so that the proverbs of praise may not flee from you.

35  Be willing to hear every godly discourse; and let not the parables of understanding escape thee.

36  And if you see a man of understanding, stand watch for him, and let your feet wear down the steps of his doors.

36  And if thou seest a man of understanding, get thee betimes unto him, and let thy foot wear the steps of his door.

37  Set your thoughts on the precepts of God, and be entirely constant in his commandments. And he himself will give a heart to you, and the desire of wisdom will be given to you.

37  Let thy mind be upon the ordinances of the Lord and meditate continually in his commandments: he shall establish thine heart, and give thee wisdom at thine owns desire.