The Bible in Its Traditions

Sirach 6:5–17


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.