Whoever touches tar will get dirty,
and those who associate with the arrogant will become like them.
Don’t lift something
that’s too heavy for you,
and don’t associate with people
who are more powerful and rich
than you are.
What does a clay pot have in common
with a metal cauldron?
The one will knock against the other
and be shattered.
Rich people inflict injury,
but then act as if they’re the ones
who have been wronged;
the poor suffer injury,
but they’re the ones
who must apologize.
If you are useful to the rich,
they will work with you,
but if you are in need,
they will abandon you.
If you own anything,
they will live with you;
they will exhaust what you have,
and they won’t suffer.
If they need you, they will deceive you
and smile at you and give you hope;
they will speak nicely to you and say,
“What do you need?”
They will embarrass you
with their fine foods,
until they have cleaned you out
two or three times over.
In the end they will mock you,
and after these things,
they will see you and abandon you
and shake their heads at you.
Take care that you don’t go astray,
and don’t be humiliated
by your own foolishness.
When powerful people invite you,
show yourself reluctant,
and they will invite you all the more.
10 Don’t be forward,
or you might be rejected;
and don’t stand far off,
or you might be forgotten.
11 Don’t think that you can speak
with them as an equal,
and don’t trust in their
lengthy conversations,
because they will test you
with a lot of talking;
and when they are smiling, they are really examining you.
12 Those who won’t guard your secrets
are cruel,
and they won’t spare you
from mistreatment
and imprisonment.
13 Be on guard and pay attention,
because you are tiptoeing
around your own downfall.[a]
15 All living creatures love what is like them,
and all people their neighbors.
16 All beings gather together
with their own kind,
and people cling to those
who are like them.
17 What does a wolf have in common
with a lamb?
So sinners have nothing in common
with the godly.
18 What peace is there
between a hyena and a dog?
And what peace is there
between the rich and the poor?
19 Wild asses in the desert are prey for lions;
so the poor are feeding grounds
for the rich.
20 The arrogant detest humility;
so the rich detest the poor.
21 When rich people stumble,
they are supported by friends.
But when the humble fall,
their own friends push them away.
22 When the rich slip,
their helpers are many;
they speak things that shouldn’t be spoken, and people justify them.
The humble slip,
and people criticize them as well;
they utter something sensible,
and no one pays attention.
23 The rich speak, and everyone is silent,
and what they say is praised
to the heavens.
The poor speak, and they say,
“Who is this?”
And if the poor stumble,
others push them down all the more.
24 Wealth is good as long as it’s free of sin;
the ungodly speak of poverty
as an evil in and of itself.

On happiness

25 A person’s heart changes the disposition,
whether for good or for ill.
26 A cheerful face indicates
a heart full of good;
coming up with proverbs requires conversation along with hard work.


  1. Sirach 13:13 LXXb adds 13:14 When you hear things in your sleep, wake up; love the Lord for all of your life, and call upon him for your deliverance.