On sin

My child, if you have sinned,
don’t do it any longer,
and pray concerning your previous sins.
Run away from sin
like you would from a snake:
If you go near it, it will bite you.
Its teeth are lion’s teeth,
destroying a person’s life.
All lawlessness is a two-edged sword,
and there’s no healing for its wound.
Alarm and insolence will strip away wealth;
thus will an arrogant person’s house
be uprooted.
The petition of the poor goes
from their mouth to God’s ears,
and his judgment comes quickly.
Anyone who hates reproof
walks in the footsteps of a sinner,
and those who fear the Lord
will turn back to him from the heart.
Those who are powerful in speech
are widely known,
but those who are thoughtful
know when they slip.
Those who build their houses
with another person’s money
are like those who gather stones
for their own burial mound.
A gathering of lawless people
is the same as bundled flax;
their end is a flaming fire.
10 The path of sinners
is made level with stones,
but its end is the pit of hell.[a]

Wisdom and folly

11 Those who keep the Law
become masters of their thoughts;
fearing the Lord
leads ultimately to wisdom.
12 Those who aren’t clever
won’t receive instruction,
but there is a kind of cleverness
that makes troubles multiply.
13 The knowledge of the wise
will increase like a flood,
and their counsel is like
a stream of life.
14 The mind[b] of a fool is like a broken jar:
it can’t hold knowledge.
15 If those who understand
hear a wise word;
they will praise it and add to it.
Those who like to indulge themselves
hear it and are displeased,
and they turn their back on it.
16 A fool’s endless talk
is a burden while on a journey,
but grace will be found
on the lips of the intelligent.
17 The speech of the prudent
will be sought out in an assembly,
and its members will take their words
to heart.
18 Like a house in disrepair,
so is wisdom to the foolish,
and the knowledge of ignorant people
will not stand up to examination.
19 Education is shackles
on the feet of the ignorant,
like manacles on their hand.
20 Fools raise their voice in laughter,
but clever people will smile subtly
in silence.
21 To the prudent,
education is like a gold ornament,
like a bracelet on the arm.
22 The foolish enter quickly into a house,
but experienced people
will be ashamed to do so.[c]
23 The senseless peer into a house
through the door,
but the educated will stand outside.
24 Ignorance causes people to listen
through a door,
but the prudent will be distressed
at the dishonor of doing so.
25 The lips of strangers
will report these things,
but the words of the prudent
will be placed on a balance.
26 Fools say whatever is on their minds,
but the wise remain mindful
of what they say.
27 When the ungodly
curse their enemies,[d]
they curse themselves.
28 Those who whisper stain themselves,
and they will be hated
by their neighbors.


  1. Sirach 21:10 LXX Hades; Heb Sheol
  2. Sirach 21:14 LXX entrails
  3. Sirach 21:22 Heb An honorable person will stand outside.
  4. Sirach 21:27 LXX the satan