People who are afraid to act
are like filthy stones;
everyone will hiss at their dishonor.
People who are afraid to act
are like clumps of cow manure;
those who pick it up
will shake off their hand.
An uneducated son is a disgrace
to a father,
and a daughter’s birth is a liability.
A prudent daughter
will get a husband of her own,
and a daughter in disgrace
is a grief to her parents.
A disrespectful daughter
shames her father and her husband,
and both will despise her.
Ill-timed talk is like party music
during mourning,
but a whipping and discipline
are wisdom at any time.[a]
Whoever teaches a fool
is gluing together a broken pot
or waking up someone
out of a deep sleep.
10 Whoever talks with a fool
converses with someone who is drowsy;
when the conversation is over,
the fool will say, “What is it?
11 Weep for the dead,
for they have left the light behind;
and weep for fools,
for they have
left understanding behind.
Weep sweetly over the dead,
because they are at rest,
but the life of a fool is worse
than death.
12 Mourn for the dead for seven days,
but mourn for the foolish and the ungodly all the days of their lives.
13 Don’t talk a lot with fools,
and don’t go to the unintelligent.[b]
Be on guard against them
so that you don’t have trouble
and don’t get dirty
when they shake themselves off.
Stay away from them
and you will find rest,
and their senselessness
won’t make you weary.
14 What’s heavier than lead?
And what name does it have but “Fool”?
15 Sand, salt, and a lump of iron
are easier to bear
than an unintelligent person.
16 A wooden beam fastened into a building
won’t be loosened by an earthquake.
So a heart firmly set
on thoughtful counsel
won’t be afraid at any time.
17 A heart fixed on thoughtful understanding
is like an engraved ornament
on a smooth wall.
18 A protective barrier set on a high place
will never endure against the wind.
So a timid heart backed up
by a fool’s plan
will never endure against any fear.

Preserving friendship

19 Whoever pricks an eye
will make tears flow,
and whoever pricks a heart
reveals its feelings.
20 Whoever throws a stone at birds
scares them off,
and whoever insults a friend
breaks up a friendship.
21 If you draw a sword on a friend,
don’t despair,
because there can be a way back.
22 If you speak harshly to a friend,
don’t be concerned,
because there can be reconciliation.
But in the case of reproach, arrogance,
the revealing of a secret,
or a treacherous blow,
any friend will flee.
23 Gain your neighbors’ trust
while they are poor,
so that when they are prosperous,
you will be filled along with them.
In a time of distress remain with them
so that when they inherit,
you will be a joint heir.[c]
24 Before there’s a fire,
a furnace has vapor and smoke;
so before bloodshed there are insults.
25 I won’t be ashamed to shelter friends,
and I won’t hide from them.
26 And if something bad happens to me
because of them,
everyone who hears of it
will be on guard against them.

Prayer for protection from sinning

27 Who will put a guard on my mouth
and an effective seal upon my lips
so that I don’t fall
because of my speech
and so that my tongue
doesn’t destroy me?


  1. Sirach 22:6 LXXb adds 22:7–8 Children who are brought up to live a good life mask the lowly birth of their parents. Children who take pride in contempt and lack of education pollute the honorable name of their own family.
  2. Sirach 22:13 LXXb adds When people are senseless, they will bring everything of yours to nothing.
  3. Sirach 22:23 LXXb adds One shouldn’t always despise appearances, nor are the rich admirable when they have no sense.