Those who are vengeful
will suffer the Lord’s vengeance,
because the Lord keeps strict count
of their sins.
Forgive your neighbor a wrong,
and then, when you pray,
your sins will be forgiven.
Can people hold on to their anger
against others, and then look for healing from the Lord?
Can they refuse to have mercy
on people like themselves,
and then pray about their own sins?
If they, who are just flesh,
hold on to anger,
who will secure pardon
for their own sins?
Be mindful of the end that awaits you,
and put an end to enmity;
be mindful of decay and death,
and be faithful to the commandments.
Be mindful of the commandments,
and don’t be irate at your neighbor;
be mindful of the covenant of the
Most High, and overlook a mistake.
Keep away from conflict,
and you will reduce your sins;
for hot-tempered people spark conflict.
Sinful people will stir up trouble for friends,
and they spread slander
among people who are at peace.
10 A fire burns in proportion to its fuel,
and conflict increases
the longer it continues.
The more powerful individuals are,
the stronger their anger will be;
and the wealthier they are,
the more their wrath will increase.
11 A hasty quarrel sparks a fire,
and hasty conflict sheds blood.
12 If you blow on a spark, it will flame up,
and if you spit on it, it will go out;
nonetheless, both come out
of your mouth.
13 A curse on slanderers and the deceitful,[a]
because they have destroyed many
who are at peace.
14 Slander[b] has shaken up many people,
scattered them from nation to nation,
demolished mighty cities,
and overthrown the houses
of dignitaries.
15 Slander[c] has driven out
courageous women,
and it has deprived them
of the rewards of their work.
16 Those who pay attention to slander
will never find rest,
nor will they live in peace.
17 The blow of a whip leaves a welt,
but the blow of the tongue
will break bones.
18 Many have fallen by the edge
of the sword,
but many more have fallen
because of the tongue.
19 Happy is the person
who is protected from the tongue,
who hasn’t endured its anger,
who hasn’t pulled its yoke
or been bound by its shackles.
20 Its yoke is made of iron,
and its shackles are made of bronze.
21 The death it inflicts is a wicked death,
and the grave[d] is preferable to it.
22 It will never conquer the godly,
and they won’t be burned by its flame.
23 Those who abandon the Lord will
fall to it;
it will burn within them,
and it will never go out.
It will be sent against them like a lion,
and like a leopard it will mangle them.
24 aWatch out! Fence in your property
with thorns,
25 band make a door
and a bolt for your mouth.
24 b Lock up your silver and gold;
25 amake a balance and a weight
for your words.[e]
26 Pay attention, and don’t slip
by your tongue;
don’t fall in front of those
who are just waiting to attack you.


  1. Sirach 28:13 LXX double-tongued
  2. Sirach 28:14 LXX a third tongue
  3. Sirach 28:15 LXX a third tongue
  4. Sirach 28:21 LXX Hades; Heb Sheol
  5. Sirach 28:25 The lines of these verses have suffered transposition in some manuscripts.