Every friend will say,
“I too have been a friend,”
but there’s a friend who is one
in name only.
Doesn’t the pain bring a person
close to death
when a companion and friend
turns into an enemy?
Evil inclination,
how did you get involved
in covering the land with deceit?
Some companions take delight
in a friend’s happiness,
but they turn against them
in a time of distress.
Some companions work alongside
a friend for their stomach’s sake,
but in the heat of battle,
they will shield themselves.[a]
Don’t forget friends in your heart,
and don’t neglect them
when it comes to your money.[b]
Every counselor spews out advice,
but some give advice
for their own benefit.
Guard yourself against counselors,
and know beforehand
where their interest lies,
since they too,
will give advice for their own benefit
and might cast the lot against you.
They might say to you, “Your way is good,”
but they will stand aside
to see what will happen to you.
10 Don’t consult with people
who view you with suspicion;
hide your plans from those
who are jealous of you.
11 Don’t consult with a woman
about her rival,
or with the cowardly about war;
or with a merchant about business,
or with a buyer about a sale;
or with a slanderer about gratitude,
or with the unmerciful about kindness;
or with the idle about anything
involving work,
or with an annual laborer about
finishing a job;
or with a lazy household slave
about a large task.
Don’t look to these persons
for any advice.
12 Consult[c] instead with a godly person
whom you know
keeps the commandments,
who thinks the same way you do
and will empathize with you if you fail.
13 Listen carefully to what
your own heart tells you,
since nothing is more faithful
to you than it.
14 At times a person’s intuition
keeps them informed
better than seven sentries
sitting high up on a lookout.
15 But above everything else,
pray to the Most High,
so that he may make your path straight
in truth.

Speech and moderation

16 Speech is the beginning of every deed,
and planning comes before
every action.
17 The key to change is the heart;
18 it poses four possibilities:
good and evil, life and death,
and their continual master
is the tongue.
19 Some people instruct many,
but they are useless to themselves.
20 Some skilled speakers are hated;
they will be deprived of any luxuries.
21 The Lord hasn’t granted them
any refinement,
because they are deprived
of any wisdom.
22 Some people are wise to their
own benefit,
and the fruits of their understanding
are evident to all.
23 The wise will instruct their own people,
and the fruits of their understanding
are trustworthy.
24 Wise people will be highly praised,
and everyone who sees them
will consider them to be favored.
25 A person’s life is a limited time,
but Israel’s days cannot be numbered.
26 Those who are wise among their people
will inherit honor,
and their names will live forever.
27 My child, test yourself during your life.
See what’s bad for you,
and don’t give in to it.
28 All things aren’t beneficial to everybody,
and all things aren’t pleasing
to every person.
29 Don’t be greedy for every delicacy,
and don’t be unrestrained with food.
30 Eating a lot of food will make one sick,
and gluttony will lead to nausea.
31 Many have died because of gluttony,
but those who are on guard against it
will prolong life.


  1. Sirach 37:5 Heb Good friends will fight with you against a stranger, and against your enemies they will be a strong shield.
  2. Sirach 37:6 Heb Don’t forget friends in battle, and don’t neglect them when you divide the spoil.
  3. Sirach 37:12 LXX persevere