Practical precepts

Don’t be preoccupied with your money,
and don’t say, “I’m self-sufficient.”
Don’t follow your inclination
or your strength,
in order to walk in the desires
of your heart.
And don’t say,
“Who’ll have power over me?”
When the Lord punishes,
he will punish.
Don’t say, “Sure, I sinned,
but what happened to me?”
The Lord is patient indeed.
Don’t be too confident
of being forgiven,
adding sin upon sin.
Don’t say, “His compassion is great;
he will forgive the whole heap
of my sins.”
Mercy and wrath are with him,
and his anger will rest on sinners.
Don’t wait to turn back to the Lord.
Don’t put it off day after day,
because the Lord’s wrath
will come forth suddenly;
when the time for punishment comes, you will be destroyed.
Don’t be preoccupied
with ill-gotten gains;
it will be of no benefit
when you are in trouble.
Don’t be blown about by every wind,
and don’t take every shortcut.
This is how the devious[a] sinner acts.
10 Be firmly grounded
in your understanding,
and let your speech be consistent.
11 Listen carefully,
and utter a patient reply.
12 If you have understanding,
answer your neighbor,
but if you don’t,
clap your hand over your mouth.
13 Speaking brings glory or dishonor.
Indeed, the tongue
can be a person’s downfall.
14 Don’t get a reputation
for being a slanderer,
and don’t set traps for people
with your speech,
because shame comes to the thief,
and terrible blame
comes upon the deceitful.[b]
15 Don’t be ignorant in matters
large or small.


  1. Sirach 5:9 LXX double-tongued
  2. Sirach 5:14 LXX double-tongued