Circumstances to avoid

Don’t fight with powerful people,
or you might fall into their hands.
Don’t argue with rich people,
since they might outmatch
your resources;
for gold has destroyed many,
and it has turned aside
the hearts of kings.
Don’t fight with talkative people,
adding fuel to their fire.
Don’t make fun of the uneducated,
or your ancestors might be insulted.
Don’t reproach someone
turning away from sin;
remember that we are all
worthy of punishment.
Don’t dishonor people in their old age;
some of us are growing old as well.
Don’t celebrate
because someone has died;
remember that we all will pass away.
Don’t neglect the conversation
of the wise,
but keep returning to their proverbs,
because you will learn instruction
from them,
how to minister to dignitaries.
Don’t reject the words of the aged,
because they also learned
from their elders,
and you will learn understanding
from them
and how to give an answer
when it is necessary.
10 Don’t stoke up the coals of a sinner,
and don’t let his fire set you ablaze.
11 Don’t rise out of your seat
in the presence of insolent persons,
because they might set a trap
for what you say.
12 Don’t lend to people
who are more powerful than you,
but if you do lend,
treat it as though it were lost.
13 Don’t guarantee a loan
beyond your ability,
and if you do guarantee one,
consider that you will need to pay.
14 Don’t go to court with a judge;
people will judge him
according to his prestige.
15 Don’t walk on the road
with reckless people,
or you will bear
the weight of your mistakes.
They will walk wherever they want,
and you will be destroyed
because of their foolishness.
16 Don’t get in a fight
with hot-tempered people,
and don’t travel through the desert
with them,
because spilling blood is nothing to them,
and where there’s no one to help,
they will strike you down.
17 Don’t consult with fools,
because they can’t keep a secret.
18 Don’t do anything in front of strangers
that should be kept hidden,
for you don’t know what they will reveal.
19 Don’t open your heart to just anyone,
and don’t accept a favor from just anyone.[a]


  1. Sirach 8:19 LXX; Heb and don’t drive goodness away from yourself