The Holy See
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2002 11 11
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Chapter 8


1 Contend not with an influential man, lest you fall into his power.


Quarrel not with a rich man, lest he pay out the price of your downfall; For gold has dazzled many, and perverts the character of princes.


Dispute not with a man of railing speech, heap no wood upon his fire.


Be not too familiar with an unruly man, lest he speak ill of your forebears.


2 Shame not a repentant sinner; remember, we all are guilty.


Insult no man when he is old, for some of us, too, will grow old.


Rejoice not when a man dies; remember, we are all to die.


Spurn not the discourse of the wise, but acquaint yourself with their proverbs; From them you will acquire the training to serve in the presence of princes.


Reject not the tradition of old men which they have learned from their fathers; From it you will obtain the knowledge how to answer in time of need.


Kindle not the coals of a sinner, lest you be consumed in his flaming fire.


3 Let not the impious man intimidate you; it will set him in ambush against you.


Lend not to one more powerful than yourself; and whatever you lend, count it as lost.


Go not surety beyond your means; think any pledge a debt you must pay.


Contend not at law with a judge, for he will settle it according to his whim.


Travel not with a ruthless man, lest he weigh you down with calamity; For he will go his own way straight, and through his folly you will perish with him.


Provoke no quarrel with a quick-tempered man, nor ride with him through the desert, For bloodshed is nothing to him; when there is no one to help you, he will destroy you.


Take no counsel with a fool, for he can keep nothing to himself.


Before a stranger do nothing that should be kept secret, for you know not what it will engender.


Open your heart to no man, and banish not your happiness.



1 [1-19] A prudent man will be circumspect, avoiding conflict with the powerful, the rich and insolent, the impious, the irascible, and with judges ( Sirach 8:1-3, 10-12, 14, 16). He will seek friendship not with the undisciplined ( Sirach 8:4, 12- 13) and the ruthless ( Sirach 8:15), nor with fools and strangers ( Sirach 8:17-19), but with the wise and the ancients of the people ( Sirach 8:8, 9).

2 [5] We all are guilty: cf 1 Kings 8:46; 2 Chron 6:36; Eccl 7:20; Romans 3:9-10; 1 John 1:8.

3 [11] To give in to the wicked in one instance becomes an occasion of sin for the future.

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