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2002 11 11
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Chapter 13


1 He who touches pitch blackens his hand; he who associates with an impious man learns his ways.


Bear no burden too heavy for you; go with no one greater or wealthier than yourself. How can the earthen pot go with the metal cauldron? When they knock together, the pot will be smashed:


The rich man does wrong and boasts of it, the poor man is wronged and begs forgiveness.


As long as the rich man can use you he will enslave you, but when you are exhausted, he will abandon you.


As long as you have anything he will speak fair words to you, and with smiles he will win your confidence;


When he needs something from you he will cajole you, then without regret he will impoverish you.


While it serves his purpose he will beguile you, then twice or three times he will terrify you; When later he sees you he will pass you by, and shake his head over you.


Guard against being presumptuous; be not as those who lack sense.


When invited by a man of influence, keep your distance; then he will urge you all the more.


Be not bold with him lest you be rebuffed, but keep not too far away lest you be forgotten.


Engage not freely in discussion with him, trust not his many words; For by prolonged talk he will test you, and though smiling he will probe you.


Mercilessly he will make of you a laughingstock, and will not refrain from injury or chains.


Be on your guard and take care never to accompany men of violence.


Every living thing loves its own kind, every man a man like himself.


Every being is drawn to its own kind; with his own kind every man associates.


Is a wolf ever allied with a lamb? So it is with the sinner and the just.


2 Can there be peace between the hyena and the dog? Or between the rich and the poor can there be peace?


Lion's prey are the wild asses of the desert; so too the poor are feeding grounds for the rich.


A proud man abhors lowliness; so does the rich man abhor the poor.


When a rich man stumbles he is supported by a friend; when a poor man trips he is pushed down by a friend.


Many are the supporters for a rich man when he speaks; though what he says is odious, it wins approval. When a poor man speaks they make sport of him; he speaks wisely and no attention is paid him.


A rich man speaks and all are silent, his wisdom they extol to the clouds. A poor man speaks and they say: "Who is that?" If he slips they cast him down.


Wealth is good when there is no sin; but poverty is evil by the standards of the proud.


The heart of a man changes his countenance, either for good or for evil.


The sign of a good heart is a cheerful countenance; withdrawn and perplexed is the laborious schemer.



1 [1- 14:2] By means of various figures Sirach indicates the practical impossibility of genuine and sincere companionship between the poor and the proud rich. He lays down the principle of associating with equals ( Sirach 13:15).

2 [17] The hostility between the dogs which guard the flocks at night and the rapacious hyenas is proverbial in Palestine.

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