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New American Bible

2002 11 11
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Chapter 22


1 The sluggard is like a stone in the mud; everyone hisses at his disgrace.


The sluggard is like a lump of dung; whoever touches him wipes his hands.


An unruly child is a disgrace to its father; if it be a daughter she brings him to poverty.


A thoughtful daughter becomes a treasure to her husband, a shameless one is her father's grief.


A hussy shames her father and her husband; by both she is despised.


2 Like a song in time of mourning is inopportune talk, but lashes and discipline are at all times wisdom.


Teaching a fool is like gluing a broken pot, or like disturbing a man in the depths of sleep;


He talks with a slumberer who talks with a fool, for when it is over, he will say, "What was that?"


Weep over the dead man, for his light has gone out; weep over the fool, for sense has left him.


Weep but a little over the dead man, for he is at rest; but worse than death is the life of a fool.


Seven days of mourning for the dead, but for the wicked fool a whole lifetime.


Speak but seldom with the stupid man, be not the companion of a brute;


Beware of him lest you have trouble and be spattered when he shakes himself; Turn away from him and you will find rest and not be wearied by his lack of sense.


What is heavier than lead, and what is its name but "Fool"?


Sand and salt and an iron mass are easier to bear than a stupid man.


3 Masonry bonded with wooden beams is not loosened by an earthquake; Neither is a resolve constructed with careful deliberation shaken in a moment of fear.


A resolve that is backed by prudent understanding is like the polished surface of a smooth wall.


Small stones lying on an open height will not remain when the wind blows; Neither can a timid resolve based on foolish plans withstand fear of any kind.


4 One who jabs the eye brings tears: he who pierces the heart bares its feelings.


He who throws stones at birds drives them away, and he who insults a friend breaks up the friendship.


Should you draw a sword against a friend, despair not, it can be undone.


Should you speak sharply to a friend, fear not, you can be reconciled. But a contemptuous insult, a confidence broken, or a treacherous attack will drive away any friend.


Make fast friends with a man while he is poor; thus will you enjoy his prosperity with him. In time of trouble remain true to him, so as to share in his inheritance when it comes.


Before flames burst forth an oven smokes; so does abuse come before bloodshed.


From a friend in need of support no one need hide in shame;


But from him who brings harm to his friend all will stand aloof who hear of it.


5 Who will set a guard over my mouth, and upon my lips an effective seal, That I may not fail through them, that my tongue may not destroy me?



1 [1-15] To Sirach, a lazy person and an unruly child are a cause of shame and disgrace; everyone wishes to be rid of them ( Sirach 22:1-5). A wicked fool is as senseless as a man asleep or dead, but the grief he causes others lasts a lifetime ( Sirach 22:7-11). He is like a brute, troublesome and intolerable ( Sirach 22:12-15).

2 [6] Like a song . . . is . . . talk: some understand talk in the sense of a rebuke unheeded by the unruly as a joyful song is out of place among mourners. Corporal punishment, however, is always effective.

3 [16-18] A prudent mind firmly resolved is undisturbed by violent and conflicting thoughts, whereas a foolish person is tossed about by the winds of fear, like small stones whipped about by high winds.

4 [19-26] As disputes and violence weaken friendship, and disloyalty and abuse of confidence destroy it utterly ( Sirach 22:19-22, 24, 26), so kindness to a poor man in time of poverty and adversity builds up friendship and merits a share in his prosperity and inheritance ( Sirach 22:23, 25).

5 [ 22:27- 23:6] The sage implores the divine assistance to preserve him through stern discipline from sins of the tongue ( Sirach 22:27; 23:1); ignorance of mind and weakness of will ( Sirach 22:2, 3); and inclinations of the senses and the flesh, lest he fall into the hands of his enemies, or become a prey of shameful desires ( Sirach 23:3-6).

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