The Holy See
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New American Bible

2002 11 11
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Chapter 27


For the sake of profit many sin, and the struggle for wealth blinds the eyes.


Like a peg driven between fitted stones, between buying and selling sin is wedged in.


Unless you earnestly hold fast to the fear of the LORD, suddenly your house will be thrown down.


When a sieve is shaken, the husks appear; so do a man's faults when he speaks.


As the test of what the potter molds is in the furnace, so in his conversation is the test of a man.


The fruit of a tree shows the care it has had; so too does a man's speech disclose the bent of his mind.


Praise no man before he speaks, for it is then that men are tested.


If you strive after justice you will attain it, and put it on like a splendid robe.


Birds nest with their own kind, and fidelity comes to those who live by it.


As a lion crouches in wait for prey, so do sins for evildoers.


Ever wise are the discourses of the devout, but the godless man, like the moon, is inconstant.


Limit the time you spend among fools, but frequent the company of thoughtful men.


The conversation of the wicked is offensive, their laughter is wanton guilt.


Their oath-filled talk makes the hair stand on end, their brawls make one stop one's ears.


Wrangling among the haughty ends in bloodshed, their cursing is painful to hear.


1 He who betrays a secret cannot be trusted, he will never find an intimate friend.


Cherish your friend, keep faith with him; but if you betray his confidence, follow him not;


For as an enemy might kill a man, you have killed your neighbor's friendship.


Like a bird released from the hand, you have let your friend go and cannot recapture him;


Follow him not, for he is far away, he has fled like a gazelle from the trap.


A wound can be bound up, and an insult forgiven, but he who betrays secrets does hopeless damage.


He who has shifty eyes plots mischief and no one can ward him off;


In your presence he uses honeyed talk, and admires your every word, But later he changes his tone and twists your words to your ruin.


There is nothing that I hate so much, and the LORD hates him as well.


As a stone falls back on him who throws it up, so a blow struck in treachery injures more than one.


As he who digs a pit falls into it, and he who lays a snare is caught in it,


Whoever does harm will be involved in it without knowing how it came upon him.


Mockery and abuse will be the lot of the proud, and vengeance lies in wait for them like a lion.


The trap seizes those who rejoice in pitfalls, and pain will consume them before they die;


Wrath and anger are hateful things, yet the sinner hugs them tight.



1 [ 27:16- 28:11] Betrayal of confidence through indiscretion destroys friendship and does irreparable harm ( Sirach 27:16-21); cf Sirach 22:22. False friendship based on hypocrisy and deceit is hateful to God and man ( Sirach 27:22-24); it soon becomes a victim of its own treachery ( Sirach 27:25-27). The same fate awaits the malicious and vengeful ( Sirach 27:28- 28:1). They can obtain mercy and forgiveness only by first forgiving their neighbor, being mindful of death and of the commandments of the Most High ( Sirach 28:2-7). And they must avoid quarrels and strife ( Sirach 28:8-11).

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