The Holy See
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New American Bible

2002 11 11
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Chapter 37


Every friend declares his friendship, but there are friends who are friends in name only.


Is it not a sorrow unto death when your bosom companion becomes your enemy?


"Alas, my companion! Why were you created to blanket the earth with deceit?"


A false friend will share your joys, but in time of trouble he stands afar off.


A true friend will fight with you against the foe, against your enemies he will be your shield-bearer.


Forget not your comrade during the battle, and neglect him not when you distribute your spoils.


Every counselor points out a way, but some counsel ways of their own;


Be on the alert when one proffers advice, find out first of all what he wants. For he may be thinking of himself alone; why should the profit fall to him?


He may tell you how good your way will be, and then stand by to watch your misfortune.


Seek no advice from one who regards you with hostility; from those who envy you, keep your intentions hidden.


Speak not to a woman about her rival, nor to a coward about war, to a merchant about business, to a buyer about value, to a miser about generosity, to a cruel man about mercy, to a lazy man about work, to a seasonal laborer about the harvest, to an idle slave about a great task: pay no attention to any advice they give.


Instead, associate with a religious man, who you are sure keeps the commandments; Who is like-minded with yourself and will feel for you if you fall.


Then, too, heed your own heart's counsel; for what have you that you can depend on more?


A man's conscience can tell him his situation better than seven watchmen in a lofty tower.


Most important of all, pray to God to set your feet in the path of truth.


1 A word is the source of every deed; a thought, of every act.


The root of all conduct is the mind; four branches it shoots forth:


Good and evil, death and life, their absolute mistress is the tongue.


A man may be wise and benefit many, yet be of no use to himself.


Though a man may be wise, if his words are rejected he will be deprived of all enjoyment.


When a man is wise to his own advantage, the fruits of his knowledge are seen in his own person;


When a man is wise to his people's advantage, the fruits of his knowledge are enduring:


Limited are the days of one man's life, but the life of Israel is days without number.


One wise for himself has full enjoyment, and all who see him praise him;


One wise for his people wins a heritage of glory, and his name endures forever.


2 My son, while you are well, govern your appetite so that you allow it not what is bad for you;


For not every food is good for everyone, nor is everything suited to every taste.


Be not drawn after every enjoyment, neither become a glutton for choice foods,


For sickness comes with overeating, and gluttony brings on biliousness.


Through lack of self-control many have died, but the abstemious man prolongs his life.



1 [16-25] Thoughts determine action. Wisdom is the source of good and life; folly, of evil and death ( Sirach 36:16-18). If the fruits of a man's wisdom benefit himself, he may be praised in his own lifetime; if they benefit his people, his praise endures after him, in their lives ( Sirach 37:19-25).

2 [26-30] Temperance and self-control should govern a man's appetite for food, which is intended not to destroy but to preserve life.

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