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New American Bible

2002 11 11
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Chapter 12


1 If you do good, know for whom you are doing it, and your kindness will have its effect.


Do good to the just man and reward will be yours, if not from him, from the LORD.


2 No good comes to him who gives comfort to the wicked, nor is it an act of mercy that he does.


Give to the good man, refuse the sinner; refresh the downtrodden, give nothing to the proud man.


No arms for combat should you give him, lest he use them against yourself;


With twofold evil you will meet for every good deed you do for him.


The Most High himself hates sinners, and upon the wicked he takes vengeance.


3 In our prosperity we cannot know our friends; in adversity an enemy will not remain concealed.


When a man is successful even his enemy is friendly; in adversity even his friend disappears.


Never trust your enemy, for his wickedness is like corrosion in bronze.


4 Even though he acts humbly and peaceably toward you, take care to be on your guard against him. Rub him as one polishes a brazen mirror, and you will find that there is still corrosion.


Let him not stand near you, lest he oust you and take your place. Let him not sit at your right hand, lest he then demand your seat, And in the end you appreciate my advice, when you groan with regret, as I warned you.


Who pities a snake charmer when he is bitten, or anyone who goes near a wild beast?


So is it with the companion of the proud man, who is involved in his sins:


While you stand firm, he makes no bold move; but if you slip, he cannot hold back.


With his lips an enemy speaks sweetly, but in his heart he schemes to plunge you into the abyss. Though your enemy has tears in his eyes, if given the chance, he will never have enough of your blood.


If evil comes upon you, you will find him at hand; feigning to help, he will trip you up,


Then he will nod his head and clap his hands and hiss repeatedly, and show his true face.



1 [1-7] The limitations to the practice of charity here reflected were removed by Christ, who requires that good be done even to enemies and to those who hate, persecute and calumniate us ( Matthew 5:43-48).

2 [3-5] The author advises against generosity to those who would abuse it.

3 [8-18] Through adversity friends are distinguished from enemies; to trust the latter or permit them intimacy is to invite disaster. Cf note on Sirach 6:5-17.

4 [11] Brazen mirror: see note on Exodus 38:8.

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