The Holy See
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New American Bible

2002 11 11
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Chapter 32


If you are chosen to preside at dinner, be not puffed up, but with the guests be as one of themselves; Take care of them first before you sit down;


when you have fulfilled your duty, then take your place, To share in their joy and win praise for your hospitality.


Being older, you may talk; that is only your right, but temper your wisdom, not to disturb the singing.


When wine is present, do not pour out discourse, and flaunt not your wisdom at the wrong time.


Like a seal of carnelian in a setting of gold is a concert when wine is served.


Like a gold mounting with an emerald seal is string music with delicious wine.


Young man, speak only when necessary, when they have asked you more than once;


Be brief, but say much in those few words, be like the wise man, taciturn.


When among your elders be not forward, and with officials be not too insistent.


Like the lightning that flashes before a storm is the esteem that shines on modesty.


When it is time to leave, tarry not; be off for home! There take your ease,


And there enjoy doing as you wish, but without sin or words of pride.


Above all, give praise to your Creator, who showers his favors upon you.


1 He who would find God must accept discipline; he who seeks him obtains his request.


He who studies the law masters it, but the hypocrite finds it a trap.


His judgment is sound who fears the LORD; out of obscurity he draws forth a clear plan.


The sinner turns aside reproof and distorts the law to suit his purpose.


The thoughtful man will not neglect direction; the proud and insolent man is deterred by nothing.


Do nothing without counsel, and then you need have no regrets.


Go not on a way that is set with snares, and let not the same thing trip you twice.


Be not too sure even of smooth roads,


be careful on all your paths.


Whatever you do, be on your guard, for in this way you will keep the commandments.


He who keeps the law preserves himself; and he who trusts in the LORD shall not be put to shame.



1 [ 32:14- 33:4] God is shown to reveal himself through the discipline of his law, a clear and safe plan of life for the pious Jew of old. Direction and counsel are aids in following it ( Sirach 32:14-16, 18-24; 33:1, 3, 4). Sinners and hypocrites, hating the law or distorting it, fail in wisdom and are devoid of security ( Sirach 32:15, 17-18; 33:2).

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