December 09, 2002 Copyright © by United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
- 1 An admonition can be inopportune, and a man may be wise to hold his peace.
- It is much better to admonish than to lose one's temper, for one who admits his fault will be kept from disgrace.
- 2 Like a eunuch lusting for intimacy with a maiden is he who does right under compulsion.
- One man is silent and is thought wise, another is talkative and is disliked.
- One man is silent because he has nothing to say; another is silent, biding his time.
- A wise man is silent till the right time comes, but a boasting fool ignores the proper time.
- He who talks too much is detested; he who pretends to authority is hated.
- 3 Some misfortunes bring success; some things gained are a man's loss.
- 4 Some gifts do one no good, and some must be paid back double.
- Humiliation can follow fame, while from obscurity a man can lift up his head.
- A man may buy much for little, but pay for it seven times over.
- A wise man makes himself popular by a few words, but fools pour forth their blandishments in vain.
- A gift from a rogue will do you no good, for in his eyes his one gift is equal to seven.
- He gives little and criticizes often, and like a crier he shouts aloud. He lends today, he asks it back tomorrow; hateful indeed is such a man.
- A fool has no friends, nor thanks for his generosity;
- Those who eat his bread have an evil tongue. How many times they laugh him to scorn!
- 5 A fall to the ground is less sudden than a slip of the tongue; that is why the downfall of the wicked comes so quickly.
- Insipid food is the untimely tale; the unruly are always ready to offer it.
- A proverb when spoken by a fool is unwelcome, for he does not utter it at the proper time.
- A man through want may be unable to sin, yet in this tranquility he cannot rest.
- One may lose his life through shame, and perish through a fool's intimidation.
- A man makes a promise to a friend out of shame, and has him for his enemy needlessly.
- A lie is a foul blot in a man, yet it is constantly on the lips of the unruly.
- Better a thief than an inveterate liar, yet both will suffer disgrace;
- A liar's way leads to dishonor, his shame remains ever with him.
- 6 A wise man advances himself by his words, a prudent man pleases the great.
- He who works his land has abundant crops, he who pleases the great is pardoned his faults.
- Favors and gifts blind the eyes; like a muzzle over the mouth they silence reproof.
- Hidden wisdom and unseen treasure-- of what value is either?
- Better the man who hides his folly than the one who hides his wisdom.
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1 [1-7] Wisdom indicates the proper times for speech and silence, that is, the occasions when the most benefit can be gained from them.
2  The sense is that violence or force against a person can prevent an external act of sin or compel a good deed without eliminating the internal sin or desire of wrongdoing. Cf Sirach 20:20.
3 [8-16] In a series of paradoxes the author indicates how much true and lasting values differ from apparent ones.
4  And some . . . double: or perhaps, "but some are doubly precious."
5 [17-25] The ill-timed speech of the wicked, the unruly and a fool is repulsive (Sirach 20:17-19); human respect exposes one to intimidation, rash promises and enmity (Sirach 20:21- 22); lies bring dishonor and lasting disgrace (Sirach 20:23, 24, 25).
6 [26-30] Unlike the fool who invites disaster through misuse of his tongue, the sage through prudent speech gains in honor and esteem among the great (Sirach 20:26-27). He must beware, however, of accepting bribes, lest he share in evil through silence when he should reprove (Sirach 20:28-30).
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