December 09, 2002 Copyright © by United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
- 1 My son, rob not the poor man of his livelihood; force not the eyes of the needy to turn away.
- A hungry man grieve not, a needy man anger not;
- Do not exasperate the downtrodden; delay not to give to the needy.
- A beggar in distress do not reject; avert not your face from the poor.
- From the needy turn not your eyes, give no man reason to curse you;
- For if in the bitterness of his soul he curse you, his Creator will hear his prayer.
- Endear yourself to the assembly; before a ruler bow your head.
- Give a hearing to the poor man, and return his greeting with courtesy;
- Deliver the oppressed from the hand of the oppressor; let not justice be repugnant to you.
- To the fatherless be as a father, and help their mother as a husband would; Thus will you be like a son to the Most High, and he will be more tender to you than a mother.
- 2 Wisdom instructs her children and admonishes those who seek her.
- He who loves her loves life; those who seek her out win her favor.
- He who holds her fast inherits glory; wherever he dwells, the LORD bestows blessings.
- Those who serve her serve the Holy One; those who love her the LORD loves.
- He who obeys her judges nations; he who hearkens to her dwells in her inmost chambers.
- If one trusts her, he will possess her; his descendants too will inherit her.
- She walks with him as a stranger, and at first she puts him to the test; Fear and dread she brings upon him and tries him with her discipline; With her precepts she puts him to the proof, until his heart is fully with her.
- Then she comes back to bring him happiness and reveal her secrets to him.
- But if he fails her, she will abandon him and deliver him into the hands of despoilers.
- 3 Use your time well; guard yourself from evil, and bring upon yourself no shame.
- There is a sense of shame laden with guilt, and a shame that merits honor and respect.
- Show no favoritism to your own discredit; let no one intimidate you to your own downfall.
- Refrain not from speaking at the proper time, and hide not away your wisdom;
- For it is through speech that wisdom becomes known, and knowledge through the tongue's rejoinder.
- Never gainsay the truth, and struggle not against the rushing stream.
- Be not ashamed to acknowledge your guilt, but of your ignorance rather be ashamed.
- Do not abase yourself before an impious man, nor refuse to do so before rulers.
- Even to the death fight for truth, and the LORD your God will battle for you.
- Be not surly in your speech, nor lazy and slack in your deeds.
- Be not a lion at home, nor sly and suspicious at work.
- Let not your hand be open to receive and clenched when it is time to give.
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1  Eyes of the needy: when they look for help; cf Sirach 18:17.
2 [11-19] The Hebrew text presents wisdom speaking in the first person, as in Sirach 24. The precious fruits of wisdom: life, favor, glory, blessings, God's love, are intended to arouse desire for her (Sirach 4:11-14). Her disciples are like priests (Sirach 4:14) and judges (Sirach 4:15), even partners who possess her for themselves and their descendants (Sirach 4:16). They enjoy happiness and penetrate her profound secrets after surviving her tests (Sirach 4:17, 18). Those who fail her are abandoned to destruction (Sirach 4:19).
3 [20-31] Besides the interior trials of discipline and precept, the disciple of wisdom is warned against external dangers to his sincerity and justice, namely evil, human respect (Sirach 4:20, 21), compromise of liberty in speech and action (Sirach 4:22-25), false shame, and ignorance (Sirach 4:26). He must fight for the truth (Sirach 4:28), and avoid cynicism and laziness (Sirach 4:29), and inconsistency in his conduct (Sirach 4:30).
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