The Bible – Old Testament
The poor man’s wisdom lifts his head high and sets him among princes.
Praise not a man for his looks; despise not a man for his appearance.
Least is the bee among winged things, but she reaps the choicest of all harvests.
Mock not the worn cloak and jibe at no man’s bitter day: For strange are the works of the LORD, hidden from men his deeds.
1 The oppressed often rise to a throne, and some that none would consider wear a crown.
The exalted often fall into utter disgrace; the honored are given into enemy hands.
2 Before investigating, find no fault; examine first, then criticize.
Before hearing, answer not, and interrupt no one in the middle of his speech.
Dispute not about what is not your concern; in the strife of the arrogant take no part.
My son, why increase your cares, since he who is avid for wealth will not be blameless? Even if you run after it, you will never overtake it; however you seek it, you will not find it.
One may toil and struggle and drive, and fall short all the more.
Another goes his way a weakling and a failure, with little strength and great misery – Yet the eyes of the LORD look favorably upon him; he raises him free of the vile dust,
Lifts up his head and exalts him to the amazement of the many.
3 Good and evil, life and death, poverty and riches, are from the LORD.
4 Wisdom and understanding and knowledge of affairs, love and virtuous paths are from the LORD.
Error and darkness were formed with sinners from their birth, and evil grows old with evildoers.
The LORD’S gift remains with the just; his favor brings continued success.
A man may become rich through a miser’s life, and this is his allotted reward:
5 When he says: “I have found rest, now I will feast on my possessions,” He does not know how long it will be till he dies and leaves them to others.
My son, hold fast to your duty, busy yourself with it, grow old while doing your task.
Admire not how sinners live, but trust in the LORD and wait for his light; For it is easy with the LORD suddenly, in an instant, to make a poor man rich.
God’s blessing is the lot of the just man, and in due time his hopes bear fruit.
Say not: “What do I need? What further pleasure can be mine?”
Say not: “I am independent. What harm can come to me now?”
The day of prosperity makes one forget adversity; the day of adversity makes one forget prosperity.
6 For it is easy with the LORD on the day of death to repay man according to his deeds.
A moment’s affliction brings forgetfulness of past delights; when a man dies, his life is revealed.
Call no man happy before his death, for by how he ends, a man is known.
Bring not every man into your house, for many are the snares of the crafty one;
Though he seem like a bird confined in a cage, yet like a spy he will pick out the weak spots.
The talebearer turns good into evil; with a spark he sets many coals afire.
The evil man lies in wait for blood, and plots against your choicest possessions.
Avoid a wicked man, for he breeds only evil, lest you incur a lasting stain.
Lodge a stranger with you, and he will subvert your course, and make a stranger of you to your own household.
2 [7-25] Discretion regulates a man’s conduct toward others and their affairs (⇒ Sirach 11:7-9); as regards his own interests, a man should avoid solicitude for the passing external benefits of life and property (⇒ Sirach 11:10-14, ⇒ 18, ⇒ 19, ⇒ 21, ⇒ 23-25) and cultivate the lasting inward gifts of wisdom and virtue (⇒ Sirach 11:15, ⇒ 17, ⇒ 20, ⇒ 22).
3  Divine Providence ultimately governs the lives of men. Evil: misfortune and calamity sent by God either in punishment or as an incentive to repentance or to greater virtue.
4 [15-16] Some ancient witnesses omit these two verses.
5  Cf the parable of the rich man, ⇒ Luke 12:16-21.
6 [26-28] Sirach, writing before Christian revelation, did not go beyond the hour of death to find full divine retribution.