The Bible – Old Testament
Happy the man whose mouth brings him no grief, who is not stung by remorse for sin.
Happy the man whose conscience does not reproach him, who has not lost hope.
1 Wealth ill becomes the mean man; and to the miser, of what use is gold?
What he denies himself he collects for others, and in his possessions a stranger will revel.
To whom will he be generous who is stingy with himself and does not enjoy what is his own?
None is more stingy than he who is stingy with himself; he punishes his own miserliness.
If ever he is generous, it is by mistake; and in the end he displays his greed.
In the miser’s opinion his share is too small;
he refuses his neighbor and brings ruin on himself.
The miser’s eye is rapacious for bread, but on his own table he sets it stale.
My son, use freely whatever you have and enjoy it as best you can;
Remember that death does not tarry, nor have you been told the grave’s appointed time.
Before you die, be good to your friend, and give him a share in what you possess.
Deprive not yourself of present good things, let no choice portion escape you.
Will you not leave your riches to others, and your earnings to be divided by lot?
Give, take, and treat yourself well, for in the nether world there are no joys to seek.
All flesh grows old, like a garment; the age-old law is: All must die.
As with the leaves that grow on a vigorous tree: one falls off and another sprouts – So with the generations of flesh and blood: one dies and another is born.
All man’s works will perish in decay, and his handiwork will follow after him.
2 Happy the man who meditates on wisdom, and reflects on knowledge;
Who ponders her ways in his heart, and understands her paths;
Who pursues her like a scout, and lies in wait at her entry way;
Who peeps through her windows, and listens at her doors;
Who encamps near her house, and fastens his tent pegs next to her walls;
Who pitches his tent beside her, and lives as her welcome neighbor;
Who builds his nest in her leafage, and lodges in her branches;
Who takes shelter with her from the heat, and dwells in her home.
1 [3-16] The miser does no good even to himself (⇒ Sirach 14:3-10); wealth should be wisely used during life, for it must be left behind at death (⇒ Sirach 14:11-16). In the light of the gospel, generosity has a higher motivation and promise of reward than the Old Testament writer could propose. Cf ⇒ Matthew 6:19-21; ⇒ Luke 12:32-34.
2 [⇒ 14:20-⇒ 15:20] From his social teaching the sage now turns to consider individual responsibility. Happiness is to be found in the pursuit and possession of wisdom (⇒ Sirach 14:20-⇒ 15:5). Joy and honor are given, not to the sinner (⇒ Sirach 14:7-9), but to him who fears God and observes his law (⇒ Sirach 14:1-6, ⇒ 10). The sinner is fully responsible for his conduct because God, who sees all things (⇒ Sirach 14:18-19), is not the author of wickedness (⇒ Sirach 15:11-13, ⇒ 20): he gives to every man the liberty to choose between good and evil (⇒ Sirach 15:14-17).