The Bible – Old Testament
1 He does a kindness who lends to his neighbor, and he fulfills the precepts who holds out a helping hand.
Lend to your neighbor in his hour of need, and pay back your neighbor when a loan falls due;
Keep your promise, be honest with him, and you will always come by what you need.
Many a man who asks for a loan adds to the burdens of those who help him;
When he borrows, he kisses the lender’s hand and speaks with respect of his creditor’s wealth; But when payment is due he disappoints him and says he is helpless to meet the claim.
If the lender is able to recover barely half, he considers this an achievement; If not, he is cheated of his wealth and acquires an enemy at no extra charge; With curses and insults the borrower pays him back, with abuse instead of honor.
Many refuse to lend, not out of meanness, but from fear of being cheated.
To a poor man, however, be generous; keep him not waiting for your alms;
Because of the precept, help the needy, and in their want, do not send them away empty-handed.
Spend your money for your brother and friend, and hide it not under a stone to perish;
Dispose of your treasure as the Most High commands, for that will profit you more than the gold.
Store up almsgiving in your treasure house, and it will save you from every evil;
Better than a stout shield and a sturdy spear it will fight for you against the foe.
A good man goes surety for his neighbor, and only the shameless would play him false;
Forget not the kindness of your backer, for he offers his very life for you.
The wicked turn a pledge on their behalf into misfortune, and the ingrate abandons his protector;
Going surety has ruined many prosperous men and tossed them about like waves of the sea,
Has exiled men of prominence and sent them wandering through foreign lands.
The sinner through surety comes to grief, and he who undertakes too much falls into lawsuits.
Go surety for your neighbor according to your means, but take care lest you fall thereby.
2 Life’s prime needs are water, bread, and clothing, a house, too, for decent privacy.
Better a poor man’s fare under the shadow of one’s own roof than sumptuous banquets among strangers.
Be it little or much, be content with what you have, and pay no heed to him who would disparage your home;
A miserable life it is to go from house to house, for as a guest you dare not open your mouth.
The visitor has no thanks for filling the cups; besides, you will hear these bitter words:
“Come here, stranger, set the table, give me to eat the food you have!
Away, stranger, for one more worthy; for my brother’s visit I need the room!”
Painful things to a sensitive man are abuse at home and insults from his creditors.
1 [1-20] Some practical maxims concerning the use of wealth. Give to a poor man (⇒ Sirach 29:8, 9), lend to a needy neighbor, but repay when a loan falls due lest the lender’s burden be increased (⇒ Sirach 29:1-5) and his kindness abused (⇒ Sirach 29:6- 7); through charity build up defense against evil (⇒ Sirach 29:10-13). Go surety for your neighbor according to your means, but take care (⇒ Sirach 29:20) not to fall, for the shameless play false and bring their protectors and themselves to misfortune and ruin (⇒ Sirach 29:14-19).
2 [21-28] The man who provides his own basic needs of food, clothing and dwelling, and is content with what he has, preserves his freedom and self-respect (⇒ Sirach 29:21-23). But if he lives as a guest, even among the rich, he exposes himself to insult and abuse (⇒ Sirach 29:24-28).