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Sirach 4:20-5:7 Revised Standard Version (RSV)

20 Observe the right time, and beware of evil;[a]
    and do not bring shame on yourself.
21 For there is a shame which brings sin,
    and there is a shame which is glory and favor.
22 Do not show partiality, to your own harm,
    or deference, to your downfall.
23 Do not refrain from speaking at the crucial time,[b]
    and do not hide your wisdom.[c]
24 For wisdom is known through speech,
    and education through the words of the tongue.
25 Never speak against the truth,
    but be mindful of your ignorance.
26 Do not be ashamed to confess your sins,
    and do not try to stop the current of a river.
27 Do not subject yourself to a foolish fellow,
    nor show partiality to a ruler.
28 Strive even to death for the truth
    and the Lord God will fight for you.

29 Do not be reckless in your speech,
    or sluggish and remiss in your deeds.
30 Do not be like a lion in your home,
    nor be a faultfinder with your servants.
31 Let not your hand be extended to receive,
    but withdrawn when it is time to repay.

Precepts for Everyday Living

Do not set your heart on your wealth,
    nor say, “I have enough.”
Do not follow your inclination and strength,
    walking according to the desires of your heart.
Do not say, “Who will have power over me?”
    for the Lord will surely punish you.

Do not say, “I sinned, and what happened to me?”
    for the Lord is slow to anger.
Do not be so confident of atonement
    that you add sin to sin.
Do not say, “His mercy is great,
    he will forgive[d] the multitude of my sins,”
for both mercy and wrath are with him,
    and his anger rests on sinners.
Do not delay to turn to the Lord,
    nor postpone it from day to day;
for suddenly the wrath of the Lord will go forth,
    and at the time of punishment you will perish.


  1. Sirach 4:20 Or an evil man
  2. Sirach 4:23 Cn: Gk at a time of salvation
  3. Sirach 4:23 So some Gk Mss and Heb Syr Vg: other Gk Mss omit and do not hide your wisdom
  4. Sirach 5:6 Heb: Gk he (or it) will atone for
Revised Standard Version (RSV)

Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright © 1946, 1952, and 1971 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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