Sirach 13

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Sirach 13

Caution Regarding Associates

1Whoever touches pitch will be defiled,

and whoever associates with a proud man will become like him.

2Do not lift a weight beyond your strength,

nor associate with a man mightier and richer than you.

How can the clay pot associate with the iron kettle?

The pot will strike against it, and will itself be broken.

3A rich man does wrong, and he even adds reproaches;

a poor man suffers wrong, and he must add apologies.

4A rich mana will exploit you if you can be of use to him,

but if you are in need he will forsake you.

5If you own something, he will live with you;

he will drain your resources and he will not care.

6When he needs you he will deceive you,

he will smile at you and give you hope.

He will speak to you kindly and say, "What do you need?"

7He will shame you with his foods,

until he has drained you two or three times;

and finally he will deride you.

Should he see you afterwards, he will forsake you,

and shake his head at you.

8Take care not to be led astray,

and not to be humiliated in your feasting.b

9When a powerful man invites you, be reserved;

and he will invite you the more often.

10Do not push forward, lest you be repulsed;

and do not remain at a distance, lest you be forgotten.

11Do not try to treat him as an equal,

nor trust his abundance of words;

for he will test you through much talk,

and while he smiles he will be examining you.

12Cruel is he who does not keep words to himself;

he will not hesitate to injure or to imprison.

13Keep words to yourself and be very watchful,

for you are walking about with your own downfall.c

15Every creature loves its like,

and every person his neighbor;

16all living beings associate by species,

and a man clings to one like himself.

17What fellowship has a wolf with a lamb?

No more has a sinner with a godly man.

18What peace is there between a hyena and a dog?

And what peace between a rich man and a poor man?

19Wild asses in the wilderness are the prey of lions;

likewise the poor are pastures for the rich.

20Humility is an abomination to a proud man;

likewise a poor man is an abomination to a rich one.

21When a rich man totters, he is steadied by friends,

but when a humble man falls, he is even pushed away by friends.

22If a rich man slips, his helpers are many;

he speaks unseemly words, and they justify him.

If a humble man slips, they even reproach him;

he speaks sensibly, and receives no attention.

23When the rich man speaks all are silent,

and they extol to the clouds what he says.

When the poor man speaks they say, "Who is this fellow?"

And should he stumble, they even push him down.

24Riches are good if they are free from sin,

and poverty is evil in the opinion of the ungodly.

25A man's heart changes his countenance,

either for good or for evil.d

26The mark of a happy heart is a cheerful face,

but to devise proverbs requires painful thinking.