*Kings and Commoners*
1. Do not contend sharply with a powerful man,
Lest you fall into his hands.+
2. Do not quarrel with a rich man,
Lest he resist your force,
For gold has destroyed many
And perverted the hearts of kings.
3. Do not contend sharply with a talkative man,
And do not heap wood on his fire.
4. Do not jest with an uncultivated man,
Lest your forefathers be insulted.
5. Do not insult a man who turns away from sin;
Remember that we are all valuable.
6. Do not dishonor a man in his old age,
For some of us are growing old as well.+
7. Do not rejoice over any dead person;
Remember that we all must die.
8. Do not disregard a saying of the wise,
But be conversant with their proverbs;
Because from them you will gain instruction
And how to serve noble people.
9. Do not miss a saying of the old,
For they themselves learned from their fathers;
Because from them you will gain understanding
And be able to give an answer in time of need.
10. Do not kindle the coals of a sinner,
For you may be burned in the flame.+
11. Do not let the presence of an insolent man
Arouse you from your seat,
Lest he lie in wait as an ambush against your words.
12. Do not lend to a man stronger than you;
But if you do, consider it lost.
13. Do not give surety beyond your ability to pay;
But if you do give surety, be as careful as one who has to pay.
14. Do not go to law against a judge,
For they will decide for him because of his reputation.
15. Do not travel on a journey with a reckless man,
Lest he weigh you down;
For he will do his will,
And you will perish with him in his folly.
16. Do not cause a fight with an angry man,
And do not go into a lonely place with him,
Because murder is as nothing in his eyes,
And where there is no help, he will strike you down.
17. Do not consult with a fool,
For he will not keep a matter confidential.+
18. Do nothing confidential in the presence of a stranger,
For you do not know what he will give birth to.
19. Do not open your heart to everyone,
Lest unkindness be shown to you.
8:1-3 - The application for us is this: Only join battles worth winning.
8:6-9 - Valuable counsel for our youth-oriented culture.
8:10 - To kindle the coals is to arouse the passions.
8:17-19 - Ben Sirach warns us not to reveal our thoughts to just anyone. In the Church, the priest vows that all confessions will be kept confidential.