Saturday, August 14, 2010

Sirach 21

*Flee from Sin*
1. My son, have you sinned?
No longer add to them, but pray about your former sings.+

2. Flee from sin as you would from the presence of a snake,
For if you approach it, it will bite you;
It's teeth are like lion's teeth, destroying the souls of men.

3. All lawlessness is like a two-edged sword,
For there is no healing from its wound.+

4. Panic and violence will lay waste to wealth.
Likewise, the house of an arrogant man will be laid waste.

5. The prayer of a poor man goes from his mouth to God's ears,
And His judgment comes speedily.

6. Whoever hates rebuke walks in the steps of a sinner,
But he who fears the Lord will return to Him with his heart.

7. A man powerful in speech is known from afar,
But an intelligent man knows when he slips.

8. He who builds his house with other people's money
Is like a man who gathers his stones in a storm.

9. The assembly of the lawless is like a bundle of kindling
Whose end is a flame of fire.

10. The way of sinners is paved with stones,
But at its end is the pit of Hades.

*Wise or Foolish?*
11. He who keeps the law controls his thoughts;
The end result of the fear of the Lord is wisdom.+

12. He who is not astute cannot be taught,
But there is an astuteness that increases bitterness.

13. The knowledge of a wise man is like a flood,
And his counsel will flow abundantly as a fountain of life.+

14. The inner workings of a fool are like a broken vessel,
For he will not hold onto any knowledge.

15. If a man of understanding hears a wise word,
He will praise it and add to it;
But if a self-indulgent man hears it, it displeases him,
And he turns his back on it.

16. The explanation of a fool is like a burden on a journey,
But grace will be on the lips of an intelligent man.+

17. The utterance of a sensible person will be sought in the assembly,
And they will ponder his words in their heart.+

18. Like a house that has disappeared,
So is wisdom to a fool,
And the knowledge of a foolish man is words
That will not stand up to examination.

19. To a foolish man, instruction is like chains on the feet
And like handcuffs on the right hand.

20. A fool raises his voice when he laughs,
But an astute man will smile quietly with some hesitation.

21. To a wise man instruction is like a golden ornament
And like a bracelet on the right arm.

22. The foot of a fool quickly enters a house,
But a man with much experience will stand respectfully outside.

23. A man without discernment peers into a house from the door,
But a well-educated man will stand outside.

24. A man shows his lack of education when he listens at the door,
But a prudent man will be grieved by this disgrace.

25. The lips of the unwise will describe things in detail,
But the words of the prudent will balance the scale.

26. The heart of fools is in their mouth,
But the mouth of the wise is in their heart.

27. When an ungodly man curses Satan,
He curses his own soul.+

28. The whisperer defiles his own soul
And will be hated in his own neighborhood.


+21:1-3 - A simple and powerful summary of the attitude of the repentant believer. If one has sinned, he is not to continue in it. Rather, he is to pray urgently for forgiveness. The humble believer must view all sin as dangerous, as much as a poisonous snake. St. Paul follows this exhortation when he says, "Flee sexual immorality" (1Cor 6:18).

+21:3 - Lawlessness is any form of rebellion against the duly constituted authority over us. God calls it "every man doing whatever is right in his own eyes" (Dt 12:8).

+21:11-28 - This passage is a brilliant series of comparisons and contrasts of wisdom and folly.

+21:13 - The guidance of a wise man flows abundantly from his lips because it comes from the Holy Spirit (see Mk 13:11).

+21:16 - Literally, "the exegesis of a fool."

+21:17 - St. Paul speaks of "the word of wisdom" (1Cor 12:8).

+21:27 - Jude 9 also warns against rebuking Satan, instead instructing us to say, "The Lord rebuke you!" (See also Zec 3:2).

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