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Ecclesiasticus / Sirach - Chapter 23

Ecclesiasticus / Sirach Chapters

1 Lord, father and master of my life, do not abandon me to their whims, do not let me fall because of them.

2 Who will lay whips to my thoughts, and the discipline of wisdom to my heart, to be merciless to my errors and not let my sins go unchecked,

3 for fear my errors should multiply and my sins then abound and I fall before my adversaries, and my enemy gloat over me?

4 Lord, father and God of my life, do not let my eyes be proud,

5 turn envy away from me,

6 do not let lechery and lust grip me, do not leave me a prey to shameless desire.

7 Children, listen to what I teach, no one who keeps it will be caught out.

8 The sinner is ensnared by his own lips, both the abusive and the proud are tripped by them.

9 Do not get into the habit of swearing, do not make a habit of naming the Holy One;

10 for just as a slave who is constantly overseen will never be without bruises, so someone who is always swearing and uttering the Name will not be exempt from sin.

11 A man for ever swearing is full of iniquity, and the scourge will not depart from his house. If he offends, his sin will be on him, if he did it unheedingly, he has doubly sinned; if he swears a false oath, he will not be treated as innocent, for his house will be filled with calamities.

12 One way of talking is like death, let it not be found in the heritage of Jacob since devout people have nothing to do with that: they will not wallow in sin.

13 Do not get into the habit of using coarse and foul language since this involves sinful words.

14 Remember your father and mother when you are sitting with the great, for fear you forget yourself in their presence and behave like a fool, and then wish you had not been born and curse the day of your birth.

15 No one in the habit of using shameful language will break himself of it as long as he lives.

16 There are two types of people who commit sin after sin and a third who attracts retribution-

17 desire, blazing like a furnace, will not die down until it has been sated- the man who lusts after members of his own family is not going to stop until he is quite burnt out; every food is sweet to the promiscuous, and he will not desist until he dies;

18 and the man who sins against the marriage bed and says to himself, 'Who can see me? There is darkness all round me, the walls hide me, no one can see me, why should I worry? The Most High will not remember my sins.'

19 What he fears are human eyes, he does not realise that the eyes of the Lord are ten thousand times brighter than the sun, observing every aspect of human behaviour, seeing into the most secret corners.

20 All things were known to him before they were created, and are still, now that they are finished.

21 This man will be punished in view of the whole town, and will be seized when he least expects it.

22 Similarly the woman unfaithful to her husband, who provides him with an heir by another man:

23 first, she has disobeyed the Law of the Most High; secondly, she has been false to her husband; and thirdly, she has gone whoring in adultery

24 and conceived children by another man. She will be led before the assembly, an enquiry will be held about her children.

25 Her children will strike no root, her branches will bear no fruit.

26 She will leave an accursed memory behind her, her shame will never be wiped out.

27 And those who survive her will recognise that nothing is better than fearing the Lord, and nothing sweeter than adherence to the Lord's commandments.


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