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Ecclesiasticus / Sirach - Chapter 29

1 Making your neighbour a loan is an act of mercy, to lend him a helping hand is to keep the commandments.

2 Lend to your neighbour in his time of need, and in your turn repay your neighbour on time.

3 Be as good as your word and keep faith with him, and you will find your needs met every time.

4 Many treat a loan as a windfall, and embarrass those who have come to their rescue.

5 Until he gets something, a man will kiss his neighbour's hand, and refer diffidently to his wealth; but when the loan falls due, he puts this off, he repays with offhand words, and pleads the inconvenience of the time.

6 Even if he can be made to pay, his creditor will recover barely half, and consider even that a windfall. But otherwise he will be cheated of his money, and undeservedly gain himself an enemy; the man will pay him back in curses and abuse, and with insults of honour.

7 Many, not out of malice, refuse to lend; they are merely anxious not to be cheated for nothing.

8 Nevertheless, be patient with those who are badly off, do not keep them waiting on your generosity.

9 In obedience to the commandment, help the poor; do not turn the poor away empty-handed in their need.

10 Spend your money on your brother or your friend, do not leave it under a stone to rust away.

11 Use your wealth as the Most High has decreed; you will find that more profitable than gold.

12 Stock your store-rooms with almsgiving; this will save you from all misfortune.

13 Better than sturdy shield or weighty spear, this will fight for you against the enemy.

14 A good man will go surety for his neighbour; only a shameless wretch would desert him.

15 Do not forget the favour your guarantor has done you; he has given his life for you.

16 A sinner is careless of his guarantor's prosperity, the ungrateful forgets his deliverer.

17 Going surety has ruined many who were prosperous, tossing them about in a heavy sea.

18 It has driven the powerful from home to wander among foreign nations.

19 A wicked man in a hurry to stand guarantor in the hope of profit, is hurrying to be sentenced.

20 Come to your neighbour's help as far as you can, but take care not to fall into the same plight.

21 The first thing in life is water, and bread, and clothing, and a house for the sake of privacy.

22 Better the life of the poor under a roof of planks, than lavish fare in somebody else's house.

23 Whether you have little or much, be content with it, and you will not hear your household complaining.

24 It is a miserable life, going from house to house; wherever you stay, you dare not open your mouth,

25 you do not belong, you receive no thanks for the drink you pour out and hear embittering words into the bargain:

26 'Come along, stranger, lay the table, what have you got ready? give me something to eat!'

27 'Go away, stranger, make room for someone important; my brother is coming to stay, I need the house.'

28 It is hard for the reasonable to be begrudged hospitality to be shamed like a debtor.

Book of Ecclesiasticus / Sirach Chapters

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