Sirach chapter 19

Like a Stoic, the author cautions us to not pursue pleasure. Guidance for the wise use of speech. How to recognize true wisdom.



The Book of Sirach is recognized as Deuterocanonical Scripture by the Greek Orthodox, Russian Orthodox, and Catholic Churches





VERSE 1. A workman that is a drunkard will not become rich: He that despises small things will fall by little and little.


VERSE 2. Wine and women will make men of understanding to fall away: And he that joins with harlots will be the more reckless.


VERSE 3. Moths and worms will have him to heritage; And a reckless soul will be taken away.

NAB translation. Rottenness and worms will destroy him, for contumacious desire destroys its owner.


VERSE 4. He that is hasty to trust is light-minded; And he that sins will offend against his own soul.




VERSE 5. He that makes merry in his heart will be condemned:

The remainder of this verse is omitted in the best manuscripts.


VERSE 6. And he that hates talk has the less wickedness.

The preceding part of this verse is omitted in the best manuscripts.


VERSE 7. Never repeat what is told you, And you will fare never the worse.

NAB translation. Tell nothing to friend or foe; if you have a fault, reveal it not.

if you have a fault, reveal it not. Some people talk about their faults. However, this verse says to not talk about them. James the apostle says to admit or sins:

James 5:16. Confess your offenses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The insistent prayer of a righteous person is powerfully effective.


VERSE 8. Whether it be of friend or foe, tell it not; And unless it is a sin to you, reveal it not.


VERSE 9. For he has heard you, and observed you, And when the time comes he will hate you.


VERSE 10. Hast you heard a word? let it die with you: Be of good courage, it will not burst you.


VERSE 11. A fool will travail in pain with a word, As a woman in labor with a child.


VERSE 12. As an arrow that sticks in the flesh of the thigh, So is a word in a fool’s belly.

the flesh of the thigh. Literally “thigh of flesh.”


VERSE 13. Reprove a friend; it may be he did it not: And if he did something, that he may do it no more.


VERSE 14. Reprove your neighbor; it may be he said it not: And if he has said it, that he may not say it again.


VERSE 15. Reprove a friend; for many times there is slander: And trust not every word.


VERSE 16. There is one that slips, and not from the heart: And who is he that has not sinned with his tongue?


VERSE 17. Reprove your neighbor before you threaten him; And give place to the law of the Most High.



This verse is omitted in the best manuscripts.



This verse is omitted in the best manuscripts.




VERSE 20. All wisdom is the fear of the Lord; And in all wisdom is the doing of the law.

The remainder of this verse is omitted in the best manuscripts.

wisdom is the fear of the Lord. True wisdom is rooted in a reverential respect for the Lord.



This verse is omitted in the best manuscripts.


VERSE 22. And the knowledge of wickedness is not wisdom; And the prudence of sinners is not counsel.


VERSE 23. There is a wickedness, and it is abomination; And there is a fool lacking in wisdom.


VERSE 24. Better is one that has small understanding, and fears, Than one that has much prudence, and transgresses the law.

This verse points out a dichotomy:

With little understanding Fears the Lord
Great intelligence Violates the Law of the Lord


VERSE 25. There is an exquisite subtlety, and it is unjust; And there is one that perverts favor to gain a judgement.

The remainder of this verse is omitted in the best manuscripts.


VERSE 26. There is one that does wickedly, that hangs down his head with mourning; But inwardly he is full of deceit,


VERSE 27. Bowing down his face, and making as if he were deaf of one ear: Where he is not known, he will be beforehand with you.


VERSE 28. And if for lack of power he be hindered from sinning, If he find opportunity, he will do mischief.


VERSE 29. A man will be known by his look, And one that has understanding will be known by his face, when you meet him.


VERSE 30. A man’s attire, and grinning laughter, And gait, show what he is.

grinning laughter. Literally “laughter of the teeth.”


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Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.


Author: todd

At Explore the Faith, I share insights into the Bible and theological writings. If you like what I write, become my partner by donating. Help me reach the world for the Lord Jesus Christ.