Sirach chapter 20

The author compares foolish behavior with wise behavior. Wise people use their words to benefit other people. Fools use their words to benefit themselves.



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





VERSE 1. There is a reproof that is not comely; And there is a man that keeps silence, and he is wise.

a reproof that is not comely. An admonition can be inopportune. It makes things worse, not better.

a man that keeps silence, and he is wise. Sometimes saying nothing is the wisest thing to do.


VERSE 2 How good is it to reprove, rather than to be angry; And he that makes confession will be kept back from hurt.



This verse is omitted in the best manuscripts.


VERSE 4 As is the lust of an eunuch to deflower a virgin; So is he that executes judgments with violence.


VERSE 5 There is one that keeps silence, and is found wise; And there is one that is hated for his much talk.


VERSE 6. There is one that keeps silence, for he has no answer to make; And there is that keeps silence, as knowing his time

as knowing his time. Sometimes people are biding their time.


VERSE 7. A wise man will be silent till his time come; But the braggart and fool will overpass his time.

silent till his time come. A wise person is silent until the right moment arrives.

the braggart and fool will overpass his time. A boasting fool ignores the moment and blurts out whatever foolish comes to mind.


VERSE 8. He that uses many words will be abhorred; And he that takes to himself authority therein will be hated.


VERSE 9. There is a prosperity that a man finds in misfortunes; And there is a gain that turns to loss.


VERSE 10. There is a gift that will not profit you; And there is a gift whose recompense is double.


VERSE 11. There is an abasement because of glory; And there is that has lifted up his head from a low estate.


VERSE 12. There is that buys much for a little, And pays for it again sevenfold.


VERSE 13. He that is wise in words will make himself beloved; But the pleasantries of fools will be wasted.

make himself beloved. A wise person is winsome. They win over the hearts of their hearers.

pleasantries of fools. Fools pour forth their foolishness.


VERSE 14. The gift of a fool will not profit you; For his eyes are many instead of one.

A line of this verse is omitted in the best manuscripts.


VERSE 15. He will give little, and upbraid much; And he will open his mouth like a crier: Today he will lend, and tomorrow he will ask it again: Such an one is a hateful man.

He will give little. Fools are not generous.

upbraid much. Fools criticize other people all the time.

open his mouth like a crier. Fools shout their contempt to anyone who will hear.


VERSE 16. The fool will say, I have no friend, And I have no thanks for my good deeds; They that eat my bread are of evil tongue.


VERSE 17. How often, and of how many, will he be laughed to scorn!

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


VERSE 18. A slip on a pavement is better than a slip with the tongue; So the fall of the wicked will come speedily.


VERSE 19. A man without grace is as a tale out of season: It will be continually in the mouth of the ignorant.


VERSE 20. A wise sentence from a fool’s mouth will be rejected; For he will not speak it in its season.


VERSE 21. There is that is hindered from sinning through lack; And when he takes rest, he will not be troubled.


VERSE 22. There is that destroys his soul through bashfulness; And by a foolish countenance he will destroy it.

a foolish countenance. That is, intimidation. A fool can intimidate other people.


VERSE 23. There is that for bashfulness promises to his friend; And he makes him his enemy for nothing.


VERSE 24. A lie is a foul blot in a man: It will be continually in the mouth of the ignorant.


VERSE 25. A thief is better than a man that is continually lying: But they both will inherit destruction.


VERSE 26. The disposition of a liar is dishonor; And his shame is with him continually.


VERSE 27. He that is wise in words will advance himself; And one that is prudent will please great men.

NAB translation. A wise man advances himself by his words, a prudent man pleases the great.

This verse is fantastic! Would you consider memorizing it? More great verses to memorize from the Book of Sirach and from the entire Bible.


VERSE 28. He that tils his land will raise his heap high; And he that pleases great men will get pardon for iniquity.


VERSE 29. Presents and gifts blind the eyes of the wise, And as a muzzle on the mouth, turn away reproofs.

Presents and gifts. In this context, “bribes.”


VERSE 30. Wisdom that is hid, and treasure that is out of sight, What profit is in them both?


VERSE 31. Better is a man that hides his folly Than a man that hides his wisdom.

hides his folly. If you are a fool, the best course of action is to not expose your foolishness to other people.

hides his wisdom. If you are wise, you must not withhold your wisdom from other people.

This applies to Christian believers. We have been given the infinite wisdom of Jesus Christ. Yet many of us withhold the knowledge of Jesus Christ from those who need him. We refuse to take part in the Ministry of Evangelism, for example.



This verse is omitted in the best manuscripts.


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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

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