Swearing oaths (Sir 23:9-23:11)

“Do not accustom your mouth

To oaths!

Do not habitually utter

The name of the Holy One!

As a servant,

Who is constantly under scrutiny,

Will not lack bruises,

So also the person

Who always swears,

Who utters the Name of God,

Will never be cleansed from sin.

Whoever swears many oaths

Is full of iniquity.

The scourge will not leave his house.

If he swears in error,

His sin remains on him.

If he disregards it,

He sins doubly.

If he swears a false oath,

He will not be justified.

His house will be filled

With calamities.”

Sirach does not want us to get accustomed to swearing oaths to the Most Holy One. If you swear too much, you are a like a servant under constant scrutiny who gets bruised by his master. So too, anyone who swears by the Name of God will never be cleansed from their sins. If you are always swearing to God for this or that, you will be full on iniquity, since the scourge will never leave your house. You can actually sin by swearing in error. Then you can double you sin by not fulfilling the false oath that you swore. You will never be justified since your house will be filled with calamities.

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