“Before you speak,
Before you fall ill,
Take care of your health!
Before judgment comes,
At the time of scrutiny,
You will find forgiveness.
Before falling ill,
When you have sinned,
In the ancient world, there was a correlation between sin and ill health. People got sick because they had sinned. Sirach says that you should learn before you speak out. You should take care of your health before you get sick. Before a judgment comes upon you, examine yourself so that if you have done anything wrong, you can ask for forgiveness. You should humble yourself. If you have sinned, repent so that the chances of better health will increase. We still see this stigma of bad health and sin with mental illness today. The general feeling is that you must have done something wrong. In fact, we tend to incarcerate mentally ill people rather than try to cure them.
“If in bitterness of soul,
Some should curse you,
Their Creator will hear their prayer.
Endear yourself to the congregation.
Bow your head low to the great.
Give a hearing to the poor.
Return their greeting politely.
Rescue the oppressed from the oppressor.
Do not be hesitant in giving a verdict.
Be like a father to orphans.
Be like a husband to their mother.
You will then be like a son of the Most High.
He will love you more than does your mother.”
Now it may happen, that someone who is bitter might curse you. Let the Creator God judge you. Fit into your community. Bow your head to the people in charge. Listen to the poor. Greet them politely. Rescue those who are being abused. Do not be afraid to make a judgment. Be like a father to orphans and a husband to widows. If you do these things, you will be like a son of the Most High God. God, the Creator, will love you more than your mother does. This is a strong demand for a civil society.