Conduct with others (Sir 13:8-13:11)

“Take care not to be led astray.

Do not be humiliated

When you are enjoying yourself.

When an influential person invites you,

Be reserved.

He will invite you more insistently.

Do not be forward,

Otherwise you may be rebuffed.

Do not stand aloof,

Otherwise you will be forgotten.

Do not try to treat him

As an equal.

Do not trust his lengthy conversations.

He will test you by prolonged talk.

While he smiles,

He will be examining you.”

Sirach has some advice on how you are to deal with other people. You should not be lead astray or humiliated while you are enjoying yourself. If an influential powerful person invites you over, you should be reserved. Thus he will be more insistent. Do not be pushy or you might be pushed back. Do not be aloof and standoffish or you might be forgotten. However, do not treat this person like an equal. Watch out for long conversations because while he is smiling, he is actually examining you.

The plea to God (Ps 38:9-38:11)

“Lord!

All my longing is known to you.

My sighing is not hidden from you.

My heart throbs.

My strength fails me.

The light of my eyes has gone from me.

My friends and companions

Stand aloof from my affliction.

My neighbors stand far off.”

David made a plea to the Lord, God, who knew his situation. He was aware of his longing and sighing that was not hidden from him. His heart throbbed. His strength failed. His eyesight was growing dim. His friends, companions, and neighbors were standing aloof from him and his afflictions. Only God could help him.