Good banquet manners (Sir 31:12-31:18)

“Are you seated

At the table of the great?

Do not be greedy at it!

Do not say.

‘How much food there is here!’

Remember that a greedy eye

Is a bad thing.

What has been created greedier

Than the eye?

Therefore it sheds tears

For any reason.

Do not reach out your hand

For everything you see!

Do not crowd your neighbor

At the dish!

Judge your neighbor’s feelings

By your own.

In every matter,

Be thoughtful!

Eat what is set before you,

Like a well brought-up person.

Do not chew greedily!

You might give offense.

Be the first to stop eating!

This befits good manners.

Do not be insatiable!

You might give offense.

If you are seated

Among many persons,

Do not help yourself

Before they do.”

When you go to a banquet with great people, do not be greedy. Do not say “wow, this is a lot of food.” Sirach warns that a greedy eye is a bad thing. In fact eyes are the greediest since they also cry. Do not reach out for everything on the table. Don’t crowd your neighbor when you are eating. Be thoughtful of other people’s feelings. Eat like a well breed person. Do not greedily chew your food. Be the first one to stop eating. Don’t keep eating. Let others go before you when you go to get food. Sirach wanted everyone to have good banquet manners.

Good eating manners (Prov 23:1-23:3)

“When you sit down to eat with a ruler,

Observe carefully what is before you.

Put a knife to your throat

If you have a big appetite.

Do not desire the ruler’s delicacies.

They are deceptive foods.”

If you are eating at the table of a ruler, be very observant.   Put a knife to your throat, which means don’t eat everything, if you have a big appetite. Do not eat the delicacies of the ruler, because they are deceptive foods. Be on your best behavior and eat what is given you without complaint.