“Curse the gossips!
Curse the double-tongued!
They destroy the peace of many.
Slander has shaken many.
Slander has scattered them
From nation to nation.
Slander has destroyed strong cities.
Slander has overturned
The houses of the great.
Slander has driven virtuous women
From their homes.
Slander has deprived them
Of the fruit of their toil.
Whoever pays heed to slander
Will not find rest.
They will not settle down in peace.”
The gossips, the whisperers, the double-tongued, and the slanders are all to be cursed because they destroy the peace of many people. In particular, Sirach singles out slander, the slurring of other people and their reputation. Slander has shaken and scattered many people in various countries. It has destroyed cities and different rulers. Slander has driven virtuous women from their homes. It has deprived people of the results of their work. If you listen to slander, you will not find rest. You will not settle in peace.
“When it goes well with the righteous,
The city rejoices.
When the wicked perish
There is jubilation.
By the blessing of the upright,
A city is exalted.
But the city is overthrown
By the mouth of the wicked.
Whoever belittles another
But an intelligent person remains silent.
A gossip goes about telling secrets.
But one who is trustworthy in spirit
Keeps a confidence.
Where there is no guidance,
A nation falls.
But in an abundance of counselors
There is safety.”
The city dwellers are happy with the righteous. They rejoice when all goes well with them. However, they are just as happy when the wicked perish. The city dwellers exalt at the blessings of the upright. However, the words of the wicked can overthrow a city. Anyone who belittles another lacks sense because the intelligent person keeps silent. You cannot trust gossips that go about telling secrets because they are not trustworthy. If there is no guidance, a city or country will fall. It is much better when there are many counselors, since they will keep the city or country safe.