Moderation in food (Sir 37:27-37:31)

“My child!

Test yourself

While you live!

See what is bad for you!

Do not give in to it!

Not everything is good

For everyone.

No one enjoys everything.

Do not be greedy

For every delicacy!

Do not eat without restraint!

Overeating brings sickness.

Gluttony leads to nausea.

Many have died of gluttony.

But whoever guards against it,

Prolongs his life.”

Sirach assumes the parental tone again. He warns that we should test ourselves in this life. We should recognize what is bad for us and not give in to it. Not everything is good for everybody. Do not be greedy for delicacies! You have to use restraint. Overeating can lead to illness. Gluttony can lead to stomach aches or even to death. If you guard against over eating, you will prolong your life.

Carefulness (Sir 22:27-22:27)

“Who will set a guard

Over my mouth?

Who will put an effective seal

Upon my lips?

Thus I may not fall

Because of them.

Thus my tongue may not

Destroy me.”

Sirach wants a guard on his mouth and a seal on his lips. He is afraid that he might fall because of what he says. He was afraid that his tongue would destroy him. After all, he did speak and write a lot.

Trusting friendly neighbors (Sir 22:23-22:26)

“Gain the trust of your neighbor

In his poverty.

Thus you may rejoice with him

In his prosperity.

Stand by him

In time of his distress.

Thus you may share with him

In his inheritance.

One should not always despise

Restricted circumstances.

One should not admire

A rich person who is stupid.

The vapor of the furnace

Precedes the fire.

The smoke of the furnace

Precedes the fire.

Thus insults precede bloodshed.

I am not ashamed

To shelter a friend.

I will not hide from him.

But if harm should come to me

Because of him,

Whoever hears of it

Will beware of him.”

Friendship happens in good times as well as bad times. If you trust your neighbor in his poverty, you can rejoice with him in his prosperity. If you stand by him in his distress, you can share with him in his good times. On the other hand, you should not admire a rich stupid person or despise those in poverty. Where there is a smell and smoke, there surely will be a fire. So too, insults often precede bloodshed. So be careful! Sirach was not ashamed to shelter a friend. However, if any harm came to him because of that friend, this would be a reminder to others to be wary about what his friend had done. Even this friendship is a little shaky, so that you should always be on guard against false friends.

Careful with your secrets (Sir 13:12-13:14)

“Cruel are those

Who do not keep your secrets.

They will not spare you harm.

They will not spare you imprisonment.

Be on your guard!

Be very careful!

You are walking about

With your own downfall.

When you hear these things

In your sleep,

Wake up!

During all your life.

Love the Lord.

Call on him for your salvation. ”

Sirach warns that the cruelest people are the ones who do not keep your secrets. In fact, they are out to harm you and put you in prison. Be on your guard and careful when you are walking around. Your downfall can come at any time.  When you hear these things when you are asleep, wake up. You should love the Lord your whole life for he will bring salvation to you.

Friends (Sir 6:5-6:13)

“Peasant speech multiplies friends.

A gracious tongue multiplies courtesies.

Let those who are friendly with you be many.

But let your advisers be one in a thousand.

When you gain friends,

Gain him through testing.

Do not trust them hastily.

There are friends,

Who are such,

When it suits them.

But they will not stand by you

In time of trouble.

There are friends

Who changes into enemies.

They disclose a quarrel to your disgrace.

There are friends

Who sit at your table.

But they will not stand by you

In time of trouble.

When you are prosperous,

They become your second self.

They lord it over your servants.

But if you are brought low,

They will turn against you.

They will hide themselves from you.

Keep away from your enemies.

Be on guard with your friends.”

Sirach has a warning about friends. They come and go. Pleasant speech and a gracious tongue will get you many friends. However, your advisors should be few, 1 in 1,000. Test people who are becoming your friends. Some will be friends when it suits them. They will not stand by you when there is trouble. Some will change into enemies. Even some who eat at your table will not stay with you when problems arise. Some like to be your friends when you are prosperous. They lord it over your servants. However, if you are brought low, they will hide themselves from you. Sirach’s final advice was to stay away from your enemies, but be on guard with your friends.

The value of wisdom (Prov 16:16-16:17)

“How much better to get wisdom than gold!

It is better to get understanding

Rather than choose silver.

The highway of the upright avoids evil.

Those who guard their way preserve their lives.”

Once again the value of wisdom outweighs that of gold and silver. It is better to have understanding than silver. Wisdom is greater than gold. The road of the upright avoids evil ways. The upright turn away from evil. They guard their life in order to preserve it.

The lazy ones (Prov 13:1-13:4)

“The wise child loves discipline.

But a scoffer does not listen to rebuke.

From the fruit of their words,

Good persons eat good things.

But the desire of the treacherous is for violence.

Whoever guards their mouths preserves their lives.

Whoever opens wide their lips comes to ruin.

The appetite of the lazy craves,

But gets nothing.

The appetite of the diligent is richly supplied.”

The wise child loves discipline because it leads to knowledge. However, the lazy mocking scoffer does not listen to criticism. Good people eat good things because of the good fruit of their words. The treacherous only want violence. If you guard your mouth, you will preserve your life. However, if you open your mouth wide, it will only bring you ruin. The lazy people crave for food but they get nothing, while the appetite of the diligent gets richly supplied and satisfied.

Have a long life (Prov 4:10-4:13)

“Hear!

My child!

Accept my words!

Thus the years of your life may be many.

I have taught you the way of wisdom.

I have led you in the path of uprightness.

When you walk,

Your step will not be hampered.

If you run,

You will not stumble.

Keep hold of this instruction!

Do not let go!

Guard her!

She is your life.”

This parental instruction continues. This time if they follow his advice, they will have a long life. This father has taught them the way of wisdom and the path of righteousness. When they walked, they would not be interfered with. If they ran, they would not stumble. He reminds them to hold fast to his instruction and not let it go. They were to guard his advice on wisdom so that lady wisdom would lead them to a long productive life.

Keep me from wicked deeds (Ps 141:3-141:4)

“Set a guard over my mouth!

Yahweh!

Keep watch over the door of my lips!

Do not turn my heart to any evil!

Do not let me busy myself

With wicked deeds

In company

With those who work iniquity!

Do not let me eat of their delicacies!”

David wanted Yahweh to guard his mouth and his lips so that he would not speak evil. He wanted Yahweh to keep his heart from evil. David did not want to busy himself with wicked deeds among those who were iniquitous. He did not want to eat of the delicacies of iniquity.

Protect me from the arrogant ones (Ps 140:4-140:5)

“Yahweh!

Guard me

From the hands of the wicked!

Protect me from violent.

They have planned my downfall.

The arrogant have hidden a trap for me.

They have spread a net with cords.

They have set snares for me along the road.”

Selah

David wanted Yahweh to guard him and protect him from the hands of the wicked ones. They were planning his downfall. They have hidden traps and snares for him along the road. He wanted the protection of Yahweh from these arrogant wicked violent men. This section ends with the musical interlude meditative pause of Selah.