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.

Pride (Prov 16:18-16:21)

“Pride goes before destruction.

A haughty spirit happens before a fall.

It is better to be of a lowly spirit

Among the poor

Than to divide the spoil

With the proud.

Those who are attentive to a matter will prosper.

Happy are those who trust in Yahweh.

The wise of heart are called perceptive.

Pleasant speech increases persuasiveness.”

Being proud was not a good idea since it led to destruction. A haughty or proud spirit usually came before someone stumbled or fell. It is much better to be a lowly spirit among the poor than to divide up the spoils of victory with the proud people. If you are attentive to small matters you will prosper. If you trust in Yahweh, you will be happy. The wise ones are called perceptive. Pleasant speech will make it easier to be persuasive.