Inappropriate speech (Sir 20:18-20:20)

“A slip on the pavement

Is better than a slip of the tongue.

The downfall of the wicked

Will occur just as speedily.

A coarse person is

Like an inappropriate story,

That is continually on the lips

Of the ignorant.

A proverb from a fool’s lips

Will be rejected.

He does not tell it

At the proper time.”

Sirach notes that it is better to slip on the pavement than to have a slip of the tongue. The wicked fall speedily. A crude vulgar person is like an inappropriate story that ignorant people keep telling all the time. Thus a proverb from the lips of a fool will be rejected because he will not tell it at the right time.

The wicked (Prov 24:23-24:26)

“These also are sayings of the wise.

Partiality in judging is not good.

He who says to the wicked,

‘You are innocent’

Will be cursed by their people.

They will be abhorred by the nations.

But those who rebuke the wicked

Will have delight.

They will have a good blessing come upon them.

Whoever gives an honest answer,

Gives a kiss on the lips.”

Apparently this is another small collection of wise sayings that was not associated with the preceding collection. This section seems to be aimed at judges and how they judge people since they should not be partial. In particular, they should not let the wicked go free. They will be cursed by their own people. Furthermore, in an international outlook, other nations will also abhor them. However, if they judge correctly against the wicked ones, they will delight in this life with blessings coming to them. An honest answer is like giving a kiss on the lips.

The lips of the righteous (Prov 10:30-10:32)

“The righteous will never be removed.

But the wicked will not remain in the land.

The mouth of the righteous brings forth wisdom.

But the perverse tongue will be cut off.

The lips of the righteous know what is acceptable.

But the mouths of the wicked know what is perverse.”

The righteous will never be removed from the land, while the wicked will not stay on the land. The mouth of the righteous speaks wisdom. The tongue of the wicked, on the other hand, will be cut off. The lips of the righteous know what is acceptable. while the wicked only know perversity.