“Do no evil!
Then evil will never overtake you.
Stay away from wrong!
Then it will turn away from you.
Do not sow in the furrows of injustice!
Then you will not reap a sevenfold crop.”
Sirach then gives a short series of wise sayings. Avoid evil and sin. Then they will not overtake you. Stay away from wrong things. Then they will stay away from you. Do not sow your crops in unjust fields. If you do, there will be no reward for you.
“In the treasuries of wisdom
Are wise sayings.
But godliness is an abomination to a sinner.
If you desire wisdom,
Keep the commandments.
The Lord will lavish her upon you.
Fear of the Lord is wisdom.
Fear of the Lord is discipline.
Fidelity is his delight.
Humility is his delight.”
If you have wisdom, you will have the treasures of many wise sayings. Of course, the sinners do not like godliness. If you want wisdom, keep the commandments. Sirach clearly ties law and the commandments to wisdom and the fear of the Lord, since there is a strong tie between all of them. With this fear of God you will have wisdom and discipline. The Lord will delight in your fidelity and humility.
“The sayings of the wise are like goads.
They are like nails firmly fixed.
These collected sayings were given
By one shepherd.
Beware of anything beyond these.
Many books have no end.
Much study is a weariness of the flesh.”
These wise sayings of Qoheleth were like goads that were sticks used to prod cattle and other animals to make them move. These goads were a stimulus to our mind. Thus we have the saying to goad them on. These collected sayings are like sharp nails. Here we have the allusion to the sayings of a shepherd, something that followers of Jesus will emphasis in the New Testament. Then this writer warns the readers about adding more proverbs. He warned that many books never have an end. He also remarked that a lot of study can make people weary. So watch out for too much time spent studying.
“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.