Sirach chapter 31

Old Testament attitudes toward monetary wealth. Behavior at formal events such as a formal meal.

 


 

The Book of Sirach is recognized as Deuterocanonical Scripture by the Greek Orthodox, Russian Orthodox, and Catholic Churches

 


 

OLD TESTAMENT ATTITUDES TOWARD MONETARY WEALTH

 

VERSE 1. Wakefulness that comes of riches consumes the flesh, And the anxiety thereof puts away sleep.

Wakefulness that comes of riches. That is, keeping watch over riches.

 

VERSE 2. Wakeful anxiety will crave slumber; And in a sore disease sleep will be broken.

This appears to be the meaning. But the Greek text of this verse is probably corrupt.

 

VERSE 3. A rich man toils in gathering money together; And when he rests, he is filled with his good things.

gathering money together. A rich person builds wealth.

filled with his good things. When he rests, a rich person lives in luxury.

RICH PERSON
(Verse 3)
POOR PERSON
(Verse 4)
Builds wealth Lives paycheck to paycheck
Lives in luxury Quickly runs out of money

 

VERSE 4. A poor man toils in lack of substance; And when he rests, he becomes needy.

toils in lack of substance. A poor person has trouble keeping their head above water. They live paycheck to paycheck.

he becomes needy. When he rests, a poor person quickly runs out of money.

 

VERSE 5. He that loves gold shall not be justified; And he that follows destruction shall himself have his fill of it.

He that loves gold. To love money is a grave moral evil. And many Christians have succumbed to it:

Wisdom 14:27. For the worship of idols that may not be named is a beginning and cause and end of every evil.

Sirach 31:5. He that loves gold shall not be justified; And he that follows destruction shall himself have his fill of it.

1 Timothy 6:10. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some have been led astray from the faith in their greed, and have pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

Hebrews 13:5. Be free from the love of money, content with such things as you have, for he has said, “I will in no way leave you, neither will I in any way forsake you.”

 

VERSE 6. Many have been given over to ruin for the sake of gold; And their perdition † meets them face to face.

 

VERSE 7. It is a stumbling block to those who sacrifice to it; And every fool shall be taken therewith.

 

VERSE 8. Blessed is the rich that is found without blemish, And that goes not after gold.

 

VERSE 9. Who is he? and we will call him blessed: For wonderful things has he done among his people.

 

VERSE 10. Who has been tried by it, and found perfect? Then let him glory. Who has had the power to transgress, and has not transgressed? And to do evil, and has not done it?

 

VERSE 11. His goods shall be made sure, And the congregation shall declare his alms.

 

BEHAVIOR AT FORMAL EVENTS

 

VERSE 12. Sittest you at a great table? be not greedy upon it, And say not, Many are the things upon it.

be not greedy upon it. The author does not want us to be gluttons.

 

VERSE 13. Remember that an evil eye is a wicked thing: What has been created more evil than an eye? Therefore it sheds tears from every face.

 

VERSE 14. Stretch not your hand wherever it looks, And thrust not yourself with it into the dish.

 

VERSE 15. Consider your neighbor’s liking by your own; And be discreet in every point.

 

VERSE 16. Eat, as becomes a man, those things which are set before you; And eat not greedily, lest you be hated.

 

VERSE 17. Be first to leave off for manners’ sake; And be not insatiable, lest you offend.

Be first to leave off. Be the first person to stop eating.

 

VERSE 18. And if you sit among many, Reach not out your hand before them.

 

VERSE 19. How sufficient to a well-mannered man is a very little, And he does not breathe hard upon his bed.

sufficient … is a very little. In those days, to eat very little was a sign of high society.

 

VERSE 20. Healthy sleep comes of moderate eating; He rises early, and his wits are with him: The pain of wakefulness, and colic, And griping, are with an insatiable man.

Healthy sleep comes of moderate eating. Many people do not sleep well if they eat too much.

However, the reverse is not necessarily true. If someone has chronic sleep trouble, that does not mean they always eat too much.

 

VERSE 21. And if you have been forced to eat, Rise up in the midst thereof, and you shall have rest.

 

VERSE 22. Hear me, my son, and despise me not, And at the last you shall find my words true: In all your works be quick, And no disease shall come to you.

In all your works be quick. That is, “in whatever you do, be moderate” (NAB translation)

be moderate. The ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle urged his students to follow the middle road between extremes. This was known as the via media.

From many perspectives, the via media seems wise. However, it does not apply to our faith in Jesus Christ. We should be either hot or cold, and not lukewarm:

Revelation 3:15-16. I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were cold or hot. 16 So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will vomit you out of my mouth.

no disease shall come to you. This is very desirable. However, statistically speaking, Christian believers are NOT less likely to get sick or be injured.

 

VERSE 23. Him that is liberal of his meat the lips shall bless; And the testimony of his excellence shall be believed.

 

VERSE 24. The city will murmer at he who is a stingy with his meat; And the testimony of his stinginess will be sure.

 

VERSE 25. Show not yourself valiant in wine; For wine has destroyed many.

 

VERSE 26. The furnace proves the temper of steel by dipping; So does wine prove hearts in the quarreling of the proud.

 

VERSE 27. Wine is as good as life to men, If you drink it in its measure: What life is there to a man that is without wine? And it has been created to make men glad.

 

VERSE 28. Wine drunk in season and to satisfy Is joy of heart, and gladness of soul:

 

VERSE 29. Wine drunk largely is bitterness of soul, With provocation and conflict.

 

VERSE 30. Drunkenness increases the rage of a fool to his hurt; It diminishes strength, and adds wounds.

 

VERSE 31. Rebuke not your neighbor at a banquet of wine, Neither set him at nothing in his mirth: Speak not to him a word of reproach, And press not upon him by asking back a debt.

at a banquet of wine. If you have drank alcohol, you will not have full control of your words. You should not speak any words of great consequence.

 


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Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.


 

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