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The Catholic Study Bible A special version of the New American Bible, with a wealth of background information useful to Catholics.

Chapter 20

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Conduct of the Wise and the Foolish

1An admonition can be inopportune,* and a man may be wise to hold his peace. 2It is much better to admonish than to lose one’s temper, for one who admits his fault will be kept from disgrace. 3Like a eunuch lusting for intimacy with a maiden is he who does right under compulsion.* 4One man is silent and is thought wise, another is talkative and is disliked. 5One man is silent because he has nothing to say; another is silent, biding his time. h Sir 20, 1; Prv 10, 19; 17, 28 . 6A wise man is silent till the right time comes, but a boasting fool ignores the proper time. 7He who talks too much is detested; he who pretends to authority is hated.

8Some misfortunes bring success;* some things gained are a man’s loss. 9Some gifts do one no good, and some must be paid back double.* 10Humiliation can follow fame, while from obscurity a man can lift up his head. 11A man may buy much for little, but pay for it seven times over. 12A wise man makes himself popular by a few words, but fools pour forth their blandishments in vain. 13A gift from a rogue will do you no good, for in his eyes his one gift is equal to seven. 14He gives little and criticizes often, and like a crier he shouts aloud. He lends today, he asks it back tomorrow; hateful indeed is such a man. 15A fool has no friends, nor thanks for his generosity; 16Those who eat his bread have an evil tongue. How many times they laugh him to scorn!

17A fall to the ground is less sudden than a slip of the tongue;* that is why the downfall of the wicked comes so quickly. 18Insipid food is the untimely tale; the unruly are always ready to offer it. 19A proverb when spoken by a fool is unwelcome, for he does not utter it at the proper time. 20A man through want may be unable to sin, yet in this tranquility he cannot rest. 21One may lose his life through shame, and perish through a fool’s intimidation. 22A man makes a promise to a friend out of shame, and has him for his enemy needlessly. 23A lie is a foul blot in a man, yet it is constantly on the lips of the unruly. 24Better a thief than an inveterate liar, yet both will suffer disgrace; 25A liar’s way leads to dishonor, his shame remains ever with him. 26A wise man advances himself by his words,* a prudent man pleases the great. 27He who works his land has abundant crops, he who pleases the great is pardoned his faults. 28Favors and gifts blind the eyes; like a muzzle over the mouth they silence reproof. i Ex 23, 8; Dt 16, 19 . 29Hidden wisdom and unseen treasure— of what value is either? 30Better the man who hides his folly than the one who hides his wisdom.

Notes:

h: Sir 20, 1; Prv 10, 19; 17, 28 .

i: Ex 23, 8; Dt 16, 19 .

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