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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 21

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Sin Must Be Avoided*

1My son, if you have sinned, do so no more, and for your past sins pray to be forgiven. 2Flee from sin as from a serpent that will bite you if you go near it; Its teeth are lion’s teeth, destroying the souls of men. 3Every offense is a two-edged sword; when it cuts, there can be no healing. 4Violence and arrogance wipe out wealth; so too a proud man’s home is destroyed. 5Prayer from a poor man’s lips is heard at once, and justice is quickly granted him. 6He who hates correction walks the sinner’s path, but he who fears the LORD repents in his heart. 7Widely known is the boastful speaker, but the wise man knows his own faults. 8He who builds his house with another’s money is collecting stones for his funeral mound. 9A band of criminals is like a bundle of tow; they will end in a flaming fire. j Ps 21, 9 . 10The path of sinners is smooth stones that end in the depths of the nether world.*

The Wise and the Foolish Differ*

11He who keeps the law controls his impulses; he who is perfect in fear of the LORD has wisdom. 12He can never be taught who is not shrewd, but one form of shrewdness is thoroughly bitter. 13A wise man’s knowledge wells up in a flood, and his counsel, like a living spring; k Prv 13, 14; 16, 22 . 14A fool’s mind is like a broken jar— no knowledge at all can it hold. 15When an intelligent man hears words of wisdom, he approves them and adds to them; The wanton hears them with scorn and casts them behind his back. 16A fool’s chatter is like a load on a journey, but there is charm to be found upon the lips of the wise. 17The views of a prudent man are sought in an assembly, and his words are considered with care. 18Like a house in ruins is wisdom to a fool; the stupid man knows it only as inscrutable words. 19Like fetters on the legs is learning to a fool, like a manacle on his right hand. 20A fool raises his voice in laughter, but a prudent man at the most smiles gently. l Eccl 7, 6 . 21Like a chain of gold is learning to a wise man, like a bracelet on his right arm.

22The fool steps boldly into a house, while the well-bred man remains outside; m Prv 25, 17 . 23A boor peeps through the doorway of a house, but a cultured man keeps his glance cast down. 24It is rude for one to listen at a door; a cultured man would be overwhelmed by the disgrace of it. 25The lips of the impious talk of what is not their concern, but the words of the prudent are carefully weighed. 26Fools’ thoughts are in their mouths, wise men’s words are in their hearts. 27When a godless man curses his adversary,* he really curses himself. 28A slanderer besmirches himself, and is hated by his neighbors.

Notes:

j: Ps 21, 9 .

k: Prv 13, 14; 16, 22 .

l: Eccl 7, 6 .

m: Prv 25, 17 .

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