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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 23

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1 LORD, Father and Master of my life,* permit me not to fall by them! 2Who will apply the lash to my thoughts, to my mind the rod of discipline, That my failings may not be spared, nor the sins of my heart overlooked; 3Lest my failings increase, and my sins be multiplied; Lest I succumb to my foes, and my enemy rejoice over me? 4 LORD, Father and God of my life, abandon me not into their control! 5A brazen look allow me not; ward off passion from my heart, 6Let not the lustful cravings of the flesh master me, surrender me not to shameless desires.

The Proper Use of the Tongue*

7Give heed, my children, to the instruction that I pronounce, for he who keeps it will not be enslaved. 8Through his lips is the sinner ensnared; the railer and the arrogant man fall thereby. 9Let not your mouth form the habit of swearing, or becoming too familiar with the Holy Name. s Ex 20, 7; Lv 19, 12; Dt 5, 11; Mt 5, 33ff . 10Just as a slave that is constantly under scrutiny* will not be without welts, So one who swears continually by the Holy Name will not remain free from sin. 11A man who often swears heaps up obligations; the scourge will never be far from his house. If he swears in error, he incurs guilt; if he neglects his obligation, his sin is doubly great. t Lv 5, 4ff . If he swears without reason he cannot be found just, and all his house will suffer affliction. 12There are words which merit death; may they never be heard among Jacob’s heirs. For all such words are foreign to the devout, who do not wallow in sin. 13Let not your mouth become used to coarse talk, for in it lies sinful matter. 14Keep your father and mother in mind when you sit among the mighty, Lest in their presence you commit a blunder and disgrace your upbringing, By wishing you had never been born or cursing the day of your birth. u Sir 7, 27; Ex 20, 12; Dt 5, 16 . 15A man who has the habit of abusive language will never mature in character as long as he lives.

Sins of the Flesh*

16Two types of men multiply sins, a third* draws down wrath; For burning passion is a blazing fire, not to be quenched till it burns itself out: A man given to sins of the flesh, who never stops until the fire breaks forth; 17The rake to whom all bread is sweet and who is never through till he dies; v Prv 9, 17 . 18And the man who dishonors his marriage bed and says to himself, “Who can see me? Darkness surrounds me, walls hide me; no one sees me; why should I fear to sin?” w Is 29, 15 . Of the Most High he is not mindful, 19fearing only the eyes of men; He does not understand that the eyes of the LORD, ten thousand times brighter than the sun, Observe every step a man takes and peer into hidden corners. 20He who knows all things before they exist still knows them all after they are made. 21Such a man will be punished in the streets of the city; x 21f: Lv 20, 10; Dt 22, 21 . when he least expects it, he will be apprehended.*

22So also with the woman who is unfaithful to her husband and offers as heir her son by a stranger. 23First, she has disobeyed the law of the Most High; secondly, she has wronged her husband; Thirdly, in her wanton adultery she has borne children by another man.* 24Such a woman will be dragged before the assembly,* and her punishment will extend to her children; 25Her children will not take root; her branches will not bring forth fruit. 26She will leave an accursed memory; her disgrace will never be blotted out. 27Thus all who dwell on the earth shall know, and all who inhabit the world shall understand, That nothing is better than the fear of the LORD, nothing more salutary than to obey his commandments. y Sir 1, 10–18. 24; Prv 3, 1f .

Notes:

s: Ex 20, 7; Lv 19, 12; Dt 5, 11; Mt 5, 33ff .

t: Lv 5, 4ff .

u: Sir 7, 27; Ex 20, 12; Dt 5, 16 .

v: Prv 9, 17 .

w: Is 29, 15 .

x: 21f: Lv 20, 10; Dt 22, 21 .

y: Sir 1, 10–18. 24; Prv 3, 1f .

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