Ecclesiasticus xxiii.

Notes & Commentary:

Ver. 1. By them. Viz., the tongue and the lips, mentioned in the last verse of the foregoing chapter. (Challoner) — We cannot resist of ourselves, and must therefore pray to God. (Worthington) — We have need of a good master to correct our eagerness in speaking. (Calmet)

Ver. 2. Ignorances, &c. That is, that the scourges and discipline of wisdom may restrain the ignorances, that is, the slips and offences which are usually committed by the tongue and the lips. (Challoner) — The tongue is a restless evil, James iii. 8.

Ver. 3. Over me. The noblest motives are not always proposed first.

Ver. 5. Eyes. God never makes such presents, but he permits us to fall in punishment of former transgressions. (Calmet) — Coveting. Greek, “from thy servants all giant-like affection. Vain hopes and desires remove from me; and thou shalt possess him who wishes to serve thee without ceasing.” (Grabe) (Haydock)

Ver. 6. Foolish, (infrunit√¶) is used in this sense by Seneca. (Calmet) — Greek has not this epithet. The title, “instruction of the mouth,” follows, (Haydock) to ver. 20. (Calmet)

Ver. 10. Them. Alexandrian Greek has only (9.) “swearing, (10.) and have not a custom of naming the Most High.” Other editions have “the holy one.” (Haydock) — Rash and false oaths are forbidden, Jeremias iv., and Matthew v. (Worthington)

Ver. 11. Sin. “No swearing is secure.” (St. Augustine) — Slaves were forced to confess the truth by torments; free-men took an oath; and priests gave their word. (Plut.[Plutarch?] Prob.)

Ver. 13. Dissemble. Greek, “despise.” He will be punished, at least, by God. (Calmet)

Ver. 14. In vain. Without a design to execute, (Grotius) or through levity, or rather falsely, Exodus xxiii. 1., and Deuteronomy v. 11.

Ver. 15. Opposite. Or equal. Greek, “clothed with death.” He denotes blasphemy, (Leviticus xxiv. 14.) or the invitation to idolatry, (Deuteronomy xiii. 1.) or calumny, ver. 17., and Leviticus xix. 12. (Calmet) — In oaths God is called to witness, as being unable to deceive. But blasphemy attributes to him or to others what does not belong to them. (Worthington)

Ver. 16. Merciful. Or true believers, Assideans, 1 Machabees ii. 42.

Ver. 17. Of sin. A Hebrew idiom, to imply something criminal. Those who have laid aside shame, are capable of any wickedness.

Ver. 18. Men. Treat thy parents with no less regard, (Calmet) even though thou shouldst be exalted in dignity. (Lyr.[Lyranus?]) —Thus thou wilt be rewarded, (Calmet) of if thou transgress, wilt be brought to judgment. (Bossuet) — Greek, “thou shalt sit,” &c. (Haydock)

Ver. 19. Nativity. Wish not that thou hadst not been born of such parents. (Grotius)

Ver. 20. Life. For who will admonish him?

Ver. 21. Two. The first is a passionate man, (ver. 22.) the second a libertine, (ver. 23.) and the third an adulterer, ver. 25. (Calmet)

Ver. 22. Hot. With any furious passion, (Vatable) or anger, (Calmet) avarice, (Worthington) or lust. (Menochius)

Ver. 23. Mouth. Greek, “body.” — Fire. Shameful diseases will come upon him, chap. xix. 3. His brutal passion will never be satiated. (Calmet)

Ver. 24. Sweet. He is not delicate in his choice. (Haydock) — All obstacles increase his irregular desires, Proverbs ix. 17. (Calmet)

Ver. 27. And. Greek, “the eyes of men are his dread.” (Haydock) — Such is the folly of the adulterer!

Ver. 30. And he. Greek, “and where,” &c. He shall be stoned, Leviticus xx. 10. (Calmet) — Taken. Greek subjoins (ver. 32.) “so,” &c. (Haydock) — If carnal adultery be thus punished, how much more will spiritual adultery, schism, and apostacy from the Catholic religion? (Worthington)

Ver. 38. Shall. Greek, “that thou shouldst be taken under his protection.” (Haydock)

Bible Text & Cross-references:

A prayer for grace to flee sin: cautions against profane swearing and other vices.

1 O Lord Father, and Sovereign Ruler of my life, leave me not to their counsel: nor suffer me to fall by them.

2 Who will set scourges over my thoughts, and the discipline of wisdom over my heart, that they spare me not in their ignorances, and that their sins may not appear:

3 Lest my ignorance increase, and my offences be multiplied, and my sins abound, and I fall before my adversaries, and my enemy rejoice over me?

4 O Lord Father, and God of my life, leave me not to their devices.

5 Give me not haughtiness of my eyes, and turn away from me all coveting.

6 Take from me the greediness of the belly, and let not the lusts of the flesh take hold of me, and give me not over to a shameless and foolish mind.

7 Hear, O ye children, the discipline of the mouth: and he that will keep it, shall not perish by his lips, nor be brought to fall into most wicked works.

8 A sinner is caught in his own vanity, and the proud and the evil speakers shall fall thereby.

9 *Let not thy mouth be accustomed to swearing: for in it there are many falls.

10 And let not the naming of God be usual in thy mouth, and meddle not with the names of saints, for thou shalt not escape free from them.

11 For as a slave daily put to the question, is never without a blue mark: so every one that sweareth, and nameth, shall not be wholly pure from sin.

12 A man that sweareth much, shall be filled with iniquity, and a scourge shall not depart from his house.

13 And if he make it void, his sin shall be upon him: and if he dissemble it, he offendeth double:

14 And if he swear in vain, he shall not be justified: for his house shall be filled with his punishment.

15 There is also another speech opposite to death, let it not be found in the inheritance of Jacob.

16 For from the merciful all these things shall be taken away, and they shall not wallow in sins.

17 Let not thy mouth be accustomed to indiscreet speech: for therein is the word of sin.

18 Remember thy father and thy mother, for thou sittest is the midst of great men;

19 Lest God forget thee in their sight, and thou, by thy daily custom, be infatuated and suffer reproach: and wish that thou hadst not been born, and curse the day of thy nativity.

20 *The man that is accustomed to opprobrious words, will never be corrected all the days of his life.

21 Two sorts of men multiply sins, and the third bringeth wrath and destruction.

22 A hot soul is a burning fire, it will never be quenched, till it devour something.

23 And a man that is wicked in the mouth of his flesh, will not leave off till he hath kindled a fire.

24 To a man that is a fornicator, all bread is sweet; he will not be weary of sinning unto the end.

25 Every man that passeth beyond his own bed, despising his own soul, and saying: *Who seeth me?

26 Darkness compasseth me about, and the walls cover me, and no man seeth me: whom do I fear? the Most High will not remember my sins.

27 And he understandeth not that his eye seeth all things, for such a man’s fear driveth from him the fear of God, and the eyes of men fearing him:

28 And he knoweth not that the eyes of the Lord are far brighter than the sun, beholding round about all the ways of men, and the bottom of the deep, and looking into the hearts of men, into the most hidden parts.

29 For all things were known to the Lord God before they were created: so also, after they were perfected, he beholdeth all things.

30 This man shall be punished in the streets of the city, and he shall be chased as a colt: and where he suspected not, he shall be taken.

31 And he shall be in disgrace with all men, because he understood not the fear of the Lord.

32 *So every woman also that leaveth her husband, and bringeth in an heir by another:

33 For first she hath been unfaithful to the law of the Most High: and secondly, she hath offended against her husband: thirdly, she hath fornicated in adultery, and hath gotten her children of another man.

34 This woman shall be brought into the assembly, and inquisition shall be made of her children.

35 Her children shall not take root, and her branches shall bring forth no fruit.

36 She shall leave her memory to be cursed, and her infamy shall not be blotted out.

37 And they that remain shall know, that there is nothing better than the fear of God: and that there is nothing sweeter than to have regard to the commandments of the Lord.

38 It is great glory to follow the Lord: for length of days shall be received from him.



9: Exodus xx. 7.; Matthew v. 33.

20: 2 Kings xvi. 7.

25: Isaias xxix. 15.

32: Leviticus xx. 10.; Deuteronomy xxii. 21.