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of the one in need, however, the life of a beggar is to be avoided. Begging may be sweet in the mouth of the shame- less, but by the time it reaches his stomach it causes indigestion (40:28-30).

More dangerous than the wicked needy who often become enemies are the proud rich. The rich would exploit others as long as they could, only to deride and forsake them in the end.207 Humility is disgusting to a proud man just as a poor man is to a rich man.208 Of course, such wicked

rich folk are ultimately doomed,209 may be quite dangerous.

but in the meantime they

The wicked at court. Sirach also notes the wicked in the legal realm of the community. Sometimes sinners judge a case, and the counsel of Sirach is against sitting with such a body (11:9). The role advised is that one should deliver the injured party from the power of the wrongdoer and not be timid in judgment (4:9). As a defendant the sinner would shun reproof, while as a plaintiff he would simply shop around for a decision "to his liking" (35[32]:17).

207

Sir. 13:1-7.

208

13:20; cf. v. 24.

209

21:4; 40:12-15; cf. 14:3-10.

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