278 responses of prayer about one's own sins. Such prayer, of course, involves confession and is already a part of repentance. Attacks emerging from within Sirach against Sirach are the occasion of his only personal lament.
that a guard were set over my mouth,
and a seal of prudence upon my lips, that it may keep me from falling, so that my tongue may not destroy me!
Lord, Father and Ruler of my life, do not abandon me to their counsel, and let me not fall because of them!
that whips were set over my thoughts, and the discipline of wisdom over my mind!
That they may not spare me in my errors, and that it may not pass by my sins; in order that my mistakes may not be multiplied, and my sins may not abound; then I will not fall before my adversaries, and my enemy will not rejoice over me.
Lord, Father and God of my life, do not give me haughty eyes, and remove from me evil desire.
Let neither gluttony nor lust overcome me, and do not surrender me to a shameless soul. Sirach 22:27-23:6
Motives behind Sirach's Counsel
Several of the motives for Sirach's counsel in regard to enemies are naturally akin to those of earlier sages since his view of God is so orthodox. At one point he appears to be influenced particularly by Qoheleth for he affirms that God has made everything, good and evil alike, to be fitting and appropriate.