Sirach 5:13

Ben Sira, Ecclesiasticus

10 Stand firm for what you know, and let your speech be consistent. 11 Be quick to hear, but deliberate in answering. 12 If you know what to say, answer your neighbor; but if not, put your hand over your mouth. 13 Honor and dishonor come from speaking, and the tongue of mortals may be their downfall. 14 Do not be called double-tongued and do not lay traps with your tongue; for shame comes to the thief, and severe condemnation to the double-tongued. 15 In great and small matters cause no harm,

James 3:6

New Testament

2 For we all stumble in many ways. If someone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect individual, able to control the entire body as well. 3 And if we put bits into the mouths of horses to get them to obey us, then we guide their entire bodies. 4 Look at ships too: Though they are so large and driven by harsh winds, they are steered by a tiny rudder wherever the pilot’s inclination directs. 5 So, too, the tongue is a small part of the body, yet it has great pretensions. Think how small a flame sets a huge forest ablaze. 6 And the tongue is a fire! The tongue represents the world of wrongdoing among the parts of our bodies. It pollutes the entire body and sets fire to the course of human existence—and is set on fire by hell. 7 For every kind of animal, bird, reptile, and sea creature is subdued and has been subdued by humankind. 8 But no human being can subdue the tongue; it is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. 9 With it we bless the Lord and Father, and with it we curse people made in God’s image.

 Notes and References

"... In 4:6, James explicitly cites Proverbs 3:34, 'God resists the haughty but gives a gift to the lowly.' And as in James' use of Leviticus 19, the influence of the original context of Proverbs 3:34 can be found throughout James 3:13-4:6 (compare Proverbs 3:19-35). James also echoes the language of Proverbs 10:12 in his statement of 5:20, that converting a sinner 'will cover a multitude of sins.' James has a number of themes whose language and content bear an unmistakable 'wisdom' coloration: the testing of the righteous person's virtue (James 1:2; see Proverbs 27:21; Sirach 2:1; Wisdom of Solomon 3:4), of which Job is the obvious paradigm (5:11; see Job 1:21-2:10); the importance of deliberation in speech (James 1:19; see Sirach 5:11; Ecclesiastes 5:1); the incompatibility of anger and true piety (James 1:20; Ecclesiastes 7:9; Proverbs 15:1); the instability of human life (James 4:14; see Proverbs 27:1; Ecclesiastes 1:1-6); the necessity and difficulty of controlling the tongue (James 1:26; 3:1-12; sec LXX Psalm 33:14; Sirach 5:13; 19:6-12; 23:7-8; 28:12); the importance of helping those in need (James 1:27; 2:14-16; see Proverbs 19:17; 21:3; 31:9, 20; Sirach 4:9; 29:8-9; 34:21-22; 35:2). Despite all these resemblances to the wisdom tradition, however, James is scarcely defined by it. James' appropriation of the legal and prophetic aspects of the biblical tradition are equally important ..."

Johnson, Luke Timothy The Letter of James: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary (p. 33) Doubleday, 1995

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