The Holy Bible – Knox Translation
The Book of Ecclesiasticus
Heart full of kindness and hand full of comfort will keep the commandment, Lend to thy neighbour.
Neighbour must borrow easily when he needs, must repay readily when his need is over.
Keep thy bond, deal faithfully, and thou shalt never lack.
Out upon the man that treats loan as treasure trove, and is a burden to his benefactor!
What, kiss the hand that gives, and make humble promises of repayment;
then, when the debt falls due, ask for grace, and complain peevishly of hard times?
Pay grudgingly when pay thou canst, offer but half the sum, and count it a windfall for the lender?
Or, if thou canst not, disown the debt and make an enemy of him,
rewarding thy benefactor not with due honour, but with angry curse and reproach?
What wonder if many refuse to lend, not churlishly but for fear of wilful wrong?
Yet I would have thee patient with needy folk; do not keep them waiting for thy charity;
befriend them, as the law commands, nor ever send them away in their misery empty-handed.
It is thy brother, thy friend that asks; better lose thy money than leave it to rust in a vault.
Lay up store for thyself by obeying the commandments of the most High; more than gold it shall profit thee;
the good deed treasured in poor men’s hearts shall ransom thee from all harm,
shall more avail than stout shield or lance
to ward off thy enemies.
Kindness bids thee go bail for thy neighbour; he has lost all shame if he plays thee false.✻
And if another goes bail for thee, do not forget the benefit done thee; he gave his life for thine.
It is right foully done to play a surety false;
wouldst thou treat his goods as if they were thy own? Wouldst thou, ungrateful wretch, leave thy ransomer to suffer for it?
Men have gone bail ere now for shameless friends that so abandoned them.
By going bail for scoundrels, men of good fortune have fallen upon ruin and shipwreck;
men that held their heads high must now wander far and wide, exiles in strange countries.
Leave godless sinners to become sureties to their ruin; men that take rash ventures to fall into the law’s clutches.
For thyself, relieve thy neighbour as thy means allow, but never to thy own entanglement.
What are man’s first needs? Water, and bread, and clothing, and the privacy of a home.
Better the poor man’s fare under his roof of bare boards, than to be guest at a splendid banquet, and home have none.
Make much of the little thou hast; never be it thine to bear the reproach of a wanderer.
A wretched life it is, passing on from house to house to find a welcome; that welcome found, thou wilt lack all confidence, and sit there mumchance.
Then, when thou hast helped to entertain, with food and drink, the guests that owe thee no thanks, thou wilt have a poor reward for it:
Up, wanderer! Lay me a fresh table, and what lies before thee hand to others;
I have honoured guests coming, and thou must make way for them; a kinsman of mine stands in need of my hospitality!
Bitter words for an honest man to hear; shall he owe his bread to one that reviles him as homeless?
The Holy Bible