466 Parallels

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Sirach 40:28-30

The wisdom traditions of ancient Israel reflect the social crisis implicit in abject poverty and recommend death as a better option:

My child, do not lead the life of a beggar;

it is better to die than to beg.
When one looks to the table of another,
one's way of life cannot be considered a life.
One loses self-respect with another person's food,
but one who is intelligent and well instructed guards against that.
In the mouth of the shameless begging is sweet,

but it kindles a fire inside him. [Sirach 40:28-30]


Lachs [Rabbinic Commentary on the New Testament, 310] notes the lack of rabbinic parallels to this saying:

This difficult and confused parable has no parallel in rabbinic sources, although certain phrases can be traced to Semitic origins. The basic difference between the central thought of the parable and the attitude of the Rabbis is that here money is by definition evil and the rabbis differentiate between the mammon of deceit and the mammon of truth.