"He That Toucheth Pitch"

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Last Updated on May 24, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 135

Context: Jeshua son of Sirach, an Israelite noted, even as Solomon was, for his wisdom, is responsible for the book of Ecclesiasticus, which contains both his original sayings and proverbs of the Hebrew tradition. The author recommends that one be wary of a proud man who will honor his friendship only as long as he profits by it. Jeshua illustrates his distrust of the proud when he says:

He that toucheth pitch shall be defiled therewith; and he that hath fellowship with a proud man shall be like unto him.
Burden not thyself above thy power while thou livest; and have no fellowship with one that is mightier and richer than thyself: for how agree the kettle and the earthen pot together? For if the one be smitten against the other, it shall be broken.

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