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Sirach 1-8,12-18

In Praise of Wisdom

1All wisdom is from the Lord,
   and with him it remains for ever.
2 The sand of the sea, the drops of rain,
   and the days of eternity—who can count them?
3 The height of heaven, the breadth of the earth,
   the abyss, and wisdom*—who can search them out?
4 Wisdom was created before all other things,
   and prudent understanding from eternity.*
6 The root of wisdom—to whom has it been revealed?
   Her subtleties—who knows them?*
8 There is but one who is wise, greatly to be feared,
   seated upon his throne—the Lord.
9 It is he who created her;
   he saw her and took her measure;
   he poured her out upon all his works,
10 upon all the living according to his gift;
   he lavished her upon those who love him.*

Fear of the Lord Is True Wisdom

11 The fear of the Lord is glory and exultation,
   and gladness and a crown of rejoicing.
12 The fear of the Lord delights the heart,
   and gives gladness and joy and long life.*
13 Those who fear the Lord will have a happy end;
   on the day of their death they will be blessed.

14 To fear the Lord is the beginning of wisdom;
   she is created with the faithful in the womb.
15 She made* among human beings an eternal foundation,
   and among their descendants she will abide faithfully.
16 To fear the Lord is fullness of wisdom;
   she inebriates mortals with her fruits;
17 she fills their* whole house with desirable goods,
   and their* storehouses with her produce.
18 The fear of the Lord is the crown of wisdom,
   making peace and perfect health to flourish.*
19 She rained down knowledge and discerning comprehension,
   and she heightened the glory of those who held her fast.
20 To fear the Lord is the root of wisdom,
   and her branches are long life.*

22 Unjust anger cannot be justified,
   for anger tips the scale to one’s ruin.
23 Those who are patient stay calm until the right moment,
   and then cheerfulness comes back to them.
24 They hold back their words until the right moment;
   then the lips of many tell of their good sense.

25 In the treasuries of wisdom are wise sayings,
   but godliness is an abomination to a sinner.
26 If you desire wisdom, keep the commandments,
   and the Lord will lavish her upon you.
27 For the fear of the Lord is wisdom and discipline,
   fidelity and humility are his delight.

28 Do not disobey the fear of the Lord;
   do not approach him with a divided mind.
29 Do not be a hypocrite before others,
   and keep watch over your lips.
30 Do not exalt yourself, or you may fall
   and bring dishonour upon yourself.
The Lord will reveal your secrets
   and overthrow you before the whole congregation,
because you did not come in the fear of the Lord,
   and your heart was full of deceit.

Duties towards God

2My child, when you come to serve the Lord,
   prepare yourself for testing.*
2 Set your heart right and be steadfast,
   and do not be impetuous in time of calamity.
3 Cling to him and do not depart,
   so that your last days may be prosperous.
4 Accept whatever befalls you,
   and in times of humiliation be patient.
5 For gold is tested in the fire,
   and those found acceptable, in the furnace of humiliation.*
6 Trust in him, and he will help you;
   make your ways straight, and hope in him.

7 You who fear the Lord, wait for his mercy;
   do not stray, or else you may fall.
8 You who fear the Lord, trust in him,
   and your reward will not be lost.
9 You who fear the Lord, hope for good things,
   for lasting joy and mercy.*
10 Consider the generations of old and see:
   has anyone trusted in the Lord and been disappointed?
Or has anyone persevered in the fear of the Lord* and been forsaken?
   Or has anyone called upon him and been neglected?
11 For the Lord is compassionate and merciful;
   he forgives sins and saves in time of distress.

12 Woe to timid hearts and to slack hands,
   and to the sinner who walks a double path!
13 Woe to the faint-hearted who have no trust!
   Therefore they will have no shelter.
14 Woe to you who have lost your nerve!
   What will you do when the Lord’s reckoning comes?

15 Those who fear the Lord do not disobey his words,
   and those who love him keep his ways.
16 Those who fear the Lord seek to please him,
   and those who love him are filled with his law.
17 Those who fear the Lord prepare their hearts,
   and humble themselves before him.
18 Let us fall into the hands of the Lord,
   but not into the hands of mortals;
for equal to his majesty is his mercy,
   and equal to his name are his works.*

Duties towards Parents

3Listen to me your father, O children;
   act accordingly, that you may be kept in safety.
2 For the Lord honours a father above his children,
   and he confirms a mother’s right over her children.
3 Those who honour their father atone for sins,
4   and those who respect their mother are like those who lay up treasure.
5 Those who honour their father will have joy in their own children,
   and when they pray they will be heard.
6 Those who respect their father will have long life,
   and those who honour* their mother obey the Lord;
7   they will serve their parents as their masters.*
8 Honour your father by word and deed,
   that his blessing may come upon you.
9 For a father’s blessing strengthens the houses of the children,
   but a mother’s curse uproots their foundations.
10 Do not glorify yourself by dishonouring your father,
   for your father’s dishonour is no glory to you.
11 The glory of one’s father is one’s own glory,
   and it is a disgrace for children not to respect their mother.

12 My child, help your father in his old age,
   and do not grieve him as long as he lives;
13 even if his mind fails, be patient with him;
   because you have all your faculties do not despise him.
14 For kindness to a father will not be forgotten,
   and will be credited to you against your sins;
15 in the day of your distress it will be remembered in your favour;
   like frost in fair weather, your sins will melt away.
16 Whoever forsakes a father is like a blasphemer,
   and whoever angers a mother is cursed by the Lord.


17 My child, perform your tasks with humility;*
   then you will be loved by those whom God accepts.
18 The greater you are, the more you must humble yourself;
   so you will find favour in the sight of the Lord.*
20 For great is the might of the Lord;
   but by the humble he is glorified.
21 Neither seek what is too difficult for you,
   nor investigate what is beyond your power.
22 Reflect upon what you have been commanded,
   for what is hidden is not your concern.
23 Do not meddle in matters that are beyond you,
   for more than you can understand has been shown to you.
24 For their conceit has led many astray,
   and wrong opinion has impaired their judgement.

25 Without eyes there is no light;
   without knowledge there is no wisdom.*
26 A stubborn mind will fare badly at the end,
   and whoever loves danger will perish in it.
27 A stubborn mind will be burdened by troubles,
   and the sinner adds sin to sins.
28 When calamity befalls the proud, there is no healing,
   for an evil plant has taken root in him.
29 The mind of the intelligent appreciates proverbs,
   and an attentive ear is the desire of the wise.

Alms for the Poor

30 As water extinguishes a blazing fire,
   so almsgiving atones for sin.
31 Those who repay favours give thought to the future;
   when they fall they will find support.

Duties towards the Poor and the Oppressed

4My child, do not cheat the poor of their living,
   and do not keep needy eyes waiting.
2 Do not grieve the hungry,
   or anger one in need.
3 Do not add to the troubles of the desperate,
   or delay giving to the needy.
4 Do not reject a suppliant in distress,
   or turn your face away from the poor.
5 Do not avert your eye from the needy,
   and give no one reason to curse you;
6 for if in bitterness of soul some should curse you,
   their Creator will hear their prayer.

7 Endear yourself to the congregation;
   bow your head low to the great.
8 Give a hearing to the poor,
   and return their greeting politely.
9 Rescue the oppressed from the oppressor;
   and do not be hesitant in giving a verdict.
10 Be a father to orphans,
   and be like a husband to their mother;
you will then be like a son of the Most High,
   and he will love you more than does your mother.

The Rewards of Wisdom

11 Wisdom teaches* her children
   and gives help to those who seek her.
12 Whoever loves her loves life,
   and those who seek her from early morning are filled with joy.
13 Whoever holds her fast inherits glory,
   and the Lord blesses the place she* enters.
14 Those who serve her minister to the Holy One;
   the Lord loves those who love her.
15 Those who obey her will judge the nations,
   and all who listen to her will live secure.
16 If they remain faithful, they will inherit her;
   their descendants will also obtain her.
17 For at first she will walk with them on tortuous paths;
   she will bring fear and dread upon them,
and will torment them by her discipline
   until she trusts them,*
and she will test them with her ordinances.
18 Then she will come straight back to them again and gladden them,
   and will reveal her secrets to them.
19 If they go astray she will forsake them,
   and hand them over to their ruin.

20 Watch for the opportune time, and beware of evil,
   and do not be ashamed to be yourself.
21 For there is a shame that leads to sin,
   and there is a shame that is glory and favour.
22 Do not show partiality, to your own harm,
   or deference, to your downfall.
23 Do not refrain from speaking at the proper moment,*
   and do not hide your wisdom.*
24 For wisdom becomes known through speech,
   and education through the words of the tongue.
25 Never speak against the truth,
   but be ashamed of your ignorance.
26 Do not be ashamed to confess your sins,
   and do not try to stop the current of a river.
27 Do not subject yourself to a fool,
   or show partiality to a ruler.
28 Fight to the death for truth,
   and the Lord God will fight for you.

29 Do not be reckless in your speech,
   or sluggish and remiss in your deeds.
30 Do not be like a lion in your home,
   or suspicious of your servants.
31 Do not let your hand be stretched out to receive
   and closed when it is time to give.

Precepts for Everyday Living

5Do not rely on your wealth,
   or say, ‘I have enough.’
2 Do not follow your inclination and strength
   in pursuing the desires of your heart.
3 Do not say, ‘Who can have power over me?’
   for the Lord will surely punish you.

4 Do not say, ‘I sinned, yet what has happened to me?’
   for the Lord is slow to anger.
5 Do not be so confident of forgiveness*
   that you add sin to sin.
6 Do not say, ‘His mercy is great,
   he will forgive* the multitude of my sins’,
for both mercy and wrath are with him,
   and his anger will rest on sinners.
7 Do not delay to turn back to the Lord,
   and do not postpone it from day to day;
for suddenly the wrath of the Lord will come upon you,
   and at the time of punishment you will perish.
8 Do not depend on dishonest wealth,
   for it will not benefit you on the day of calamity.

9 Do not winnow in every wind,
   or follow every path.*
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 neighbour;
   but if not, put your hand over your mouth.

13 Honour and dishonour 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,*

61and do not become an enemy instead of a friend;
for a bad name incurs shame and reproach;
   so it is with the double-tongued sinner.

2 Do not fall into the grip of passion,*
   or you may be torn apart as by a bull.*
3 Your leaves will be devoured and your fruit destroyed,
   and you will be left like a withered tree.
4 Evil passion destroys those who have it,
   and makes them the laughing-stock of their enemies.

Friendship, False and True

5 Pleasant speech multiplies friends,
   and a gracious tongue multiplies courtesies.
6 Let those who are friendly with you be many,
   but let your advisers be one in a thousand.
7 When you gain friends, gain them through testing,
   and do not trust them hastily.
8 For there are friends who are such when it suits them,
   but they will not stand by you in time of trouble.
9 And there are friends who change into enemies,
   and tell of the quarrel to your disgrace.
10 And there are friends who sit at your table,
   but they will not stand by you in time of trouble.
11 When you are prosperous, they become your second self,
   and lord it over your servants;
12 but if you are brought low, they turn against you,
   and hide themselves from you.
13 Keep away from your enemies,
   and be on guard with your friends.

14 Faithful friends are a sturdy shelter:
   whoever finds one has found a treasure.
15 Faithful friends are beyond price;
   no amount can balance their worth.
16 Faithful friends are life-saving medicine;
   and those who fear the Lord will find them.
17 Those who fear the Lord direct their friendship aright,
   for as they are, so are their neighbours also.

Blessings of Wisdom

18 My child, from your youth choose discipline,
   and when you have grey hair you will still find wisdom.
19 Come to her like one who ploughs and sows,
   and wait for her good harvest.
For when you cultivate her you will toil but little,
   and soon you will eat of her produce.
20 She seems very harsh to the undisciplined;
   fools cannot remain with her.
21 She will be like a heavy stone to test them,
   and they will not delay in casting her aside.
22 For wisdom is like her name;
   she is not readily perceived by many.

23 Listen, my child, and accept my judgement;
   do not reject my counsel.
24 Put your feet into her fetters,
   and your neck into her collar.
25 Bend your shoulders and carry her,
   and do not fret under her bonds.
26 Come to her with all your soul,
   and keep her ways with all your might.
27 Search out and seek, and she will become known to you;
   and when you get hold of her, do not let her go.
28 For at last you will find the rest she gives,
   and she will be changed into joy for you.
29 Then her fetters will become for you a strong defence,
   and her collar a glorious robe.
30 Her yoke* is a golden ornament,
   and her bonds a purple cord.
31 You will wear her like a glorious robe,
   and put her on like a splendid crown.*

32 If you are willing, my child, you can be disciplined,
   and if you apply yourself you will become clever.
33 If you love to listen you will gain knowledge,
   and if you pay attention you will become wise.
34 Stand in the company of the elders.
   Who is wise? Attach yourself to such a one.
35 Be ready to listen to every godly discourse,
   and let no wise proverbs escape you.
36 If you see an intelligent person, rise early to visit him;
   let your foot wear out his doorstep.
37 Reflect on the statutes of the Lord,
   and meditate at all times on his commandments.
It is he who will give insight to* your mind,
   and your desire for wisdom will be granted.

Miscellaneous Advice

7Do no evil, and evil will never overtake you.
2 Stay away from wrong, and it will turn away from you.
3 Do* not sow in the furrows of injustice,
   and you will not reap a sevenfold crop.

4 Do not seek from the Lord high office,
   or the seat of honour from the king.
5 Do not assert your righteousness before the Lord,
   or display your wisdom before the king.
6 Do not seek to become a judge,
   or you may be unable to root out injustice;
you may be partial to the powerful,
   and so mar your integrity.
7 Commit no offence against the public,
   and do not disgrace yourself among the people.

8 Do not commit a sin twice;
   not even for one will you go unpunished.
9 Do not say, ‘He will consider the great number of my gifts,
   and when I make an offering to the Most High God, he will accept it.’
10 Do not grow weary when you pray;
   do not neglect to give alms.
11 Do not ridicule a person who is embittered in spirit,
   for there is One who humbles and exalts.
12 Do not devise* a lie against your brother,
   or do the same to a friend.
13 Refuse to utter any lie,
   for it is a habit that results in no good.
14 Do not babble in the assembly of the elders,
   and do not repeat yourself when you pray.

15 Do not hate hard labour
   or farm work, which was created by the Most High.
16 Do not enrol in the ranks of sinners;
   remember that retribution does not delay.
17 Humble yourself to the utmost,
   for the punishment of the ungodly is fire and worms.*

Relations with Others

18 Do not exchange a friend for money,
   or a real brother for the gold of Ophir.
19 Do not dismiss* a wise and good wife,
   for her charm is worth more than gold.
20 Do not abuse slaves who work faithfully,
   or hired labourers who devote themselves to their task.
21 Let your soul love intelligent slaves;*
   do not withhold from them their freedom.

22 Do you have cattle? Look after them;
   if they are profitable to you, keep them.
23 Do you have children? Discipline them,
   and make them obedient* from their youth.
24 Do you have daughters? Be concerned for their chastity,*
   and do not show yourself too indulgent with them.
25 Give a daughter in marriage, and you complete a great task;
   but give her to a sensible man.
26 Do you have a wife who pleases you?* Do not divorce her;
   but do not trust yourself to one whom you detest.

27 With all your heart honour your father,
   and do not forget the birth pangs of your mother.
28 Remember that it was of your parents* you were born;
   how can you repay what they have given to you?

29 With all your soul fear the Lord,
   and revere his priests.
30 With all your might love your Maker,
   and do not neglect his ministers.
31 Fear the Lord and honour the priest,
   and give him his portion, as you have been commanded:
the first fruits, the guilt-offering, the gift of the shoulders,
   the sacrifice of sanctification, and the first fruits of the holy things.

32 Stretch out your hand to the poor,
   so that your blessing may be complete.
33 Give graciously to all the living;
   do not withhold kindness even from the dead.
34 Do not avoid those who weep,
   but mourn with those who mourn.
35 Do not hesitate to visit the sick,
   because for such deeds you will be loved.
36 In all you do, remember the end of your life,
   and then you will never sin.

Prudence and Common Sense

8Do not contend with the powerful,
   or you may fall into their hands.
2 Do not quarrel with the rich,
   in case their resources outweigh yours;
for gold has ruined many,
   and has perverted the minds of kings.
3 Do not argue with the loud of mouth,
   and do not heap wood on their fire.

4 Do not make fun of one who is ill-bred,
   or your ancestors may be insulted.
5 Do not reproach one who is turning away from sin;
   remember that we all deserve punishment.
6 Do not disdain one who is old,
   for some of us are also growing old.
7 Do not rejoice over anyone’s death;
   remember that we must all die.

8 Do not slight the discourse of the sages,
   but busy yourself with their maxims;
because from them you will learn discipline
   and how to serve princes.
9 Do not ignore the discourse of the aged,
   for they themselves learned from their parents;*
from them you learn how to understand
   and to give an answer when the need arises.

10 Do not kindle the coals of sinners,
   or you may be burned in their flaming fire.
11 Do not let the insolent bring you to your feet,
   or they may lie in ambush against your words.
12 Do not lend to one who is stronger than you;
   but if you do lend anything, count it as a loss.
13 Do not give surety beyond your means;
   but if you give surety, be prepared to pay.

14 Do not go to law against a judge,
   for the decision will favour him because of his standing.
15 Do not go travelling with the reckless,
   or they will be burdensome to you;
for they will act as they please,
   and through their folly you will perish with them.
16 Do not pick a fight with the quick-tempered,
   and do not journey with them through lonely country,
because bloodshed means nothing to them,
   and where no help is at hand they will strike you down.
17 Do not consult with fools,
   for they cannot keep a secret.
18 In the presence of strangers do nothing that is to be kept secret,
   for you do not know what they will divulge.*
19 Do not reveal your thoughts to anyone,
   or you may drive away your happiness.*

12If you do good, know to whom you do it,
   and you will be thanked for your good deeds.
2 Do good to the devout, and you will be repaid—
   if not by them, certainly by the Most High.
3 No good comes to one who persists in evil
   or to one who does not give alms.
4 Give to the devout, but do not help the sinner.
5   Do good to the humble, but do not give to the ungodly;
hold back their bread, and do not give it to them,
   for by means of it they might subdue you;
then you will receive twice as much evil
   for all the good you have done to them.
6 For the Most High also hates sinners
   and will inflict punishment on the ungodly.*
7 Give to one who is good, but do not help the sinner.
8 A friend is not known* in prosperity,
   nor is an enemy hidden in adversity.
9 One’s enemies are friendly* when one prospers,
   but in adversity even one’s friend disappears.
10 Never trust your enemy,
   for like corrosion in copper, so is his wickedness.
11 Even if he humbles himself and walks bowed down,
   take care to be on your guard against him.
Be to him like one who polishes a mirror,
   to be sure it does not become completely tarnished.
12 Do not put him next to you,
   or he may overthrow you and take your place.
Do not let him sit at your right hand,
   or else he may try to take your own seat,
and at last you will realize the truth of my words,
   and be stung by what I have said.

13 Who pities a snake-charmer when he is bitten,
   or all those who go near wild animals?
14 So no one pities a person who associates with a sinner
   and becomes involved in the other’s sins.
15 He stands by you for a while,
   but if you falter, he will not be there.
16 An enemy speaks sweetly with his lips,
   but in his heart he plans to throw you into a pit;
an enemy may have tears in his eyes,
   but if he finds an opportunity he will never have enough of your blood.
17 If evil comes upon you, you will find him there ahead of you;
   pretending to help, he will trip you up.
18 Then he will shake his head, and clap his hands,
   and whisper much, and show his true face.

Caution Regarding Associates

13Whoever touches pitch gets dirty,
   and whoever associates with a proud person becomes like him.
2 Do not lift a weight too heavy for you,
   or associate with one mightier and richer than you.
How can the clay pot associate with the iron kettle?
   The pot will strike against it and be smashed.
3 A rich person does wrong, and even adds insults;
   a poor person suffers wrong, and must add apologies.
4 A rich person* will exploit you if you can be of use to him,
   but if you are in need he will abandon you.
5 If you own something, he will live with you;
   he will drain your resources without a qualm.
6 When he needs you he will deceive you,
   and will smile at you and encourage you;
   he will speak to you kindly and say, ‘What do you need?’
7 He will embarrass you with his delicacies,
   until he has drained you two or three times,
   and finally he will laugh at you.
Should he see you afterwards, he will pass you by
   and shake his head at you.

8 Take care not to be led astray
   and humiliated when you are enjoying yourself.*
9 When an influential person invites you, be reserved,
   and he will invite you more insistently.
10 Do not be forward, or you may be rebuffed;
   do not stand aloof, or you will be forgotten.
11 Do not try to treat him as an equal,
   or trust his lengthy conversations;
for he will test you by prolonged talk,
   and while he smiles he will be examining you.
12 Cruel are those who do not keep your secrets;
   they will not spare you harm or imprisonment.
13 Be on your guard and very careful,
   for you are walking about with your own downfall.*

15 Every creature loves its like,
   and every person a neighbour.
16 All living beings associate with their own kind,
   and people stick close to those like themselves.
17 What does a wolf have in common with a lamb?
   No more has a sinner with the devout.
18 What peace is there between a hyena and a dog?
   And what peace between the rich and the poor?
19 Wild asses in the wilderness are the prey of lions;
   likewise the poor are feeding-grounds for the rich.
20 Humility is an abomination to the proud;
   likewise the poor are an abomination to the rich.

21 When the rich person totters, he is supported by friends,
   but when the humble* falls, he is pushed away even by friends.
22 If the rich person slips, many come to the rescue;
   he speaks unseemly words, but they justify him.
If the humble person slips, they even criticize him;
   he talks sense, but is not given a hearing.
23 The rich person speaks and all are silent;
   they extol to the clouds what he says.
The poor person speaks and they say, ‘Who is this fellow?’
   And should he stumble, they even push him down.
24 Riches are good if they are free from sin;
   poverty is evil only in the opinion of the ungodly.

25 The heart changes the countenance,
   either for good or for evil.*
26 The sign of a happy heart is a cheerful face,
   but to devise proverbs requires painful thinking.

14Happy are those who do not blunder with their lips,
   and need not suffer remorse for sin.
2 Happy are those whose hearts do not condemn them,
   and who have not given up their hope.

Responsible Use of Wealth

3 Riches are inappropriate for a small-minded person;
   and of what use is wealth to a miser?
4 What he denies himself he collects for others;
   and others will live in luxury on his goods.
5 If one is mean to himself, to whom will he be generous?
   He will not enjoy his own riches.
6 No one is worse than one who is grudging to himself;
   this is the punishment for his meanness.
7 If ever he does good, it is by mistake;
   and in the end he reveals his meanness.
8 The miser is an evil person;
   he turns away and disregards people.
9 The eye of the greedy person is not satisfied with his share;
   greedy injustice withers the soul.
10 A miser begrudges bread,
   and it is lacking at his table.

11 My child, treat yourself well, according to your means,
   and present worthy offerings to the Lord.
12 Remember that death does not tarry,
   and the decree* of Hades has not been shown to you.
13 Do good to friends before you die,
   and reach out and give to them as much as you can.
14 Do not deprive yourself of a day’s enjoyment;
   do not let your share of desired good pass by you.
15 Will you not leave the fruit of your labours to another,
   and what you acquired by toil to be divided by lot?
16 Give, and take, and indulge yourself,
   because in Hades one cannot look for luxury.
17 All living beings become old like a garment,
   for the decree* from of old is, ‘You must die!’
18 Like abundant leaves on a spreading tree
   that sheds some and puts forth others,
so are the generations of flesh and blood:
   one dies and another is born.
19 Every work decays and ceases to exist,
   and the one who made it will pass away with it.

The Happiness of Seeking Wisdom

20 Happy is the person who meditates on* wisdom
   and reasons intelligently,
21 who* reflects in his heart on her ways
   and ponders her secrets,
22 pursuing her like a hunter,
   and lying in wait on her paths;
23 who peers through her windows
   and listens at her doors;
24 who camps near her house
   and fastens his tent-peg to her walls;
25 who pitches his tent near her,
   and so occupies an excellent lodging-place;
26 who places his children under her shelter,
   and lodges under her boughs;
27 who is sheltered by her from the heat,
   and dwells in the midst of her glory.

15Whoever fears the Lord will do this,
   and whoever holds to the law will obtain wisdom.*
2 She will come to meet him like a mother,
   and like a young bride she will welcome him.
3 She will feed him with the bread of learning,
   and give him the water of wisdom to drink.
4 He will lean on her and not fall,
   and he will rely on her and not be put to shame.
5 She will exalt him above his neighbours,
   and will open his mouth in the midst of the assembly.
6 He will find gladness and a crown of rejoicing,
   and will inherit an everlasting name.
7 The foolish will not obtain her,
   and sinners will not see her.
8 She is far from arrogance,
   and liars will never think of her.
9 Praise is unseemly on the lips of a sinner,
   for it has not been sent from the Lord.
10 For in wisdom must praise be uttered,
   and the Lord will make it prosper.

Freedom of Choice

11 Do not say, ‘It was the Lord’s doing that I fell away’;
   for he does not do* what he hates.
12 Do not say, ‘It was he who led me astray’;
   for he has no need of the sinful.
13 The Lord hates all abominations;
   such things are not loved by those who fear him.
14 It was he who created humankind in the beginning,
   and he left them in the power of their own free choice.
15 If you choose, you can keep the commandments,
   and to act faithfully is a matter of your own choice.
16 He has placed before you fire and water;
   stretch out your hand for whichever you choose.
17 Before each person are life and death,
   and whichever one chooses will be given.
18 For great is the wisdom of the Lord;
   he is mighty in power and sees everything;
19 his eyes are on those who fear him,
   and he knows every human action.
20 He has not commanded anyone to be wicked,
   and he has not given anyone permission to sin.

God’s Punishment of Sinners

16Do not desire a multitude of worthless* children,
   and do not rejoice in ungodly offspring.
2 If they multiply, do not rejoice in them,
   unless the fear of the Lord is in them.
3 Do not trust in their survival,
   or rely on their numbers;*
for one can be better than a thousand,
   and to die childless is better than to have ungodly children.
4 For through one intelligent person a city can be filled with people,
   but through a clan of outlaws it becomes desolate.

5 Many such things my eye has seen,
   and my ear has heard things more striking than these.
6 In an assembly of sinners a fire is kindled,
   and in a disobedient nation wrath blazes up.
7 He did not forgive the ancient giants
   who revolted in their might.
8 He did not spare the neighbours of Lot,
   whom he loathed on account of their arrogance.
9 He showed no pity on the doomed nation,
   on those dispossessed because of their sins;*
10 or on the six hundred thousand foot-soldiers
   who assembled in their stubbornness.*
11 Even if there were only one stiff-necked person,
   it would be a wonder if he remained unpunished.
For mercy and wrath are with the Lord;*
   he is mighty to forgive—but he also pours out wrath.
12 Great as is his mercy, so also is his chastisement;
   he judges a person according to his or her deeds.
13 The sinner will not escape with plunder,
   and the patience of the godly will not be frustrated.
14 He makes room for every act of mercy;
   everyone receives in accordance with his or her deeds.*

17 Do not say, ‘I am hidden from the Lord,
   and who from on high has me in mind?
Among so many people I am unknown,
   for what am I in a boundless creation?
18 Lo, heaven and the highest heaven,
   the abyss and the earth, tremble at his visitation!*
19 The very mountains and the foundations of the earth
   quiver and quake when he looks upon them.
20 But no human mind can grasp this,
   and who can comprehend his ways?
21 Like a tempest that no one can see,
   so most of his works are concealed.*
22 Who is to announce his acts of justice?
   Or who can await them? For his decree* is far off.’*
23 Such are the thoughts of one devoid of understanding;
   a senseless and misguided person thinks foolishly.

God’s Wisdom Seen in Creation

24 Listen to me, my child, and acquire knowledge,
   and pay close attention to my words.
25 I will impart discipline precisely*
   and declare knowledge accurately.

26 When the Lord created* his works from the beginning,
   and, in making them, determined their boundaries,
27 he arranged his works in an eternal order,
   and their dominion* for all generations.
They neither hunger nor grow weary,
   and they do not abandon their tasks.
28 They do not crowd one another,
   and they never disobey his word.
29 Then the Lord looked upon the earth,
   and filled it with his good things.
30 With all kinds of living beings he covered its surface,
   and into it they must return.

17The Lord created human beings out of earth,
   and makes them return to it again.
2 He gave them a fixed number of days,
   but granted them authority over everything on the earth.*
3 He endowed them with strength like his own,*
   and made them in his own image.
4 He put the fear of them* in all living beings,
   and gave them dominion over beasts and birds.*
6 Discretion and tongue and eyes,
   ears and a mind for thinking he gave them.
7 He filled them with knowledge and understanding,
   and showed them good and evil.
8 He put the fear of him into* their hearts
   to show them the majesty of his works.*
10 And they will praise his holy name,
9   to proclaim the grandeur of his works.
11 He bestowed knowledge upon them,
   and allotted to them the law of life.*
12 He established with them an eternal covenant,
   and revealed to them his decrees.
13 Their eyes saw his glorious majesty,
   and their ears heard the glory of his voice.
14 He said to them, ‘Beware of all evil.’
   And he gave commandment to each of them concerning a neighbour.
15 Their ways are always known to him;
   they will not be hid from his eyes.*
17 He appointed a ruler for every nation,
   but Israel is the Lord’s own portion.*
19 All their works are as clear as the sun before him,
   and his eyes are ever upon their ways.
20 Their iniquities are not hidden from him,
   and all their sins are before the Lord.*
22 One’s almsgiving is like a signet ring with the Lord,*
   and he will keep a person’s kindness like the apple of his eye.*
23 Afterwards he will rise up and repay them,
   and he will bring their recompense on their heads.
24 Yet to those who repent he grants a return,
   and he encourages those who are losing hope.

A Call to Repentance

25 Turn back to the Lord and forsake your sins;
   pray in his presence and lessen your offence.
26 Return to the Most High and turn away from iniquity,*
   and hate intensely what he abhors.
27 Who will sing praises to the Most High in Hades
   in place of the living who give thanks?
28 From the dead, as from one who does not exist, thanksgiving has ceased;
   those who are alive and well sing the Lord’s praises.
29 How great is the mercy of the Lord,
   and his forgiveness for those who return to him!
30 For not everything is within human capability,
   since human beings are not immortal.
31 What is brighter than the sun? Yet it can be eclipsed.
   So flesh and blood devise evil.
32 He marshals the host of the height of heaven;
   but all human beings are dust and ashes.

The Majesty of God

18He who lives for ever created the whole universe;
2   the Lord alone is just.*
4 To none has he given power to proclaim his works;
   and who can search out his mighty deeds?
5 Who can measure his majestic power?
   And who can fully recount his mercies?
6 It is not possible to diminish or increase them,
   nor is it possible to fathom the wonders of the Lord.
7 When human beings have finished, they are just beginning,
   and when they stop, they are still perplexed.
8 What are human beings, and of what use are they?
   What is good in them, and what is evil?
9 The number of days in their life is great if they reach one hundred years.*
10 Like a drop of water from the sea and a grain of sand,
   so are a few years among the days of eternity.
11 That is why the Lord is patient with them
   and pours out his mercy upon them.
12 He sees and recognizes that their end is miserable;
   therefore he grants them forgiveness all the more.
13 The compassion of human beings is for their neighbours,
   but the compassion of the Lord is for every living thing.
He rebukes and trains and teaches them,
   and turns them back, as a shepherd his flock.
14 He has compassion on those who accept his discipline
   and who are eager for his precepts.

The Right Spirit in Giving Alms

15 My child, do not mix reproach with your good deeds,
   or spoil your gift by harsh words.
16 Does not the dew give relief from the scorching heat?
   So a word is better than a gift.
17 Indeed, does not a word surpass a good gift?
   Both are to be found in a gracious person.
18 A fool is ungracious and abusive,
   and the gift of a grudging giver makes the eyes dim.

The Need for Reflection and Self-Control

19 Before you speak, learn;
   and before you fall ill, take care of your health.
20 Before judgement comes, examine yourself;
   and at the time of scrutiny you will find forgiveness.
21 Before falling ill, humble yourself;
   and when you have sinned, repent.
22 Let nothing hinder you from paying a vow promptly,
   and do not wait until death to be released from it.
23 Before making a vow, prepare yourself;
   do not be like one who puts the Lord to the test.
24 Think of his wrath on the day of death,
   and of the moment of vengeance when he turns away his face.
25 In the time of plenty think of the time of hunger;
   in days of wealth think of poverty and need.
26 From morning to evening conditions change;
   all things move swiftly before the Lord.

27 One who is wise is cautious in everything;
   when sin is all around, one guards against wrongdoing.
28 Every intelligent person knows wisdom,
   and praises one who finds her.
29 Those who are skilled in words become wise themselves,
   and pour forth apt proverbs.*

Self-Control *

30 Do not follow your base desires,
   but restrain your appetites.
31 If you allow your soul to take pleasure in base desire,
   it will make you the laughing-stock of your enemies.
32 Do not revel in great luxury,
   or you may become impoverished by its expense.
33 Do not become a beggar by feasting with borrowed money
   when you have nothing in your purse.*


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2 April 2021

From the oremus Bible Browser v2.5.2 2 April 2021.