(ECCLESIASTICUS, OR THE WISDOM OF JESUS, SON OF SIRACH)
In Praise of Wisdom
1: All wisdom is from the Lord, and with him it remains forever.
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?
4,5: Wisdom was created before all other things, and prudent understanding from eternity.
6,7: 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
1: My 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
1: Listen 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, 19: 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
1: My 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.
31: Do not let your hand be stretched out to receive and closed when it is time to give.