Saturday, 30 September 2017

Day 214: Sirach 27 - 30


Chapter 27

1: Many have committed sin for gain, and those who seek to get rich will avert their eyes. 
2: As a stake is driven firmly into a fissure between stones, so sin is wedged in between selling and buying. 
3: If a person is not steadfast in the fear of the Lord, his house will be quickly overthrown. 
4: When a sieve is shaken, the refuse appears; so do a person’s faults when he speaks. 
5: The kiln tests the potter’s vessels; so the test of a person is in his conversation. 
6: Its fruit discloses the cultivation of a tree; so a person’s speech discloses the cultivation of his mind. 
7: Do not praise anyone before he speaks, for this is the way people are tested. 
8: If you pursue justice, you will attain it and wear it like a glorious robe. 
9: Birds roost with their own kind, so honesty comes home to those who practise it. 
10: A lion lies in wait for prey; so does sin for evildoers. 
11: The conversation of the godly is always wise, but the fool changes like the moon. 
12: Among stupid people limit your time, but among thoughtful people linger on. 
13: The talk of fools is offensive, and their laughter is wantonly sinful. 
14: Their cursing and swearing make one’s hair stand on end, and their quarrels make others stop their ears. 
15: The strife of the proud leads to bloodshed and their abuse is grievous to hear. 
16: Whoever betrays secrets destroys confidence, and will never find a congenial friend. 
17: Love your friend and keep faith with him; but if you betray his secrets, do not follow after him. 
18: For as a person destroys his enemy, so you have destroyed the friendship of your neighbour. 
19: And as you allow a bird to escape from your hand,
so you have let your neighbour go, and will not catch him again. 
20: Do not go after him, for he is too far off, and has escaped like a gazelle from a snare. 
21: For a wound may be bandaged, and there is reconciliation after abuse, but whoever has betrayed secrets is without hope. 
22: Whoever winks the eye plots mischief, and those who know him will keep their distance. 
23: In your presence his mouth is all sweetness, and he admires your words; but later he will twist his speech and with your own words he will trip you up. 
24: I have hated many things, but him above all; even the Lord hates him. 
25: Whoever throws a stone straight up throws it on his own head, and a treacherous low opens up many wounds. 
26: Whoever digs a pit will fall into it, and whoever sets a snare will be caught in it. 
27: If a person does evil, it will roll back upon him, and he will not know where it came from. 
28: Mockery and abuse issue from the proud, but vengeance lies in wait for them like a lion. 
29: Those who rejoice in the fall of the godly will be caught in a snare, and pain will consume them before their death. 
30: Anger and wrath, these also are abominations, yet a sinner holds on to them.
Chapter 28

1: The vengeful will face the Lord’s vengeance, for he keeps a strict account of* their sins. 
2: Forgive your neighbour the wrong he has done, and then your sins will be pardoned when you pray. 
3: Does anyone harbour anger against another, and expect healing from the Lord? 
4: If someone has no mercy towards another like himself, can he then seek pardon for his own sins? 
5: If a mere mortal harbours wrath, who will make an atoning sacrifice for his sins? 
6: Remember the end of your life, and set enmity aside; remember corruption and death, and be true to the commandments. 
7: Remember the commandments, and do not be angry with your neighbour; remember the covenant of the Most High, and overlook faults. 
8: Refrain from strife, and your sins will be fewer; for the hot-tempered kindle strife, 
9: and the sinner disrupts friendships and sows discord among those who are at peace. 
10: In proportion to the fuel, so will the fire burn, and in proportion to the obstinacy, so will strife increase; in proportion to a person’s strength will be his anger, and in proportion to his wealth he will increase his wrath. 
11: A hasty quarrel kindles a fire, and a hasty dispute sheds blood.
12: If you blow on a spark, it will glow; if you spit on it, it will be put out; yet both come out of your mouth. 
13: Curse the gossips and the double-tongued, for they destroy the peace of many. 
14: Slander has shaken many, and scattered them from nation to nation; it has destroyed strong cities, and overturned the houses of the great. 
15: Slander has driven virtuous women from their homes, and deprived them of the fruit of their toil. 
16: Those who pay heed to slander will not find rest, nor will they settle down in peace. 
17: The blow of a whip raises a welt, but a blow of the tongue crushes the bones. 
18: Many have fallen by the edge of the sword, but not as many as have fallen because of the tongue. 
19: Happy is one who is protected from it, who has not been exposed to its anger, who has not borne its yoke, and has not been bound with its fetters. 
20: For its yoke is a yoke of iron, and its fetters are fetters of bronze; 
21: its death is an evil death, and Hades is preferable to it. 
22: It has no power over the godly; they will not be burned in its flame. 
23: Those who forsake the Lord will fall into its power; it will burn among them and will not be put out. It will be sent out against them like a lion; like a leopard it will mangle them.
24a: As you fence in your property with thorns,
25b: so make a door and a bolt for your mouth.
24b: As you lock up your silver and gold,
25a: so make balances and scales for your words. 
26: Take care not to err with your tongue, and fall victim to one lying in wait. 

Chapter 29

1: The merciful lend to their neighbours; by holding out a helping hand they keep the commandments. 
2: Lend to your neighbour in his time of need; repay your neighbour when a loan falls due. 
3: Keep your promise and be honest with him, and on every occasion you will find what you need. 
4: Many regard a loan as a windfall, and cause trouble to those who help them. 
5: One kisses another’s hands until he gets a loan, and is deferential in speaking of his neighbour’s money; but at the time for repayment he delays, and pays back with empty promises, and finds fault with the time. 
6: If he can pay, his creditor* will hardly get back half, and will regard that as a windfall.
If he cannot pay, the borrower
* has robbed the other of his money, and he has needlessly made him an enemy; he will repay him with curses and reproaches, and instead of glory will repay him with dishonour. 
7: Many refuse to lend, not because of meanness, but from fear* of being defrauded needlessly. 
8: Nevertheless, be patient with someone in humble circumstances, and do not keep him waiting for your alms. 
9: Help the poor for the commandment’s sake, and in their need do not send them away empty-handed. 
10: Lose your silver for the sake of a brother or a friend, and do not let it rust under a stone and be lost. 
11: Lay up your treasure according to the commandments of the Most High, and it will profit you more than gold. 
12: Store up almsgiving in your treasury, and it will rescue you from every disaster; 
13: better than a stout shield and a sturdy spear, it will fight for you against the enemy. 
14: A good person will be surety for his neighbour, but one who has lost all sense of shame will fail him. 
15: Do not forget the kindness of your guarantor, for he has given his life for you. 
16: A sinner wastes the property of his guarantor, 
17:   and the ungrateful person abandons his rescuer. 
18: Being surety has ruined many who were prosperous, and has tossed them about like waves of the sea; it has driven the influential into exile, and they have wandered among foreign nations. 
19: The sinner comes to grief through surety; his pursuit of gain involves him in lawsuits. 
20: Assist your neighbour to the best of your ability, but be careful not to fall yourself. 
21: The necessities of life are water, bread, and clothing, and also a house to assure privacy. 
22: Better is the life of the poor under their own crude roof than sumptuous food in the house of others. 
23: Be content with little or much, and you will hear no reproach for being a guest.
24: It is a miserable life to go from house to house; as a guest you should not open your mouth; 
25: you will play the host and provide drink without being thanked, and besides this you will hear rude words like these: 
26: ‘Come here, stranger, prepare the table; let me eat what you have there.’ 
27: ‘Be off, stranger, for an honoured guest is here; my brother has come for a visit, and I need the guest-room.’ 
28: It is hard for a sensitive person to bear scolding about lodging* and the insults of the moneylender.

Chapter 30

Concerning Children 
1: He who loves his son will whip him often, so that he may rejoice at the way he turns out. 
2: He who disciplines his son will profit by him, and will boast of him among acquaintances. 
3: He who teaches his son will make his enemies envious, and will glory in him among his friends. 
4: When the father dies he will not seem to be dead, for he has left behind him one like himself, 
5: whom in his life he looked upon with joy and at death, without grief. 
6: He has left behind him an avenger against his enemies, and one to repay the kindness of his friends. 
7: Whoever spoils his son will bind up his wounds, and will suffer heartache at every cry. 
8: An unbroken horse turns out stubborn, and an unchecked son turns out headstrong. 
9: Pamper a child, and he will terrorize you; play with him, and he will grieve you. 
10: Do not laugh with him, or you will have sorrow with him, and in the end you will gnash your teeth. 
11: Give him no freedom in his youth, and do not ignore his errors. 
12: Bow down his neck in his youth, and beat his sides while he is young, or else he will become stubborn and disobey you, and you will have sorrow of soul from him.
13: Discipline your son and make his yoke heavy, so that you may not be offended by his shamelessness. 
14: Better off poor, healthy, and fit than rich and afflicted in body. 
15: Health and fitness are better than any gold, and a robust body than countless riches. 
16: There is no wealth better than health of body, and no gladness above joy of heart. 
17: Death is better than a life of misery, and eternal sleep than chronic sickness.

Concerning Foods 

18: Good things poured out upon a mouth that is closed are like offerings of food placed upon a grave. 
19: Of what use to an idol is a sacrifice? For it can neither eat nor smell. So is one punished by the Lord; 
20: he sees with his eyes and groans as a eunuch groans when embracing a girl.
21: Do not give yourself over to sorrow, and do not distress yourself deliberately. 
22: A joyful heart is life itself, and rejoicing lengthens one’s life span. 
23: Indulge yourself and take comfort, and remove sorrow far from you, for sorrow has destroyed many, and no advantage ever comes from it. 
24: Jealousy and anger shorten life, and anxiety brings on premature old age. 

25: Those who are cheerful and merry at table will benefit from their food. 

Friday, 29 September 2017

Day 213: Sirach 23 - 26


Chapter 23

1:  Lord, Father and Master of my life, do not abandon me to their designs, and do not let me fall because of them! 
2: Who will set whips over my thoughts and the discipline of wisdom over my mind, so as not to spare me in my errors, and not overlook my sins? 
3: Otherwise my mistakes may be multiplied, and my sins may abound, and I may fall before my adversaries, and my enemy may rejoice over me. 
4: O Lord, Father and God of my life, do not give me haughty eyes, 
5:   and remove evil desire from me. 
6: Let neither gluttony nor lust overcome me, and do not give me over to shameless passion.

Discipline of the Tongue

7: Listen, my children, to instruction concerning the mouth; one who observes it will never be caught. 
8: Sinners are overtaken through their lips; by them the reviler and the arrogant are tripped up. 
9: Do not accustom your mouth to oaths, nor habitually utter the name of the Holy One; 
10: for as a servant who is constantly under scrutiny will not lack bruises, so also the person who always swears and utters the Name will never be cleansed from sin. 
11: One who swears many oaths is full of iniquity, and the scourge will not leave his house. If he swears in error, his sin remains on him, and if he disregards it, he sins doubly; if he swears a false oath, he will not be justified, for his house will be filled with calamities. 

Foul Language

12: There is a manner of speaking comparable to death; may it never be found in the inheritance of Jacob! Such conduct will be far from the godly, and they will not wallow in sins. 
13: Do not accustom your mouth to coarse, foul language, for it involves sinful speech. 
14: Remember your father and mother when you sit among the great or you may forget yourself in their presence, and behave like a fool through bad habit; then you will wish that you had never been born, and you will curse the day of your birth. 
15: Those who are accustomed to using abusive language will never become disciplined as long as they live. 

Concerning Sexual Sins

16: Two kinds of individuals multiply sins, and a third incurs wrath. Hot passion that blazes like a fire will not be quenched until it burns itself out; one who commits fornication with his near of kin will never cease until the fire burns him up. 
17: To a fornicator all bread is sweet; he will never weary until he dies. 
18: One who sins against his marriage bed says to himself, ‘Who can see me? Darkness surrounds me, the walls hide me, and no one sees me. Why should I worry? The Most High will not remember sins.’ 
19: His fear is confined to human eyes and he does not realize that the eyes of the Lord
are ten thousand times brighter than the sun; they look upon every aspect of human behaviour and see into hidden corners. 
20: Before the universe was created, it was known to him, and so it is since its completion. 
21: This man will be punished in the streets of the city, and where he least suspects it, he will be seized. 
22: So it is with a woman who leaves her husband and presents him with an heir by another man. 
23: For first of all, she has disobeyed the law of the Most High; second, she has committed an offence against her husband; and third, through her fornication she has committed adultery and brought forth children by another man. 
24: She herself will be brought before the assembly, and her punishment will extend to her children. 
25: Her children will not take root, and her branches will not bear fruit. 
26: She will leave behind an accursed memory and her disgrace will never be blotted out. 
27: Those who survive her will recognize that nothing is better than the fear of the Lord,
and nothing sweeter than to heed the commandments of the Lord.

Chapter 24

The Praise of Wisdom
1: Wisdom praises herself, and tells of her glory in the midst of her people. 
2: In the assembly of the Most High she opens her mouth, and in the presence of his hosts she tells of her glory: 
3: ‘I came forth from the mouth of the Most High, and covered the earth like a mist. 
4: I dwelt in the highest heavens, and my throne was in a pillar of cloud. 
5: Alone I compassed the vault of heaven and traversed the depths of the abyss. 
6: Over waves of the sea, over all the earth, and over every people and nation I have held sway. 
7: Among all these I sought a resting-place; in whose territory should I abide? 
8: ‘Then the Creator of all things gave me a command, and my Creator chose the place for my tent. He said, “Make your dwelling in Jacob, and in Israel receive your inheritance.” 
9: Before the ages, in the beginning, he created me, and for all the ages I shall not cease to be. 
10: In the holy tent I ministered before him, and so I was established in Zion. 
11: Thus in the beloved city he gave me a resting-place, and in Jerusalem was my domain. 
12: I took root in an honoured people, in the portion of the Lord, his heritage. 
13: ‘I grew tall like a cedar in Lebanon, and like a cypress on the heights of Hermon. 
14: I grew tall like a palm tree in En-gedi, and like rose-bushes in Jericho; like a fair olive tree in the field, and like a plane tree beside water I grew tall. 
15: Like cassia and camel’s thorn I gave forth perfume, and like choice myrrh I spread my fragrance, like galbanum, onycha, and stacte, and like the odour of incense in the tent. 
16: Like a terebinth I spread out my branches, and my branches are glorious and graceful. 
17: Like the vine I bud forth delights, and my blossoms become glorious and abundant fruit. 
18, 19: ‘Come to me, you who desire me, and eat your fill of my fruits. 
20: For the memory of me is sweeter than honey, and the possession of me sweeter than the honeycomb. 
21: Those who eat of me will hunger for more, and those who drink of me will thirst for more. 
22: Whoever obeys me will not be put to shame, and those who work with me will not sin.’ 

Wisdom and the Law

23: All this is the book of the covenant of the Most High God, the law that Moses commanded us as an inheritance for the congregations of Jacob. 
25: It overflows, like the Pishon, with wisdom, and like the Tigris at the time of the first fruits. 
26: It runs over, like the Euphrates, with understanding, and like the Jordan at harvest time. 
27: It pours forth instruction like the Nile, like the Gihon at the time of vintage. 
28: The first man did not know wisdom fully, nor will the last one fathom her. 
29: For her thoughts are more abundant than the sea, and her counsel deeper than the great abyss. 
30: As for me, I was like a canal from a river, like a water channel into a garden. 
31: I said, ‘I will water my garden and drench my flower-beds.’ And lo, my canal became a river, and my river a sea. 
32: I will again make instruction shine forth like the dawn, and I will make it clear from far away. 
33: I will again pour out teaching like prophecy, and leave it to all future generations. 
34: Observe that I have not laboured for myself alone, but for all who seek wisdom. 

Chapter 25

Those Who Are Worthy of Praise
1: I take pleasure in three things, and they are beautiful in the sight of God and of mortals: agreement among brothers and sisters, friendship among neighbours, and a wife and husband who live in harmony. 
2: I hate three kinds of people, and I loathe their manner of life: a pauper who boasts, a rich person who lies, and an old fool who commits adultery. 
3: If you gathered nothing in your youth, how can you find anything in your old age? 
4: How attractive is sound judgement in the grey-haired, and for the aged to possess good counsel! 
5: How attractive is wisdom in the aged, and understanding and counsel in the venerable! 
6: Rich experience is the crown of the aged, and their boast is the fear of the Lord. 
7: I can think of nine whom I would call blessed, and a tenth my tongue proclaims: a man who can rejoice in his children; a man who lives to see the downfall of his foes. 
8: Happy the man who lives with a sensible wife, and one who does not plough with ox and ass together. Happy is one who does not sin with the tongue, and one who has not served an inferior. 
9: Happy is one who finds a friend, and one who speaks to attentive listeners. 
10: How great is one who finds wisdom! But none is superior to one who fears the Lord. 
11: Fear of the Lord surpasses everything; to whom can we compare one who has it? 

Some Extreme Forms of Evil

13: Any wound, but not a wound of the heart! Any wickedness, but not the wickedness of a woman! 
14: Any suffering, but not suffering from those who hate! And any vengeance, but not the vengeance of enemies! 
15: There is no venom worse than a snake’s venom, and no anger worse than a woman’s wrath. 

The Evil of a Wicked Woman

16: I would rather live with a lion and a dragon than live with an evil woman. 
17: A woman’s wickedness changes her appearance, and darkens her face like that of a bear. 
18: Her husband sits among the neighbours, and he cannot help sighing bitterly. 
19: Any iniquity is small compared to a woman’s iniquity; may a sinner’s lot befall her! 
20: A sandy ascent for the feet of the aged - such is a garrulous wife to a quiet husband. 
21: Do not be ensnared by a woman’s beauty, and do not desire a woman for her possessions.

22: There is wrath and impudence and great disgrace when a wife supports her husband. 
23: Dejected mind, gloomy face, and wounded heart come from an evil wife. Drooping hands and weak knees come from the wife who does not make her husband happy. 
24: From a woman sin had its beginning, and because of her we all die. 
25: Allow no outlet to water and no boldness of speech to an evil wife. 
26: If she does not go as you direct, separate her from yourself. 

Chapter 26

The Joy of a Good Wife
1: Happy is the husband of a good wife; the number of his days will be doubled. 
2: A loyal wife brings joy to her husband, and he will complete his years in peace. 
3: A good wife is a great blessing; she will be granted among the blessings of the man who fears the Lord. 
4: Whether rich or poor, his heart is content, and at all times his face is cheerful.

The Worst of Evils: A Wicked Wife

5: Of three things my heart is frightened, and of a fourth I am in great fear: Slander in the city, the gathering of a mob, and false accusation - all these are worse than death. 
6: But it is heartache and sorrow when a wife is jealous of a rival, and a tongue-lashing makes it known to all. 
7: A bad wife is a chafing yoke; taking hold of her is like grasping a scorpion. 
8: A drunken wife arouses great anger; she cannot hide her shame. 
9: The haughty stare betrays an unchaste wife; her eyelids give her away. 
10: Keep strict watch over a headstrong daughter, or else, when she finds liberty, she will make use of it. 
11: Be on guard against her impudent eye, and do not be surprised if she sins against you. 
12: As a thirsty traveler opens his mouth and drinks from any water near him, so she will sit in front of every tent-peg  and open her quiver to the arrow. 

The Blessing of a Good Wife

13: A wife’s charm delights her husband, and her skill puts flesh on his bones. 
14: A silent wife is a gift from the Lord, and nothing is so precious as her self-discipline. 
15: A modest wife adds charm to charm, and no scales can weigh the value of her chastity. 
16: Like the sun rising in the heights of the Lord, so is the beauty of a good wife in her well-ordered home. 
17: Like the shining lamp on the holy lampstand, so is a beautiful face on a stately figure. 
18: Like golden pillars on silver bases,  so are shapely legs and steadfast feet.

(Other ancient authorities add verses 19:-27)

19: My child, keep sound the bloom of your youth, and do not give your strength to strangers. 
20: Seek a fertile field within the whole plain, and sow it with your own seed, trusting in your fine stock. 
21: So your offspring will prosper, and, having confidence in their good descent, will grow great. 
22: A prostitute is regarded as spittle, and a married woman as a tower of death to her lovers. 
23: A godless wife is given as a portion to a lawless man, but a pious wife is given to the man who fears the Lord. 
24: A shameless woman constantly acts disgracefully, but a modest daughter will even be embarrassed before her husband.
25: A headstrong wife is regarded as a dog, but one who has a sense of shame will fear the Lord. 
26: A wife honouring her husband will seem wise to all, but if she dishonours him in her pride she will be known to all as ungodly. Happy is the husband of a good wife, for the number of his years will be doubled.

Thursday, 28 September 2017

Day 212: Sirach 19 - 22


Chapter 19

1: One who does this will not become rich; one who despises small things will fail little by little. 
2: Wine and women lead intelligent men astray, and the man who consorts with prostitutes is reckless. 
3: Decay and worms will take possession of him, and the reckless person will be snatched away. 

Against Loose Talk

4: One who trusts others too quickly has a shallow mind, and one who sins does wrong to himself. 

5: One who rejoices in wickedness will be condemned, 
6:   but one who hates gossip has less evil. 
7: Never repeat a conversation and you will lose nothing at all. 
8: With friend or foe do not report it, and unless it would be a sin for you, do not reveal it; 
9: for someone may have heard you and watched you, and in time will hate you. 
10: Have you heard something? Let it die with you. Be brave, it will not make you burst! 
11: Having heard something, the fool suffers birth-pangs like a woman in labour with a child. 
12: Like an arrow stuck in a person’s thigh, so is gossip inside a fool. 
13: Question a friend; perhaps he did not do it; or if he did, so that he may not do it again. 
14: Question a neighbour; perhaps he did not say it; or if he said it, so that he may not repeat it. 
15: Question a friend, for often it is slander; so do not believe everything you hear. 
16: A person may make a slip without intending it. Who has not sinned with his tongue? 
17: Question your neighbour before you threaten him; and let the law of the Most High take its course. 

True and False Wisdom

20: The whole of wisdom is fear of the Lord, and in all wisdom there is the fulfillment of the law. 

22: The knowledge of wickedness is not wisdom, nor is there prudence in the counsel of sinners. 
23: There is a cleverness that is detestable, and there is a fool who merely lacks wisdom. 
24: Better are the God-fearing who lack understanding than the highly intelligent who transgress the law. 
25: There is a cleverness that is exact but unjust, and there are people who abuse favours to gain a verdict. 
26: There is the villain bowed down in mourning, but inwardly he is full of deceit. 
27: He hides his face and pretends not to hear, but when no one notices, he will take advantage of you. 
28: Even if lack of strength keeps him from sinning, he will nevertheless do evil when he finds the opportunity. 
29: A person is known by his appearance, and a sensible person is known when first met face to face. 
30: A person’s attire and hearty laughter, and the way he walks, show what he is. 

Chapter 20

Silence and Speech
1: There is a rebuke that is untimely, and there is the person who is wise enough to keep silent. 
2: How much better it is to rebuke than to fume! 
3: And one who admits his fault will be kept from failure. 
4: Like a eunuch lusting to violate a girl is the person who does right under compulsion. 
5: Some people keep silent and are thought to be wise, while others are detested for being talkative. 
6: Some people keep silent because they have nothing to say, while others keep silent because they know when to speak. 
7: The wise remain silent until the right moment, but a boasting fool misses the right moment. 
8: Whoever talks too much is detested, and whoever pretends to authority is hated. 


9: There may be good fortune for a person in adversity, but a windfall may result in a loss. 

10: There is the gift that profits you nothing, and the gift to be paid back double. 
11: There are losses for the sake of glory, and there are some who have raised their heads from humble circumstances. 
12: Some buy much for little, but pay for it seven times over. 
13: The wise make themselves beloved by only few words, but the courtesies of fools are wasted. 
14: A fool’s gift will profit you nothing, for he looks for recompense sevenfold. 
15: He gives little and upbraids much; he opens his mouth like a town crier. Today he lends and tomorrow he asks for it back; such a one is hateful to God and humans. 
16: The fool says, ‘I have no friends, and I get no thanks for my good deeds. Those who eat my bread are evil-tongued.’ 
17: How many will ridicule him, and how often! 

Inappropriate Speech

18: A slip on the pavement is better than a slip of the tongue; the downfall of the wicked will occur just as speedily. 

19: A coarse person is like an inappropriate story continually on the lips of the ignorant. 
20: A proverb from a fool’s lips will be rejected, for he does not tell it at the proper time. 
21: One may be prevented from sinning by poverty;  so when he rests he feels no remorse. 
22: One may lose his life through shame, or lose it because of human respect. 
23: Another out of shame makes promises to a friend, and so makes an enemy for nothing. 


24: A lie is an ugly blot on a person; it is continually on the lips of the ignorant. 

25: A thief is preferable to a habitual liar, but the lot of both is ruin. 
26: A liar’s way leads to disgrace, and his shame is ever with him.

Proverbial Sayings

27: The wise person advances himself by his words, and one who is sensible pleases the great. 

28: Those who cultivate the soil heap up their harvest, and those who please the great atone for injustice. 
29: Favours and gifts blind the eyes of the wise; like a muzzle on the mouth they stop reproofs. 
30: Hidden wisdom and unseen treasure, of what value is either? 
31: Better are those who hide their folly than those who hide their wisdom. 

Chapter 21

Various Sins

1: Have you sinned, my child? Do so no more, but ask forgiveness for your past sins. 
2: Flee from sin as from a snake; for if you approach sin, it will bite you. Its teeth are lion’s teeth, and can destroy human lives. 
3: All lawlessness is like a two-edged sword; there is no healing for the wound it inflicts. 
4: Panic and insolence will waste away riches; thus the house of the proud will be laid waste. 
5: The prayer of the poor goes from their lips to the ears of God, and his judgement comes speedily. 
6: Those who hate reproof walk in the sinner’s steps, but those who fear the Lord repent in their heart. 
7: The mighty in speech are widely known; when they slip, the sensible person knows it. 
8: Whoever builds his house with other people’s money is like one who gathers stones for his burial mound. 
9: An assembly of the wicked is like a bundle of tow, and their end is a blazing fire. 
10: The way of sinners is paved with smooth stones, but at its end is the pit of Hades. 

Wisdom and Foolishness

11: Whoever keeps the law controls his thoughts, and the fulfilment of the fear of the Lord is wisdom. 

12: One who is not clever cannot be taught, but there is a cleverness that increases bitterness. 
13: The knowledge of the wise will increase like a flood, and their counsel like a life-giving spring. 
14: The mind of a fool is like a broken jar; it can hold no knowledge. 
15: When an intelligent person hears a wise saying, he praises it and adds to it;

when a fool hears it, he laughs at it and throws it behind his back. 

16: A fool’s chatter is like a burden on a journey, but delight is found in the speech of the intelligent. 
17: The utterance of a sensible person is sought in the assembly, and they ponder his words in their minds. 
18: Like a house in ruins is wisdom to a fool, and to the ignorant, knowledge is talk that has no meaning. 
19: To a senseless person education is fetters on his feet, and like manacles on his right hand. 
20: A fool raises his voice when he laughs, but the wise smile quietly. 
21: To the sensible person education is like a golden ornament, and like a bracelet on the right arm. 
22: The foot of a fool rushes into a house, but an experienced person waits respectfully outside. 
23: A boor peers into the house from the door, but a cultivated person remains outside. 
24: It is ill-mannered for a person to listen at a door; the discreet would be grieved by the disgrace. 
25: The lips of babblers speak of what is not their concern, but the words of the prudent are weighed in the balance. 
26: The mind of fools is in their mouth, but the mouth of the wise is in their mind. 
27: When an ungodly person curses an adversary, he curses himself. 
28: A whisperer degrades himself and is hated in his neighbourhood. 

Chapter 22

The Idler

1: The idler is like a filthy stone, and everyone hisses at his disgrace. 
2: The idler is like the filth of dunghills; anyone that picks it up will shake it off his hand. 

Degenerate Children

3: It is a disgrace to be the father of an undisciplined son, and the birth of a daughter is a loss. 

4: A sensible daughter obtains a husband of her own, but one who acts shamefully is a grief to her father. 
5: An impudent daughter disgraces father and husband, and is despised by both. 
6: Like music in time of mourning is ill-timed conversation, but a thrashing and discipline are at all times wisdom. 

Wisdom and Folly

9: Whoever teaches a fool is like one who glues potsherds together, or who rouses a sleeper from deep slumber. 

10: Whoever tells a story to a fool tells it to a drowsy man; and at the end he will say, ‘What is it?’ 
11: Weep for the dead, for he has left the light behind; and weep for the fool, for he has left intelligence behind. Weep less bitterly for the dead, for he is at rest; but the life of the fool is worse than death. 
12: Mourning for the dead lasts seven days, but for the foolish or the ungodly it lasts all the days of their lives.
13: Do not talk much with a senseless person or visit an unintelligent person. Stay clear of him, or you may have trouble, and be spattered when he shakes himself. Avoid him and you will find rest, and you will never be wearied by his lack of sense. 
14: What is heavier than lead? And what is its name except ‘Fool’?
15: Sand, salt, and a piece of iron are easier to bear than a stupid person. 
16: A wooden beam firmly bonded into a building is not loosened by an earthquake; so the mind firmly resolved after due reflection will not be afraid in a crisis. 
17: A mind settled on an intelligent thought is like stucco decoration that makes a wall smooth. 
18: Fences set on a high place will not stand firm against the wind; so a timid mind with a fool’s resolve will not stand firm against any fear. 

The Preservation of Friendship

19: One who pricks the eye brings tears, and one who pricks the heart makes clear its feelings. 

20: One who throws a stone at birds scares them away, and one who reviles a friend destroys a friendship. 
21: Even if you draw your sword against a friend, do not despair, for there is a way back. 
22: If you open your mouth against your friend, do not worry, for reconciliation is possible. But as for reviling, arrogance, disclosure of secrets, or a treacherous blow - in these cases any friend will take to flight. 
23: Gain the trust of your neighbour in his poverty, so that you may rejoice with him in his prosperity. Stand by him in time of distress, so that you may share with him in his inheritance. 
24: The vapour and smoke of the furnace precede the fire; so insults precede bloodshed. 
25: I am not ashamed to shelter a friend, and I will not hide from him. 
26: But if harm should come to me because of him, whoever hears of it will beware of him. 

A Prayer for Help against Sinning

27: Who will set a guard over my mouth, and an effective seal upon my lips, so that I may not fall because of them, and my tongue may not destroy me?

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Day 211: Sirach 15 - 18


Chapter 15

1: Whoever 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. 

Chapter 16

God’s Punishment of Sinners
1: Do 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. 
15, 16, 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. 

Chapter 17

1: The 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. 
9:   to proclaim the grandeur of his works,
10: And they will praise his holy name.
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. 
16, 17: He appointed a ruler for every nation, but Israel is the Lord’s own portion. 
18, 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. 
21, 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. 

Chapter 18

The Majesty of God
1: He who lives forever created the whole universe; 
2:   the Lord alone is just. 
3, 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.

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.