Wisdom of Jesus Sirach
All wisdom is from God, and is given to them that fear and love God.
1 All wisdom is from the Lord God, and hath been always with him, and is before all time. 2 Who hath numbered the sand of the sea, and the drops of rain, and the days of the world? Who hath measured the height of heaven, and the breadth of the earth, and the depth of the abyss? 3 Who hath searched out the wisdom of God that goeth before all things? 4 Wisdom hath been created before all things, and the understanding of prudence from everlasting. 5 The word of God on high is the fountain of wisdom, and her ways are everlasting commandments.
6 To whom hath the root of wisdom been revealed, and who hath known her wise counsels? 7 To whom hath the discipline of wisdom been revealed and made manifest? and who hath understood the multiplicity of her steps? 8 There is one most high Creator Almighty, and a powerful king, and greatly to be feared, who sitteth upon his throne, and is the God of dominion. 9 He created her in the Holy Ghost, and saw her, and numbered her, and measured her. 10 And he poured her out upon all his works, and upon all flesh according to his gift, and hath given her to them that love him.
11 The fear of the Lord is honour, and glory, and gladness, and a crown of joy. 12 The fear of the Lord shall delight the heart, and shall give joy, and gladness, and length of days. 13 With him that feareth the Lord, it shall go well in the latter end, and in the day of his death he shall be blessed. 14 The love of God is honourable wisdom. 15 And they to whom she shall shew herself love her by the sight, and by the knowledge of her great works.
16 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and was created with the faithful in the womb, it walketh with chosen women, and is known with the just and faithful. 17 The fear of the Lord is the religiousness of knowledge. 18 Religiousness shall keep and justify the heart, it shall give joy and gladness. 19 It shall go well with him that feareth the Lord, and in the days of his end he shall be blessed. 20 To fear God is the fulness of wisdom, and fulness is from the fruits thereof.
21 She shall fill all her house with her increase, and the storehouses with her treasures. 22 The fear of the Lord is a crown of wisdom, filling up peace and the fruit of salvation: 23 And it hath seen, and numbered her: but both are the gifts of God. 24 Wisdom shall distribute knowledge, and understanding of prudence: and exalteth the glory of them that hold her. 25 The root of wisdom is to fear the Lord: and the branches thereof are longlived.
26 In the treasures of wisdom is understanding, and religiousness of knowledge: but to sinners wisdom is an abomination. 27 The fear of the Lord driveth out sin: 28 For he that is without fear, cannot be justified: for the wrath of his high spirits is his ruin. 29 A patient man shall bear for a time, and afterwards joy shall be restored to him. 30 A good understanding will hide his words for a time, and the lips of many shall declare his wisdom.
31 In the treasures of wisdom is the signification of discipline: 32 But the worship of God is an abomination to a sinner. 33 Son, if thou desire wisdom, keep justice, and God will give her to thee. 34 For the fear of the Lord is wisdom and discipline: and that which is agreeable to him, 35 Is faith, and meekness: and he will fill up his treasures.
36 Be not incredulous to the fear of the Lord: and come not to him with a double heart. 37 Be not a hypocrite in the sight of men, and let not thy lips be a stumblingblock to thee. 38 Watch over them, lest thou fall, and bring dishonour upon thy soul, 39 And God discover thy secrets, and cast thee down in the midst of the congregation. 40 Because thou camest to the Lord wickedly, and thy heart is full of guile and deceit.
God's servants must look for temptations: and must arm themselves with patience and confidence in God.
1 Son, when thou comest to the service of God, stand in justice and in fear, and prepare thy soul for temptation. 2 Humble thy heart, and endure: incline thy ear, and receive the words of understanding: and make not haste in the time of clouds. 3 Wait on God with patience: join thyself to God, and endure, that thy life may be increased in the latter end. 4 Take all that shall be brought upon thee: and in thy sorrow endure, and in thy humiliation keep patience. 5 For gold and silver are tried in the fire, but acceptable men in the furnace of humiliation.
6 Believe God, and he will recover thee: and direct thy way, and trust in him. Keep his fear, and grow old therein. 7 Ye that fear the Lord, wait for his mercy: and go not aside from him, lest ye fall. 8 Ye that fear the Lord, believe him: and your reward shall not be made void. 9 Ye that fear the Lord, hope in him: and mercy shall come to you for your delight. 10 Ye that fear the Lord, love him, and your hearts shall be enlightened.
11 My children behold the generations of men: and know ye that no one hath hoped in the Lord, and hath been confounded. 12 For who hath continued in his commandment, and hath been forsaken? or who hath called upon him, and he despised him? 13 For God is compassionate and merciful, and will forgive sins in the day of tribulation: and he is a protector to all that seek him in truth. 14 Woe to them that are of a double heart and to wicked lips, and to the hands that do evil, and to the sinner that goeth on the earth two ways. 15 Woe to them that are fainthearted, who believe not God: and therefore they shall not be protected by him.
16 Woe to them that have lost patience, and that have forsaken the right ways, and have gone aside into crooked ways. 17 And what will they do, when the Lord shall begin to examine? 18 They that fear the Lord, will not be incredulous to his word: and they that love him, will keep his way. 19 They that fear the Lord, will seek after the things that are well pleasing to him: and they that love him, shall be filled with his law. 20 They that fear the Lord, will prepare their hearts, and in his sight will sanctify their souls.
21 They that fear the Lord, keep his Commandments, and will have patience even until his visitation, 22 Saying: If we do not penance, we shall fall into the hands of the Lord, and not into the hands of men. 23 For according to his greatness, so also is his mercy with him.
Lessons concerning the honour of parents, and humility, and avoiding curiosity.
1 The sons of wisdom are the church of the just: and their generation, obedience and love. 2 Children, hear the judgment of your father, and so do that you may be saved. 3 For God hath made the father honourable to the children: and seeking the judgment of the mothers, hath confirmed it upon the children. 4 He that loveth God, shall obtain pardon for his sins by prayer, and shall refrain himself from them, and shall be heard in the prayer of days. 5 And he that honoureth his mother is as one that layeth up a treasure.
6 He that honoureth his father shall have joy in his own children, and in the day of his prayer he shall be heard. 7 He that honoureth his father shall enjoy a long life: and he that obeyeth the father, shall be a comfort to his mother. 8 He that feareth the Lord, honoureth his parents, and will serve them as his masters that brought him into the world. 9 Honour thy father, in work and word, and all patience, 10 That a blessing may come upon thee from him, and his blessing may remain in the latter end.
11 The father's blessing establisheth the houses of the children: but the mother's curse rooteth up the foundation. 12 Glory not in the dishonour of thy father: for his shame is no glory to thee. 13 For the glory of a man is from the honour of his father, and a father without honour is the disgrace of the son. 14 Son, support the old age of thy father, and grieve him not in his life; 15 And if his understanding fail, have patience with him, and despise him not when thou art in thy strength: for the relieving of the father shall not be forgotten.
16 For good shall be repaid to thee for the sin of thy mother. 17 And in justice thou shalt be built up, and in the day of affliction thou shalt be remembered: and thy sins shall melt away as the ice in the fair warm weather. 18 Of what an evil fame is he that forsaketh his father: and he is cursed of God that angereth his mother. 19 My son, do thy works in meekness, and thou shalt be beloved above the glory of men. 20 The greater thou art, the more humble thyself in all things, and thou shalt find grace before God:
21 For great is the power of God alone, and he is honoured by the humble. 22 Seek not the things that are too high for thee, and search not into things above thy ability: but the things that God hath commanded thee, think on them always, and in many of his works be not curious. 23 For it is not necessary for thee to see with thy eyes those things that are hid. 24 In unnecessary matters be not over curious, and in many of his works thou shalt not be inquisitive. 25 For many things are shewn to thee above the understanding of men.
26 And the suspicion of them hath deceived many, and hath detained their minds in vanity. 27 A hard heart shall fear evil at the last: and he that loveth danger shall perish in it. 28 A heart that goeth two ways shall not have success, and the perverse of heart shall be scandalized therein. 29 A wicked heart shall be laden with sorrows, and the sinner will add sin to sin. 30 The congregation of the proud shall not be healed: for the plant of wickedness shall take root in them, and it shall not be perceived.
31 The heart of the wise is understood in wisdom, and a good ear will hear wisdom with all desire. 32 A wise heart, and which hath understanding, will abstain from sins, and in the works of justice shall have success. 33 Water quencheth a flaming fire, and alms resisteth sins: 34 And God provideth for him that sheweth favour: he remembereth him afterwards, and in the time of his fall he shall find a sure stay.
An exhortation to works of mercy, and to the love of wisdom.
1 Son, defraud not the poor of alms, and turn not away thy eyes from the poor. 2 Despise not the hungry soul: and provoke not the poor in his want. 3 Afflict not the heart of the needy, and defer not to give to him that is in distress. 4 Reject not the petition of the afflicted: and turn not away thy face from the needy. 5 Turn not away thy eyes from the poor for fear of anger: and leave not to them that ask of thee to curse thee behind thy back.
6 For the prayer of him that curseth thee in the bitterness of his soul, shall be heard, for he that made him will hear him. 7 Make thyself affable to the congregation of the poor, and humble thy soul to the ancient, and bow thy head to a great man. 8 Bow down thy ear cheerfully to the poor, and pay what thou owest, and answer him peaceable words with mildness. 9 Deliver him that suffereth wrong out of the hand of the proud: and be not fainthearted in thy soul. 10 In judging be merciful to the fatherless as a father, and as a husband to their mother.
11 And thou shalt be as the obedient son of the most High, and he will have mercy on thee more than a mother. 12 Wisdom inspireth life into her children, and protecteth them that seek after her, and will go before them in the way of justice. 13 And he that loveth her, loveth life: and they that watch for her, shall embrace her sweetness. 14 They that hold her fast, shall inherit life: and whithersoever she entereth, God will give a blessing. 15 They that serve her, shall be servants to the holy one: and God loveth them that love her.
16 He that hearkeneth to her, shall judge nations: and he that looketh upon her, shall remain secure. 17 If he trust to her, he shall inherit her, and his generation shall be in assurance. 18 For she walketh with him in temptation, and at the first she chooseth him. 19 She will bring upon him fear and dread and trial: and she will scourge him with the affliction of her discipline, till she try him by her laws, and trust his soul. 20 Then she will strengthen him, and make a straight way to him, and give him joy,
18 "In temptation"... The meaning is, that before wisdom will choose any for her favourite, she will try them by leading them through contradictions, afflictions, and temptations, the usual noviceship of the children of God.
21 And will disclose her secrets to him, and will heap upon him treasures of knowledge and understanding of justice. 22 But if he go astray, she will forsake him, and deliver him into the hands of his enemy. 23 Son, observe the time, and fly from evil. 24 For thy soul be not ashamed to say the truth. 25 For there is a shame that bringeth sin, and there is a shame that bringeth glory and grace.
26 Accept no person against thy own person, nor against thy soul a lie. 27 Reverence not thy neighbour in his fall: 28 And refrain not to speak in the time of salvation. Hide not thy wisdom in her beauty. 29 For by the tongue wisdom is discerned: and understanding, and knowledge, and learning by the word of the wise, and steadfastness in the works of justice. 30 In nowise speak against the truth, but be ashamed of the lie of thy ignorance.
31 Be not ashamed to confess thy sins, but submit not thyself to every man for sin. 32 Resist not against the face of the mighty, and do not strive against the stream of the river. 33 Strive for justice for thy soul, and even unto death fight for justice, and God will overthrow thy enemies for thee. 34 Be not hasty in thy tongue: and slack and remiss in thy works. 35 Be not as a lion in thy house, terrifying them of thy household, and oppressing them that are under thee.
36 Let not thy hand be stretched out to receive, and shut when thou shouldst give.
We must not presume of our wealth or strength: nor of the mercy of God, to go on in sin: we must be steadfast in virtue and truth.
1 Set not thy heart upon unjust possessions, and say not: I have enough to live on: for it shall be of no service in the time of vengeance and darkness. 2 Follow not in thy strength the desires of thy heart: 3 And say not: How mighty am I? and who shall bring me under for my deeds? for God will surely take revenge. 4 Say not: I have sinned, and what harm hath befallen me? for the most High is a patient rewarder. 5 Be not without fear about sin forgiven, and add not sin upon sin:
6 And say not: The mercy of the Lord is great, he will have mercy on the multitude of my sins. 7 For mercy and wrath quickly come from him, and his wrath looketh upon sinners. 8 Delay not to be converted to the Lord, and defer it not from day to day. 9 For his wrath shall come on a sudden, and in the time of vengeance he will destroy thee. 10 Be not anxious for goods unjustly gotten: for they shall not profit thee in the day of calamity and revenge.
11 Winnow not with every wind, and go not into every way: for so is every sinner proved by a double tongue. 12 Be steadfast in the way of the Lord, and in the truth of thy judgment, and in knowledge, and let the word of peace and justice keep with thee. 13 Be meek to hear the word, that thou mayst understand: and return a true answer with wisdom. 14 If thou have understanding, answer thy neighbour: but if not, let thy hand be upon thy mouth, lest thou be surprised in an unskillful word, and be confounded. 15 Honour and glory is in the word of the wise, but the tongue of the fool is his ruin.
16 Be not called a whisperer, and be not taken in thy tongue, and confounded. 17 For confusion and repentance is upon a thief, and an evil mark of disgrace upon the double tongued, but to the whisperer hatred, and enmity, and reproach. 18 Justify alike the small and the great.
Of true and false friends: and of the of the fruits of wisdom.
1 Instead of a friend become not an enemy to thy neighbour: for an evil man shall inherit reproach and shame, so shall every sinner that is envious and double tongued. 2 Extol not thyself in the thoughts of thy soul like a bull: lest thy strength be quashed by folly, 3 And it eat up thy leaves, and destroy thy fruit: and thou be left as a dry tree in the wilderness. 4 For a wicked soul shall destroy him that hath it, and maketh him to be a joy to his enemies, and shall lead him into the lot of the wicked. 5 A sweet word multiplieth friends, and appeaseth enemies, and a gracious tongue in a good man aboundeth.
6 Be in peace with many, but let one of a thousand be thy counsellor. 7 If thou wouldst get a friend, try him before thou takest him, and do not credit him easily. 8 For there is a friend for his own occasion, and he will not abide in the day of thy trouble. 9 And there is a friend that turneth to enmity; and there is a friend that will disclose hatred and strife and reproaches. 10 And there is a friend a companion at the table, and he will not abide in the day of distress.
11 A friend if he continue steadfast, shall be to thee as thyself, and shall act with confidence among them of thy household. 12 If he humble himself before thee, and hide himself from thy face, thou shalt have unanimous friendship for good. 13 Separate thyself from thy enemies, and take heed of thy friends. 14 A faithful friend is a strong defence: and he that hath found him, hath found a treasure. 15 Nothing can be compared to a faithful friend, and no weight of gold and silver is able to countervail the goodness of his fidelity.
16 A faithful friend is the medicine of life and immortality: and they that fear the Lord, shall find him. 17 He that feareth God, shall likewise have good friendship: because according to him shall his friend be. 18 My son, from thy youth up receive instruction, and even to thy grey hairs thou shalt find wisdom. 19 Come to her as one that plougheth, and soweth, and wait for her good fruits: 20 For in working about her thou shalt labour a little, and shalt quickly eat of her fruits.
21 How very unpleasant is wisdom to the unlearned, and the unwise will not continue with her. 22 She shall be to them as a mighty stone of trial, and they will cast her from them before it be long. 23 For the wisdom of doctrine is according to her name, and she is not manifest unto many, but with them to whom she is known, she continueth even to the sight of God. 24 Give ear, my son, and take wise counsel, and cast not away my advice. 25 Put thy feet into her fetters, and thy neck into her chains:
26 Bow down thy shoulder, and bear her, and be not grieved with her bands. 27 Come to her with all thy mind, and keep her ways with all thy power. 28 Search for her, and she shall be made known to thee, and when thou hast gotten her, let her not go: 29 For in the latter end thou shalt find rest in her, and she shall be turned to thy joy. 30 Then shall her fetters be a strong defence for thee, and a firm foundation, and her chain a robe of glory:
31 For in her is the beauty of life, and her bands are a healthful binding. 32 Thou shalt put her on as a robe of glory, and thou shalt set her upon thee as a crown of joy. 33 My son, if thou wilt attend to me, thou shalt learn: and if thou wilt apply thy mind, thou shalt be wise. 34 If thou wilt incline thy ear, thou shalt receive instruction: and if thou love to hear, thou shalt be wise. 35 Stand in the multitude of ancients that are wise, and join thyself from thy heart to their wisdom, that thou mayst hear every discourse of God, and the sayings of praise may not escape thee.
36 And if thou see a man of understanding, go to him early in the morning, and let thy foot wear the steps of his doors. 37 Let thy thoughts be upon the precepts of God, and meditate continually on his commandments: and he will give thee a heart, and the desire of wisdom shall be given to thee.
Religious and moral duties.
1 Do no evils, and no evils shall lay hold of thee. 2 Depart from the unjust, and evils shall depart from thee. 3 My son, sow not evils in the furrows of injustice, and thou shalt not reap them sevenfold. 4 Seek not of the Lord a pre-eminence, nor of the king the seat of honour. 5 Justify not thyself before God, for he knoweth the heart: and desire not to appear wise before the king.
6 Seek not to be made a judge, unless thou have strength enough to extirpate iniquities: lest thou fear the person of the powerful, and lay a stumblingblock for thy integrity. 7 Offend not against the multitude of a city, neither cast thyself in upon the people, 8 Nor bind sin to sin: for even in one thou shalt not be unpunished. 9 Be not fainthearted in thy mind: 10 Neglect not to pray, and to give alms.
11 Say not: God will have respect to the multitude of my gifts, and when I offer to the most high God, he will accept my offerings. 12 Laugh no man to scorn in the bitterness of his soul: for there is one that humbleth and exalteth, God who seeth all. 13 Devise not a lie against thy brother: neither do the like against thy friend. 14 Be not willing to make any manner of lie: for the custom thereof is not good. 15 Be not full of words in a multitude of ancients, and repeat not the word in thy prayer.
15 "Repeat not"... Make not much babbling by repetition of words: but aim more at fervour of heart.
16 Hate not laborious works, nor husbandry ordained by the most High. 17 Number not thyself among the multitude of the disorderly. 18 Remember wrath, for it will not tarry long. 19 Humble thy spirit very much: for the vengeance on the flesh of the ungodly is fire and worms. 20 Do not transgress against thy friend deferring money, nor despise thy dear brother for the sake of gold.
21 Depart not from a wise and good wife, whom thou hast gotten in the fear of the Lord: for the grace of her modesty is above gold. 22 Hurt not the servant that worketh faithfully, nor the hired man that giveth thee his life. 23 Let a wise servant be dear to thee as thy own soul, defraud him not of liberty, nor leave him needy. 24 Hast thou cattle? have an eye to them: and if they be for thy profit, keep them with thee. 25 Hast thou children? instruct them, and bow down their neck from their childhood.
26 Hast thou daughters? have a care of their body, and shew not thy countenance gay towards them. 27 Marry thy daughter well, and thou shalt do a great work, and give her to a wise man. 28 If thou hast a wife according to thy soul, cast her not off: and to her that is hateful, trust not thyself. With thy whole heart, 29 Honour thy father, and forget not the groanings of thy mother: 30 Remember that thou hadst not been born but through them: and make a return to them as they have done for thee.
31 With all thy soul fear the Lord, and reverence his priests. 32 With all thy strength love him that made thee: and forsake not his ministers. 33 Honour God with all thy soul, and give honour to the priests, and purify thyself with thy arms. 34 Give them their portion, as it is commanded thee, of the firstfruits and of purifications: and for thy negligences purify thyself with a few. 35 Offer to the Lord the gift of thy shoulders, and the sacrifice of sanctification, and the firstfruits of the holy things:
33 "Thy arms"... That is, with all thy power: or else by arms (brachiis) are here signified the right shoulders of the victims, which by the law fell to the priests. See ver. 35.
36 And stretch out thy hand to the poor, that thy expiation and thy blessing may be perfected. 37 A gift hath grace in the sight of all the living, and restrain not grace from the dead. 38 Be not wanting in comforting them that weep, and walk with them that mourn. 39 Be not slow to visit the sick: for by these things thou shalt be confirmed in love. 40 In all thy works remember thy last end, and thou shalt never sin.
37 "And restrain not grace from the dead"... That is, withhold not from them the benefit of alms, prayers, and sacrifices. Such was the doctrine and practice of the church of God even in the time of the Old Testament. And the same has always been continued from the days of the apostles in the church of the New Testament.
Other lessons of wisdom and virtue.
1 Strive not with a powerful man, lest thou fall into his hands. 2 Contend not with a rich man, lest he bring an action against thee. 3 For gold and silver hath destroyed many, and hath reached even to the heart of kings, and perverted them. 4 Strive not with a man that is full of tongue, and heap not wood upon his fire. 5 Communicate not with an ignorant man, lest he speak ill of thy family.
6 Despise not a man that turneth away from sin, nor reproach him therewith: remember that we are all worthy of reproof. 7 Despise not a man in his old age; for we also shall become old. 8 Rejoice not at the death of thy enemy; knowing that we all die, and are not willing that others should rejoice at our death. 9 Despise not the discourse of them that are ancient and wise, but acquaint thyself with their proverbs. 10 For of them thou shalt learn wisdom, and instruction of understanding, and to serve great men without blame.
11 Let not the discourse of the ancients escape thee, for they have learned of their fathers: 12 For of them thou shalt learn understanding, and to give an answer in time of need. 13 Kindle not the coals of sinners by rebuking them, lest thou be burnt with the flame of the fire of their sins. 14 Stand not against the face of an injurious person, lest he sit as a spy to entrap thee in thy words. 15 Lend not to a man that is mightier than thyself: and if thou lendest, count it as lost.
16 Be not surety above thy power: and if thou be surety, think as if thou wert to pay it. 17 Judge not against a judge: for he judgeth according to that which is just. 18 Go not on the way with a bold man, lest he burden thee with his evils: for he goeth according to his own will, and thou shalt perish together with his folly. 19 Quarrel not with a passionate man, and go not into the desert with a bold man: for blood is as nothing in his sight, and where there is no help he will overthrow thee. 20 Advise not with fools, for they cannot love but such things as please them.
21 Before a stranger do no matter of counsel: for thou knowest not what he will bring forth. 22 Open not thy heart to every man: lest he repay thee with an evil turn, and speak reproachfully to thee.
Cautions with regard to women, and dangerous conversations.
1 Be not jealous over the wife of thy bosom, lest she shew in thy regard the malice of a wicked lesson. 2 Give not the power of thy soul to a woman, lest she enter upon thy strength, and thou be confounded. 3 Look not upon a woman that hath a mind for many: lest thou fall into her snares. 4 Use not much the company of her that is a dancer, and hearken not to her, lest thou perish by the force of her charms. 5 Gaze not upon a maiden, lest her beauty be a stumblingblock to thee.
6 Give not thy soul to harlots in any point: lest thou destroy thyself and thy inheritance. 7 Look not round about thee in the ways of the city, nor wander up and down in the streets thereof. 8 Turn away thy face from a woman dressed up, and gaze not about upon another's beauty. 9 For many have perished by the beauty of a woman, and hereby lust is enkindled as a fire. 10 Every woman that is a harlot, shall be trodden upon as dung in the way.
11 Many by admiring the beauty of another man's wife, have become reprobate, for her conversation burneth as fire. 12 Sit not at all with another man's wife, nor repose upon the bed with her: 13 And strive not with her over wine, lest thy heart decline towards her, and by thy blood thou fall into destruction. 14 Forsake not an old friend, for the new will not be like to him. 15 A new friend is as new wine: it shall grow old, and thou shalt drink it with pleasure.
16 Envy not the glory and riches of a sinner: for thou knowest not what his ruin shall be. 17 Be not pleased with the wrong done by the unjust, knowing that even to hell the wicked shall not please. 18 Keep thee far from the man that hath power to kill, so thou shalt not suspect the fear of death. 19 And if thou come to him, commit no fault, lest he take away thy life. 20 Know it to be a communication with death: for thou art going in the midst of snares, and walking upon the arms of them that are grieved:
21 According to thy power beware of thy neighbour, and treat with the wise and prudent. 22 Let just men be thy guests, and let thy glory be in the fear of God. 23 And let the thought of God be in thy mind, and all thy discourse on the commandments of the Highest. 24 Works shall be praised for the hand of the artificers, and the prince of the people for the wisdom of his speech, but the word of the ancients for the sense. 25 A man full of tongue is terrible in his city, and he that is rash in his word shall be hateful.
The virtues and vices of men in power: the great evil of pride.
1 A wise judge shall judge his people, and the government of a prudent man shall be steady. 2 As the judge of the people is himself, so also are his ministers: and what manner of man the ruler of a city is, such also are they that dwell therein. 3 An unwise king shall be the ruin of his people: and cities shall be inhabited through the prudence of the rulers. 4 The power of the earth is in the hand of God, and in his time he will raise up a profitable ruler over it. 5 The prosperity of man is in the hand of God, and upon the person of the scribe he shall lay his honour.
1 "Judge his people"... In the Greek it is, instruct his people.
5 "The scribe"... That is, the man that is wise and learned in the law.
6 Remember not any injury done thee by thy neighbour, and do thou nothing by deeds of injury. 7 Pride is hateful before God and men: and all iniquity of nations is execrable. 8 A kingdom is translated from one people to another, because of injustices, and wrongs, and injuries, and divers deceits. 9 But nothing is more wicked than the covetous man. Why is earth and ashes proud? 10 There is not a more wicked thing than to love money: for such a one setteth even his own soul to sale: because while he liveth he hath cast away his bowels.
11 All power is of short life. A long sickness is troublesome to the physician. 12 The physician cutteth off a short sickness: so also a king is today, and tomorrow he shall die. 13 For when a man shall die, he shall inherit serpents, and beasts, and worms. 14 The beginning of the pride of man, is to fall off from God: 15 Because his heart is departed from him that made him: for pride is the beginning of all sin: he that holdeth it, shall be filled with maledictions, and it shall ruin him in the end.
16 Therefore hath the Lord disgraced the assemblies of the wicked, and hath utterly destroyed them. 17 God hath overturned the thrones of proud princes, and hath set up the meek in their stead. 18 God hath made the roots of proud nations to wither, and hath planted the humble of these nations. 19 The Lord hath overthrown the lands of the Gentiles, and hath destroyed them even to the foundation. 20 He hath made some of them to wither away, and hath destroyed them, and hath made the memory of them to cease from the earth.
21 God hath abolished the memory of the proud, and hath preserved the memory of them that are humble in mind. 22 Pride was not made for men: nor wrath for the race of women. 23 That seed of men shall be honoured, which feareth God: but that seed shall be dishonoured, which transgresseth the commandments of the Lord. 24 In the midst of brethren their chief is honourable: so shall they that fear the Lord, be in his eyes. 25 The fear of God is the glory of the rich, and of the honourable, and of the poor:
26 Despise not a just man that is poor, and do not magnify a sinful man that is rich. 27 The great man, and the judge, and the mighty is in honour: and there is none greater than he that feareth God. 28 They that are free shall serve a servant that is wise: and a man that is prudent and well instructed will not murmur when he is reproved; and he that is ignorant, shall not be honoured. 29 Extol not thyself in doing thy work, and linger not in the time of distress: 30 Better is he that laboureth, and aboundeth in all things, than he that boasteth himself and wanteth bread.
31 My son, keep thy soul in meekness, and give it honour according to its desert. 32 Who will justify him that sinneth against his own soul? and who will honour him that dishonoureth his own soul? 33 The poor man is glorified by his discipline and fear: and there is a man that is honoured for his wealth. 34 But he that is glorified in poverty, how much more in wealth? and he that is glorified in wealth, let him fear poverty.
Lessons of humility and moderation in all things.
1 The wisdom of the humble shall exalt his head, and shall make him sit in the midst of great men. 2 Praise not a man for his beauty, neither despise a man for his look. 3 The bee is small among flying things, but her fruit hath the chiefest sweetness. 4 Glory not in apparel at any time, and be not exalted in the day of thy honour: for the works of the Highest only are wonderful, and his works are glorious, and secret, and hidden. 5 Many tyrants have sat on the throne, and he whom no man would think on, hath worn the crown.
6 Many mighty men have been greatly brought down, and the glorious have been delivered into the hand of others. 7 Before thou inquire, blame no man: and when thou hast inquired, reprove justly. 8 Before thou hear, answer not a word: and interrupt not others in the midst of their discourse. 9 Strive not in a matter which doth not concern thee, and sit not in judgment with sinners. 10 My son, meddle not with many matters: and if thou be rich, thou shalt not be free from sin: for if thou pursue after thou shalt not overtake: and if thou run before thou shalt not escape.
11 There is an ungodly man that laboureth, and maketh haste, and is in sorrow, and is so much the more in want. 12 Again, there is an inactive man that wanteth help, is very weak in ability, and full of poverty: 13 Yet the eye of God hath looked upon him for good, and hath lifted him up from his low estate, and hath exalted his head: and many have wondered at him, and have glorified God. 14 Good things and evil, life and death, poverty and riches, are from God. 15 Wisdom and discipline, and the knowledge of the law are with God. Love and the ways of good things are with him.
16 Error and darkness are created with sinners: and they that glory in evil things, grow old in evil. 17 The gift of God abideth with the just, and his advancement shall have success for ever. 18 There is one that is enriched by living sparingly, and this is the portion of his reward. 19 In that he saith: I have found me rest, and now I will eat of my goods alone: 20 And he knoweth not what time shall pass, and that death approacheth, and that he must leave all to others, and shall die.
21 Be steadfast in thy covenant, and be conversant therein, and grow old in the work of thy commandments. 22 Abide not in the works of sinners. But trust in God, and stay in thy place. 23 For it is easy in the eyes of God on a sudden to make the poor man rich. 24 The blessing of God maketh haste to reward the just, and in a swift hour his blessing beareth fruit. 25 Say not: What need I, and what good shall I have by this?
26 Say not: I am sufficient for myself: and what shall I be made worse by this? 27 In the day of good things be not unmindful of evils: and in the day of evils be not unmindful of good things: 28 For it is easy before God in the day of death to reward every one according to his ways. 29 The affliction of an hour maketh one forget great delights, and in the end of a man is the disclosing of his works. 30 Praise not any man before death, for a man is known by his children.
31 Bring not every man into thy house: for many are the snares of the deceitful. 32 For as corrupted bowels send forth stinking breath, and as the partridge is brought into the cage, and as the roe into the snare: so also is the heart of the proud, and as a spy that looketh on the fall of his neighbour. 33 For he lieth in wait and turneth good into evil, and on the elect he will lay a blot. 34 Of one spark cometh a great fire, and of one deceitful man much blood: and a sinful man lieth in wait for blood. 35 Take heed to thyself of a mischievous man, for he worketh evils: lest he bring upon thee reproach for ever.
36 Receive a stranger in, and he shall overthrow thee with a whirlwind, and shall turn thee out of thy own.
We are to be liberal to the just: and not to trust the wicked.
1 If thou do good, know to whom thou dost it, and there shall be much thanks for thy good deeds. 2 Do good to the just, and thou shalt find great recompense: and if not of him, assuredly of the Lord. 3 For there is no good for him that is always occupied in evil, and that giveth no alms: for the Highest hateth sinners, and hath mercy on the penitent. 4 Give to the merciful and uphold not the sinner: God will repay vengeance to the ungodly and to sinners, and keep them against the day of vengeance. 5 Give to the good, and receive not a sinner.
6 Do good to the humble, and give not to the ungodly: hold back thy bread, and give it not to him, lest thereby he overmaster thee. 7 For thou shalt receive twice as much evil for all the good thou shalt have done to him: for the Highest also hateth sinners, and will repay vengeance to the ungodly. 8 A friend shall not be known in prosperity, and an enemy shall not be hidden in adversity. 9 In the prosperity of a man, his enemies are grieved: and a friend is known in his adversity. 10 Never trust thy enemy: for as a brass pot his wickedness rusteth:
11 Though he humble himself and go crouching, yet take good heed and beware of him. 12 Set him not by thee, neither let him sit on thy right hand, lest he turn into thy place, and seek to take thy seat: and at the last thou acknowledge my words, and be pricked with my sayings. 13 Who will pity an enchanter struck by a serpent, or any that come near wild beasts? so is it with him that keepeth company with a wicked man, and is involved in his sins. 14 For an hour he will abide with thee: but if thou begin to decline, he will not endure it. 15 An enemy speaketh sweetly with his lips, but in his heart he lieth in wait, to throw thee into a pit.
16 An enemy weepeth with his eyes: but if he find an opportunity he will not be satisfied with blood: 17 And if evils come upon thee, thou shalt find him there first. 18 An enemy hath tears in his eyes, and while he pretendeth to help thee, will undermine thy feet. 19 He will shake his head, and clap his hands, and whisper much, and change his countenance.
Cautions in the choice of company.
1 He that toucheth pitch, shall be defiled with it: and he that hath fellowship with the proud, shall put on pride. 2 He shall take a burden upon him that hath fellowship with one more honourable than himself. And have no fellowship with one that is richer than thyself. 3 What agreement shall the earthen pot have with the kettle? for if they knock one against the other, it shall be broken. 4 The rich man hath done wrong, and yet he will fume: but the poor is wronged and must hold his peace. 5 If thou give, he will make use of thee: and if thou have nothing, he will forsake thee.
6 If thou have any thing, he will live with thee, and will make thee bare, and he will not be sorry for thee. 7 If he have need of thee he will deceive thee, and smiling upon thee will put thee in hope; he will speak thee fair, and will say: What wantest thou? 8 And he will shame thee by his meats, till he have drawn thee dry twice or thrice, and at last he will laugh at thee: and afterward when he seeth thee, he will forsake thee, and shake his head at thee. 9 Humble thyself to God, and wait for his hands. 10 Beware that thou be not deceived Into folly, and be humbled.
11 Be not lowly in thy wisdom, lest being humbled thou be deceived into folly. 12 If thou be invited by one that is mightier, withdraw thyself: for so he will invite thee the more. 13 Be not troublesome to him, lest thou be put back: and keep not far from him, lest thou be forgotten. 14 Affect not to speak with him as an equal: and believe not his many words: for by much talk he will sift thee, and smiling will examine thee concerning thy secrets. 15 His cruel mind will lay up thy words: and he will not spare to do thee hurt, and to cast thee into prison.
16 Take heed to thyself, and attend diligently to what thou hearest: for thou walkest in danger of thy ruin. 17 When thou hearest those things, see as it were in sleep, and thou shalt awake. 18 Love God all thy life, and call upon him for thy salvation. 19 Every beast loveth its like: so also every man him that is nearest to himself. 20 All flesh shall consort with the like to itself, and every man shall associate himself to his like.
21 If the wolf shall at any time have fellowship with the lamb, so the sinner with the just. 22 What fellowship hath a holy man with a dog, or what part hath the rich with the poor? 23 The wild ass is the lion's prey in the desert: so also the poor are devoured by the rich. 24 And as humility is an abomination to the proud: so also the rich man abhorreth the poor. 25 When a rich man is shaken, he is kept up by his friends: but when a poor man is fallen down, he is thrust away even by his acquaintance.
26 When a rich man hath been deceived, he hath many helpers: he hath spoken proud things, and they have justified him. 27 The poor man was deceived, and he is rebuked also: he hath spoken wisely, and could have no place. 28 The rich man spoke, and all held their peace, and what he said they extol even to the clouds. 29 The poor man spoke, and they say: Who is this? and if he stumble, they will overthrow him. 30 Riches are good to him that hath no sin in his conscience: and poverty is very wicked in the mouth of the ungodly.
31 The heart of a man changeth his countenance, either for good, or for evil. 32 The token of a good heart, and a good countenance thou shalt hardly find, and with labour.
The evil of avarice: works of mercy are recommended, and the love of wisdom.
1 Blessed is the man that hath not slipped by a word out of his mouth, and is not pricked with the remorse of sin. 2 Happy is he that hath had no sadness of his mind, and who is not fallen from his hope. 3 Riches are not comely for a covetous man and a niggard, and what should an envious man do with gold? 4 He that gathereth together by wronging his own soul, gathereth for others, and another will squander away his goods in rioting. 5 He that is evil to himself, to whom will he be good? and he shall not take pleasure in his goods.
6 There is none worse than he that envieth himself, and this is the reward of his wickedness: 7 And if he do good, he doth it ignorantly, and unwillingly: and at the last he discovereth his wickedness. 8 The eye of the envious is wicked: and he turneth away his face, and despiseth his own soul. 9 The eye of the covetous man is insatiable in his portion of iniquity: he will not be satisfied till he consume his own soul, drying it up. 10 An evil eye is towards evil things: and he shall not have his fill of bread, but shall be needy and pensive at his own table.
11 My son, if thou have any thing, do good to thyself, and offer to God worthy offerings. 12 Remember that death is not slow, and that the covenant of hell hath been shewn to thee: for the covenant of this world shall surely die. 13 Do good to thy friend before thou die, and according to thy ability, stretching out thy hand give to the poor. 14 Defraud not thyself of the good day, and let not the part of a good gift overpass thee. 15 Shalt thou not leave to others to divide by lot thy sorrows and labours?
12 "Covenant of hell"... The decree by which all are to go down to the regions of death.
16 Give and take, and justify thy soul. 17 Before thy death work justice: for in hell there is no finding food. 18 All flesh shall fade as grass, and as the leaf that springeth out on a green tree. 19 Some grow, and some fall off: so is the generation of flesh and blood, one cometh to an end, and another is born. 20 Every work that is corruptible shall fail in the end: and the worker thereof shall go with it.
21 And every excellent work shall be justified: and the worker thereof shall be honoured therein. 22 Blessed is the man that shall continue in wisdom, and that shall meditate in his justice, and in his mind shall think of the all seeing eye of God. 23 He that considereth her ways in his heart, and hath understanding in her secrets, who goeth after her as one that traceth, and stayeth in her ways: 24 He who looketh in at her windows, and hearkeneth at her door: 25 He that lodgeth near her house, and fastening a pin in her walls shall set up his tent nigh unto her, where good things shall rest in his lodging for ever.
26 He shall set his children under her shelter, and shall lodge under her branches: 27 He shall be protected under her covering from the heat, and shall rest in her glory.
Wisdom embraceth them that fear God. God is not the author of sin.
1 He that feareth God, will do good: and he that possesseth justice, shall lay hold on her, 2 And she will meet him as an honourable mother, and will receive him as a wife married of a virgin. 3 With the bread of life and understanding, she shall feed him, and give him the water of wholesome wisdom to drink: and she shall be made strong in him, and he shall not be moved: 4 And she shall hold him fast, and he shall not be confounded: and she shall exalt him among his neighbours. 5 And in the midst of the church she shall open his mouth, and shall fill him with the spirit of wisdom and understanding, and shall clothe him with a robe of glory.
6 She shall heap upon him a treasure of joy and gladness, and shall cause him to inherit an everlasting name. 7 But foolish men shall not obtain her, and wise men shall meet her, foolish men shall not see her: for she is far from pride and deceit. 8 Lying men shall not be mindful of her: but men that speak truth shall be found with her, and shall advance, even till they come to the sight of God. 9 Praise is not seemly in the mouth of a sinner: 10 For wisdom came forth from God: for praise shall be with the wisdom of God, and shall abound in a faithful mouth, and the sovereign Lord will give praise unto it.
11 Say not: It is through God, that she is not with me: for do not thou the things that he hateth. 12 Say not: He hath caused me to err: for he hath no need of wicked men. 13 The Lord hateth all abomination of error, and they that fear him shall not love it. 14 God made man from the beginning, and left him in the hand of his own counsel. 15 He added his commandments and precepts.
16 If thou wilt keep the commandments and perform acceptable fidelity for ever, they shall preserve thee. 17 He hath set water and fire before thee: stretch forth thy hand to which thou wilt. 18 Before man is life and death, good and evil, that which he shall choose shall be given him: 19 For the wisdom of God is great, and he is strong in power, seeing all men without ceasing. 20 The eyes of the Lord are towards them that fear him, and he knoweth all the work of man.
21 He hath commanded no man to do wickedly, and he hath given no man license to sin: 22 For he desireth not a multitude of faithless and unprofitable children.
It is better to have none than many wicked children. Of the justice and mercy of God. His ways are unsearchable.
1 Rejoice not in ungodly children, if they be multiplied: neither be delighted in them, if the fear of God be not with them. 2 Trust not to their life, and respect not their labours. 3 For better is one that feareth God, than a thousand ungodly children. 4 And it is better to die without children, than to leave ungodly children. 5 By one that is wise a country shall be inhabited, the tribe of the ungodly shall become desolate.
6 Many such things hath my eyes seen, and greater things than these my ear hath heard. 7 In the congregation of sinners a fire shall be kindled, and in an unbelieving nation wrath shall dame out. 8 The ancient giants did not obtain pardon for their sins, who were destroyed trusting to their own strength: 9 And he spared not the place where Lot sojourned, but abhorred them for the pride of their word. 10 He had not pity on them, destroying the whole nation that extolled themselves in their sins.
11 So did he with the six hundred thousand footmen, who were gathered together in the hardness of their heart: and if one had been stiffnecked, it is a wonder if he had escaped unpunished: 12 For mercy and wrath are with him. He is mighty to forgive, and to pour out indignation: 13 According as his mercy is, so his correction judgeth a man according to his works. 14 The sinner shall not escape in his rapines, and the patience of him that sheweth mercy shall not be put off. 15 All mercy shall make a place for every man according to the merit of his works, and according to the wisdom of his sojournment.
11 "Six hundred thousand footmen"... Viz., the children of Israel, whom he sentenced to die in the wilderness. Num. 14.
16 Say not: I shall be hidden from God. and who shall remember me from on high? 17 In such a multitude I shall not be known: for what is my soul in such an immense creation? 18 Behold the heaven, and the heavens of heavens, the deep, and all the earth, and the things that are in them, shall be moved in his sight, 19 The mountains also, and the hills, and the foundations of the earth: when God shall look upon them, they shall be shaken with trembling. 20 And in all these things the heart is senseless: and every heart is understood by him:
21 And his ways who shall understand, and the storm, which no eye of man see? 22 For many of his works are hidden: hut the works of his justice who shall declare? or who shall endure? for the testament is far from some, and the examination of all is in the end. 23 He that wanteth understanding thinketh vain things: and the foolish, and erring man, thinketh foolish things. 24 Hearken to me, my son, and learn the discipline of understanding, and attend to my words in thy heart. 25 And I will shew forth good doctrine in equity, and will seek to declare wisdom: and attend to my words in thy heart, whilst with equity of spirit I tell thee the virtues that God hath put upon his works from the beginning, and I shew forth in truth his knowledge.
26 The works of God are done in judgment from the beginning, and from the making of them he distinguished their parts, and their beginnings in their generations. 27 He beautified their works for ever, they have neither hungered, nor laboured, and they have not ceased from their works. 28 Nor shall any of them straiten his neighbour at any time. 29 Be not thou incredulous to his word. 30 After this God looked upon the earth, and filled it with his goods.
31 The soul of every living thing hath shewn forth before the face thereof, and into it they return again.
31 "shewn forth"... Viz., the glory and power of God upon the earth.
The creation and favour of God to man. An exhortation to turn to God.
1 God created man of the earth, and made him after his own image. 2 And he turned him into it again, and clothed him with strength according to himself. 3 He gave him the number of his days and time, and gave him power over all things that are upon the earth. 4 He put the fear of him upon all flesh, and he had dominion over beasts and fowls. 5 He created of him a helpmate like to himself: he gave them counsel, and a tongue, and eyes, and ears, and a heart to devise: and he filled them with the knowledge of understanding.
6 He created in them the science of the spirit, he filled their heart with wisdom, and shewed them both good and evil. 7 He set his eye upon their hearts to shew them the greatness of his works: 8 That they might praise the name which he hath sanctified: and glory in his wondrous acts, that they might declare the glorious things of his works. 9 Moreover he gave them instructions, and the law of life for an inheritance. 10 He made an everlasting covenant with them, and he shewed them his justice and judgments.
11 And their eye saw the majesty of his glory. and their ears heard his glorious voice, and he said to them: Beware of all iniquity. 12 And he gave to every one of them commandment concerning his neighbour. 13 Their ways are always before him, they are not hidden from his eyes. 14 Over every nation he set a ruler. 15 And Israel was made the manifest portion of God.
11 "Their eye saw"... Viz., when he gave the law on mount Sinai.
16 And all their works are as the sun in the sight of God: and his eyes are continually upon their ways. 17 Their covenants were not hid by their iniquity, and all their iniquities are in the sight of God. 18 The alms of a man is as a signet with him, and shall preserve the grace of a man as the apple of the eye: 19 And afterward he shall rise up, and shall render them their reward, to every one upon their own head, and shall turn them down into the bowels of the earth. 20 But to the penitent he hath given the way of justice, and he hath strengthened them that were fainting in patience, and hath appointed to them the lot of truth.
21 Turn to the Lord, and forsake thy sins: 22 Make thy prayer before the face of the Lord, and offend less. 23 Return to the Lord, and turn away from thy injustice, and greatly hate abomination. 24 And know the justices and judgments of God, and stand firm in the lot set before thee, and in prayer to the most high God. 25 Go to the side of the holy age, with them that live and give praise to God.
22 "Offend less"... Minue offendicula. That is, remove sins and the occasions of sins.
25 "Go to the side"... Fly from the side of Satan and sin, and join with the holy ones, that follow God and godliness.
26 Tarry not in the error of the ungodly, give glory before death. Praise perisheth from the dead as nothing. 27 Give thanks whilst thou art living, whilst thou art alive and in health thou shalt give thanks, and shalt praise God, and shalt glory in his mercies. 28 How great is the mercy of the Lord, and his forgiveness to them that turn to him! 29 For all things cannot be in men, because the son of man is not immortal, and they are delighted with the vanity of evil. 30 What is brighter than the sun; yet it shall be eclipsed. Or what is more wicked than that which flesh and blood hath invented? and this shall be reproved.
31 He beholdeth the power of the height of heaven: and all men are earth and ashes.
God's works are wonderful: we must serve him, and not our lusts.
1 He that liveth for ever created all things together. God only shall be justified, and he remaineth an invincible king for ever. 2 Who is able to declare his works? 3 For who shall search out his glorious acts? 4 And who shall shew forth the power of his majesty? or who shall be able to declare his mercy? 5 Nothing may be taken away, nor added, neither is it possible to find out the glorious works of God:
6 When a man hath done, then shall he begin: and when he leaveth off, he shall be at a loss. 7 What is man, and what is his grace? and what is his good, or what is his evil? 8 The number of the days of men at the most are a hundred years: as a drop of water of the sea are they esteemed: and as a pebble of the sand, so are a few years compared to eternity. 9 Therefore God is patient in them, and poureth forth his mercy upon them. 10 He hath seen the presumption of their heart that it is wicked, and hath known their end that it is evil.
6 "Then shall he begin"... God is so great and incomprehensible, that when man has done all that he can to find out his greatness and boundless perfections, he is still to begin: for what he has found out, is but a mere nothing in comparison with his infinity.
11 Therefore bath he filled up his mercy in their favour, and hath shewn them the way of justice. 12 The compassion of man is toward his neighbour: but the mercy of God is upon all flesh. 13 He hath mercy, and teacheth, and correcteth, as a shepherd doth his flock. 14 He hath mercy on him that receiveth the discipline of mercy, and that maketh haste in his judgments. 15 My son, in thy good deeds, make no complaint, and when thou givest any thing, add not grief by an evil word.
16 Shall not the dew assuage the heat? so also the good word is better than the gift. 17 Lo, is not a word better than a gift? but both are with a justified man. 18 A fool will upbraid bitterly: and a gift of one ill taught consumeth the eyes. 19 Before judgment prepare thee justice, and learn before thou speak. 20 Before sickness take a medicine, and before judgment examine thyself, and thou shalt find mercy in the sight of God.
21 Humble thyself before thou art sick, and in the time of sickness shew thy conversation. 22 Let nothing hinder thee from praying always, and be not afraid to be justified even to death: for the reward of God continueth for ever. 23 Before prayer prepare thy soul: and be not as a man that tempteth God. 24 Remember the wrath that shall be at the last day, and the time of repaying when he shall turn away his face. 25 Remember poverty is the time of abundance, and the necessities of poverty in the day of riches.
26 From the morning until the evening the time shall be changed, and all these are swift in the eyes of God. 27 A wise man will fear in every thing, and in the days of sins will beware of sloth. 28 Every man of understanding knoweth wisdom, and will give praise to him that findeth her. 29 They that were of good understanding in words, have also done wisely themselves: and have understood truth and justice, and have poured forth proverbs and judgments. 30 Go not after thy lusts, but turn away from thy own will.
31 If thou give to thy soul her desires, she will make thee a joy to thy enemies. 32 Take no pleasure in riotous assemblies, be they ever so small: for their concertation is continual. 33 Make not thyself poor by borrowing to contribute to feasts when thou hast nothing in thy purse: for thou shalt be an enemy to thy own life.
Admonition against sundry vices.
1 A workman that is a drunkard shall not be rich: and he that contemneth small things, shall fall by little and little. 2 Wine and women make wise men fall off, and shall rebuke the prudent. 3 And he that joineth himself to harlots, will be wicked. Rottenness and worms shall inherit him, and he shall be lifted up for a greater example, and his soul shall be taken away out of the number. 4 He that is hasty to give credit, is light of heart, and shall be lessened: and he that sinneth against his own soul, shall be despised. 5 He that rejoiceth in iniquity, shall be censured, and he that hateth chastisement, shall have less life: and he that hateth babbling, extinguisheth evil.
6 He that sinneth against his own soul, shall repent: and he that is delighted with wickedness, shall be condemned. 7 Rehearse not again a wicked and harsh word, and thou shalt not fare the worse. 8 Tell not thy mind to friend or foe: and if there be a sin with thee, disclose it not. 9 For he will hearken to thee, and will watch thee, and as it were defending thy sin he will hate thee, and so will he be with thee always. 10 Hast thou heard a word against thy neighbour? let it die within thee, trusting that it will not burst thee.
11 At the hearing of a word the fool is in travail, as a woman groaning. in the bringing forth a child. 12 As an arrow that sticketh in a man's thigh: so is a word in the heart of a fool. 13 Reprove a friend, lest he may not have understood, and say: I did it not: or if he did it, that he may do it no more. 14 Reprove thy neighbour, for it may be he hath not said it: and if he hath said it, that he may not say it again. 15 Admonish thy friend: for there is often a fault committed.
16 And believe not every word. There is one, that slippeth with the tongue, but not from his heart. 17 For who is there that hath not offended with his tongue? Admonish thy neighbour before thou threaten him. 18 And give place to the fear of the most High: for the fear of God is all wisdom, and therein is to fear God, and the disposition of the law is in all wisdom. 19 But the learning of wickedness is not wisdom: and the device of sinners is not prudence. 20 There is a subtle wickedness, and the same is detestable: and there is a man that is foolish, wanting in wisdom.
21 Better is a man that hath less wisdom, and wanteth understanding, with the fear of God, than he that aboundeth in understanding, and transgresseth the law of the most High. 22 There is an exquisite subtilty, and the same is unjust. 23 And there is one that uttereth an exact word telling the truth. There is one that humbleth himself wickedly, and his interior is full of deceit: 24 And there is one that submitteth himself exceedingly with a great lowliness: and there is one that casteth down his countenance, and maketh as if he did not see that which is unknown: 25 And if he be hindered from sinning for want of power, if he shall find opportunity to do evil, he will do it.
26 A man is known by his look, and a wise man, when thou meetest him, is known by his countenance. 27 The attire of the body, and the laughter of the teeth, and the gait of the man, shew what he is. 28 There is a lying rebuke in the anger of an injurious man: and there is a judgment that is not allowed to be good: and there is one that holdeth his peace, he is wise.
Rules with regard to correction, discretion, and avoiding lies.
1 How much better is it to reprove, than to be angry, and not to hinder him that confesseth in prayer. 2 The lust of an eunuch shall devour a young maiden: 3 So is he that by violence executeth unjust judgment. 4 How good is it, when thou art reproved, to shew repentance! for so thou shalt escape wilful sin. 5 There is one that holdeth his peace, that is found wise: and there is another that is hateful, that is bold in speech.
6 There is one that holdeth his peace, because he knoweth not what to say: and there is another that holdeth his peace, knowing the proper time. 7 A wise man will hold his peace till he see opportunity: but a babbler, and a fool, will regard no time. 8 He that useth many words shall hurt his own soul: and he that taketh authority to himself unjustly shall be hated. 9 There is success in evil things to a man without discipline, and there is a finding that turneth to loss. 10 There is a gift that is not profitable: and there is a gift, the recompense of which is double.
11 There is an abasement because of glory: and there is one that shall lift up his head from a low estate. 12 There is that buyeth much for a small price, and restoreth the same sevenfold. 13 A man wise in words shall make himself beloved: but the graces of fools shall be poured out. 14 The gift of the fool shall do thee no good: for his eyes are sevenfold. 15 He will give a few things, and upbraid much: and the opening of his mouth is the kindling of a fire.
16 Today a man lendeth, and tomorrow he asketh it again: such a man as this is hateful. 17 A fool shall have no friend, and there shall be no thanks for his good deeds. 18 For they that eat his bread, are of a false tongue. How often, and how many will laugh him to scorn! 19 For he doth not distribute with right understanding that which was to be had: in like manner also that which was not to be had. 20 The slipping of a false tongue is as one that falleth on the pavement: so the fall of the wicked shall come speedily.
21 A man without grace is as a vain fable, it shall be continually in the mouth of the unwise. 22 A parable coming out, of a fool's mouth shall be rejected: for he doth not speak it in due season. 23 There is that is hindered from sinning through want, and in his rest he shall be pricked. 24 There is that will destroy his own soul through shamefacedness, and by occasion of an unwise person he will destroy it: and by respect of person he will destroy himself. 25 There is that for bashfulness promiseth to his friend, and maketh him his enemy for nothing.
26 A lie is a foul blot in a man, and yet it will be continually in the mouth of men without discipline. 27 A thief is better than a man that is always lying: but both of them shall inherit destruction. 28 The manners of lying men are without honour: and their confusion is with them without ceasing. 29 A wise man shall advance himself with his words, and a prudent man shall please the great ones. 30 He that tilleth his land shall make a high heap of corn: and he that worketh justice shall be exalted: and he that pleaseth great men shall escape iniquity.
31 Presents and gifts blind the eyes of judges, and make them dumb in the mouth, so that they cannot correct. 32 Wisdom that is hid, and treasure that is not seen: what profit is there in them both? 33 Better is he that hideth his folly, than the man that hideth his wisdom.
Cautions against sin in general, and some sins in particular.
1 My son, hast thou sinned? do so no more: but for thy former sins also pray that they may be forgiven thee. 2 Flee from sins as from the face of a serpent: for if thou comest near them, they will take hold of thee. 3 The teeth thereof are the teeth of a lion, killing the souls of men. 4 All iniquity is like a two-edged sword, there is no remedy for the wound thereof. 5 Injuries and wrongs will waste riches: and the house that is very rich shall be brought to nothing by pride: so the substance of the proud shall be rooted out.
6 The prayer out of the mouth of the poor shall reach the ears of God, and judgment shall come for him speedily. 7 He that hateth to be reproved walketh in the trace of a sinner: and he that feareth God will turn to his own heart. 8 He that is mighty by a bold tongue is known afar off, but a wise man knoweth to slip by him. 9 He that buildeth his house at other men's charges, is as he that gathereth himself stones to build in the winter. 10 The congregation of sinners is like tow heaped together, and the end of them is a flame of fire.
11 The way of sinners is made plain with stones, and in their end is hell, and darkness, and pains. 12 He that keepeth justice shall get the understanding thereof. 13 The perfection of the fear of God is wisdom and understanding. 14 He that is not wise in good, will not be taught. 15 But there is a wisdom that aboundeth in evil: and there is no understanding where there is bitterness.
16 The knowledge of a wise man shall abound like a flood, and his counsel continueth like a fountain of life. 17 The heart of a fool is like a broken vessel, and no wisdom at all shall it hold. 18 A man of sense will praise every wise word he shall hear, and will apply it to himself: the luxurious man hath heard it, and it shall displease him, and he will cast it behind his back. 19 The talking of a fool is like a burden in the way: but in the lips of the wise, grace shall be found. 20 The mouth of the prudent is sought after in the church, and they will think upon his words in their hearts.
21 As a house that is destroyed, so is wisdom to a fool: and the knowledge of the unwise is as words without sense. 22 Doctrine to a fool is as fetters on the feet, and like manacles on the right hand. 23 A fool lifteth up his voice in laughter: but a wise man will scarce laugh low to himself. 24 Learning to the prudent is as an ornament of gold, and like a bracelet upon his right arm. 25 The foot of a fool is soon in his neighbour's house: but a man of experience will be abashed at the person of the mighty.
26 A fool will peep through the window into the house: but he that is well taught will stand without. 27 It is the folly of a man to hearken at the door: and a wise man will be grieved with the disgrace. 28 The lips of the unwise will be telling foolish things but the words of the wise shall be weighed in a balance. 29 The heart of fools is in their mouth: and the mouth of wise men is in their heart. 30 While the ungodly curseth the devil, he curseth his own soul.
30 "While the ungodly"... He condemneth and curseth himself: inasmuch as by sin he takes part with the devil, and is, as it were, his member and subject.
31 The talebearer shall defile his own soul, and shall be hated by all: and he that shall abide with him shall be hateful: the silent and wise man shall be honoured.
Wise sayings on divers subjects.
1 The sluggard is pelted with a dirty stone, and all men will speak of his disgrace. 2 The sluggard is pelted with the dung of oxen: and every one that toucheth him will shake his hands. 3 A son ill taught is the confusion of the father: and a foolish daughter shall be to his loss. 4 A wise daughter shall bring an inheritance to her husband: but she that confoundeth, becometh a disgrace to her father. 5 She that is bold shameth both her father and husband, and will not be inferior to the ungodly: and shall be disgraced by them both.
6 A tale out of time is like music in mourning: but the stripes and instruction of wisdom are never out of time. 7 He that teacheth a fool, is like one that glueth a potsherd together. 8 He that telleth a word to him that heareth not, is like one that waketh a man out of a deep sleep. 9 He speaketh with one that is asleep, who uttereth wisdom to a fool: and in the end of the discourse he saith: Who is this? 10 Weep for the dead, for his light hath failed: and weep for the fool, for his understanding faileth.
10 "For the fool"... In the language of the Holy Ghost, he is styled a fool, that turns away from God to follow vanity and sin. And what is said by the wise man against fools is meant of such fools as these.
11 Weep but a little for the dead, for he is at rest. 12 For the wicked life of a wicked fool is worse than death. 13 The mourning for the dead is seven days: but for a fool and an ungodly man all the days of their life. 14 Talk not much with a fool, and go not with him that hath no sense. 15 Keep thyself from him, that thou mayst not have trouble, and thou shalt not be defiled with his sin.
16 Turn away from him, and thou shalt find rest, and shalt not be wearied out with his folly. 17 What is heavier than lead? and what other name hath he but fool? 18 Sand and salt, and a mass of iron is easier to bear, than a man without sense, that is both foolish and wicked. 19 A frame of wood bound together in the foundation of a building, shall not be loosed: so neither shall the heart that is established by advised counsel. 20 The thought of him that is wise at all times, shall not be depraved by fear.
21 As pales set in high places, and plasterings made without cost, will not stand against the face of the wind: 22 So also a fearful heart in the imagination of a fool shall not resist against the violence of fear. 23 As a fearful heart in the thought of a fool at all times will not fear, so neither shall he that continueth always in the commandments of God. 24 He that pricketh the eye, bringeth out tears: and he that pricketh the heart, bringeth forth resentment. 25 He that flingeth a stone at birds, shall drive them away: so he that upbraideth his friend, breaketh friendship.
26 Although thou hast drawn a sword at a friend, despair not: for there may be a returning. To a friend, 27 If thou hast opened a sad mouth, fear not, for there may be a reconciliation: except upbraiding, and reproach, and pride, and disclosing of secrets, or a treacherous wound: for in all these cases a friend will flee away. 28 Keep fidelity with a friend in his poverty, that in his prosperity also thou mayst rejoice. 29 In the time of his trouble continue faithful to him, that thou mayst also be heir with him in his inheritance. 30 As the vapour of a chimney, and the smoke of the fire goeth up before the fire: so also injurious words, and reproaches, and threats, before blood.
31 I will not be ashamed to salute a friend, neither will I hide myself from his face: and if any evil happen to me by him, I will bear it. 32 But every one that shall hear it, will beware of him. 33 Who will set a guard before my mouth, and a sure seal upon my lips, that I fall not by them, and that my tongue destroy me not?
A prayer for grace to flee sin: cautions against profane swearing and other vices.
1 O Lord, father, and sovereign ruler of my life, leave me not to their counsel: nor suffer me to fall by them. 2 Who will set scourges over my thoughts, and the discipline of wisdom over my heart, that they spare me not in their ignorances, and that their sins may not appear: 3 Lest my ignorance increase, and my offences be multiplied, and my sins abound, and I fall before my adversaries, and my enemy rejoice over me? 4 O Lord, father, and God of my life, leave me not to their devices. 5 Give me not haughtiness of my eyes, and turn away from me all coveting.
1 "By them"... Viz., the tongue and the lips, mentioned in the last verse of the foregoing chapter.
2 "That they spare me not in their ignorances"... That is, that the scourges and discipline of wisdom may restrain the ignorances, that is, the slips and offences which are usually committed by the tongue and the lips.
6 Take from me the greediness of the belly, and let not the lusts of the flesh take hold of me, and give me not over to a shameless and foolish mind. 7 Hear, O ye children, the discipline of the mouth: and he that will keep it shall not perish by his lips, nor be brought to fall into most wicked works. 8 A sinner is caught in his own vanity, and the proud and the evil speakers shall fall thereby. 9 Let not thy mouth be accustomed to swearing: for in it there are many falls. 10 And let not the naming of God be usual in thy mouth, and meddle not with the names of saints, for thou shalt not escape free from them.
11 For as a slave daily put to the question, is never without a blue mark: so every one that sweareth, and nameth, shall not be wholly pure from sin. 12 A man that sweareth much, shall be filled with iniquity, and a scourge shall not depart from his house. 13 And if he make it void, his sin shall be upon him: and if he dissemble it, he offendeth double: 14 And if he swear in vain, he shall not be justified: for his house shall be filled with his punishment. 15 There is also another speech opposite to death, let it not be found in the inheritance of Jacob.
16 For from the merciful all these things shall be taken away, and they shall not wallow in sins. 17 Let not thy mouth be accustomed to indiscreet speech: for therein is the word of sin. 18 Remember thy father and thy mother, for thou sittest is the midst of great men: 19 Lest God forget thee in their sight, and thou, by thy daily custom, be infatuated and suffer reproach: and wish that thou hadst not been born, and curse the day of thy nativity. 20 The man that is accustomed to opprobrious words, will never be corrected all the days of his life.
21 Two sorts of men multiply sins, and the third bringeth wrath and destruction. 22 A hot soul is a burning fire, it will never be quenched, till it devour some thing. 23 And a man that is wicked in the mouth of his flesh, will not leave off till he hath kindled a fire. 24 To a man that is a fornicator all bread is sweet, he will not be weary of sinning unto the end. 25 Every man that passeth beyond his own bed, despising his own soul, and saying: Who seeth me?
26 Darkness compasseth me about, and the walls cover me, and no man seeth me: whom do I fear? the most High will not remember my sins. 27 And he understandeth not that his eye seeth all things, for such a man's fear driveth from him the fear of God, and the eyes of men fearing him: 28 And he knoweth not that the eyes of the Lord are far brighter than the sun, beholding round about all the ways of men, and the bottom of the deep, and looking into the hearts of men, into the most hidden parts. 29 For all things were known to the Lord God, before they were created: so also after they were perfected he beholdeth all things. 30 This man shall be punished in the streets of the city, and he shall be chased as a colt: and where he suspected not, he shall be taken.
31 And he shall be in disgrace with all men, because he understood not the fear of the Lord. 32 So every woman also that leaveth her husband, and bringeth in an heir by another: 33 For first she hath been unfaithful to the law of the most High: and secondly, she hath offended against her husband: thirdly, she hath fornicated in adultery, and hath gotten her children of another man. 34 This woman shall be brought into the assembly, and inquisition shall be made of her children. 35 Her children shall not take root, and her branches shall bring forth no fruit.
36 She shall leave her memory to be cursed, and her infamy shall not be blotted out. 37 And they that remain shall know. that there is nothing better than the fear of God: and that there is nothing sweeter than to have regard to the commandments of the Lord. 38 It is great glory to follow the Lord for length of days shall be received from him.
Wisdom praiseth herself: her origin, her dwelling, her dignity, and her fruits.
1 Wisdom shall praise her own self, and shall be honoured in God, and shall glory in the midst of her people, 2 And shall open her mouth in the churches of the most High, and shall glorify herself in the sight of his power, 3 And in the midst of her own people she shall be exalted, and shall be admired in the holy assembly. 4 And in the multitude of the elect she shall have praise, and among the blessed she shall be blessed, saying: 5 I came out of the mouth of the most High, the firstborn before all creatures:
6 I made that in the heavens there should rise light that never faileth, and as a cloud I covered all the earth: 7 I dwelt in the highest places, and my throne is in a pillar of a cloud. 8 I alone have compassed the circuit of heaven, and have penetrated into the bottom of the deep, and have walked in the waves of the sea, 9 And have stood in all the earth: and in every people, 10 And in every nation I have had the chief rule:
11 And by my power I have trodden under my feet the hearts of all the high and low: and in all these I sought rest, and I shall abide in the inheritance of the Lord. 12 Then the creator of all things commanded, and said to me: and he that made me, rested in my tabernacle, 13 And he said to me: Let thy dwelling be in Jacob, and thy inheritance in Israel, and take root in my elect. 14 From the beginning, and before the world, was I created, and unto the world to come I shall not cease to be, and in the holy dwelling place I have ministered before him. 15 And so was I established in Sion, and in the holy city likewise I rested, and my power was in Jerusalem.
16 And I took root in an honourable people, and in the portion of my God his inheritance, and my abode is in the full assembly of saints. 17 I was exalted like a cedar in Libanus, and as a cypress tree on mount Sion. 18 I was exalted like a palm tree in Cades, and as a rose plant in Jericho: 19 As a fair olive tree in the plains, and as a plane tree by the water in the streets, was I exalted. 20 I gave a sweet smell like cinnamon. and aromatical balm: I yielded a sweet odour like the best myrrh:
21 And I perfumed my dwelling as storax, and galbanum, and onyx, and aloes, and as the frankincense not cut, and my odour is as the purest balm. 22 I have stretched out my branches as the turpentine tree, and my branches are of honour and grace. 23 As the vine I have brought forth a pleasant odour: and my flowers are the fruit of honour and riches. 24 I am the mother of fair love, and of fear, and of knowledge, and of holy hope. 25 In me is all grace of the way and of the truth, in me is all hope of life and of virtue.
26 Come over to me, all ye that desire me, and be filled with my fruits. 27 For my spirit is sweet above honey, and my inheritance above honey and the honeycomb. 28 My memory is unto everlasting generations. 29 They that eat me, shall yet hunger: and they that drink me, shall yet thirst. 30 He that hearkeneth to me, shall not be confounded: and they that work by me, shall not sin.
31 They that explain me shall have life everlasting. 32 All these things are the book of life, and the covenant of the most High, and the knowledge of truth. 33 Moses commanded a law in the precepts of justices, and an inheritance to the house of Jacob, and the promises to Israel. 34 He appointed to David his servant to raise up of him a most mighty king, and sitting on the throne of glory for ever. 35 Who filleth up wisdom as the Phison, and as the Tigris in the days of the new fruits.
34 "A most mighty king"... Viz., Christ, who by his gospel, like an overflowing river, has enriched the earth with heavenly wisdom.
36 Who maketh understanding to abound as the Euphrates, who multiplieth it as the Jordan in the time of harvest. 37 Who sendeth knowledge as the light, and riseth up as Gehon in the time of the vintage. 38 Who first hath perfect knowledge of her, and a weaker shall not search her out. 39 For her thoughts are more vast than the sea, and her counsels more deep than the great ocean. 40 I, wisdom, have poured out rivers.
38 "Who first hath perfect knowledge of her"... Christ was the first that had perfect knowledge of heavenly wisdom.
41 I, like a brook out of a river of a mighty water; I, like a channel of a river. and like an aqueduct, came out of paradise. 42 I said: I will water my garden of plants, and I will water abundantly the fruits of my meadow. 43 And behold my brook became a great river, and my river came near to a sea: 44 For I make doctrine to shine forth to all as the morning light, and I will declare it afar off. 45 I will penetrate to all the lower parts of the earth, and will behold all that sleep, and will enlighten all that hope in the Lord.
46 I will yet pour out doctrine as prophecy, and will leave it to them that seek wisdom, and will not cease to instruct their offspring even to the holy age. 47 See ye that I have not laboured for myself only, but for all that seek out the truth.
Documents of wisdom on several subjects.
1 With three things my spirit is pleased, which are approved before God and men: 2 The concord of brethren, and the love of neighbours, and man and wife that agree well together. 3 Three sorts my soul hateth, and I am greatly grieved at their life: 4 A poor man that is proud: a rich man that is a liar: an old man that is a fool, and doting. 5 The things that thou hast not gathered in thy youth, how shalt thou find them in thy old age?
6 O how comely is judgment for a grey head, and for ancients to know counsel! 7 O how comely is wisdom for the aged, and understanding and counsel to men of honour! 8 Much experience is the crown of old men, and the fear of God is their glory. 9 Nine things that are not to be imagined by the heart have I magnified, and the tenth I will utter to men with my tongue. 10 A man that hath joy of his children: and he that liveth and seeth the fall of his enemies.
11 Blessed is he. that dwelleth with a wise woman, and that hath not slipped with his tongue, and that hath not served such as are unworthy of him. 12 Blessed is he that findeth a true friend, and that declareth justice to an ear that heareth. 13 How great is he that findeth wisdom and knowledge! but there is none above him that feareth the Lord. 14 The fear of God hath set itself above all things: 15 Blessed is the man, to whom it is given to have the fear of God: he that holdeth it, to whom shall he be likened?
16 The fear of God is the beginning of his love: and the beginning of faith is to be fast joined unto it. 17 The sadness of the heart is every plague: and the wickedness of a woman is all evil. 18 And a man will choose any plague, but the plague of the heart: 19 And any wickedness, but the wickedness of a woman: 20 And any affliction, but the affliction from them that hate him:
21 And any revenge, but the revenge of enemies. 22 There is no head worse than the head of a serpent: 23 And there is no anger above the anger of a woman. It will be more agreeable to abide with a lion and a dragon, than to dwell with a wicked woman. 24 The wickedness of a woman changeth her face: and she darkeneth her countenance as a bear: and sheweth it like sackcloth. In the midst of her neighbours, 25 Her husband groaned, and hearing he sighed a little.
26 All malice is shore to the malice of a woman, let the lot of sinners fall upon her. 27 As the climbing of a sandy way is to the feet of the aged, so is a wife full of tongue to a quiet man. 28 Look not upon a woman's beauty, and desire not a woman for beauty. 29 A woman's anger, and impudence, and confusion is great. 30 A woman, if she have superiority, is contrary to her husband.
31 A wicked woman abateth the courage, and maketh a heavy countenance, and a wounded heart. 32 Feeble hands, and disjointed knees, a woman that doth not make her husband happy. 33 From the woman came the beginning of sin, and by her we all die. 34 Give no issue to thy water, no, not a little: nor to a wicked woman liberty to gad abroad. 35 If she walk not at thy hand, she will confound thee in the sight of thy enemies.
36 Cut her off from thy flesh, lest she always abuse thee.
Of good and bad women.
1 Happy is the husband of a good wife: for the number of his years is double. 2 A virtuous woman rejoiceth her husband: and shall fulfill the years of his life in peace. 3 A good wife is a good portion, she shall be given in the portion of them that fear God, to a man for his good deeds. 4 Rich or poor, if his heart is good, his countenance shall be cheerful at all times. 5 Of three things my heart hath been afraid, and at the fourth my face hath trembled:
6 The accusation of a city, and the gathering together of the people: 7 And a false calumny, all are more grievous than death. 8 A jealous woman is the grief and mourning of the heart. 9 With a jealous woman is a scourge of the tongue which communicateth with all. 10 As a yoke of oxen that is moved to and fro, so also is a wicked woman: he that hath hold of her, is as he that taketh hold of a scorpion.
11 A drunken woman is a great wrath: and her reproach and shame shall not be hid. 12 The fornication of a woman shall be known by the haughtiness of her eyes, and by her eyelids. 13 On a daughter that turneth not away herself, set a strict watch: lest finding an opportunity she abuse herself. 14 Take heed of the impudence of her eyes, and wonder not if she slight thee. 15 She will open her mouth as a thirsty traveller to the fountain, and will drink of every water near her, and will sit down by every hedge, and open her quiver against every arrow, until she fail.
16 The grace of a diligent woman shall delight her husband, and shall fat his bones. 17 Her discipline is the gift of God. 18 Such is a wise and silent woman, and there is nothing so much worth as a well instructed soul. 19 A holy and shamefaced woman is grace upon grace. 20 And no price is worthy of a continent soul.
21 As the sun when it riseth to the world in the high places of God, so is the beauty of a good wife for the ornament of her house. 22 As the lamp shining upon the holy candlestick, so is the beauty of the face in a ripe age. 23 As golden pillars upon bases of silver, so are the firm feet upon the soles of a steady woman. 24 As everlasting foundations upon a solid rock, so the commandments of God In the heart of a holy woman. 25 At two things my heart is grieved, and the third bringeth anger upon me:
26 A man of was fainting through poverty: and a man of sense despised: 27 And he that passeth over from justice to sin, God hath prepared such an one for the sword. 28 Two sorts of callings have appeared to me hard and dangerous: a merchant is hardly free from negligence: and a huckster shall not be justified from the sins of the lips.
28 "From negligence"... That is, from the neglect of the service of God: because the eager pursuit of the mammon of this world, is apt to make men of that calling forget the great duties of loving God above all things, and their neighbours as themselves.-- Ibid.
28 "A huckster"... Or, a retailer of wine. Men of that profession are both greatly exposed to danger of sin themselves, and are too often accessary to the sins of others.
Dangers of sin from several heads: the fear of God is the best preservative. He that diggeth a pit, shall fall into it.
1 Through poverty many have sinned: and he that seeketh to be enriched, turneth away his eye. 2 As a stake sticketh fast in the midst of the joining of stones, so also in the midst of selling and buying, sin shall stick fast. 3 Sin shall be destroyed with the sinner. 4 Unless thou hold thyself diligently in the fear of the Lord, thy house shall quickly be overthrown. 5 As when one sifteth with a sieve, the dust will remain: so will the perplexity of a man in his thoughts.
6 The furnace trieth the potter's vessels, and the trial of affliction just men. 7 Be the dressing of a tree sheweth the fruit thereof, so a word out of the thought of the heart of man. 8 Praise not a man before he speaketh, for this is the trial of men. 9 If thou followest justice, thou shalt obtain her: and shalt put her on as a long robe of honour, and thou shalt dwell with her: and she shall protect thee for ever, and in the day of acknowledgment thou shalt find a strong foundation. 10 Birds resort unto their like: so truth will return to them that practise her.
11 The lion always lieth in wait for prey: so do sins for them that work iniquities. 12 A holy man continueth in wisdom as the sun: but a fool is changed as the moon. 13 In the midst of the unwise keep in the word till its time: but be continually among men that think. 14 The discourse of sinners is hateful, and their laughter is at the pleasures of sin. 15 The speech that sweareth much shall make the hair of the head stand upright: and its irreverence shall make one stop his ears.
16 Is the quarrels of the proud is the shedding of blood: and their cursing is a grievous hearing. 17 He that discloseth the secret of a friend loseth his credit, and shall never find a friend to his mind. 18 Love thy neighbour, and be joined to him with fidelity. 19 But if thou discover his secrets, follow no more after him. 20 For as a man that destroyeth his friend, so also is he that destroyeth the friendship of his neighbour.
21 And as one that letteth a bird go out of his hand, so hast thou let thy neighbour go, and thou shalt not get him again. 22 Follow after him no more, for he is gone afar off, he is fled, as a roe escaped out of the snare: because his soul is wounded. 23 Thou canst no more bind him up. And of a curse there is reconciliation: 24 But to disclose the secrets of a friend, leaveth no hope to an unhappy soul. 25 He that winketh with the eye forgeth wicked things, and no man will cast him off:
23 "And of a curse there is reconciliation"... That is, it is easier to obtain a reconciliation after a curse, than after disclosing a secret.
26 In the sight of thy eyes he will sweeten his mouth, and will admire thy words: but at the last he will writhe his mouth, and on thy words he will lay a stumblingblock. 27 I have hated many things, but not like him, and the Lord will hate him. 28 If one cast a stone on high, it will fall upon his own head: and the deceitful stroke will wound the deceitful. 29 He that diggeth a pit, shall fall into it: and he that setteth a stone for his neighbour, shall stumble upon it: and he that layeth a snare for another, shall perish in it. 30 A mischievous counsel shall be rolled back upon the author, and he shall not know from whence it cometh to him.
31 Mockery and reproach are of the proud, and vengeance as a lion shall lie in wait for him. 32 They shall perish in a snare that are delighted with the fall of the just: and sorrow shall consume them before they die. 33 Anger and fury are both of them abominable, and the sinful man shall be subject to them.
Lessons against revenge and quarrels. The evils of the tongue.
1 He that seeketh to revenge himself, shall find vengeance from the Lord, and he will surely keep his sins in remembrance. 2 Forgive thy neighbour if he hath hurl thee: and then shall thy sins be forgiven to thee when thou prayest. 3 Man to man reserveth anger, and doth he seek remedy of God? 4 He hath no mercy on a man like himself, and doth he entreat for his own sins? 5 He that is but flesh, nourisheth anger, and doth he ask forgiveness of God? who shall obtain pardon for his sins?
6 Remember thy last things, and let enmity cease: 7 For corruption and death hang over in his commandments. 8 Remember the fear of God, and be not angry with thy neighbour. 9 Remember the covenant of the most High, and overlook the ignorance of thy neighbour. 10 Refrain from strife, and thou shalt diminish thy sins:
7 "In his commandments"... Supply the sentence out of the Greek thus: Remember corruption and death, and abide in the commandments.
11 For a passionate man kindleth strife, and a sinful man will trouble his friends, and bring in debate in the midst of them that are at peace. 12 For as the wood of the forest is, so the fire burneth: and as a man's strength is, so shall his anger be, and according to his riches he shall increase his anger. 13 A hasty contention kindleth a fire: and a hasty quarrel sheddeth blood: and a tongue that beareth witness bringeth death. 14 If thou blow the spark, it shall burn as a fire: and if thou spit upon it, it shall be quenched: both come out of the mouth. 15 The whisperer and the double tongued is accursed: for he hath troubled many that were at peace.
16 The tongue of a third person hath disquieted many, and scattered them from nation to nation. 17 It hath destroyed the strong cities of the rich, and hath overthrown the houses of great men. 18 It hath cut in pieces the forces of people, and undone strong nations. 19 The tongue of a third person hath cast out valiant women, and deprived them of their labours. 20 He that hearkeneth to it, shall never have rest, neither shall he have a friend in whom he may repose.
21 The stroke of a whip maketh a blue mark: but the stroke of the tongue will break the bones. 22 Many have fallen by the edge of the sword, but not so many as have perished by their own tongue. 23 Blessed is he that is defended from a wicked tongue, that hath not passed into the wrath thereof, and that hath not drawn the yoke thereof, and hath not been bound in its bands. 24 For its yoke is a yoke of iron: and its bands are bands of brass. 25 The death thereof is a most evil death: and hell is preferable to it.
26 Its continuance shall not be for a long time, but it shall possess the ways of the unjust: and the just shall not be burnt with its flame. 27 They that forsake God shall fall into it, and it shall burn in them, and shall not be quenched, and it shall be sent upon them as a lion, and as a leopard it shall tear them. 28 Hedge in thy ears with thorns, hear not a wicked tongue, and make doors and bars to thy mouth. 29 Melt down thy gold and silver, and make a balance for thy words, and a just bridle for thy mouth: 30 And take heed lest thou slip with thy tongue, and fall in the sight of thy enemies who lie in wait for thee, and thy fall be incurable unto death.
Of charity in lending money, and justice in repaying. Of alms, and of being surety.
1 He that sheweth mercy, lendeth to his neighbour: and he that is stronger in hand, keepeth the commandments. 2 Lend to thy neighbour in the time of his need, and pay thou thy neighbour again in due time. 3 Reap thy word, and deal faithfully with him: and thou shalt always find that which is necessary for thee. 4 Many have looked upon a thing lent as a thing found, and have given trouble to them that helped them. 5 Till they receive, they kiss the hands of the lender, and in promises they humble their voice:
1 "And he that is stronger in hand"... That is, he that is hearty and bountiful in lending to his neighbour in his necessity.
6 But when they should repay, they will ask time, and will return tedious and murmuring words, and will complain of the time: 7 And if he be able to pay, he will stand off, he will scarce pay one half, and will count it as if he had found it: 8 But if not, he will defraud him of his money, and he shall get him for an enemy without cause: 9 And he will pay him with reproaches and curses, and instead of honour and good turn will repay him injuries. 10 Many have refused to lend, not out of wickedness, but they were afraid to be defrauded without cause.
11 But yet towards the poor be thou more hearty, and delay not to shew him mercy. 12 Help the poor because of the commandment: and send him not away empty handed because of his poverty. 13 Lose thy money for thy brother and thy friend: and hide it not under a stone to be lost. 14 Place thy treasure in the commandments of the most High, and it shall bring thee more profit than gold. 15 Shut up alms in the heart of the poor, and it shall obtain help for thee against all evil.
16 Better than the shield of the mighty, and better than the spear: 17 It shall fight for thee against thy enemy. 18 A good man is surety for his neighbour: and he that hath lost shame, will leave him to himself. 19 Forget not the kindness of thy surety: for he hath given his life for thee. 20 The sinner and the unclean fleeth from his surety.
21 A sinner attributeth to himself the goods of his surety: and he that is of an unthankful mind will leave him that delivered him. 22 A man is surety for his neighbour: and when he hath lost all shame, he shall forsake him. 23 Evil suretyship hath undone many of good estate, and hath tossed them as a wave of the sea. 24 It hath made powerful men to go from place to place round about, and they have wandered in strange countries. 25 A sinner that transgresseth the commandment of the Lord, shall fall into an evil suretyship: and he that undertaketh many things, shall fall into judgment.
26 Recover thy neighbour according to thy power, and take heed to thyself that thou fall not. 27 The chief thing for man's life is water and bread, and clothing, and a house to cover shame. 28 Better is the poor man's fare under a roof of boards, than sumptuous cheer abroad in another man's house. 29 Be contented with little instead of much, and thou shalt not hear the reproach of going abroad. 30 It is a miserable life to go as a guest from house to house: for where a man is a stranger, he shall not deal confidently, nor open his mouth.
31 He shall entertain and feed, and give drink to the unthankful, and moreover he shall hear bitter words. 32 Go, stranger, and furnish the table, and give others to eat what thou hast in thy hand. 33 Give place to the honourable presence of my friends: for I want my house, my brother being to be lodged with me. 34 These things are grievous to a man of understanding: the upbraiding of houseroom, and the reproaching of the lender.
Of correction of children. Health is better than wealth. Excessive grief is hurtful.
1 He that loveth his son, frequently chastiseth him, that he may rejoice in his latter end, and not grope after the doors of his neighbours. 2 He that instructeth his son shall be praised in him, and shall glory in him in the midst of them of his household. 3 He that teacheth his son, maketh his enemy jealous, and in the midst of his friends he shall glory in him. 4 His father is dead, and he is as if he were not dead: for he hath left one behind him that is like himself. 5 While he lived he saw and rejoiced in him: and when he died he was not sorrowful, neither was he confounded before his enemies.
6 For he left behind him a defender of his house against his enemies, and one that will requite kindness to his friends. 7 For the souls of his sons he shall bind up his wounds, and at every cry his bowels shall be troubled. 8 A horse not broken becometh stubborn, and a child left to himself will become headstrong. 9 Give thy son his way, and he shall make thee afraid: play with him, and he shall make thee sorrowful. 10 Laugh not with him, lest thou have sorrow, and at the last thy teeth be set on edge.
11 Give him not liberty in his youth, and wink not at his devices. 12 Bow down his neck while he is young, and beat his sides while he is a child, lest he grow stubborn, and regard thee not, and so be a sorrow of heart to thee. 13 Instruct thy son, and labour about him, lest his lewd behaviour be an offence to thee. 14 Better is a poor man who is sound, and strong of constitution, than a rich man who is weak and afflicted with evils. 15 Health of the soul in holiness of justice, is better then all gold and silver: and a sound body, than immense revenues.
16 There is no riches above the riches of the health of the body: and there is no pleasure above the joy of the heart. 17 Better is death than a bitter life: and everlasting rest, than continual sickness. 18 Good things that are hidden in a mouth that is shut, are as masses of meat set about a grave. 19 What good shall an offering do to an idol? for it can neither eat, nor smell: 20 So is he that is persecuted by the Lord, bearing the reward of his iniquity:
21 He seeth with his eyes, and groaneth, as an eunuch embracing a virgin, and sighing. 22 Give not up thy soul to sadness, and afflict not thyself in thy own counsel. 23 The joyfulness of the heart, is the life of a man, and a never failing treasure of holiness: and the joy of a man is length of life. 24 Have pity on thy own soul, pleasing God, and contain thyself: gather up thy heart in his holiness: and drive away sadness far from thee. 25 For sadness hath killed many, and there is no profit in it.
26 Envy and anger shorten a man's days, and pensiveness will bring old age before the time. 27 A Cheerful and good heart is always feasting: for his banquets are prepared with diligence.
Of the desire of riches, and of moderation in eating and drinking.
1 Watching for riches consumeth the flesh, and the thought thereof driveth away sleep. 2 The thinking beforehand turneth away the understanding, and a grievous sickness maketh the soul sober. 3 The rich man hath laboured in gathering riches together, and when he resteth he shall be filled with his goods. 4 The poor man hath laboured in his low way of life, and in the end he is still poor. 5 He that loveth gold, shall not be justified: and he that followeth after corruption, shall be filled with it.
6 Many have been brought to fall for gold, and the beauty thereof hath been their ruin. 7 Gold is a stumblingblock to them that sacrifice to it: woe to them that eagerly follow after it, and every fool shall perish by it. 8 Blessed is the rich man that is found without blemish: and that hath not gone after gold, nor put his trust in money nor in treasures. 9 Who is he, and we will praise him? for he hath done wonderful things in his life. 10 Who hath been tried thereby, and made perfect, he shall have glory everlasting. He that could have transgressed, and hath not transgressed: and could do evil things, and hath not done them:
11 Therefore are his goods established in the Lord, and all the church of the saints shall declare his alms. 12 Art thou set at a great table? be not the first to open thy mouth upon it. 13 Say not: There are many things which are upon it. 14 Remember that a wicked eye is evil. 15 What is created more wicked than an eye? therefore shall it weep over all the face when it shall see.
16 Stretch not out thy hand first, lest being disgraced with envy thou be put to confusion. 17 Be not hasty in a feast. 18 Judge of the disposition of thy neighbour by thyself. 19 Use as a frugal man the things that are set before thee: lest if thou eatest much, thou be hated. 20 Leave off first, for manners' sake: and exceed not, lest thou offend.
21 And if thou sittest among many, reach not thy hand out first of all: and be not the first to ask for drink. 22 How sufficient is a little wine for a man well taught, and in sleeping thou shalt not be uneasy with it, and thou shalt feel no pain. 23 Watching, and choler, and gripes, are with an intemperate man: 24 Sound and wholesome sleep with a moderate man: he shall sleep till morning, and his soul shall be delighted with him. 25 And if thou hast been forced to eat much, arise, go out, and vomit: and it shall refresh thee, and thou shalt not bring sickness upon thy body.
26 Hear me, my son, and despise me not: and in the end thou shalt find my words. 27 In all thy works be quick, and no infirmity shall come to thee. 28 The lips of many shall bless him that is liberal of his bread, and the testimony of his truth is faithful. 29 Against him that is niggardly of his bread, the city will murmur, and the testimony of his niggardliness is true. 30 Challenge not them that love wine: for wine hath destroyed very many.
31 Fire trieth hard iron: so wine drunk to excess shall rebuke the hearts of the proud. 32 Wine taken with sobriety is equal life to men: if thou drink it moderately, thou shalt be sober. 33 What is his life, who is diminished with wine? 34 What taketh away life? death. 35 Wine was created from the beginning to make men joyful, and not to make them drunk.
36 Wine drunken with moderation is the joy of the soul and the heart. 37 Sober drinking is health to soul and body. 38 Wine drunken with excess raiseth quarrels; and wrath, and many ruins. 39 Wine drunken with excess is bitterness of the soul. 40 The heat of drunkenness is the stumblingblock of the fool, lessening strength and causing wounds.
41 Rebuke not thy neighbour in a banquet of wine: and despise him not in his mirth. 42 Speak not to him words of reproach: and press him not in demanding again.
Lessons for superiors and inferiors. Advantages of fearing God, and doing nothing without counsel.
1 Have they made thee ruler? be not lifted up: be among them as one of them. 2 Have care of them, and so sit down, and when thou hast acquitted thyself of all thy charge, take thy place: 3 That thou mayst rejoice for them, and receive a crown as an ornament of grace, and get the honour of the contribution. 4 Speak, thou that art elder: for it becometh thee, 5 To speak the first word with care knowledge, and hinder not music.
6 Where there is no hearing, pour out words, and be not lifted up out season with thy wisdom. 7 A concert of music in a banquet wine is as a carbuncle set in gold. 8 As a signet of an emerald in a work of gold: so is the melody of music with pleasant and moderate wine. 9 Hear in silence, and for thy reverence good grace shall come to thee. 10 Young man, scarcely speak in thy own cause.
11 If thou be asked twice, let thy answer be short. 12 In many things be as if thou wert ignorant, and hear in silence and withal seeking. 13 In the company of great men bake not upon thee: and when the ancients are present, speak not much. 14 Before a storm goeth lightning: and before shamefacedness goeth favour: and for thy reverence good grace shall come to thee. 15 And at the time of rising be not slack: but be first to run home to thy house, and there withdraw thyself, and there take thy pastime.
16 And do what thou hast a mind, but not in sin or proud speech. 17 And for all these things bless the Lord, that made thee, and that replenisheth thee with all his good things. 18 He that feareth the Lord, will receive his discipline: and they that will seek him early, shall find a blessing. 19 He that seeketh the law, shall be filled with it: and he that dealeth deceitfully, shall meet with a stumblingblock therein. 20 They that fear the Lord, shall find just judgment, and shall kindle justice as a light.
21 A sinful man will flee reproof, and will find an excuse according to his will. 22 A man of counsel will not neglect understanding, a strange and proud man will not dread fear: 23 Even after he hath done with fear without counsel, he shall be controlled by the things of his own seeking. 24 My son, do thou nothing without counsel, and thou shalt not repent when thou hast done. 25 Go not in the way of ruin, and thou shalt not stumble against the stones; trust not thyself to a rugged may, lest thou set a stumblingblock to thy soul.
26 And beware of thy own children, and take heed of them of thy household. 27 In every work of thine regard thy soul in faith: for this is the keeping of the commandments. 28 He that believeth God, taketh heed to the commandments: and he that trusteth in him, shall fare never the worse.
27 "In faith"... That is, follow sincerely thy soul in her faith and conscience.
The fear of God is the best security. Times and men are in the hands of God. Take care of thyself as long as thou livest, and look to thy servants.
1 No evils shall happen to him that feareth the Lord, but in temptation God will keep him, and deliver him from evils. 2 A wise man hateth not the commandments and justices, and he shall not be dashed in pieces as a ship in a storm. 3 A man of understanding is faithful to the law of God, and the law is faithful to him. 4 He that cleareth up a question, shall prepare what to say, and so having prayed he shall be heard, and shall keep discipline, and then he shall answer. 5 The heart of a fool is as a wheel of a cart: and his thoughts are like a rolling axletree.
6 A friend that is a mocker, is like a stallion horse: he neigheth under every one that sitteth upon him. 7 Why doth one day excel another, and one light another, and one year another year, when all come of the sun? 8 By the knowledge of the Lord they were distinguished, the sun being made, and keeping his commandment. 9 And he ordered the seasons, and holidays of them, and in them they celebrated festivals at an hour. 10 Some of them God made high and great days, and some of them he put in the number of ordinary days. And all men are from the ground, and out of the earth, from whence Adam was created.
11 With much knowledge the Lord hath divided them and diversified their ways. 12 Some of them hath he blessed, and exalted: and some of them hath he sanctified, and set near himself: and some of them hath he cursed and brought low, and turned them from their station. 13 As the potter's clay is in his hand, to fashion and order it: 14 All his ways are according to his ordering: so man is in the hand of him that made him, and he will render to him according to his judgment. 15 Good is set against evil, and life against death: so also is the sinner against a just man. And so look upon all the works of the most High. Two and two, and one against another.
16 And I awaked last of all, and as one that gathereth after the grapegatherers. 17 In the blessing of God I also have hoped: and as one that gathereth grapes, have I filled the winepress. 18 See that I have not laboured for myself only, but for all that seek discipline. 19 Hear me, ye great men, and all ye people, and hearken with your ears, ye rulers of the church. 20 Give not to son or wife, brother or friend, power over thee while thou livest; and give not thy estate to another, lest then repent, and thou entreat for the same.
21 As long as thou livest, and hast breath in thee, let no man change thee. 22 For it is better that thy children should ask of thee, than that thou look toward the hands of thy children. 23 In all thy works keep the pre-eminence. 24 Let no stain sully thy glory. In the time when thou shalt end the days of thy life, and in the time of thy decease, distribute thy inheritance. 25 Fodder, and a wand, and a burden are for an ass: bread, and correction, and work for a slave.
21 "Change thee"... That is, so as to have this power over thee.
23 "The pre-eminence"... That is, be master in thy own house, and part not with thy authority.
26 He worketh under correction, and seeketh to rest: let his hands be idle, and he seeketh liberty. 27 The yoke and the thong bend a stiff neck, and continual labours bow a slave. 28 Torture and fetters are for a malicious slave: send him to work, that he be not idle: 29 For idleness hath taught much evil. 30 Set him to work: for so it is fit for him. And if he be not obedient, bring him down with fetters, but be not excessive towards any one: and do no grievous thing without judgment.
31 If thou have a faithful servant, let him be to thee as thy own soul: treat him as a brother: because in the blood of thy soul thou hast gotten him. 32 If thou hurt him unjustly, he will run away: 33 And if he rise up and depart, thou knowest not whom to ask, and in what way to seek him.
The vanity of dreams. The advantage of experience, and of the fear of God.
1 The hopes of a man that is void of understanding are vain and deceitful: and dreams lift up fools. 2 The man that giveth heed to lying visions, is like to him that catcheth at a shadow, and followeth after the wind. 3 The vision of dreams is the resemblance of one thing to another: as when a man's likeness is before the face of a man. 4 What can be made clean by the unclean? and what truth can come from that which is false? 5 Deceitful divinations and lying omens and the dreams of evildoers, are vanity:
6 And the heart fancieth as that of a woman in travail: except it be a vision sent forth from the most High, set no thy heart upon them. 7 For dreams have deceived many, and they have failed that put their trust in them. 8 The word of the law shall be fulfilled without a lie, and wisdom shall be made plain in the mouth of the faithful. 9 What doth he know, that hath not been tried? A man that hath much experience, shall think of many things: and he that hath learned many things, shall shew forth understanding. 10 He that hath no experience, knoweth little: and he that hath been experienced in many things, multiplieth prudence.
11 He that hath not been tried, what manner of things doth he know? he that hath been surprised, shall abound with subtlety. 12 I have seen many things by travelling, and many customs of things. 13 Sometimes I have been in danger of death for these things, and I have been delivered by the grace of God. 14 The spirit of those that fear God; is sought after, and by his regard shall be blessed. 15 For their hope is on him that saveth them, and the eyes of God are upon them that love him.
16 He that feareth the Lord shall tremble at nothing, and shall not be afraid for he is his hope. 17 The soul of him that feareth the Lord is blessed. 18 To whom doth he look, and who in his strength? 19 The eyes of the Lord are upon them that fear him, he is their powerful protector, and strong stay, a defence from the heat, and a cover from the sun at noon, 20 A preservation from stumbling, and a help from falling; he raiseth up the soul, and enlighteneth the eyes, and giveth health, and life, and blessing.
21 The offering of him that sacrificeth of a thing wrongfully gotten, is stained, and the mockeries of the unjust are not acceptable. 22 The Lord is only for them that wait upon him in the way of truth and justice. 23 The most High approveth not the gifts of the wicked: neither hath he respect to the oblations of the unjust, nor will he be pacified for sins by the multitude of their sacrifices. 24 He that offereth sacrifice of the goods of the poor, is as one that sacrificeth the son in the presence of his father. 25 The bread of the needy, is the life of the poor: he that defraudeth them thereof, is a man of blood.
26 He that taketh away the bread gotten by sweat, is like him that killeth his neighbour. 27 He that sheddeth blood, and he that defraudeth the labourer of his hire, are brothers. 28 When one buildeth up, and another pulleth down: what profit have they but the labour? 29 When one prayeth, and another curseth: whose voice will God hear? 30 He that washeth himself after touching the dead, if he toucheth him again, what doth his washing avail?
31 So a man that fasteth for his sins, and doth the same again, what doth his humbling himself profit him? who will hear his prayer?
What sacrifices are pleasing to God.
1 He that keepeth the law, multiplieth offerings. 2 It is a wholesome sacrifice to take heed to the commandments, and to depart from all iniquity. 3 And to depart from injustice, is to offer a propitiatory sacrifice for injustices, and a begging of pardon for sins. 4 He shall return thanks, that offereth fine flour: and he that doth mercy, offereth sacrifice. 5 To depart from iniquity is that which pleaseth the Lord, and to depart from injustice, is an entreaty for sins.
6 Thou shalt not appear empty in the sight of the Lord. 7 For all these things are to be done because of the commandment of God. 8 The oblation of the just maketh the altar fat, and is an odour of sweetness in the sight of the most High. 9 The sacrifice of the just is acceptable, and the Lord will not forget the memorial thereof. 10 Give glory to God with a good heart: and diminish not the firstfruits of thy hands.
11 In every gift shew a cheerful countenance, and sanctify thy tithes with joy. 12 Give to the most High according to what he hath given to thee, and with a good eye do according to the ability of thy hands: 13 For the Lord maketh recompense, and will give thee seven times as much. 14 Do not offer wicked gifts, for such he will not receive. 15 And look not upon an unjust sacrifice, for the Lord is judge, and there is not with him respect of person.
16 The Lord will not accept any person against a poor man, and he will hear the prayer of him that is wronged. 17 He will not despise the prayers of the fatherless; nor the widow, when she poureth out her complaint. 18 Do not the widow's tears run down the cheek, and her cry against him that causeth them to fall? 19 For from the cheek they go up even to heaven, and the Lord that heareth will not be delighted with them. 20 He that adoreth God with joy, shall be accepted, and his prayer shall approach even to the clouds.
21 The prayer of him that humbleth himself, shall pierce the clouds: and till it come nigh he will not be comforted: and he will not depart till the most High behold. 22 And the Lord will not be slack, but will judge for the just, and will do judgment: and the Almighty will not have patience with them, that he may crush their back: 23 And he will repay vengeance to the Gentiles, till he have taken away the multitude of the proud, and broken the sceptres of the unjust, 24 Till he have rendered to men according to their deeds: and according to the works of Adam, and according to his presumption, 25 Till he have judged the cause of his people, and he shall delight the just with his mercy.
26 The mercy of God is beautiful in the time of affliction, as a cloud of rain in the time of drought.
A prayer for the church of God. Of a good heart, and a good wife.
1 Have mercy upon us, O God of all, and behold us, and shew us the light of thy mercies: 2 And send thy fear upon the nations, that have not sought after thee: that they may know that there is no God beside thee, and that they may shew forth thy wonders. 3 Lift up thy hand over the strange nations, that they may see thy power. 4 For as thou hast been sanctified in us in their sight, so thou shalt be magnified among them in our presence, 5 That they may know thee, as we also have known thee, that there is no God beside thee, O Lord.
6 Renew thy signs, and work new miracles. 7 Glorify thy hand, and thy right arm. 8 Raise up indignation, and pour out wrath. 9 Take away the adversary, and crush the enemy. 10 Hasten the time, and remember the end, that they may declare thy wonderful works.
11 Let him that escapeth be consumed by the rage of the fire: and let them perish that oppress thy people. 12 Crush the head of the princes of the enemies that say: There is no other beside us. 13 Gather together all the tribes of Jacob: that they may know that there is no God besides thee, and may declare thy great works: and thou shalt inherit them as from the beginning. 14 Have mercy on thy people, upon whom thy name is invoked: and upon Israel, whom thou hast raised up to be thy firstborn. 15 Have mercy on Jerusalem, the city which thou hast sanctified, the city of thy rest.
16 Fill Sion with thy unspeakable words, and thy people with thy glory. 17 Give testimony to them that are thy creatures from the beginning, and raise up the prophecies which the former prophets spoke in thy name. 18 Reward them that patiently wait for thee, that thy prophets may be found faithful: and hear the prayers of thy servants, 19 According to the blessing of Aaron over thy people, and direct us into the way of justice, and let all know that dwell upon the earth, that thou art God the beholder of all ages. 20 The belly will devour all meat, yet one is better than another.
21 The palate tasteth venison and the wise heart false speeches. 22 A perverse heart will cause grief, and a man of experience will resist it. 23 A woman will receive every man: yet one daughter is better than another. 24 The beauty of a woman cheereth the countenance of her husband, and a man desireth nothing more. 25 If she have a tongue that can cure, and likewise mitigate and shew mercy: her husband is not like other men.
23 "A woman will receive every man"... That is, any man that her parents propose to her to marry, though she does not like him, but marries in obedience to her parents, who make the choice for her.
26 He that possesseth a good wife, beginneth a possession: she is a help like to himself, and a pillar of rest. 27 Where there is no hedge, the possession shall be spoiled: and where there is no wife, he mourneth that is in want. 28 Who will trust him that hath no rest, and that lodgeth wheresoever the night taketh him, as a robber well appointed, that skippeth from city to city.
Of the choice of friends and counsellors.
1 Every friend will say: I also am his friend: but there is a friend, that is only a friend in name. Is not this a grief even to death? 2 But a companion and a friend shall be turned to an enemy. 3 O wicked presumption, whence camest thou to cover the earth with thy malice, and deceitfulness? 4 There is a companion who rejoiceth with his friend in his joys, but in the time of trouble, he will be against him. 5 There is a companion who condoleth with his friend for his belly's sake, and he will take up a shield against enemy.
6 Forget not thy friend in thy mind, and be not unmindful of him in thy riches. 7 Consult not with him that layeth a snare for thee, and hide thy counsel from them that envy thee. 8 Every counsellor giveth out counsel, but there is one that is a counsellor for himself. 9 Beware of a counsellor. And know before what need he hath: for he will devise to his own mind: 10 Lest he thrust a stake into the ground, and say to thee:
11 Thy way is good; and then stand on the other side to see what shall befall thee. 12 Treat not with a man without religion concerning holiness, nor with an unjust man concerning justice, nor with a woman touching her of whom she is jealous, nor with a coward concerning war, nor with a merchant about traffic, nor with a buyer of selling, nor with an envious man of giving thanks, 13 Nor with the ungodly of piety, nor with the dishonest of honesty, nor with the held labourer of every work, 14 Nor with him that worketh by the year of the finishing of the year, nor with an idle servant of much business: give no heed to these in any matter of counsel. 15 But be continually with a holy man, whomsoever thou shalt know to observe the fear of God,
16 Whose soul is according to thy own soul: and who, when thou shalt stumble in the dark, will be sorry for thee. 17 And establish within thyself a heart of good counsel: for there is no other thing of more worth to thee than it. 18 The soul of a holy man discovereth sometimes true things, more than seven watchmen that sit in a high piece to watch. 19 But above all these things pray to the most High, that he may direct thy way in truth. 20 In all thy works let the true word go before thee, and steady counsel before every action.
21 A wicked word shall change the beast: out of which four manner of things arise, good and evil, life and death: and the tongue is continually the ruler of them. There is a man that is subtle and a teacher of many, and yet is unprofitable to his own soul. 22 A skillful man hath taught many, and is sweet to his own soul. 23 He that speaketh sophistically, is hateful: he shall be destitute of every thing. 24 Grace is not given him from the Lord: for he is deprived of all wisdom. 25 There is a wise man that is wise to his own soul: and the fruit of his understanding is commendable.
26 A wise man instructeth his own people, and the fruits of his understanding are faithful. 27 A wise man shall be filled with blessings, and they that see shall praise him. 28 The life of a man is in the number of his days: but the days of Israel are innumerable. 29 A wise man shall inherit honour among his people, and his name shall live for ever. 30 My son, prove thy soul in thy life: and if it be wicked, give it no power:
31 For all things are not expedient for all, and every kind pleaseth not every soul. 32 Be not greedy in any feasting, and pour not out thyself upon any meat: 33 For in many meats there will be sickness, and greediness will turn to choler. 34 By surfeiting many have perished: but he that is temperate, shall prolong life.
Of physicians and medicines: what is to be done in sickness, and how we are to mourn for the dead. Of the employments of labourers and artificers.
1 Honour the physician for the need thou hast of him: for the most High hath created him. 2 For all healing is from God, and he shall receive gifts of the king. 3 The skill of the physician shall lift up his head, and in the sight of great men he shall be praised. 4 The most High hath created medicines out of the earth, and a wise man will not abhor them. 5 Was not bitter water made sweet with wood?
6 The virtue of these things is come to the knowledge of men, and the meet High hath given knowledge to men, that he may be honoured in his wonders. 7 By these he shall cure and shall allay their pains, and of these the apothecary shall make sweet confections, and shall make up ointments of health, and of his works there shall be no end. 8 For the peace of God is over all the face of the earth. 9 My son, in thy sickness neglect not thyself, but pray to the Lord, and he shall heal thee. 10 Turn away from sin and order thy hands aright, and cleanse thy heart from all offence.
11 Give a sweet savour, and a memorial of fine flour, and make a fat offering, and then give place to the physician. 12 For the Lord created him: and let him not depart from thee, for his works are necessary. 13 For there is a time when thou must fall into their hands: 14 And they shall beseech the Lord, that he would prosper what they give for ease and remedy, for their conversation. 15 He that sinneth in the sight of his Maker, shall fall into the hands of the physician.
16 My son, shed tears over the dead, and begin to lament as if thou hadst suffered some great harm, and according to judgment cover his body, and neglect not his burial. 17 And for fear of being ill spoken of weep bitterly for a, day, and then comfort thyself in thy sadness. 18 And make mourning for him according to his merit for a day, or two, for fear of detraction. 19 For of sadness cometh death, and it overwhelmeth the strength, and the sorrow of the heart boweth down the neck. 20 In withdrawing aside sorrow remaineth: and the substance of the poor is according to his heart.
21 Give not up thy heart to sadness, but drive it from thee: and remember the latter end. 22 Forget it not: for there is no returning, and thou shalt do him no good, and shalt hurt thyself. 23 Remember my judgment: for also shall be so: yesterday for me, and today for thee. 24 When the dead is at rest, let his remembrance rest, and comfort him in the departing of his spirit. 25 The wisdom of a scribe cometh by his time of leisure: and he that is less in action, shall receive wisdom.
25 "A scribe"... That is, a doctor of the law, or, a learned man.
26 With what wisdom shall he be furnished that holdeth the plough, and that glorieth in the goad, that driveth the oxen therewith, and is occupied in their labours, and his whole talk is about the offspring of bulls? 27 He shall give his mind to turn up furrows, and his care is to give the kine fodder. 28 So every craftsman and workmaster that laboureth night and day, he who maketh graven seals, and by his continual diligence varieth the figure: he shall give his mind to the resemblance of the picture, and by his watching shall finish the work. 29 So doth the smith sitting by the anvil and considering the iron work. The vapour of the fire wasteth his flesh, and he fighteth with the heat of the furnace. 30 The noise of the hammer is always in his ears, and his eye is upon the pattern of the vessel he maketh.
31 He setteth his mind to finish his work, and his watching to polish them, to perfection. 32 So doth the potter sitting at his work, turning the wheel about with his feet, who is always carefully set to his work, and maketh all his work by number: 33 He fashioneth the clay with his arm, and boweth down his strength before his feet: 34 He shall give his mind to finish the glazing, and his watching to make clean the furnace. 35 All these trust to their hands, and every one is wise in his own art.
36 Without these a city is not built. 37 And they shall not dwell, nor walk about therein, and they shall not go up into the assembly. 38 Upon the judges' seat they shall not sit, and the ordinance of judgment they shall not understand, neither shall they declare discipline and judgment, and they shall not be found where parables are spoken: 39 But they shall strengthen the state of the world, and their prayer shall be in the work of their craft, applying their soul, and searching in the law of the most High.
The exercises of the wise man. The Lord is to be glorified for his works.
1 The wise men will seek out the wisdom of all the ancients, and will be occupied in the prophets. 2 He will keep the sayings of renowned men, and will enter withal into the subtilties of parables. 3 He will search out the hidden meanings of proverbs, and will be conversant in the secrets of parables. 4 He shall serve among great men, and: appear before the governor. 5 He shall pass into strange countries: for he shall try good and evil among men.
6 He will give his heart to resort early to the Lord that made him, and he will pray in the sight of the most High. 7 He will open his mouth in prayer, and will make supplication for his sins. 8 For if it shall please the great Lord, he will fill him with the spirit of understanding: 9 And he will pour forth the words of his wisdom as showers, and in his prayer he will confess to the Lord. 10 And he shall direct his counsel, and his knowledge, and in his secrets shall he meditate.
11 He shall shew forth the discipline he hath learned, and shall glory in the law of the covenant of the Lord. 12 Many shall praise his wisdom, and it shall never be forgotten. 13 The memory of him shall not depart away, and his name shall be in request from generation to generation. 14 Nations shall declare his wisdom, and the church shall shew forth his praise. 15 If he continue, he shall leave a name above a thousand: and if he rest, it shall be to his advantage.
16 I will yet meditate that I may declare: for I am filled as with a holy transport. 17 By a voice he saith: Hear me, ye divine offspring, and bud forth as the rose planted by the brooks of waters. 18 Give ye a sweet odour as frankincense. 19 Send forth flowers, as the lily, and yield a smell, and bring forth leaves in grace, and praise with canticles, and bless the Lord in his works. 20 Magnify his name, and give glory to him with the voice of your lips, and with the canticles of your mouths, and with harps, and in praising him, you shall say in this manner:
17 "Ye divine offspring"... He speaks to the children of Israel, the people of God: whom he exhorts to bud forth and flourish with virtue.
21 All the works of the Lord are exceeding good. 22 At his word the waters stood as a heap: and at the words of his mouth the receptacles of waters: 23 For at his commandment favour is shewn, and there is no diminishing of his salvation. 24 The works of all flesh are before him, and there is nothing hid from his eyes. 25 He seeth from eternity to eternity, and there is nothing wonderful before him.
26 There is no saying: What is this, or what is that? for all things shall be sought in their time. 27 His blessing hath overflowed like a river. 28 And as a flood hath watered the earth; so shall his wrath inherit the nations, that have not sought after him: 29 Even as he turned the waters into a dry land, and the earth was made dry: and his ways were made plain for their journey: so to sinners they are stumblingblocks in his wrath. 30 Good things were created for the good from the beginning, so for the wicked, good and evil things.
31 The principal things necessary for the life of men, are water, fire, and iron, salt, milk, and bread of flour, and honey, and the cluster of the grape, and oil, and clothing. 32 All these things shall be for good to the holy, so to the sinners and the ungodly they shall be turned into evil. 33 There are spirits that are created for vengeance, and in their fury they lay on grievous torments. 34 In the time of destruction they shall pour out their force: and they shall appease the wrath of him that made them. 35 Fire, hail, famine, and death, all these were created for vengeance.
36 The teeth of beasts, and scorpions, and serpents, and the sword taking vengeance upon the ungodly unto destruction. 37 In his commandments they shall feast, and they shall be ready upon earth when need is, and when their time is come they shall not transgress his word. 38 Therefore from the beginning I was resolved, and I have meditated, and thought on these things and left them in writing. 39 All the works of the Lord are good, and he will furnish every work in due time. 40 It is not to be said: This is worse than that: for all shall be well approved in their time.
41 Now therefore with the whole heart and mouth praise ye him, and bless the name of the Lord.
The miseries of the life of man are relieved by the grace of God and his fear.
1 Great labour is created for all men, and a heavy yoke is upon the children of Adam, from the day of their coming out of their mother's womb, until the day of their burial into the mother of all. 2 Their thoughts, and fears of the heart, their imagination of things to come, and the day of their end: 3 From him that sitteth on a glorious throne, unto him that is humbled in earth and ashes: 4 From him that weareth purple, and beareth the crown, even to him that is covered with rough linen: wrath, envy, trouble, unquietness, and the fear of death, continual anger, and strife, 5 And in the time of rest upon his bed, the sleep of the night changeth his knowledge.
6 A little and as nothing is his rest, and afterward in sleep, as in the day of keeping watch. 7 He is troubled in the vision of his heart, as if he had escaped in the day of battle. In the time of his safety he rose up, and wondereth that there is no fear: 8 Such things happen to all flesh, from man even to beast, and upon sinners are sevenfold mere. 9 Moreover, death, and bloodshed, strife, and sword, oppressions, famine, and affliction, and scourges: 10 All these things are created for the wicked, and for their sakes came the flood.
11 All things that are of the earth, shall return to the earth again, and all waters shall return to the sea. 12 All bribery, and injustice shall blotted out, and fidelity shall stand for ever. 13 The riches of the unjust shall be dried up like a river, and shall pass sway a noise like a great thunder in rain. 14 While he openeth his hands he shall rejoice: but transgressors shall pine away in the end. 15 The offspring of the ungodly shall not bring forth many branches, and make a noise as unclean roots upon the top of a rock.
16 The weed growing over every water, and at the bank of the river, shall be pulled up before all grass. 17 Grace is like a paradise in blessings, and mercy remaineth for ever. 18 The life of a labourer that is content with what he hath, shall be sweet, and in it thou shalt find a treasure. 19 Children, and the building of a city shall establish a name, but a blameless wife shall be counted above them both. 20 Wine and music rejoice the heart, but the love of wisdom is above them both.
21 The flute and the psaltery make a sweet melody, but a pleasant tongue is above them both. 22 Thy eye desireth favour and beauty, but more than these green sown fields. 23 A friend and companion meeting together in season, but above them both is a wife with her husband. 24 Brethren are a help in the time of trouble, but mercy shall deliver more than they. 25 Gold and silver make the feet stand sure: but wise counsel is above them both.
26 Riches and strength lift up the heart: but above these is the fear of the Lord. 27 There is no want in the fear of the Lord, and it needeth not to seek for help. 28 The fear of the Lord is like a paradise of blessing, and they have covered it above all glory. 29 My son, in thy lifetime be not indigent: for it is better to die than to want. 30 The life of him that looketh toward another man's table is not to be counted a life: for he feedeth his soul with another man's meat.
31 But a man, well instructed and taught, will look to himself. 32 Begging will be sweet in the mouth of the unwise, but in his belly there shall burn a fire.
Of the remembrance of death: of an evil and of a good name: of what things we ought to be ashamed.
1 O death, how bitter is the remembrance of thee to a man that hath peace in his possessions! 2 To a man that is at rest, and whose ways are prosperous in all things, and that is yet able to take meat! 3 O death, thy sentence is welcome to the man that is in need, and to him whose strength faileth: 4 Who is in a decrepit age, and that is in care about all things, and to the distrustful that loseth patience! 5 Fear not the sentence of death. Remember what things have been before thee, and what shall come after thee: this sentence is from the Lord upon all flesh.
6 And what shall come upon thee by the good pleasure of the most High? Whether ten, or a hundred, or a thousand years. 7 For among the dead there is no accusing of life. 8 The children of sinners become children of abominations, and they that converse near the houses of the ungodly. 9 The inheritance of the children of sinners shall perish, and with their posterity shall be a perpetual reproach. 10 The children will complain of an ungodly father, because for his sake they are in reproach.
11 Woe to you, ungodly men, who have forsaken the law of the most high Lord. 12 And if you be born, you shall be born in malediction: and if you die, in malediction shall be your portion. 13 All things that are of the earth, shall return into the earth: so the ungodly shall from malediction to destruction. 14 The mourning of men is about their body, but the name of the ungodly shall be blotted out. 15 Take care of a good name: for this shall continue with thee, more than a thousand treasures precious and great.
16 A good life hath its number of days: but a good name shall continue for ever. 17 My children, keep discipline in peace: for wisdom that is hid, and a treasure that is not seen, what profit is there in them both? 18 Better is the man that hideth his folly, than the man that hideth his wisdom. 19 Wherefore have a shame of these things I am now going to speak of. 20 For it is not good to keep all shamefacedness: and all things do not please all men in opinion.
19 "Have a shame"... That is to say, be ashamed of doing any of these things, which I am now going to mention; for though sometimes shamefacedness is not to be indulged: yet it is often good and necessary: as in the following cases.
21 Be ashamed of fornication before father and mother: and of a lie before a governor and a man in power: 22 Of an offence before a prince, and a judge: of iniquity before a congregation and a people: 23 Of injustice before a companion and friend: and in regard to the place where thou dwellest, 24 Of theft, and of the truth of God, and the covenant: of leaning with thy elbow over meat, and of deceit in giving and taking: 25 Of silence before them that salute thee: of looking upon a harlot: and of turning away thy face from thy kinsman.
26 Turn not sway thy face from thy neighbour, and of taking away a portion and not restoring. 27 Gaze not upon another man's wife, and be not inquisitive after his handmaid, and approach not her bed. 28 Be ashamed of upbraiding speeches before friends: and after thou hast given, upbraid not.
Of what things we ought not to be ashamed. Cautions with regard to women. The works and greatness of God.
1 Repeat not the word which thou hast heard, and disclose not the thing that is secret; so shalt thou be truly without confusion, and shall find favour before all men: be not ashamed of any of these things, and accept no person to sin thereby: 2 Of the law of the most High, and of his covenant, and of judgment to justify the ungodly: 3 Of the affair of companions and travellers, and of the gift of the inheritance of friends: 4 Of exactness of balance and weights, of getting much or little: 5 Of the corruption of buying, and of merchants, and of much correction of children, and to make the side of a wicked slave to bleed.
6 Sure keeping is good over a wicked wife. 7 Where there are many hands, shut up, and deliver all things in number, and weight: and put all in writing that thou givest out or receivest in. 8 Be not ashamed to inform the unwise and foolish, and the aged, that are judged I by young men: and thou shalt be well instructed in all things, and well approved in the sight of all men living. 9 The father waketh for the daughter when no man knoweth, and the care for her taketh away his sleep, when she is young, lest she pass away the flower of her age, and when she is married, lest she should be hateful: 10 In her virginity, lest she should be corrupted, and be found with child in her father's house: and having a husband, lest she should misbehave herself, or at the least become barren.
11 Keep a sure watch over a shameless daughter: lest at any time she make thee become a laughingstock to thy enemies, and a byword in the city, and a reproach among the people, and she make thee ashamed before all the multitude. 12 Behold not everybody's beauty: and tarry not among women. 13 For from garments cometh a moth, and from a woman the iniquity of a man. 14 For better is the iniquity of a man, than a woman doing a good turn, and a woman bringing shame and reproach. 15 I will now remember the works of the Lord, and I will declare the things I have seen. By the words of the Lord are his works.
14 "Better is the iniquity"... That is, there is, commonly speaking, less danger to be apprehended to the soul from the churlishness, or injuries we receive from men, than from the flattering favours and familiarity of women.
16 The sun giving light hath looked upon all things, and full of the glory of the Lord is his work. 17 Hath not the Lord made the saints to declare all his wonderful works, which the Lord Almighty hath firmly settled to be established for his glory? 18 He hath searched out the deep, and the heart of men: and considered their crafty devices. 19 For the Lord knoweth all knowledge, and hath beheld the signs of the world, he declareth the things that are past, and the things that are to come, and revealeth the traces of hidden things. 20 No thought escapeth him, and no word can hide itself from him.
21 He hath beautified the glorious works of his wisdom: and he Is from eternity to eternity, and to him nothing may be added, 22 Nor can he be diminished, and he hath no need of any counsellor. 23 O how desirable are all his works, and what we can know is but as a spark! 24 All these things live, and remain for ever, and for every use all things obey him. 25 All things are double, one against another, and he hath made nothing defective.
26 He hath established the good things of every one. And who shall be filled with beholding his glory?
The works of God are exceedingly glorious and wonderful: no man is able sufficiently to praise him.
1 The firmament on high is his beauty, the beauty of heaven with its glorious shew. 2 The sun when he appeareth shewing forth at his rising, an admirable instrument, the work of the most High. 3 At noon he burneth the earth, and who can abide his burning heat? As one keeping a furnace in the works of heat: 4 The sun three times as much, burneth the mountains, breathing out fiery vapours, and shining with his beams, he blindeth the eyes. 5 Great is the Lord that made him, and at his words he hath hastened his course.
6 And the moon in all in her season, is for a declaration of times and a sign of the world. 7 From the moon is the sign of the festival day, a light that decreaseth in her perfection. 8 The month is called after her name, increasing wonderfully in her perfection. 9 Being an instrument of the armies on high, shining gloriously in the Armament of heaven. 10 The glory of the stars is the beauty of heaven; the Lord enlighteneth the world on high.
11 By the words of the holy one they shall stand in judgment, and shall never fail in their watches. 12 Look upon the rainbow, and bless him that made it: it is very beautiful in its brightness. 13 It encompasseth the heaven about with the circle of its glory, the hands of the most High have displayed it. 14 By his commandment he maketh the snow to fall apace, and sendeth forth swiftly the lightnings of his judgment. 15 Through this are the treasures opened, and the clouds fly out like birds.
16 By his greatness he hath fixed the clouds, and the hailstones are broken. 17 At his sight shall the mountains be shaken, and at his will the south wind shall blow. 18 The noise of his thunder shall strike the earth, so doth the northern storm, and the whirlwind: 19 And as the birds lighting upon the earth, he scattereth snow, and the falling thereof, is as the coming down of locusts. 20 The eye admireth at the beauty of the whiteness thereof, and the heart is astonished at the shower thereof.
21 He shall pour frost as salt upon the earth: and when it freezeth, it shall become like the tops of thistles. 22 The cold north wind bloweth, and the water is congealed into crystal; upon every gathering together of waters it shall rest, and shall clothe the waters as a breastplate. 23 And it shall devour the mountains, and burn the wilderness, and consume all that is green as with fire. 24 A present remedy of all is the speedy coming of a cloud, and a dew that meeteth it, by the heat that cometh, shall overpower it. 25 At his word the wind is still, and with his thought he appeaseth the deep, and the Lord hath planted islands therein.
26 Let them that sail on the sea, tell the dangers thereof: and when we hear with our ears, we shall admire. 27 There are great and wonderful works: a variety of beasts, and of all living things, and the monstrous creatures of whales. 28 Through him is established the end of their journey, and by his word all things are regulated. 29 We shall say much, and yet shall want words: but the sum of our words is, He is all. 30 What shall we be able to do to glorify him? for the Almighty himself is above all his works.
31 The Lord is terrible, and exceeding great, and his power is admirable. 32 Glorify the Lord as much as ever you can, for he will yet far exceed, and his magnificence is wonderful. 33 Blessing the Lord, exalt him as much as you can: for he is above all praise. 34 When you exalt him put forth all your strength, and be not weary: for you can never go far enough. 35 Who shall see him, and declare him? and who shall magnify him as he is from the beginning?
36 There are many things hidden from us that are greater than these: for we have seen but a few of his works. 37 But the Lord hath made all things, and to the godly he hath given wisdom.
The praises of the holy fathers, in particular of Enoch, Noe, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
1 Let us now praise men of renown, and our fathers in their generation. 2 The Lord hath wrought great glory through his magnificence from the beginning. 3 Such as have borne rule in their dominions, men of great power, and endued with their wisdom, shewing forth in the prophets the dignity of prophets, 4 And ruling over the present people, and by the strength of wisdom instructing the people in most holy words. 5 Such as by their skill sought out musical tunes, and published canticles of the scriptures.
6 Rich men in virtue, studying beautifulness: living at peace in their houses. 7 All these have gained glory in their generations, and were praised in their days. 8 They that were born of them have left a name behind them, that their praises might be related: 9 And there are some, of whom there is no memorial: who are perished, as if they had never been: and are become as if they had never been born, and their children with them. 10 But these were men of mercy, whose godly deeds have not failed:
11 Good things continue with their seed, 12 Their posterity are a holy inheritance, and their seed hath stood in the covenants. 13 And their children for their sakes remain for ever: their seed and their glory shall not be forsaken. 14 Their bodies are buried in peace, and their name liveth unto generation and generation. 15 Let the people shew forth their wisdom, and the church declare their praise.
16 Henoch pleased God, and was translated into paradise, that he may give repentance to the nations. 17 Noe was found perfect, just, and in the time of wrath he was made a reconciliation. 18 Therefore was there a remnant left to the earth, when the flood came. 19 The covenants of the world were made with him, that all flesh should no more be destroyed with the flood. 20 Abraham was the great father of a multitude of nations, and there was not found the like to him in glory, who kept the law of the most High, and was in covenant with him.
21 In his flesh he established the covenant, and in temptation he was found faithful. 22 Therefore by an oath he gave him glory in his posterity, that he should increase as the dust of the earth, 23 And that he would exalt his seed as the stars, and they should inherit from sea to sea, and from the river to the ends of the earth. 24 And he did in like manner with Isaac for the sake of Abraham his father. 25 The Lord gave him the blessing of all nations, and confirmed his covenant upon the head of Jacob.
26 He acknowledged him in his blessings, and gave him an inheritance, and divided him his portion in twelve tribes. 27 And he preserved for him men of mercy, that found grace in the eyes of all flesh.
The praises of Moses, of Aaron, and of Phinees.
1 Moses was beloved of God, and men: whose memory is in benediction. 2 He made him like the saints in glory, and magnified him in the fear of his enemies, and with his words he made prodigies to cease. 3 He glorified him in the sight of kings, and gave him commandments in the sight of his people, and shewed him his glory. 4 He sanctified him in his faith, and meekness, and chose him out of all flesh. 5 For he heard him, and his voice, and brought him into a cloud.
6 And he gave him commandments before his face, and a law of life and instruction, that he might teach Jacob his covenant, and Israel his judgments. 7 He exalted Aaron his brother, and like to himself of the tribe of Levi: 8 He made an everlasting covenant with him, and gave him the priesthood of the nation, and made him blessed in glory, 9 And he girded him about with a glorious girdle, and clothed him with a robe of glory, and crowned him with majestic attire. 10 He put upon him a garment to the feet, and breeches, and as ephod, and he compassed him with many little bells of gold all round about,
11 That as he went there might be a sound, and a noise made that might be heard in the temple, for a memorial to the children of his people. 12 He gave him a holy robe of gold, and blue, and purple, a woven work of a wise man, endued with judgment and truth: 13 Of twisted scarlet the work of an artist, with precious stones cut and set in gold, and graven by the work of a lapidary for a memorial, according to the number of the tribes of Israel. 14 And a crown of gold upon his mitre wherein was engraved Holiness, an ornament of honour: a work of power, and delightful to the eyes for its beauty. 15 Before him there were none so beautiful, even from the beginning.
16 No stranger was ever clothed with them, but only his children alone, and his grandchildren for ever. 17 His sacrifices were consumed with fire every day. 18 Moses filled his hands and anointed him with holy oil. 19 This was made to him for an everlasting testament, and to his seed as the days of heaven, to execute the office of the priesthood, and to have praise, and to glorify his people in his name. 20 He chose him out of all men living, to offer sacrifice to God, incense, and a good savour, for a memorial to make reconciliation for his people:
21 And he gave him power in his commandments, in the covenants of his judgments, that he should teach Jacob his testimonies, and give light to Israel in his law. 22 And strangers stood up against him, and through envy the men that were with Dathan and Abiron, compassed him about in the wilderness, and the congregation of Core in their wrath. 23 The Lord God saw and it pleased him not, and they were consumed in his wrathful indignation. 24 He wrought wonders upon them, and consumed them with a flame of fire. 25 And he added glory to Aaron, and gave him an inheritance, and divided unto him the firstfruits of the increase of the earth.
26 He prepared them bread in the first place unto fulness: for the sacrifices also of the Lord they shall eat, which he gave to him, and to his seed. 27 But he shall not inherit among the people in the land, and he hath no portion among the people: for he himself is his portion and inheritance. 28 Phinees the son of Eleazar is the third in glory, by imitating him in the fear of the Lord: 29 And he stood up in the shameful fall of the people: in the goodness and readiness of his soul he appeased God for Israel. 30 Therefore he made to him a covenant of peace, to be the prince of the sanctuary, and of his people, that the dignity of priesthood should be to him and to his seed for ever.
31 And a covenant to David the king, the son of Jesse of the tribe of Juda, an inheritance to him and to his seed, that he might give wisdom into our heart to judge his people in justice, that their good things might not be abolished, and he made their glory in their nation everlasting.
The praise of Josue, of Caleb, and of Samuel.
1 Valiant in war was Jesus the son of Nave, who was successor of Moses among the prophets, who was great according to his name, 2 Very great for the saving the elect of God, to overthrow the enemies that rose up against them, that he might get the inheritance for Israel. 3 How great glory did he gain when he lifted up his hands, and stretched out swords against the cities? 4 Who before him hath so resisted? for the Lord himself brought the enemies. 5 Was not the sun stopped in his anger, and one day made as two?
1 "Jesus the son of Nave"... So Josue is named in the Greek Bibles. For Josue and Jesus signify the same thing, viz., a saviour.
6 He called upon the most high Sovereign when the enemies assaulted him on every side, and the great and holy God heard him by hailstones of exceeding great force. 7 He made a violent assault against the nation of his enemies, and in the descent he destroyed the adversaries. 8 That the nations might know his power, that it is not easy to fight against God. And he followed the mighty one: 9 And in the days of Moses he did a work of mercy, he and Caleb the son of Jephone, in standing against the enemy, and withholding the people from sins, and appeasing the wicked murmuring. 10 And they two being appointed, were delivered out of the danger from among the number of six hundred thousand men on foot, to bring them into their inheritance, into the land that floweth with milk and honey.
7 "And in the descent"... Of Beth-horon (Jos. 10.).
11 And the Lord gave strength also to Caleb, and his strength continued even to his old age, so that he went up to the high places of the land, and his seed obtained it for an inheritance: 12 That all the children of Israel might see, that it is good to obey the holy God. 13 Then all the judges, every one by name, whose heart was not corrupted: who turned not away from the Lord, 14 That their memory might be blessed, and their bones spring up out of their place, 15 And their name continue for ever, the glory of the holy men remaining unto their children.
16 Samuel the prophet of the Lord, the beloved of the Lord his God, established a new government, and anointed princes over his people. 17 By the law of the Lord he judged the congregation, and the God of Jacob beheld, and by his fidelity he was proved a prophet. 18 And he was known to be faithful in his words, because he saw the God of light: 19 And called upon the name of the Lord Almighty, in fighting against the enemies who beset him on every side, when he offered a lamb without blemish. 20 And the Lord thundered from heaven, and with a great noise made his voice to be heard.
21 And he crushed the princes of the Tyrians, and all the lords of the Philistines: 22 And before the time of the end of his life in the world, he protested before the Lord, and his anointed: money, or any thing else, even to a shoe, he had not taken of any man, and no man did accuse him. 23 And after this he slept, and he made known to the king, and shewed him the end of his life, and he lifted up his voice from the earth in prophecy to blot out the wickedness of the nation.
The praise of Nathan, of David, and of Solomon: Of his fall and punishment.
1 Then Nathan the prophet arose in the days of David. 2 And as the fat taken away from the flesh, so was David chosen from among the children of Israel. 3 He played with lions as with lambs: and with bears he did in like manner as with the lambs of the flock, in his youth. 4 Did not he kill the giant, and take away reproach from his people? 5 In lifting up his hand, with the stone in the sling he beat down the boasting of Goliath:
6 For he called upon the Lord the Almighty, and he gave strength in his right hand, to take away the mighty warrior, and to set up the horn of his nation. 7 So in ten thousand did he glorify him, and praised him in the blessings of the Lord, in offering to him a crown of glory: 8 For he destroyed the enemies on every side, and extirpated the Philistines the adversaries unto this day: he broke their horn for ever. 9 In all his works he gave thanks to the holy one, and to the most High, with words of glory. 10 With his whole heart he praised the Lord, and loved God that made him: and he gave him power against his enemies:
11 And he set singers before the altar, and by their voices he made sweet melody. 12 And to the festivals he added beauty, and set in order the solemn times even to the end of his life, that they should praise the holy name of the Lord, and magnify the holiness of God in the morning. 13 The Lord took away his sins, and exalted his horn for ever: and he gave him a covenant of the kingdom, and a throne of glory in Israel. 14 After him arose up a wise son, and for his sake he cast down all the power of the enemies. 15 Solomon reigned in days of peace, and God brought all his enemies under him, that he might build a house in his name, and prepare a sanctuary for ever: O how wise wast thou in thy youth!
16 And thou wast filled as a river with wisdom, and thy soul covered the earth. 17 And thou didst multiply riddles in parables: thy name went abroad to the islands far off, and thou wast beloved in thy peace. 18 The countries wondered at thee for thy canticles, and proverbs, and parables, and interpretations, 19 And at the name of the Lord God, whose surname is, God of Israel. 20 Thou didst gather gold as copper, and didst multiply silver as lead,
21 And thou didst bow thyself to women: and by thy body thou wast brought under subjection. 22 Thou hast stained thy glory, and defiled thy seed so as to bring wrath upon thy children, and to have thy folly kindled, 23 That thou shouldst make the kingdom to be divided, and out of Ephraim a rebellious kingdom to rule. 24 But God will not leave off his mercy, and he will not destroy, nor abolish his own works, neither will he out up by the roots the offspring of his elect: and he will not utterly take away the seed of him that loveth the Lord. 25 Wherefore he gave a remnant to Jacob, and to David of the same stock.
26 And Solomon had an end with his fathers. 27 And he left behind him of his seed, the folly of the nation, 28 Even Roboam that had little wisdom, who turned away the people through his counsel: 29 And Jeroboam the son of Nabat, who caused Israel to sin, and shewed Ephraim the way of sin, and their sins were multiplied exceedingly. 30 They removed them far away from their land.
31 And they sought out all iniquities, till vengeance came upon them, and put an end to all their sins.
The praise of Elias, of Eliseus, of Ezechias, and of Isaias.
1 And Elias the prophet stood up, as a fire, and his word burnt like a torch. 2 He brought a famine upon them, and they that provoked him in their envy, were reduced to a small number, for they could not endure the commandments of the Lord. 3 By the word of the Lord he shut up the heaven, and he brought down fire from heaven thrice. 4 Thus was Elias magnified in his wondrous works. And who can glory like to thee? 5 Who raisedst up a dead man from below, from the lot of death, by the word of the Lord God.
6 Who broughtest down kings to destruction, and brokest easily their power in pieces, and the glorious from their bed. 7 Who heardest judgment in Sina, and in Horeb the judgments of vengeance. 8 Who anointedst kings to penance, and madest prophets successors after thee. 9 Who wast taken up in a whirlwind of fire, in a chariot of fiery horses. 10 Who art registered in the judgments of times to appease the wrath of the Lord, to reconcile the heart of the father to the son, and to restore the tribes of Jacob.
11 Blessed are they that saw thee, and were honoured with thy friendship. 12 For we live only in our life, but after death our name shall not be such. 13 Elias was indeed covered with the whirlwind, and his spirit was filled up in Eliseus: in his days he feared not the prince, and no man was more powerful than he. 14 No word could overcome him, and after death his body prophesied. 15 In his life he did great wonders, and is death he wrought miracles.
16 For all this the people repented not, neither did they depart from their sins till they were cast out of their land, and were scattered through all the earth. 17 And there was left but a small people, and a prince in the house of David. 18 Some of these did that which pleased God: but others committed many sins. 19 Ezechias fortified his city, and brought in water into the midst thereof, and he digged a rock with iron, and made a well for water. 20 In his days Sennacherib came up, and sent Rabsaces, and lifted up his hand against them, and he stretched out his hand against Sion, and became proud through his power.
21 Then their hearts and hands trembled, and they were in pain as women in travail. 22 And they called upon the Lord who is merciful, and spreading their hands, they lifted them up to heaven: and the holy Lord God quickly heard their voice. 23 He was not mindful of their sins, neither did he deliver them up to their enemies, but he purified them by the hand of Isaias, the holy prophet. 24 He overthrew the army of the Assyrians, and the angel of the Lord destroyed them. 25 For Ezechias did that which pleased God, and walked valiantly in the way of David his father, which Isaias, the great prophet, and faithful in the sight of God, had commanded him.
26 In his days the sun went backward, and he lengthened the king's life. 27 With a great spirit he saw the things that are to come to pass at last, and comforted the mourners in Sion. 28 He shewed what should come to pass for ever, and secret things before they came.
The praise of Josias, of Jeremias, Ezechiel, and the twelve prophets. Also of Zorobabel, Jesus the son of Josedech, Nehemias, Enoch, Joseph, Seth, Sem, and Adam.
1 The memory of Josias is like the composition of a sweet smell made by the art of a perfumer: 2 His remembrance shall be sweet as honey in every mouth, and as music at a banquet of wine. 3 He was directed by God unto the repentance of the nation, and he took away the abominations of wickedness. 4 And he directed his heart towards the Lord, and in the days of sinners he strengthened godliness. 5 Except David, and Ezechias, and Josias, all committed sin.
6 For the kings of Juda forsook the law of the most High, and despised the fear of God. 7 So they gave their kingdom to others, and their glory to a strange nation. 8 They burnt the chosen city of holiness, and made the streets thereof desolate according to the prediction of Jeremias. 9 For they treated him evil, who was consecrated a prophet from his mother's womb, to overthrow, and pluck up, and destroy, and to build again, and renew. 10 It was Ezechiel that saw the glorious vision, which was shewn him upon the chariot of cherubims.
11 For he made mention of the enemies under the figure of rain, and of doing good to them that shewed right ways. 12 And may the bones of the twelve prophets spring up out of their place: for they strengthened Jacob, and redeemed themselves by strong faith. 13 How shall we magnify Zorobabel? for he was as a signet on the right hand; 14 In like manner Jesus the son of Josedec? who in their days built the house, and set up a holy temple to the Lord, prepared for everlasting glory. 15 And let Nehemias be a long time remembered, who raised up for us our walls that were cast down, and set up the gates and the bars, who rebuilt our houses.
16 No man was born upon earth like Henoch: for he also was taken up from the earth. 17 Nor as Joseph, who was a man born prince of his brethren, the support of his family, the ruler of his brethren, the stay of the people: 18 And his bones were visited, and after death they prophesied. 19 Seth and Sem obtained glory among men: and above every soul Adam in the beginning.
18 "They prophesied"... That is, by their being carried out of Egypt they verified the prophetic prediction of Joseph. Gen. 50.
The praises of Simon the high priest. The conclusion.
1 Simon the high priest, the son of Onias, who in his life propped up the house, and in his days fortified the temple. 2 By him also the height of the temple was founded, the double building and the high walls of the temple. 3 In his days the wells of water flowed out, and they were filled as the sea above measure. 4 He took care of his nation, and delivered it from destruction. 5 He prevailed to enlarge the city, and obtained glory in his conversation with the people: and enlarged the entrance of the house and the court.
6 He shone in his days as the morning star in the midst of a cloud, and as the moon at the full. 7 And as the sun when it shineth, so did he shine in the temple of God. 8 And as the rainbow giving light in the bright clouds, and as the flower of roses in the days of the spring, and as the lilies that are on the brink of the water, and as the sweet smelling frankincense in the time of summer. 9 As a bright fire, and frankincense burning in the fire. 10 As a massy vessel of gold, adorned with every precious stone.
11 As an olive tree budding forth, and a cypress tree rearing itself on high, when he put on the robe of glory, and was clothed with the perfection of power. 12 When he went up to the holy altar, he honoured the vesture of holiness. 13 And when he took the portions out of the hands of the priests, he himself stood by the altar. And about him was the ring of his brethren: and as the cedar planted in mount Libanus, 14 And as branches of palm trees, they stood round about him, and all the sons of Aaron in their glory. 15 And the oblation of the Lord was in their hands, before all the congregation of Israel: and finishing his service, on the altar, to honour the offering of the most high Ring,
11 "Clothed with the perfection of power"... That is, with all the vestments denoting his dignity and authority.
16 He stretched forth his hand to make a libation, and offered of the blood of the grape. 17 He poured out at the foot of the altar a divine odour to the most high Prince. 18 Then the sons of Aaron shouted, they sounded with beaten trumpets, and made a great noise to be heard for a remembrance before God. 19 Then all the people together made haste, and fell down to the earth upon their faces, to adore the Lord their God, and to pray to the Almighty God the most High. 20 And the singers lifted up their voices. and in the great house the sound of sweet melody was increased.
21 And the people in prayer besought the Lord the most High, until the worship of the Lord was perfected, and they had finished their office. 22 Then coming down, he lifted up his hands over all the congregation of the children of Israel, to give glory to God with his lips, and to glory in his name: 23 And he repeated his prayer, willing to shew the power of God. 24 And now pray ye to the God of all, who hath done great things in all the earth, who hath increased our days from our mother's womb, and hath done with us according to his mercy. 25 May he grant us joyfulness of heart, and that there be peace in our days in Israel for ever:
26 That Israel may believe that the mercy of God is with us, to deliver us in his days. 27 There are two nations which my soul abhorreth: and the third is no nation, which I hate: 28 They that sit on mount Seir, and the Philistines, and the foolish people that dwell in Sichem. 29 Jesus the son of Sirach, of Jerusalem, hath written in this book the doctrine of wisdom and instruction, who renewed wisdom from his heart. 30 Blessed is he that is conversant in these good things: and he that layeth them up in his heart, shall be wise always.
27 "Abhorreth"... Viz., with a holy indignation, as enemies of God and persecutors of his people. Such were then the Edomites who abode in mount Seir, the Philistines, and the Samaritans who dwelt in Sichem, and had their schismatical temple in that neighbourhood.
31 For if he do them, he shall be strong to do all things: because the light of God guideth his steps.
A prayer of praise and thanksgiving.
1 A prayer of Jesus the son of Sirach. I will give glory to thee, O Lord, O King, and I will praise thee, O God my Saviour. 2 I will give glory to thy name: for thou hast been a helper and protector to me. 3 And hast preserved my body from destruction, from the snare of an unjust tongue, and from the lips of them that forge lies, and in the sight of them that stood by, thou hast been my helper. 4 And thou hast delivered me, according to the multitude of the mercy of thy name, from them that did roar, prepared to devour. 5 Out of the hands of them that sought my life, and from the gates of afflictions, which compassed me about:
6 From the oppression of the flame which surrounded me, and in the midst of the fire I was not burnt. 7 From the depth of the belly of hell, and from an unclean tongue, and from lying words, from an unjust king, and from a slanderous tongue: 8 My soul shall praise the Lord even to death. 9 And my life was drawing near to hell beneath. 10 They compassed me on every side, and there was no one that would help me. I looked for the succour of men, and there was none.
11 I remembered thy mercy, O Lord, and thy works, which are from the beginning of the world. 12 How thou deliverest them that wait for thee, O Lord, and savest them out of the hands of the nations. 13 Thou hast exalted my dwelling place upon the earth and I have prayed for death to pass away. 14 I called upon the Lord, the father of my Lord, that he would not leave me in the day of my trouble, and in the time of the proud without help. 15 I will praise thy name continually, and will praise it with thanksgiving, and my prayer was heard.
16 And thou hast saved me from destruction, and hast delivered me from the evil time. 17 Therefore I will give thanks, and praise thee, and bless the name of the Lord. 18 When I was yet young, before I wandered about, I sought for wisdom openly in my prayer. 19 I prayed for her before the temple, and unto the very end I will seek after her, and she flourished as a grape soon ripe. 20 My heart delighted in her, my foot walked in the right way, from my youth up I sought after her.
21 I bowed down my ear a little, and received her. 22 I found much wisdom in myself, and I profited much therein. 23 To him that giveth me wisdom, will I give glory. 24 For I have determined to follow her: I have had a zeal for good, and shall not be confounded. 25 My soul hath wrestled for her, and in doing it I have been confirmed.
26 I stretched forth my hands on high, and I bewailed my ignorance of her. 27 I directed my soul to her, and in knowledge I found her. 28 I possessed my heart with her from the beginning: therefore I shall not be forsaken. 29 My entrails were troubled in seeking her: therefore shall I possess a good possession. 30 The Lord hath given me a tongue for my reward: and with it I will praise him.
31 Draw near to me, ye unlearned, and gather yourselves together into the house of discipline. 32 Why are ye slow? and what do you say of these things? your souls are exceeding thirsty. 33 I have opened my mouth, and have spoken: buy her for yourselves without silver, 34 And submit your neck to the yoke, and let your soul receive discipline: for she is near at hand to be found. 35 Behold with your eyes how I have laboured a little, and have found much rest to myself.
36 Receive ye discipline as a great sum of money, and possess abundance of gold by her. 37 Let your soul rejoice in his mercy, and you shall not be confounded in his praise. 38 Work your work before the time, and he will give you your reward in his time.