Sirach 1

my grandfather Jesus, having given himself much to the reading of the Law and the Prophets and the other books of our fathers, and having acquired considerable familiarity therein, was induced also himself to take a part in writing somewhat pertaining to instruction and wisdom, in order that those who are lovers of learning and instructed inb these things cmight make so much the more progressc by a manner of life (lived) din accordance with the Lawd. Ye are entreated, therefore, 10 to make your perusal with favour and attention, and to be indulgent, if in any parts of what we have laboured to interpret we may seem to fail in some of the phrases. For things originally spoken in Hebrew have not the same force in them when they are translated into another tongue: and not only these, but the Law itself, and the Prophecies, and the rest of the books, have no small difference when they are spoken in their original form. Nowe, in the eight and thirtieth year under king Euergetes, 15 having come into Egypt and continued there, I found opportunityf for no small instruction. I, therefore, deemed it most necessary myself to devote some zeal and ‘love-labour’ to (the task of) interpreting this book; devoting, indeed, much sleepless care and skill in the interval in order, having broughtg the book to an end, to publish it for them also who in the land of their sojourning desire to be lovers of learning, 20 being already prepared in respect of their moral culture to live hby the Lawh.

(a) 1:1–10. The Origin of Wisdom

(= 4 + 4 distichs).

G 1 All wisdom cometh from the Lord,

And is with Him for ever.

The sand of the seas, and the drops of rain,

And the days of eternity,—who can number (them)?

G The height of the heaven, and the breadth of the earth,

And the deepa,—who can trace (them) out?

Before them all was Wisdom created,

And prudent insight from everlasting.b

The root of Wisdom, to whom hath it been revealed?

cAnd her subtle thoughts, who hath known them?cd

eOne there isf, greatly to be fearede,

The Lordg sitting upon His throne;

He himself created her, and saw, and numbered her,

And poured her out upon all His works;

10 Upon all flesh hin measureh,

But without measure doth He grant her to them that love Him.i

(b) 1:11–20. The Fear of the Lord is the true Wisdom

(= 3 + 2 + 2 + 2 + 1 distichs).

G 11 The fear of the Lord is glory and exultation,

And kgladness, and a crown of rejoicingk.

12 The fear of the Lord delighteth the heart,

kkAnd giveth gladnesskk, and joy, and llength of daysl.

13 Whoso feareth the Lord, it shall go well with him at the last,

And in the day of his death he shall mbe blessedm.

14 nTo fearn the Lordo is the beginning of Wisdom,

And with the faithful pwas she createdp in the wombq.

S 15 sWith faithful men is she, and she hath been established from eternitys;

H tAnd with their seed shall she continuet.

G 16 To fear the Lord is the fullnessu of Wisdom,

And she satiateth men with vher fruits.

17 She filleth all her house with wpleasant thingsw,

And her garners with her producex.

G 18 The crowny of Wisdom is the fear of the Lord,

S zAnd increaseth peace and alife and healthaz.

19 bShe is a strong staff and a glorious stayb,

G And ceverlasting honour toc them that hold her fast.

20 To fear the Lord is dthe root of Wisdomd,

And her branches are length of dayse.

(c) 1:22–30. Wisdom is shown forth by the exercise of patience, self-control, and humility

(= 3 + 3 + 3 + 2 distichs).

22 a bUnrighteous wrathb cannot be justified,

For the wrathc. of his anger (will prove) his ruin.

23 He that is patient dcontrolleth himselfd until the (proper) time,

And afterwards joy springeth up for him.

24 He suppresseth his words until the (proper) time,

And (then) shall the lips of manye tell forth his understanding.

25 In the treasures of Wisdom (there are) wise proverbsf;

But godliness is an abomination to sinnersg.

G 26 If thou desire Wisdom, keep the commandmentsh,

And the Lord will give her freely unto thee.

27 For the fear of the Lord is wisdom and instruction,

And faith and meekness are iwell-pleasing unto Himik.

28 My sonl, disobey notm the fear of the Lordn,

And approach it not with a double heart.

29 Be not a hypocrite in o the sight of omen,

And take good heed to thy lips.

30 Exalt not thyself lest thou fall,

And bring disgrace upon thyselfp,

And the Lord revealq thy hidden (thoughts),

And cast thee down in the midst of the assembly,

Because thou camest notr unto the fear of the Lord,

And thy heart was full of deceits.

(d) 2:1–6. On Faithfulness to God and Resignation to His Will

(= 3 + 3 distichs).

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