Sirach 40

40 Much occupation ahath God apportioneda,

And heavy is the yoke upon the sons of men—

From the day that he cometh forth from his mother’s womb,

Until the day bwhen he returnethb cto the mother of all living:

G (S) dPreoccupation and anxiety of heart,

And watchfulness for the future, till the day of his death!d

HB From him that sitteth in exaltation on a throne,

Unto ehim that is clothede with dust and ashes;

From fhim that wearethf diadem and plate,

Even unto fhim that wearethf ga garment of hairg:

HB 5 (a) h(Naught but) anger and jealousyh, anxiety and fear,

Terror of death, istrifei, and contention!

5 (b) And what time he resteth upon his bed,

The sleep of night kdoubleth [his distraction]k.

For a little, vainly—lfor a moment—he reposethl,

mAnd then is disturbed by dreamsm:

nDeceivedn by the vision of his soul,

He is like a fugitive fleeing ofrom before the pursuero

p[Now roused he waketh from his sleep]p,

qAnd his vision (?)q

G r(There are) with all flesh, both man and beast,

Yea and upon the ungodly sevenfoldr:

HB Pestilence and bloodshed, sblight and droughts,

tDevastation and destruction, famine and plaguet.

HB 10 uFor the wickedu vevilv is created,

And on his account w[destruction is imposed]w.

11 All things that are from the earth return to the earth,

xAnd what is from on high (returneth) on highx.

G (S) 12 yAll that is false and unjust is destroyed,

But what is true abideth for every.

HB 13 zWealth unjustly gottenz a[cometh to an end] like a torrenta,

bAnd like a water-course that is mighty in a thunder-stormb:

14 cWith its onrush [rocks are rolled away]c

dEven so doth [plunder] suddenly come to an endd.

15 eA branch (sprung) from violencee f[hath no tender twig]f,

gFor an impious rootg his on the point of a cragh:

HB 16 iLike reed-stalks (?)i jon the bank of a torrentj,

kWhich are consumed before any (other) [plant]k.

17 lBut kindness shall never be movedl,

And righteousness is established for aye.

(b) 40:18–27. The fear of the Lord is the greatest of all good things

(= 10 + 2 distichs).

18 mA life of wine and strong drinkm is sweet,

But better than both is nhe that findeth a treasuren.

19 Child oand cityo establish a name,

pBut better than both is he that findeth wisdom.

Young cattle and planting make [abundance] to flourishp,

But better than both qis a woman belovedq.

20 Wine r[and song]r rejoice the heart,

But better than both is sthe affection of loverss.

HB 21 Pipe and harp make sweet the song,

But better than both is ta tongue sinceret.

22 uGrace and beautyu vcharm the eyev,

But better than both are wthe crops of the fieldw.

23 xA friend and companion will each conduct himself opportunelyx,

But better than both is ya discreet wifey.

24 zA brother and helper will come to the rescue in a time of adversityz,

But more than both doth righteousness deliver.

25 Gold and silver amake the foot stand surea,

But better than both bis good counselb.

26 Wealth and strength clift upc the heart,

But better than both is the fear of Godd.

In the fear of Jahveh there is no want,

And with it there is no need to seek esupporte.

27 The fear of God is a very Eden of blessing,

And fits canopyf (stretcheth) goverg all that is glorious.

(c) 40:28–30. A beggar’s life no life at all

(= 3 + 1 distichs).

HB 28 My son, live not ha beggar’s lifeh;

Better is one dead ithan importunatei.

29 A man that looketh to a stranger’s table—

His life is not to be reckoned as a life:

jA pollution of his soulj are kthe dainties presentedk,

lAnd to an understanding man inward torturel.

30 mIn the mouth of an insatiable (man)m begging is sweet,

But inwardly it burneth as fire.

(d) 41:1–4. Two views on death

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

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