Sirach 51

51 q a bI will thank Thee, cJahveh, O King,c

dI will praise Thee, O God eof my salvatione d a,

I will declare Thy Namef, g(Thou) strength of my lifeg;

hFor Thou hast redeemed my soul from deathh,

iThou didst keep back my flesh from the Piti,

kAnd from the power of Sheol Thou didst deliver my footk;

lThou didst preserve mem from the scourge of a slanderous tongue,

And from the lips nof them that turn aside to liesn l;

oThou wast pon my sidep o in the face of those that rose up against me;

qThou didst help me, according to the abundance of Thy mercy,

Out of the snare rof those that watch for my stumblingr,

And from the hand of those that seek my life;

From manifold troubles didst Thou save meq,

HB And from the straits of the flame round about (me),

s tFrom the midst of the fire that I kindled nott,

uFrom the deep of the belly of Sheolu s,

vFrom the lips of wickedness, and from the framers of liesv,

xAnd the arrowsx of a deceitful tongue.

My soul drew nighy unto death,

And my lifez to the nethermosta Sheolb.

cAnd I turned about on every sidec, dyer there was none to help mee d,

eeAnd I looked for one to upholdee, but there was none.

Then did I remember fthe loving-kindnesses of Jahvehf,

And gHis merciesg which have been from of old,

hWho delivereth them that trust in Himh,

iAnd redeemeth them kfrom all evilk i.

And I lifted up my voicel mfrom the earthm,

nAnd cried out for help from the gates of Sheoln.

10 oYea, I criedoo: ‘O Jahvehp, my Father qart Thouq o,

rFor Thou art the hero of my salvationr;

rrForsake me notrr in the days of trouble,

tIn the day of wasteness and desolationt.

11 I will praise Thy Name continually,

uAnd will sing Thy praiseu in prayerv.’

HB vvThen did Jahveh hear my voicevv,

And gave heed to my supplication;

12 wAnd He redeemed me from all evilw

xAnd delivered mex yin the day of troubley.

Therefore will I give and offer praisez,

And bless zzthe Name of Jahvehzz:—

(b) 121–16 (Extant only in Hebrew): A Thanksgiving

(= 1 + 4 + 4 + 4 + 3 distichs).

i. Give thanks unto Jahveh, for He is good;

For His mercy endureth for ever.

ii. Give thanks to the God of praises;

For His mercy endureth for ever.

iii. Give thanks unto Him that keepeth Israel;

For His mercy endureth for ever.

iv. Give thanks unto Him that formeth all;

For His mercy endureth for ever.

v. Give thanks unto the Redeemer of Israel;

For His mercy endureth for ever.

vi. Give thanks unto Him that gathereth the outcasts of Israel;

For His mercy endureth for ever.

vii. Give thanks unto Him that buildeth His city and His Sanctuary;

For His mercy endureth for ever.

viii. Give thanks unto Him that maketh a horn to sprout for the house of David;

For His mercy endureth for ever.

ix. Give thanks unto Him that chooseth the sons of Zadok to be priests;

For His mercy endureth for ever.

HB x. Give thanks unto the Shield of Abraham;

For His mercy endureth for ever.

xi. Give thanks unto the Rock of Isaac;

For His mercy endureth for ever.

xii. Give thanks unto the Mighty One of Jacob;

For His mercy endureth for ever.

xiii. Give thanks unto Him that hath chosen Zion;

For His mercy endureth for ever.

xiv. Give thanks unto the King of the kings of kings;

For His mercy endureth for ever.

xv. And He hath lifted up the horn for His people;

The praise of all His pious ones,

xvi. For the children of Israel, a people nigh unto Him, Hallelujah.

(c) 51:13–30. A Poem describing how Ben-Sira acquired Wisdom

(= 14 + 9 distichs).

G 13 aWhen I was yet young, before I wandered abroada,

HB bI desired her and sought her outb.

14 cIn my youth I made supplication in prayerc;

G dAnd I will seek her out even to the end.

15 eShe blossomed like a ripening grapee,

My heart rejoiced in herd.

HB My foot trod fin her footstepf,

From my youth gI learned Wisdomg.

G 16 hI bowed down mine ear a little and received herh,

HB And much knowledge did I findi;

17 kAndl her yoke was glorious to mek,

mAnd to my Teacher do I offer thanksm.

18 nI purposed to do goodn with hero,

ooAnd pI was not put to shamep, for found heroo.

19 My soul was attachedq to her,

rAnd I turned not away my face from herr;

G sI spread forth my hands to the heaven aboves,

HB tAnd for ever and ever I will not go astray from hert.

uMy hand opened her gates,

And I entered unto her, and looked upon heru.

20 vI set my soul arightv wafter herw,

xAnd I found her in hery purityx;

I gat me understanding zthrough her guidancez.

G aTherefore bI shall not be forsakenb a.

HB 21 My inward part was troubledc cclike an ovencc dto look upon herd,

Therefore have I gottene a good possession.

22 Jahveh gave fme the reward of my lipsf,

And gwith my tongueg do I praise Him.

23 Turn inh unto me, ye unlearned,

And lodge in my house of instruction.

HB 24 iHow long will ye lack kthese thingsk i?

And (how long) shall your soul be sol athirst?

25 I open my mouth and speak mof herm,

Acquire Wisdomn for yourselves without money.

26 Bringo your necks under her yoke,

pAnd her burden let your soul bearp;

qShe is nigh unto them that seek herq,

rAnd he that is intent (upon her) findeth herr.

27 Behold with your eyes that sI laboured but (little)s thereint,

uAnd abundance of peacev have I foundu.

28 wHearken to my teaching, (though ye be but) a fewx w,

And much ysilver andy gold shall ye acquire thereby.

29 May myz soul delight ain my Yeshibaha;

And ye shall not be put to shame bin singing my praiseb.

30 Work your work cin righteousnessc,

And He will give youd your reward in its time.

e[Blessed be Jahveh; and praised be His Name to generations.

Thus far the words of Simeon the son of Jeshua’, who is called Ben-Sira.

The Wisdom of Simeon, the son of Jeshua’, the son of Eleazar, the son of Sira.

May the Name of Jahveh be blessed from now and unto eternity.]e

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