THE WISDOM OF JESUS THE SON OF SIRACH,
The Prologue of the Wisdom of Jesus the Son of Sirach.
WHEREAS many and great things have been delivered to us by the law and the prophets, and by the others that have followed in their steps, for the which things we must give Israel the praise of instruction and wisdom; and since not only the readers must needs become skillful themselves, but also those who love learning must be able to profit them which are without, both by speaking and writing; my grandfather Jesus, having much given himself to the reading of the law, and the prophets, and the other books of our fathers, and having gained great familiarity therein, was drawn on also himself to write somewhat pertaining to instruction and wisdom; in order that those who love learning, and are addicted to these things, might make progress much more by living according to the law. You⌃ are entreated therefore to read with favor and attention, and to pardon us, 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 language. For having come into Egypt in the eight and thirties year of Energetes the king, and having continued there some time, I found *
a copy affording no small instruction. I thought it therefore most necessary for me to apply some diligence and travail to interpret this book; applying indeed much watchfulness and skill in that space of time to bring the book to an end, and set it forth for them also, who in the land of their sojourning are desirous to learn, fashioning their manners beforehand, so as to live according to the law.
1 All wisdom comes from the Lord,
And is with him forever.
2 The sand of the seas, and the drops of rain,
And the days of eternity, who shall count?
3 The height of the heaven, and the breadth of the earth,
And the deep, and wisdom, who shall search them out?
4 Wisdom has been created before all things,
And the understanding of prudence from everlasting. 5 †
6 To whom has the root of wisdom been revealed?
And who has known her shrewd counsels? 7 ‡
8 There is one wise, greatly to be feared,
The Lord sitting upon his throne:
9 He created her,
And saw, and counted her,
And poured her out upon all his works.
10 She is with all flesh according to his gift;
And he gave her freely to those who love him.
11 The fear of the Lord is glory, and exultation,
And gladness, and a crown of rejoicing.
12 The fear of the Lord will delight the heart,
And will give gladness, and joy, and length of days.
13 Whoso fears the Lord, it will go well with him at the last,
And in the day of his death he will be blessed.
14 To fear the Lord is the beginning of wisdom;
And it was created together with the faithful in the womb.
With men she §
laid an eternal foundation;
And with their seed she will be had in trust.
16 To fear the Lord is the fulness of wisdom;
And she satiates men with her fruits.
17 She will fill all her house with desirable things,
And her garners with her produce.
18 The fear of the Lord is the crown of wisdom,
Making peace and **
perfect health to flourish. ††
19 He both saw and counted her;
He rained down skill and knowledge of understanding,
And exalted the honor of those who hold her fast.
20 To fear the Lord is the root of wisdom;
And her branches are length of days. 21 ‡‡
22 Unjust wrath can never be justified;
For the sway of his wrath is his downfall.
A man that is longsuffering will §§
for a season,
And afterward gladness will spring up to him;
He will hide his words †††
for a season,
And the lips of many will tell forth his understanding.
25 A parable of knowledge is in the treasures of wisdom;
But godliness is an abomination to a sinner.
26 If you desire wisdom, keep the commandments,
And the Lord will give her to you freely:
27 For the fear of the Lord is wisdom and instruction;
And in faith and meekness is his good pleasure.
Disobey not the fear of the Lord;‡‡‡
And come not to him with a double heart.
29 Be not a hypocrite in the mouths of men;
And take good heed to your lips.
30 Exalt not yourself, lest you fall,
And bring dishonor upon your soul;
And so the Lord will reveal your secrets,
And will cast you down in the midst of the congregation;
Because you came not to the fear of the Lord,
And your heart was full of deceit.