THE WISDOM OF JESUS THE SON OF SIRACH,
The Wisdom of Jesus the Son of Sirach, also called Ecclesiasticus, is recognised as Deuterocanonical Scripture by the Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox, and Russian Orthodox Churches.
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 which we must give Israel the praise for instruction and wisdom; and since not only the readers need to become skilful themselves, but also those who love learning must be able to profit those who are outside, 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 with them, was also drawn on himself to write somewhat pertaining to instruction and wisdom, in order that those who love learning, and are devoted to these things, might make progress much more by living according to the law. You are entreated therefore to read with favour 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 don’t have the same force in them when they are translated into another language. 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 thirty-eighth year of Energetes the king, and having continued there some time, I found a copy giving no small instruction. I thought it therefore most necessary for me to apply some diligence and travail to translate this book, applying indeed much watchfulness and skill in that space of time to bring the book to an end and publish for them also, who in the land of their travels are desiring to learn, preparing their character in advance, so as to live according to the law.
1 All wisdom comes from the Lord,
and is with him forever.
2 Who can count the sand of the seas,
the drops of rain,
and the days of eternity?
3 Who will search out the height of the sky,
the breadth of the earth, the deep,
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?
Who has known her shrewd counsels? 7 †
8 There is one wise, greatly to be feared,
sitting upon his throne: the Lord.
9 He created her.
He saw and measured her.
He poured her out upon all his works.
10 She is with all flesh according to his gift.
He gave her freely to those who love him.
11 The fear of the Lord is glory, exultation,
gladness, and a crown of rejoicing.
12 The fear of the Lord will delight the heart,
and will give gladness, joy, and length of days.
13 Whoever fears the Lord, it will go well with him at the last.
He will be blessed in the day of his death.
14 To fear the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.
It was created together with the faithful in the womb.
laid an eternal foundation with men.
She will be trusted amongst their offspring.
16 To fear the Lord is the fullness of wisdom.
She inebriates men with her fruits.
17 She will fill all her house with desirable things,
and her storehouses 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 measured her.
He rained down skill and knowledge of understanding,
and exalted the honour of those who hold her fast.
20 To fear the Lord is the root of wisdom.
Her branches are length of days. 21 †
22 Unjust wrath can never be justified,
for his wrath tips the scale to his downfall.
23 A man that is patient will resist for a season,
and afterward gladness will spring up to him.
24 He will hide his words until the right moment,
and the lips of many will tell of his understanding.
25 A wise saying 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.
Faith and humility are his good pleasure.
28 Don’t disobey the fear of the Lord.
Don’t come to him with a double heart.
29 Don’t be a hypocrite in men’s sight.
Keep watch over your lips.
30 Don’t exalt yourself,
lest you fall and bring dishonour upon your soul.
The Lord will reveal your secrets
and will cast you down in the midst of the congregation,
because you didn’t come to the fear of the Lord
and your heart was full of deceit.