The Bible in Its Traditions

Sirach 18:1–33


The One who dwells in eternity created all things together. God alone will be justified, and he remains an invincible King for eternity.

He that liveth for ever Hath created all things in general.

Who is able to declare his works?

The Lord only is righteous, and there is none other but he,

For who can examine his greatness?

Who governeth the world with the palm of his hand, and all things obey his will: for he is the King of all, by his power dividing holy things among them from profane.

And who will announce the power of his magnitude? Or who would be able to describe his mercy?

To whom hath he given power to declare his works? and who shall find out his noble acts?

There is no diminishing, and no increasing, and there is no discovering, the greatness of God.

Who shall number the strength of his majesty? and who shall also tell out his mercies?

When man has reached the end, then he will begin. And when he ceases, he will be in need.

As for the wondrous works of the Lord, there may nothing be taken from them, neither may any thing be put unto them, neither can the ground of them be found out.

What is man, and what is his grace? And what is his good, or what is his evil?

When a man hath done, then he beginneth; and when he leaveth off, then he shall be doubtful.

The number of the days of men are as many as one hundred years. Like a drop of water in the ocean, so they are considered to be. And like a grain of sand on the shore, so do these few years compare to the days of all time.

What is man, and whereto serveth he? what is his good, and what is his evil?

For this reason, God is patient with them, and he pours forth his mercy upon them.

The number of a man’s days at the most are an hundred years.

10  He has seen that the presumption of their heart is evil, and he knows that their rebelliousness is wicked.

10  As a drop of water unto the sea, and a gravelstone in comparison of the sand; so are a thousand years to the days of eternity.

11  Therefore, he has bestowed his forgiveness on them, and he has revealed to them the way of equity.

11  Therefore is God patient with them, and poureth forth his mercy upon them.

12  The compassion of man is toward those closest to him. But the mercy of God is upon all flesh.

12  He saw and perceived their end to be evil; therefore he multiplied his compassion.

13  He is merciful, and he teaches and corrects, like a shepherd with his flock.

13  The mercy of man is toward his neighbour; but the mercy of the Lord is upon all flesh: he reproveth, and nurtureth, and teacheth and bringeth again, as a shepherd his flock.

14  He takes pity on those who accept the doctrine of compassion, and he applies his judgments promptly.

14  He hath mercy on them that receive discipline, and that diligently seek after his judgements.

15  Son, in your good works, you should not complain, and in giving anything, you should not cause grief with evil words.

15  My son, blemish not thy good deeds, neither use uncomfortable words when thou givest any thing.

16  Is heat not refreshed by the dew? So also is a good word better than a gift.

16  Shall not the dew asswage the heat? so is a word better than a gift.


17  Behold, is a word not greater than a gift? But both are with a justified man.


18  The foolish place blame sharply. And a gift from the undisciplined causes the eyes to fail.

18  A fool will upbraid churlishly, and a gift of the envious consumeth the eyes.

19  Before you judge, put justice in order within yourself, and before you speak, learn.

19  Learn before thou speak, and use physick or ever thou be sick.

20  Before you become sick, obtain medicine. And before you judge, examine yourself. And then you will find forgiveness in the sight of God.

20  Before judgement examine thyself, and in the day of visitation thou shalt find mercy.

21  Before you become weak, humble yourself; and in a time of infirmity, show your way of life.

21  Humble thyself before thou be sick, and in the time of sins shew repentance.

22  Let nothing impede you from praying always. And then you will not dread to be justified, even unto death. For the reward of God dwells in eternity.

22  Let nothing hinder thee to pay thy vow in due time, and defer not until death to be justified.

23  Before you pray, prepare your soul. And do not choose to be like a man who tempts God.

23  Before thou prayest, prepare thyself; and be not as one that tempteth the Lord.

24  Remember the wrath that will be on the day of consummation, and remember the time of retribution, when he will turn away his face.

24  Think upon the wrath that shall be at the end, and the time of vengeance, when he shall turn away his face.

25  Remember poverty in a time of abundance, and remember the deficiency of poverty in a day of riches.

25  When thou hast enough, remember the time of hunger: and when thou art rich, think upon poverty and need.

26  From morning until evening, the time will be changed, and all these are swift in the eyes of God.

26  From the morning until the evening the time is changed, and all things are soon done before the Lord.

27  A wise man will be cautious in all things, and during a time of many offenses, he will be attentive against inaction.

27  A wise man will fear in every thing, and in the day of sinning he will beware of offence: but a fool will not observe time.

28  Anyone who is astute recognizes wisdom, and he will acknowledge anyone who finds it.

28  Every man of understanding knoweth wisdom, and will give praise unto him that found her.

29  Those who show understanding with words also have acted wisely themselves, and they have understood truth and justice, and they have fulfilled proverbs and judgments.

29  They that were of understanding in sayings became also wise themselves, and poured forth exquisite parables.

30  You should not go after your desires; instead, turn away from your own will.

30  Go not after thy lusts, but refrain thyself from thine appetites.

31  If you offer your desires to your soul, this will cause you to become a joy to your enemies.

31  If thou givest thy soul the desires that please her, she will make thee a laughingstock to thine enemies that malign thee.

32  Take no delight in disorderly gatherings, whether large or small. For their commission of offenses is unceasing.

32  Take not pleasure in much good cheer, neither be tied to the expense thereof.

33  You should not be reduced by the contention of borrowing, even if there is nothing in your purse. For you would be contending against your own life.

33  Be not made a beggar by banqueting upon borrowing, when thou hast nothing in thy purse: for thou shalt lie in wait for thine own life, and be talked on.