The Bible in Its Traditions

Sirach 30:1–27


He who loves his son will frequently chastise him, so that he may be happy in the very end, and not grope for the doors of his neighbors.

He that loveth his son causeth him oft to feel the rod, that he may have joy of him in the end.

He who instructs his son will be praised over him and will glory in him, in the midst of his household.

He that chastiseth his son shall have joy in him, and shall rejoice of him among his acquaintance.

He who teaches his son will make his enemy jealous, and in the midst of his friends, he will glory in him.

He that teacheth his son grieveth the enemy: and before his friends he shall rejoice of him.

When his father has died, it will be as if he were not dead. For he will have left behind someone who is like himself.

Though his father die, yet he is as though he were not dead: for he hath left one behind him that is like himself.

In his life, he saw him and rejoiced in him. And at his passing, he was not sorrowful, nor was he confounded in the sight of his enemies.

While he lived, he saw and rejoiced in him: and when he died, he was not sorrowful.

For he left behind himself a defender of his house against his enemies, and someone who will repay his friends with kindness.

He left behind him an avenger against his enemies, and one that shall requite kindness to his friends.

For the sake of the souls of his sons, he will bind up his wounds, and at every voice, his gut will be stirred up.

He that maketh too much of his son shall bind up his wounds; and his bowels will be troubled at every cry.

An untamed horse becomes stubborn, and a child left to himself becomes headstrong.

An horse not broken becometh headstrong: and a child left to himself will be wilful.

Coddle a son, and he will make you afraid. Play with him, and he will make you sorrowful.

Cocker thy child, and he shall make thee afraid: play with him, and he will bring thee to heaviness.

10  You should not laugh with him; otherwise you may have grief, and in the end, your teeth be clenched.

10  Laugh not with him, lest thou have sorrow with him, and lest thou gnash thy teeth in the end.

11  You should not give him power in his youth, but you should not despise his thoughts.

11  Give him no liberty in his youth, and wink not at his follies.


12  Bow down his neck in his youth, and slap his sides while he is a child, lest perhaps he may become stubborn, and then he will not trust you, and so he will bring sorrow to your soul.


13  Instruct your son, and work with him, lest you give offense by his shameful behavior.

13  Chastise thy son, and hold him to labour, lest his lewd behaviour be an offence unto thee.

14  Better is a healthy pauper with a strong constitution, than a wealthy man who is weak and afflicted by maladies.

14  Better is the poor, being sound and strong of constitution, than a rich man that is afflicted in his body.

15  A healthy soul with the sanctity of justice is better than all the gold and silver. And a sound body is better than immense revenues.

15  Health and good estate of body are above all gold, and a strong body above infinite wealth.

16  There is no revenue above the revenue of a healthy body. And there is no delight above a joyful heart.

16  There is no riches above a sound body, and no joy above the joy of the heart. I awaked up last of all, as one that gathereth after the grapegatherers: by the blessing of the Lord I profited, and filled my winepress like a gatherer of grapes.


17  Death is better than a bitter life. And eternal rest is better than continual sickness.


18  Good things hidden in a closed mouth are like seats at a feast placed around a grave.

18  Delicates poured upon a mouth shut up are as messes of meat set upon a grave. Hear me, O ye great men of the people, and hearken with your ears, ye rulers of the congregation.

19  What benefit is there in an offering to an idol? For it can neither eat, nor smell.

19  What good doeth the offering unto an idol? for neither can it eat nor smell: so is he that is persecuted of the Lord. Give not thy son and wife, thy brother and friend, power over thee while thou livest, and give not thy goods to another: lest it repent thee, and thou intreat for the same again.


20  So is he who flees from the Lord, carrying the wages of his iniquity.


21  He sees with his eyes and groans, like a eunuch who embraces a virgin and sighs.

Sir30:20  He seeth with his eyes and groaneth, as an eunuch that embraceth a virgin and sigheth. As long as thou livest and hast breath in thee, give not thyself over to any.

22  You should not give your soul to sadness, and you should not afflict yourself by your own counsel.

Sir30:21  Give not over thy mind to heaviness, and afflict not thyself in thine own counsel. For better it is that thy children should seek to thee, than that thou shouldest stand to their courtesy.


23  The gladness of the heart is the life of a man, and it is a treasure of sanctity without defect. And the exultation of a man is length of life.


24  Take pity on your own soul by pleasing God, and show self-restraint. Gather your heart into his sanctity, and drive sadness far away from yourself.

Sir30:23  Love thine own soul, and comfort thy heart, remove sorrow far from thee: for sorrow hath killed many, and there is no profit therein. In all thy works keep to thyself the preeminence; leave not a stain in thine honour.


25  For sadness has killed many, and there is no usefulness in it.


26  Envy and anger will diminish your days, and pensiveness will bring old age before its time.

Sir30:24  Envy and wrath shorten the life, and carefulness bringeth age before the time. At the time when thou shalt end thy days, and finish thy life, distribute thine inheritance. Fodder, a wand, and burdens, are for the ass; and bread, correction, and work, for a servant.


27  A cheerful and good heart is like a feast. And its feasts are formed by diligence.