The Bible in Its Traditions

Sirach 34:1–31


The hopes of a senseless man are empty and false; and dreams extol the imprudent.

Sir34:Sir31:1  The hopes of a man void of understanding are vain and false: and dreams lift up fools.

Like one who chases a shadow and pursues the wind, so also is one who pays attention to lying visions.

Sir34:Sir31:2  Whoso regardeth dreams is like him that catcheth at a shadow, and followeth after the wind.

In the vision of dreams, one thing represents another, as when a mask is before the face of a man.

Sir34:Sir31:3  The vision of dreams is the resemblance of one thing to another, even as the likeness of a face to a face.

What can be cleansed by the unclean? And what truth can be spoken from a lie?

Sir34:Sir31:4  Of an unclean thing what can be cleansed? and from that thing which is false what truth can come?

Erroneous divinations and false signs and the dreams of evildoers are emptiness.

Sir34:Sir31:5  Divinations, and soothsayings, and dreams, are vain: and the heart fancieth, as a woman’s heart in travail.

For your heart suffers from imagination, like a woman suffering in childbirth. Unless it is a visitation sent from the Most High, you should not set your heart upon it.

Sir34:Sir31:6  If they be not sent from the most High in thy visitation, set not thy heart upon them.

For dreams have caused many to go astray, and those who have hoped in them have fallen away.

Sir34:Sir31:7  For dreams have deceived many, and they have failed that put their trust in them.

The word of the law will be fulfilled without a lie, and wisdom will be made plain in the mouths of the faithful.

Sir34:Sir31:8  The law shall be found perfect without lies: and wisdom is perfection to a faithful mouth.

He who has not been tested, what does he know? A man with much experience will consider many things. And whoever has learned much will explain with understanding.

Sir34:Sir31:9  A man that hath travelled knoweth many things; and he that hath much experience will declare wisdom.

10  He who has no experience knows little. And he who has done many things has made many mistakes.

Sir34:Sir31:10  He that hath no experience knoweth little: but he that hath travelled is full of prudence.


11  He who has not been tested, what kind of things can he know? He who has been deceived will be more cunning.


12  I have seen much by wandering, and the customs of many things.

Sir34:Sir31:11  When I travelled, I saw many things; and I understand more than I can express.

13  At times, I have even been in danger of death because of these things, but I was freed by the grace of God.

Sir34:Sir31:12  I was ofttimes in danger of death: yet I was delivered because of these things.

14  The spirit of those who fear God is sought, and they will be blessed by his providence.

Sir34:Sir31:13  The spirit of those that fear the Lord shall live; for their hope is in him that saveth them.


15  For their hope is in him who saves them, and the eyes of God are on those who love him.


16  Those who fear the Lord will tremble at nothing, and they will not be terrified. For he is their hope.

Sir34:Sir31:14  Whoso feareth the Lord shall not fear nor be afraid; for he is his hope.

17  The soul of him who fears the Lord is blessed.

Sir34:Sir31:15  Blessed is the soul of him that feareth the Lord: to whom doth he look? and who is his strength?


18  To whom should he look, and who is his strength?


19  The eyes of the Lord are upon those who fear him. He is a powerful Protector, a Firmament of virtue, a Shelter from the heat, and a Covering from the midday sun,

Sir34:Sir31:16  For the eyes of the Lord are upon them that love him, he is their mighty protection and strong stay, a defence from heat, and a cover from the sun at noon, a preservation from stumbling, and an help from falling.

20  a Guardian from offenses, and a Helper from falling, who exalts the soul and illuminates the eyes, and who gives health and life and blessing.

Sir34:Sir31:17  He raiseth up the soul, and lighteneth the eyes: he giveth health, life, and blessing.

21  An immolation from iniquity is a stained oblation, and the derisions of the unjust are not well pleasing.

Sir34:Sir31:18  He that sacrificeth of a thing wrongfully gotten, his offering is ridiculous; and the gifts of unjust men are not accepted.


22  The Lord is only for those who persevere for him in the way of truth and justice.


23  The Most High does not approve of the gifts of the iniquitous. Neither does he have respect for the oblations of the unjust; neither will he forgive their sins because of the multitude of their sacrifices.

Sir34:Sir31:19  The most High is not pleased with the offerings of the wicked; neither is he pacified for sin by the multitude of sacrifices.

24  Whoever offers a sacrifice from the substance of the poor is like one who sacrifices the son in the sight of his father.

Sir34:Sir31:20  Whoso bringeth an offering of the goods of the poor doeth as one that killeth the son before his father’s eyes.

25  The bread of the indigent is the life of the poor. Whoever cheats them out of it is a man of blood.

Sir34:Sir31:21  The bread of the needy is their life: he that defraudeth him thereof is a man of blood.

26  Whoever takes away the bread of sweat is like one who kills his neighbor.

Sir34:Sir31:22  He that taketh away his neighbour’s living slayeth him; and he that defraudeth the labourer of his hire is a bloodshedder.


27  He who sheds blood, and he who cheats the hired hand out of his wages, are brothers.


28  When one builds and another destroys, what benefit do they have from their labor?

Sir34:Sir31:23  When one buildeth, and another pulleth down, what profit have they then but labour?


29  When one prays and another curses, whose voice will God heed?


30  He who washes himself after touching the dead, and then touches him again, what was the benefit of his washing?

Sir34:Sir31:25  He that washeth himself after the touching of a dead body, if he touch it again, what availeth his washing?

31  Similarly, a man who fasts for his sins, and then does the same again, what was the benefit of his humbling himself? Who will heed his prayer?

Sir34:Sir31:26  So is it with a man that fasteth for his sins, and goeth again, and doeth the same: who will hear his prayer? or what doth his humbling profit him?