The Bible in Its Traditions

Sirach 39:1–41

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A wise man will seek the wisdom of all the ancients, and he will be occupied in the prophets.

But he that giveth his mind to the law of the most High, and is occupied in the meditation thereof, will seek out the wisdom of all the ancient, and be occupied in prophecies.

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He will preserve the words of renowned men, and he will enter with them into the subtleties of parables.

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He will search for the hidden meanings of proverbs, and he will become familiar with the mysteries of parables.

He will seek out the secrets of grave sentences, and be conversant in dark parables.

He will minister in the midst of great men, and he will appear in the sight of the foremost leader.

He shall serve among great men, and appear before princes: he will travel through strange countries; for he hath tried the good and the evil among men.

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He will pass through the land of foreign nations. For he will test good and evil among men.

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At first light, he will offer his heart with watchfulness to the Lord who made him, and he will pray in the sight of the Most High.

Sir39:5  He will give his heart to resort early to the Lord that made him, and will pray before the most High, and will open his mouth in prayer, and make supplication for his sins.

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He will open his mouth in prayer, and he will make supplication for his offenses.

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For if the great Lord is willing, he will fill him with the Spirit of understanding.

Sir39:6  When the great Lord will, he shall be filled with the spirit of understanding: he shall pour out wise sentences, and give thanks unto the Lord in his prayer.

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And he will send forth the eloquence of his wisdom like rain showers, and in his prayer, he will confess to the Lord.

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10  And he will direct his counsel and his discipline, and he will meditate on his mysteries.

Sir39:7  He shall direct his counsel and knowledge, and in his secrets shall he meditate.

11  He will make the discipline of his doctrine clear, and he will glory in the law of the covenant of the Lord.

Sir39:8  He shall shew forth that which he hath learned, and shall glory in the law of the covenant of the Lord.

12  Many persons will together praise his wisdom, and it will never be abolished, for all ages.

Sir39:9  Many shall commend his understanding; and so long as the world endureth, it shall not be blotted out; his memorial shall not depart away, and his name shall live from generation to generation.

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13  The memory of him will not fade away, and his name will be sought from generation to generation.

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14  The peoples will declare his wisdom, and the Church will announce his praise.

Sir39:10  Nations shall shew forth his wisdom, and the congregation shall declare his praise.

15  While he remains, he leaves behind a name greater than a thousand, and when he will rest, it will be to his benefit.

Sir39:11  If he die, he shall leave a greater name than a thousand: and if he live, he shall increase it.

16  I will meditate further, so that I may explain. For I have been filled with a passion.

Sir39:12  Yet have I more to say, which I have thought upon; for I am filled as the moon at the full.

17  In a voice, he says: Listen to me, divine fruits. You shall bear fruit, like roses planted beside streams of waters.

Sir39:13  Hearken unto me, ye holy children, and bud forth as a rose growing by the brook of the field

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18  You shall have a sweet fragrance, like the cedars of Lebanon.

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19  Blossom with flowers, like the lily, and diffuse a fragrance, and sprout leaves in grace, and give praise with canticles, and bless the Lord in his works.

Sir39:14  And give ye a sweet savour as frankincense, and flourish as a lily, send forth a smell, and sing a song of praise, bless the Lord in all his works.

20  Give magnificence to his name, and confess to him with the voice of your lips and with the canticles of your mouth and with stringed instruments. And in so praising him, you will confess

Sir39:15  Magnify his name, and shew forth his praise with the songs of your lips, and with harps, and in praising him ye shall say after this manner

21  All the works of the Lord are very good.

Sir39:16  All the works of the Lord are exceeding good, and whatsoever he commandeth shall be accomplished in due season.

22  At his word, the waters stood still, as if piled together. And at the words of his mouth, the waters were contained, as if in basins of water.

Sir39:17  And none may say, What is this? wherefore is that? for at time convenient they shall all be sought out: at his commandment the waters stood as an heap, and at the words of his mouth the receptacles of waters.

23  For it is made pleasing by his precept, and there is no decrease in his salvation.

Sir39:18  At his commandment is done whatsoever pleaseth him; and none can hinder, when he will save.

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24  The works of all flesh are in his sight, and there is nothing hidden from his eyes.

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25  His gaze is from eternity to eternity, and nothing is a wonder in his sight.

Sir39:20  He seeth from everlasting to everlasting; and there is nothing wonderful before him.

26  Let it not be said: “What is this?” or, “What is that?” For all things will be sought in their time.

Sir39:21  A man need not to say, What is this? wherefore is that? for he hath made all things for their uses.

27  His blessing has overflowed like a river.

Sir39:22  His blessing covered the dry land as a river, and watered it as a flood.

28  In the same way that a flood inundates the dry land, so also will his wrath inherit the peoples that have not sought him.

Sir39:23  As he hath turned the waters into saltness: so shall the heathen inherit his wrath.

29  In the same way that he turned the waters into dry land, and made the earth dry, and just as his ways have been directed for their journey, so also will sinners stumble before his wrath.

Sir39:24  As his ways are plain unto the holy; so are they stumblingblocks unto the wicked.

30  From the beginning, good things were created for those who are good, and similarly, good and evil things are for those who are wicked.

Sir39:25  For the good are good things created from the beginning: so evil things for sinners.

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31  The principal things necessary for the life of men are: water, fire, and iron, salt, milk, and flour for bread, and honey, and the grape cluster, and oil, and clothing.

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32  All these things will be used for good by those who are holy, but they will be turned to evil use by the impious and by sinners.

Sir39:27  All these things are for good to the godly: so to the sinners they are turned into evil.

33  There are spirits that have been created for vengeance, and they strengthen their torments by their fury.

Sir39:28  There be spirits that are created for vengeance, which in their fury lay on sore strokes; in the time of destruction they pour out their force, and appease the wrath of him that made them.

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34  In the time of the consummation, they will pour forth their strength. And they will appease the fury of the One who made them.

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35  Fire, hail, famine, and death: all these were created for vengeance.

Sir39:29  Fire, and hail, and famine, and death, all these were created for vengeance;

36  The teeth of wild beasts, and scorpions, and serpents, and the spear: all these take vengeance upon the impious, unto utter destruction.

Sir39:30  Teeth of wild beasts, and scorpions, serpents, and the sword punishing the wicked to destruction.

37  At his command, they will feast. And they will be prepared upon the earth until they are needed. And in their time, they will not ignore his word.

Sir39:31  They shall rejoice in his commandment, and they shall be ready upon earth, when need is; and when their time is come, they shall not transgress his word.

38  For this reason, from the beginning, I was strengthened, and I have meditated, and I have considered, and I have put these things in writing.

Sir39:32  Therefore from the beginning I was resolved, and thought upon these things, and have left them in writing.

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39  All the works of the Lord are good, and he will provide for each work in its own hour.

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40  Let it not be said: “This is worse than that.” For all things will be tested in their time.

Sir39:34  So that a man cannot say, This is worse than that: for in time they shall all be well approved.

41  And now, with the whole heart and mouth, give praise to him, and bless the name of the Lord.

Sir39:35  And therefore praise ye the Lord with the whole heart and mouth, and bless the name of the Lord.