The Bible in Its Traditions

Sirach 40:1–32


A great occupation was created for all men, and a heavy yoke is upon the sons of Adam, from the day of their departure from their mother’s womb, even until the day of their burial into the mother of all

Great travail is created for every man, and an heavy yoke is upon the sons of Adam, from the day that they go out of their mother’s womb, till the day that they return to the mother of all things.

their thoughts, and the fears of their heart, their imagined expectations, and the day of their end,

Their imagination of things to come, and the day of death, trouble their thoughts, and cause fear of heart;


from him who sits upon a glorious throne, even to him who is humbled in earth and ashes,


from him who wears hyacinth and bears a crown, even to him who is covered with rough linen: wrath, envy, tumult, restlessness, and the fear of death, continual anger and contention.

From him that weareth purple and a crown, unto him that is clothed with a linen frock.

And in the time of rest upon his bed, the sleep of the night changes his knowledge.

Wrath, and envy, trouble, and unquietness, fear of death, and anger, and strife, and in the time of rest upon his bed his night sleep, do change his knowledge.

There is little or no rest, and sleep is taken from him, as if on a day of keeping watch.

A little or nothing is his rest, and afterward he is in his sleep, as in a day of keeping watch, troubled in the vision of his heart, as if he were escaped out of a battle.

He is disturbed by a vision of his heart, as if he had escaped in a day of warfare. In the time of his salvation, he rose up and wondered that there was no fear.

When all is safe, he awaketh, and marvelleth that the fear was nothing.

This is so with all flesh, from man even to cattle, but upon sinners it is seven times as great.

Such things happen unto all flesh, both man and beast, and that is sevenfold more upon sinners.

Add to this: death, bloodshed, contention, and the spear, oppression, famine, and affliction, and scourges.

Death, and bloodshed, strife, and sword, calamities, famine, tribulation, and the scourge;

10  All these things have been created because of iniquity, and it is due to iniquity that the great flood was made.

10  These things are created for the wicked, and for their sakes came the flood.


11  All things that are of the earth shall return to the earth, and all waters shall return to the sea.


12  All bribery and iniquity will be wiped away, but faith shall stand forever.

12  All bribery and injustice shall be blotted out: but true dealing shall endure for ever.

13  The substance of the unjust will dry up like a river, and will pass away with a noise like loud thunder in a rainstorm.

13  The goods of the unjust shall be dried up like a river, and shall vanish with noise, like a great thunder in rain.

14  When he opens his hands, he will rejoice. So will transgressors pass away at the consummation.

14  While he openeth his hand he shall rejoice: so shall transgressors come to nought.

15  The descendents of the impious will not produce many branches, for they may be compared to dirty roots at the edge of a rock.

15  The children of the ungodly shall not bring forth many branches: but are as unclean roots upon a hard rock.

16  The weeds, which grow above every water and beside the banks of the river, will be uprooted before all the grass.

16  The weed growing upon every water and bank of a river shall be pulled up before all grass.

17  Grace is like a paradise of blessings, and mercy continues for eternity.

17  Bountifulness is as a most fruitful garden, and mercifulness endureth for ever.

18  The life of a worker, when content with what is sufficient, will become sweet, and in it you will find a treasure.

18  To labour, and to be content with that a man hath, is a sweet life: but he that findeth a treasure is above them both.

19  Sons, and the building of a city, will establish a name, but an immaculate wife will be ranked above these things.

19  Children and the building of a city continue a man’s name: but a blameless wife is counted above them both.


20  Wine and music rejoice the heart, but the love of wisdom is above them both.

21  The flute and the psaltery make a sweet melody, but a pleasant word is above them both.


22  Your eye desires elegance and beauty, but verdant fields are above these things.

22  Thine eye desireth favour and beauty: but more than both corn while it is green.


23  A friend and a companion meet one another in time, but above them both is a wife with her husband.


24  Brothers are a help in time of tribulation, but mercy will liberate, more so than they will.

24  Brethren and help are against time of trouble: but alms shall deliver more than them both.


25  Gold and silver provide a firm position for the feet, but well-spoken counsel is above them both.


26  Ability and strength lift up the heart, but the fear of the Lord is above these things.

26  Riches and strength lift up the heart: but the fear of the Lord is above them both: there is no want in the fear of the Lord, and it needeth not to seek help.


27  There is no loss in the fear of the Lord, and it has no need to ask for assistance.


28  The fear of the Lord is like a paradise of blessings, and they have covered it above all glory.


29  Son, in your lifetime you should not be indigent, for it is better to die than to be destitute.

Sir40:28  My son, lead not a beggar’s life; for better it is to die than to beg.

30  The life of him who looks to another man’s table should not be thought of as a way of life. For he feeds his life with another man’s food.

Sir40:29  The life of him that dependeth on another man’s table is not to be counted for a life; for he polluteth himself with other men’s meat: but a wise man well nurtured will beware thereof.


31  But a disciplined and well-taught man will take care of himself.


32  Scarcity will seem sweet to the mouth of the imprudent, but a fire will burn in his belly.

Sir40:30  Begging is sweet in the mouth of the shameless: but in his belly there shall burn a fire.