Sirach – Chapter 25

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Sirach

Index

Sirach

Chapter 25

1

1 With three things I am delighted, for they are pleasing to the LORD and to men: Harmony among brethren, friendship among neighbors, and the mutual love of husband and wife.

2

Three kinds of men I hate; their manner of life I loathe indeed: A proud pauper, a rich dissembler, and an old man lecherous in his dotage.

3

What you have not saved in your youth, how will you acquire in your old age?

4

How becoming to the gray-haired is judgment, and a knowledge of counsel to those on in years!

5

How becoming to the aged is wisdom, understanding and prudence to the venerable!

6

The crown of old men is wide experience; their glory, the fear of the LORD.

7

There are nine who come to my mind as blessed, a tenth whom my tongue proclaims: The man who finds joy in his children, and he who lives to see his enemies’ downfall.

8

2 Happy is he who dwells with a sensible wife, and he who plows not like a donkey yoked with an ox. Happy is he who sins not with his tongue, and he who serves not his inferior.

9

Happy is he who finds a friend and he who speaks to attentive ears.

10

He who finds wisdom is great indeed, but not greater than he who fears the LORD.

11

Fear of the LORD surpasses all else. its possessor is beyond compare.

12

3 Worst of all wounds is that of the heart, worst of all evils is that of a woman.

13

Worst of all sufferings is that from one’s foes, worst of all vengeance is that of one’s enemies:

14

No poison worse than that of a serpent, no venom greater than that of a woman.

15

With a dragon or a lion I would rather dwell than live with an evil woman.

16

Wickedness changes a woman’s looks, and makes her sullen as a female bear.

17

When her husband sits among his neighbors, a bitter sigh escapes him unawares.

18

There is scarce any evil like that in a woman; may she fall to the lot of the sinner!

19

Like a sandy hill to aged feet is a railing wife to a quiet man.

20

Stumble not through woman’s beauty, nor be greedy for her wealth;

21

The man is a slave, in disgrace and shame, when a wife supports her husband.

22

Depressed mind, saddened face, broken heart – this from an evil wife. Feeble hands and quaking knees –  from a wife who brings no happiness to her husband.

23

4 In woman was sin’s beginning, and because of her we all die.

24

Allow water no outlet, and be not indulgent to an erring wife.

25

If she walks not by your side, cut her away from you.

Amanecer-2-X

1 [1-11] While praising brotherly love, love of neighbor, and conjugal love, the sage condemns their opposites in the arrogant pauper who despises his brother, the fraudulent rich man who cheats his neighbor, and the lecherous old man unfaithful to his wife ( Sirach 25:1, 2). This last, sensual from his youth, lacks the mature blessings of judgment and wisdom in old age ( Sirach 25:3-6) and the joy of a peaceful household, where honesty and dignity, friendship, wisdom and fear of God prevail ( Sirach 25:7-11).

2 [8] Like a donkey yoked with an ox: incompatibility between husband and wife.

3 [12-25] Wickedness in a woman is most grievous, painful and bitter to her husband. Through it she becomes vengeful, dangerous and intolerable, jealous, talkative, intemperate and unchaste. Even her very appearance is changed ( Sirach 25:12-17). The worst of all evils, a source of grief, a snare and a disgrace to her husband, she depresses his mind, saddens and breaks his heart, destroys his strength ( Sirach 25:18-22). She must not be indulged but made obedient or punished ( Sirach 25:24,  25).

4 [23] According to the account in Genesis 3 to which Ben Sirach refers, sin, the cause of death, originated in woman: Eve, the first human being to sin, induced Adam to follow her example. But it is through Adam, as head of the race, that original sin and its punishment of spiritual death are presented by St. Paul (Romans 5) as having entered the world, to become the occasion for the redemptive work of Christ our Lord.

Sirach – Chapter 45

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Sirach

Chapter 45

1

1 From him was to spring the man who won the favor of all: Dear to God and men, MOSES, whose memory is held in benediction.

2

2 God’s honor devolved upon him, and the Lord strengthened him with fearful powers;

3

God wrought swift miracles at his words and sustained him in the king’s presence. He gave him the commandments for his people, and revealed to him his glory.

4

For his trustworthiness and meekness God selected him from all mankind;

5

3 He permitted him to hear his voice, and led him into the cloud, Where, face to face, he gave him the commandments, the law of life and understanding, That he might teach his precepts to Jacob, his judgments and decrees to Israel.

6

4 He raised up also, like Moses in holiness, his brother AARON, of the tribe of Levi.

7

5 He made him perpetual in his office when he bestowed on him the priesthood of his people; He established him in honor and crowned him with lofty majesty;

8

He clothed him with splendid apparel, and adorned him with the glorious vestments: Breeches and tunic and robe with pomegranates around the hem,

9

And a rustle of bells round about, through whose pleasing sound at each step He would be heard within the sanctuary, and the children of his race would be remembered;

10

The sacred vestments of gold, of violet, and of crimson, wrought with embroidery; The breastpiece for decision, the ephod and cincture

11

with scarlet yarn, the work of the weaver; Precious stones with seal engravings in golden settings, the work of the jeweler, To commemorate in incised letters each of the tribes of Israel;

12

On his turban the diadem of gold, its plate wrought with the insignia of holiness, Majestic, glorious, renowned for splendor, a delight to the eyes, beauty supreme.

13

Before him, no one was adorned with these, nor may they ever be worn by any Except his sons and them alone, generation after generation, for all time.

14

His cereal offering is wholly burnt with the established sacrifice twice each day;

15

For Moses ordained him and anointed him with the holy oil, In a lasting covenant with him and with his family, as permanent as the heavens, That he should serve God in his priesthood and bless his people in his name.

16

He chose him from all mankind to offer holocausts and choice offerings, To burn sacrifices of sweet odor for a memorial, and to atone for the people of Israel.

17

He gave to him his laws, and authority to prescribe and to judge: To teach the precepts to his people, and the ritual to the descendants of Israel.

18

Men of other families were inflamed against him, were jealous of him in the desert, The followers of Dathan and Abiram, and the band of Korah in their defiance.

19

But the LORD saw this and became angry, he destroyed them in his burning wrath. He brought down upon them a miracle, and consumed them with his flaming fire.

20

Then he increased the glory of Aaron and bestowed upon him his inheritance: The sacred offerings he allotted to him, with the showbread as his portion;

21

The oblations of the LORD are his food, a gift to him and his descendants.

22

But he holds no land among the people nor shares with them their heritage; For the LORD himself is his portion, his inheritance in the midst of Israel.

23

PHINEHAS too, the son of Eleazar, was the courageous third of his line When, zealous for the God of all, he met the crisis of his people And, at the prompting of his noble heart, atoned for the children of Israel.

24

Therefore on him again God conferred the right, in a covenant of friendship, to provide for the sanctuary, So that he and his descendants should possess the high priesthood forever.

25

For even his covenant with David, the son of Jesse of the tribe of Judah, Was an individual heritage through one son alone; but the heritage of Aaron is for all his descendants.

26

And now bless the LORD who has crowned you with glory! May he grant you wisdom of heart to govern his people in justice, Lest their welfare should ever be forgotten, or your authority, throughout all time.

Amanecer-2-X

1 [1-5] Moses manifested God’s power through miracles ( Sirach 45:1-3), God’s authority through the promulgation of the commandments and the law ( Sirach 45:5), and God’s mercy through the intimacy granted him by the Lord for his own faithfulness and meekness ( Sirach 45:4-5). The very personification of the old covenant, Moses was also a type of Christ, the Prophet and Legislator of the new; cf  Deut 18:15.

2 [2] God’s honor devolved upon him: Moses was actually God’s substitute in dealing with Pharaoh, hence God entrusted his own honor to Moses.

3 [5] Face to face: on God’s intimacy with Moses, see  Exodus 33:11;  Numbers 12:8. St. Paul alluded to this in  1 Cor 13:12.

4 [6-21] The author here expresses his reverence and esteem for the priesthood of the old covenant. He recalls God’s choice of Aaron and his sons for this sublime office ( Sirach 45:6, 7), and describes in detail the beauty of the high priest’s vestments ( Sirach 45:8-13). He relates the ordination of Aaron at the hands of Moses, his brother ( Sirach 45:15), and describes the priestly functions, of offering sacrifice to God ( Sirach 45:16), and of blessing ( Sirach 45:15), teaching, governing and judging the people ( Sirach 45:17); the inheritance of the high priest ( Sirach 45:20-22); the punishment of those families who were jealous of Aaron ( Sirach 45:18,  19); and the confirmation of the covenant of the priesthood with Aaron’s descendants through Phinehas ( Sirach 45:23-25).

5 [7] The priesthood of Aaron was superseded by the priesthood of Christ; cf  Hebrews 7:18-28.

Sirach – Chapter 44

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Sirach

Chapter 44

1

1 2 Now will I praise those godly men, our ancestors, each in his own time:

2

The abounding glory of the Most High’s portion, his own part, since the days of old. Subduers of the land in kingly fashion, men of renown for their might,

3

Or counselors in their prudence, or seers of all things in prophecy;

4

Resolute princes of the folk, and governors with their staves; Authors skilled in composition, and forgers of epigrams with their spikes;

5

Composers of melodious psalms, or discoursers on lyric themes;

6

Stalwart men, solidly established and at peace in their own estates – 

7

All these were glorious in their time, each illustrious in his day.

8

Some of them have left behind a name and men recount their praiseworthy deeds;

9

But of others there is no memory, for when they ceased, they ceased. And they are as though they had not lived, they and their children after them.

10

Yet these also were godly men whose virtues have not been forgotten;

11

Their wealth remains in their families, their heritage with their descendants;

12

Through God’s covenant with them their family endures, their posterity, for their sake.

13

And for all time their progeny will endure, their glory will never be blotted out;

14

Their bodies are peacefully laid away, but their name lives on and on.

15

At gatherings their wisdom is retold, and the assembly proclaims their praise.

16

3 [ENOCH walked with the LORD and was taken up, that succeeding generations might learn by his example.]

17

NOAH, found just and perfect, renewed the race in the time of devastation. Because of his worth there were survivors, and with a sign to him the deluge ended;

18

A lasting agreement was made with him, that never should all flesh be destroyed.

19

ABRAHAM, father of many peoples, kept his glory without stain:

20

4 He observed the precepts of the Most High, and entered into an agreement with him; In his own flesh he incised the ordinance, and when tested he was found loyal.

21

5 For this reason, God promised him with an oath that in his descendants the nations would be blessed, That he would make him numerous as the grains of dust, and exalt his posterity like the stars; That he would give them an inheritance from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth.

22

And for ISAAC he renewed the same promise because of Abraham, his father. The covenant with all his forebears was confirmed, and the blessing rested upon the head of JACOB.

23

God acknowledged him as the first-born, and gave him his inheritance. He fixed the boundaries for his tribes, and their division into twelve.

Amanecer-2-X

1 [ 44:1- 50:24] As in the previous section God’s wisdom shone forth in the works of nature, so in these chapters it is also revealed through the history of God’s people as seen in the lives of their patriarchs, prophets, priests and rulers. The example of these great men, whose virtues are here recalled, constitutes a high point of the author’s teaching and illustrates his belief in the canonical Scriptures.

2 [1-15] The reader is here introduced to those men of Israel, later mentioned by name, who through various achievements and beneficial social activities have acquired great renown ( Sirach 44:1-8,  14-15); and also to those who, though forgotten, endure through the fruit of their virtues and through their families because of God’s covenant with them ( Sirach 44:9-13).

3 [16] Enoch: because of his friendship with God and also by reason of his unusual disappearance from the earth, this prophet’s renown was great among the chosen people, particularly in the two centuries just before the coming of Christ; cf  Genesis 5:21-24;  Hebrews 11:5. The present verse is an expansion of the original text; cf  Sirach 49:14.

4 [20] In his own flesh . . . ordinance: the covenant of circumcision; cf  Genesis 17:10-14. And when tested . . . loyal: Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son Isaac at the Lord’s command; cf  Genesis 22:9-12.

5 [21] The River: the Euphrates; cf  Genesis 2:14.

Sirach – Chapter 43

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Sirach

Chapter 43

1

The clear vault of the sky shines forth like heaven itself, a vision of glory.

2

The orb of the sun, resplendent at its rising: what a wonderful work of the Most High!

3

At noon it seethes the surface of the earth, and who can bear its fiery heat?

4

Like a blazing furnace of solid metal, it sets the mountains aflame with its rays; By its fiery darts the land is consumed; the eyes are dazzled by its light.

5

Great indeed is the LORD who made it, at whose orders it urges on its steeds.

6

The moon, too, that marks the changing times, governing the seasons, their lasting sign,

7

By which we know the feast days and fixed dates, this light-giver which wanes in its course:

8

As its name says, each month it renews itself; how wondrous in this change!

9

The beauty, the glory, of the heavens are the stars that adorn with their sparkling the heights of God,

10

At whose command they keep their place and never relax in their vigils. A weapon against the flood waters stored on high, lighting up the firmament by its brilliance,

11

Behold the rainbow! Then bless its Maker, for majestic indeed is its splendor;

12

It spans the heavens with its glory, this bow bent by the mighty hand of God.

13

His rebuke marks out the path for the lightning, and speeds the arrows of his judgment to their goal.

14

At it the storehouse is opened, and like vultures the clouds hurry forth.

15

In his majesty he gives the storm its power and breaks off the hailstones.

16

The thunder of his voice makes the earth writhe; before his might the mountains quake.

17

A word from him drives on the south wind, the angry north wind, the hurricane and the storm.

18

He sprinkles the snow like fluttering birds; it comes to settle like swarms of locusts.

19

Its shining whiteness blinds the eyes, the mind is baffled by its steady fall.

20

He scatters frost like so much salt; it shines like blossoms on the thornbush.

21

Cold northern blasts he sends that turn the ponds to lumps of ice. He freezes over every body of water, and clothes each pool with a coat of mail.

22

When the mountain growth is scorched with heat, and the flowering plains as though by flames,

23

The dripping clouds restore them all, and the scattered dew enriches the parched land.

24

His is the plan that calms the deep, and plants the islands in the sea.

25

Those who go down to the sea tell part of its story, and when we hear them we are thunderstruck;

26

In it are his creatures, stupendous, amazing, all kinds of life, and the monsters of the deep.

27

For him each messenger succeeds, and at his bidding accomplishes his will.

28

1 More than this we need not add; let the last word be, he is all in all!

29

Let us praise him the more, since we cannot fathom him, for greater is he than all his works;

30

Awful indeed is the LORD’S majesty, and wonderful is his power.

31

Lift up your voices to glorify the LORD, though he is still beyond your power to praise;

32

Extol him with renewed strength, and weary not, though you cannot reach the end:

33

For who can see him and describe him? or who can praise him as he is?

34

Beyond these, many things lie hid; only a few of his works have we seen.

35

It is the LORD who has made all things, and to those who fear him he gives wisdom.

Amanecer-2-X

1 [28] All in all: the perfections reflected in creation are found in a transcendent way in God, who alone is their source.

Sirach – Chapter 42

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Sirach

Chapter 42

1

But of these things be not ashamed, lest you sin through human respect:

2

Of the law of the Most High and his precepts, or of the sentence to be passed upon the sinful;

3

Of sharing the expenses of a business or a journey, or of dividing an inheritance or property;

4

Of accuracy of scales and balances, or of tested measures and weights;

5

Of acquiring much or little, or of bargaining in dealing with a merchant; Of constant training of children, or of beating the sides of a disloyal servant;

6

Of a seal to keep an erring wife at home, or of a lock placed where there are many hands;

7

Of numbering every deposit, or of recording all that is given or received;

8

Of chastisement of the silly and the foolish, or of the aged and infirm answering for wanton conduct. Thus you will be truly cautious and recognized by all men as discreet.

9

1 A daughter is a treasure that keeps her father wakeful, and worry over her drives away rest: Lest she pass her prime unmarried, or when she is married, lest she be disliked;

10

While unmarried, lest she be seduced, or, as a wife, lest she prove unfaithful; Lest she conceive in her father’s home, or be sterile in that of her husband.

11

Keep a close watch on your daughter, lest she make you the sport of your enemies, A byword in the city, a reproach among the people, an object of derision in public gatherings. See that there is no lattice in her room, no place that overlooks the approaches to the house.

12

Let her not parade her charms before men, or spend her time with married women;

13

For just as moths come from garments, so harm to women comes from women:

14

Better a man’s harshness than a woman’s indulgence, and a frightened daughter than any disgrace.

15

2 Now will I recall God’s works; what I have seen, I will describe. At God’s word were his works brought into being; they do his will as he has ordained for them.

16

As the rising sun is clear to all, so the glory of the LORD fills all his works;

17

Yet even God’s holy ones must fail in recounting the wonders of the LORD, Though God has given these, his hosts, the strength to stand firm before his glory.

18

He plumbs the depths and penetrates the heart; their innermost being he understands. The Most High possesses all knowledge, and sees from of old the things that are to come:

19

He makes known the past and the future, and reveals the deepest secrets.

20

No understanding does he lack; no single thing escapes him.

21

Perennial is his almighty wisdom; he is from all eternity one and the same,

22

With nothing added, nothing taken away; no need of a counselor for him!

23

How beautiful are all his works! even to the spark and the fleeting vision!

24

The universe lives and abides forever; to meet each need, each creature is preserved.

25

All of them differ, one from another, yet none of them has he made in vain, For each in turn, as it comes, is good; can one ever see enough of their splendor?

Amanecer-2-X

1 [9-14] The author considers a daughter to be a source of anxiety to her father, lest she fail to marry, or be seduced, or lest, marrying, she be disliked, prove unfaithful, or find herself sterile ( Sirach 42:9-10). He is advised to keep a close watch on her at home, and on her companionship while abroad, lest he suffer on her account among the people ( Sirach 42:11-14).

2 [ 42:15- 43:35] These verses comprise a new section. In them the author contemplates God’s power, beauty and goodness as manifested in the mighty work of creating and preserving the universe ( Sirach 42:15-17,  23,  25;  43:1-27), his omniscience ( Sirach 42:18-20), his perfect wisdom ( Sirach 42:21-22), his eternity ( Sirach 42:24). The conclusion is a fervent hymn of praise ( Sirach 43:28-33). Cf  Sirach 16:22- 18:13.

Sirach – Chapter 41

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Sirach

Chapter 41

1

1 O death! how bitter the thought of you for the man at peace amid his possessions, For the man unruffled and always successful, who still can enjoy life’s pleasures.

2

O death! how welcome your sentence to the weak man of failing strength, Tottering and always rebuffed, with no more sight, with vanished hope.

3

Fear not death’s decree for you; remember, it embraces those before you, and those after.

4

Thus God has ordained for all flesh; why then should you reject the will of the Most High? Whether one has lived a thousand years, a hundred, or ten, in the nether world he has no claim on life.

5

A reprobate line are the children of sinners, and witless offspring are in the homes of the wicked.

6

Their dominion is lost to sinners’ children, and reproach abides with their descendants.

7

Children curse their wicked father, for they suffer disgrace through him.

8

Woe to you, O sinful men, who forsake the law of the Most High.

9

If you have children, calamity will seize them; you will beget them only for groaning. When you stumble, there is lasting joy; at death, you become a curse.

10

Whatever is of nought returns to nought, so too the godless from void to void.

11

Man’s body is a fleeting thing, but a virtuous name will never be annihilated.

12

Have a care for your name, for it will stand by you better than precious treasures in the thousands;

13

2 The boon of life is for limited days, but a good name, for days without number.

14

3 My children, heed my instruction about shame; judge of disgrace only according to my rules, For it is not always well to be ashamed, nor is it always the proper thing to blush:

15

Before father and mother be ashamed of immorality, before master and mistress, of falsehood;

16

Before prince and ruler, of flattery; before the public assembly, of crime;

17

Before friend and companion, of disloyalty, and of breaking an oath or agreement.

18

Be ashamed of theft from the people where you settle, and of stretching out your elbow when you dine;

19

Of refusing to give when asked, of defrauding another of his appointed share,

20

Of failing to return a greeting, and of rebuffing a friend;

21

Of gazing at a married woman, and of entertaining thoughts about another’s wife; Of trifling with a servant girl you have, and of violating her couch;

22

Of using harsh words with friends, and of following up your gifts with insults;

23

Of repeating what you hear, and of betraying secrets – 

24

These are the things you should rightly avoid as shameful if you would be looked upon by everyone with favor.

Amanecer-2-X

1 [1-13] Whether death seems bitter to one who enjoys peace, success and pleasure, or welcome to one who is weak and in despair, it comes to all and must be accepted as the will of God ( Sirach 41:1-4). As the human body passes away ( Sirach 41:11), so do those who have sinned through the body and their offspring alike, who, needy and accursed, pass on with their parents as if they had never been ( Sirach 41:5-10). Only the good name of the virtuous endures ( Sirach 41:11-13).

2 [13] After this verse many texts repeat  Sirach 20:29-30.

3 [ 41:14- 42:8] The author illustrates the subject of true and false shame with numerous and detailed examples of sin ( Sirach 41:14-22) and virtue ( Sirach 42:1-8), following the norm of the commandments.

Sirach – Chapter 40

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Sirach

Chapter 40

1

1 2 A great anxiety has God allotted, and a heavy yoke, to the sons of men; From the day one leaves his mother’s womb to the day he returns to the mother of all the living,

2

His thoughts, the fear in his heart, and his troubled forebodings till the day he dies – 

3

Whether he sits on a lofty throne or grovels in dust and ashes,

4

Whether he bears a splendid crown or is wrapped in the coarsest of cloaks – 

5

Are of wrath and envy, trouble and dread, terror of death, fury and strife. Even when he lies on his bed to rest, his cares at night disturb his sleep.

6

So short is his rest it seems like none, till in his dreams he struggles as he did by day, Terrified by what his mind’s eye sees, like a fugitive being pursued;

7

As he reaches safety, he wakes up astonished that there was nothing to fear.

8

So it is with all flesh, with man and with beast, but for sinners seven times more.

9

Plague and bloodshed, wrath and the sword, plunder and ruin, famine and death:

10

For the wicked, these were created evil, and it is they who bring on destruction.

11

3 All that is of earth returns to earth, and what is from above returns above.

12

All that comes from bribes or injustice will be wiped out, but loyalty remains for ages.

13

Wealth out of wickedness is like a wadi in spate: like a mighty stream with lightning and thunder,

14

Which, in its rising, rolls along the stones, but suddenly, once and for all, comes to an end.

15

The offshoot of violence will not flourish, for the root of the godless is on sheer rock;

16

Or they are like reeds on the riverbank, withered before all other plants;

17

4 But goodness will never be cut off, and justice endures forever. Wealth or wages can make life sweet, but better than either is finding a treasure.

18

A child or a city will preserve one’s name, but better than either, attaining wisdom.

19

Sheepfolds and orchards bring flourishing health; but better than either, a devoted wife;

20

Wine and music delight the soul, but better than either, conjugal love.

21

The flute and the harp offer sweet melody, but better than either, a voice that is true.

22

Charm and beauty delight the eye, but better than either, the flowers of the field.

23

A friend, a neighbor, are timely guides, but better than either, a prudent wife.

24

A brother, a helper, for times of stress; but better than either, charity that rescues.

25

Gold and silver make one’s way secure, but better than either, sound judgment.

26

Wealth and vigor build up confidence, but better than either, fear of God. Fear of the LORD leaves nothing wanting; he who has it need seek no other support:

27

The fear of God is a paradise of blessings; its canopy, all that is glorious.

28

5 My son, live not the life of a beggar, better to die than to beg;

29

When one has to look to another’s table, his life is not really a life. His neighbor’s delicacies bring revulsion of spirit to one who understands inward feelings:

30

In the mouth of the shameless man begging is sweet, but within him it burns like fire.

Amanecer-2-X

1 [1-16] The former idyllic description of the universe is contrasted with the picture of the evils afflicting humanity. Every man, high or low, is burdened from birth to death with fears, anxieties and troubles, by day and often by night, the time appointed for rest ( Sirach 40:1-7). For sinners, the suffering is much greater ( Sirach 40:8-10). What they gained by violence and injustice is quickly destroyed; but justice endures forever ( Sirach 40:14-16).

2 [1] Mother of all the living: the earth from which man was taken. Cf  Genesis 2:7;  3:19-20;  Job 1:21;  Psalm 139:15.

3 [11] All that is of earth . . . returns above: a reference to bodily mortality and to the divine origin of life from the Spirit of God. Cf  Sirach 41:10;  Genesis 2:7;  3:19;  Job 34:14-15;  Psalm 104:29-30;  146:4;  Eccl 12:7. The Greek and the Latin render the second half of the verse: “all waters shall return to the sea.”

4 [17-27] Of the many treasures making life sweet, such as health, children, friends, music, vigor, the best are called true conjugal love, wisdom, and above all, fear of God; cf  Sirach 25:6-11.

5 [28-30] Among the Jews, beggary was considered degrading to human dignity; it was agreeable only to the shameless, who had lost their sense of honor. Cf  Sirach 29:22-23.

Sirach – Chapter 39

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Sirach

Chapter 39

1

How different the man who devotes himself to the study of the law of the Most High! He explores the wisdom of the men of old and occupies himself with the prophecies;

2

He treasures the discourses of famous men, and goes to the heart of involved sayings;

3

He studies obscure parables, and is busied with the hidden meanings of the sages.

4

He is in attendance on the great, and has entrance to the ruler.

5

He travels among the peoples of foreign lands to learn what is good and evil among men.

6

His care is to seek the LORD, his Maker, to petition the Most High, To open his lips in prayer, to ask pardon for his sins. Then, if it pleases the LORD Almighty, he will be filled with the spirit of understanding; He will pour forth his words of wisdom and in prayer give thanks to the LORD,

7

Who will direct his knowledge and his counsel, as he meditates upon his mysteries.

8

He will show the wisdom of what he has learned and glory in the law of the LORD’S covenant.

9

Many will praise his understanding; his fame can never be effaced; Unfading will be his memory, through all generations his name will live;

10

Peoples will speak of his wisdom, and in assembly sing his praises.

11

While he lives he is one out of a thousand, and when he dies his renown will not cease.

12

1 Once more I will set forth my theme to shine like the moon in its fullness!

13

Listen, my faithful children: open up your petals, like roses planted near running waters;

14

Send up the sweet odor of incense, break forth in blossoms like the lily. Send up the sweet odor of your hymn of praise; bless the LORD for all he has done!

15

Proclaim the greatness of his name, loudly sing his praises, With music on the harp and all stringed instruments; sing out with joy as you proclaim:

16

The works of God are all of them good; in its own time every need is supplied.

17

At his word the waters become still as in a flask; he had but to speak and the reservoirs were made.

18

He has but to command and his will is done; nothing can limit his achievement.

19

The works of all mankind are present to him; not a thing escapes his eye.

20

His gaze spans all the ages; to him there is nothing unexpected.

21

No cause then to say: “What is the purpose of this?” Everything is chosen to satisfy a need.

22

His blessing overflows like the Nile; like the Euphrates it enriches the surface of the earth.

23

Again, his wrath expels the nations and turns fertile land into a salt marsh.

24

For the virtuous his paths are level, to the haughty they are steep;

25

Good things for the good he provided from the beginning, but for the wicked good things and bad.

26

Chief of all needs for human life are water and fire, iron and salt, The heart of the wheat, milk and honey, the blood of the grape, and oil, and cloth;

27

For the good all these are good, but for the wicked they turn out evil.

28

There are storm winds created to punish, which in their fury can dislodge mountains; When destruction must be, they hurl all their force and appease the anger of their Maker.

29

In his treasury also, kept for the proper time, are fire and hail, famine, disease,

30

Ravenous beasts, scorpions, vipers, and the avenging sword to exterminate the wicked;

31

In doing his bidding they rejoice, in their assignments they disobey not his command.

32

So from the first I took my stand, and wrote down as my theme:

33

The works of God are all of them good; every need when it comes he fills.

34

No cause then to say: “This is not as good as that”; for each shows its worth at the proper time.

35

So now with full joy of heart proclaim and bless the name of the Holy One.

Amanecer-2-X

1 [12-35] The sage invites his disciples to join him in joyfully proclaiming his favorite theme: The works of God are all of them good; in its own time every need is supplied ( Sirach 39:12-16,  32-35). He describes God’s omniscience, supreme power and wisdom, whereby all created things, good in themselves, are ever present to him, obey him, and fulfill their intended purpose ( Sirach 39:17-21), bringing blessing to the virtuous, but evil and punishment to the wicked who misuse them ( Sirach 39:22-31). Cf similar hymns of praise,  Sirach 36:1-17;  42:15- 43:35.

Sirach – Chapter 38

The Bible – Old Testament

Sirach

Index

Sirach

Chapter 38

1

1 Hold the physician in honor, for he is essential to you, and God it was who established his profession.

2

From God the doctor has his wisdom, and the king provides for his sustenance.

3

His knowledge makes the doctor distinguished, and gives him access to those in authority.

4

God makes the earth yield healing herbs which the prudent man should not neglect;

5

Was not the water sweetened by a twig that men might learn his power?

6

He endows men with the knowledge to glory in his mighty works,

7

Through which the doctor eases pain and the druggist prepares his medicines;

8

Thus God’s creative work continues without cease in its efficacy on the surface of the earth.

9

My son, when you are ill, delay not, but pray to God, who will heal you:

10

Flee wickedness; let your hands be just, cleanse your heart of every sin;

11

Offer your sweet-smelling oblation and petition, a rich offering according to your means.

12

Then give the doctor his place lest he leave; for you need him too.

13

There are times that give him an advantage,

14

and he too beseeches God That his diagnosis may be correct and his treatment bring about a cure.

15

He who is a sinner toward his Maker will be defiant toward the doctor.

16

2 My son, shed tears for one who is dead with wailing and bitter lament; As is only proper, prepare the body, absent not yourself from his burial:

17

Weeping bitterly, mourning fully, pay your tribute of sorrow, as he deserves,

18

One or two days, to prevent gossip; then compose yourself after your grief,

19

For grief can bring on an extremity and heartache destroy one’s health.

20

Turn not your thoughts to him again; cease to recall him; think rather of the end.

21

Recall him not, for there is no hope of his return; it will not help him, but will do you harm.

22

Remember that his fate will also be yours; for him it was yesterday, for you today.

23

With the departed dead, let memory fade; rally your courage, once the soul has left.

24

3 The scribe’s profession increases his wisdom; whoever is free from toil can become a wise man.

25

How can he become learned who guides the plow, who thrills in wielding the goad like a lance, Who guides the ox and urges on the bullock, and whose every concern is for cattle?

26

His care is for plowing furrows, and he keeps a watch on the beasts in the stalls.

27

So with every engraver and designer who, laboring night and day, Fashions carved seals, and whose concern is to vary the pattern. His care is to produce a vivid impression, and he keeps watch till he finishes his design.

28

So with the smith standing near his anvil, forging crude iron. The heat from the fire sears his flesh, yet he toils away in the furnace heat. The clang of the hammer deafens his ears, His eyes are fixed on the tool he is shaping. His care is to finish his work, and he keeps watch till he perfects it in detail.

29

So with the potter sitting at his labor, revolving the wheel with his feet. He is always concerned for his products, and turns them out in quantity.

30

With his hands he molds the clay, and with his feet softens it. His care is for proper coloring, and he keeps watch on the fire of his kiln.

31

All these men are skilled with their hands, each one an expert at his own task;

32

Without them no city could be lived in, and wherever they stay, they need not hunger.

33

They do not occupy the judge’s bench, nor are they prominent in the assembly; They set forth no decisions or judgments, nor are they found among the rulers;

34

Yet they maintain God’s ancient handiwork, and their concern is for exercise of their skill.

Amanecer-2-X

1 [1-15] The profession of medicine comes from God, who makes the earth yield healing herbs and gives the physician knowledge of their virtue ( Sirach 38:1-8). In illness the sick man should cleanse his soul from sin and petition God for help through an offering of sacrifice; the physician, too, does well to invoke God that he may understand the illness and apply the proper remedy ( Sirach 38:9-14). The sinner, in contrast, defies both his Maker and the doctor ( Sirach 38:15).

2 [16-23] A period of mourning for the deceased and care for their burial is becoming ( Sirach 38:16-18). But grief should not be excessive, for it neither helps the dead, who cannot return, nor fails to harm the living. The mourner’s own end will quickly follow, and the time to prepare for it is now ( Sirach 38:19-23).

3 [ 38:24- 39:11] More excellent than the useful service of craftsmen-farmer, engraver, smith, potter ( Sirach 38:25-34)-is the profession of the scribe ( Sirach 39:24), who studies and meditates on the law of the Most High, seeks him in prayer of thanksgiving, petition and repentance for sin ( Sirach 39:1, 6, 7), explores the wisdom of the past and present, travels abroad to observe the conduct of many peoples, and attends rulers and great men. Through the spirit of understanding granted by God, he will show forth his wisdom to the glory of God’s law, gaining renown for generations to come ( Sirach 39:2-5,  8-11).

Sirach – Chapter 37

The Bible – Old Testament

Sirach

Index

Sirach

Chapter 37

1

Every friend declares his friendship, but there are friends who are friends in name only.

2

Is it not a sorrow unto death when your bosom companion becomes your enemy?

3

“Alas, my companion! Why were you created to blanket the earth with deceit?”

4

A false friend will share your joys, but in time of trouble he stands afar off.

5

A true friend will fight with you against the foe, against your enemies he will be your shield-bearer.

6

Forget not your comrade during the battle, and neglect him not when you distribute your spoils.

7

Every counselor points out a way, but some counsel ways of their own;

8

Be on the alert when one proffers advice, find out first of all what he wants. For he may be thinking of himself alone; why should the profit fall to him?

9

He may tell you how good your way will be, and then stand by to watch your misfortune.

10

Seek no advice from one who regards you with hostility; from those who envy you, keep your intentions hidden.

11

Speak not to a woman about her rival, nor to a coward about war, to a merchant about business, to a buyer about value, to a miser about generosity, to a cruel man about mercy, to a lazy man about work, to a seasonal laborer about the harvest, to an idle slave about a great task: pay no attention to any advice they give.

12

Instead, associate with a religious man, who you are sure keeps the commandments; Who is like-minded with yourself and will feel for you if you fall.

13

Then, too, heed your own heart’s counsel; for what have you that you can depend on more?

14

A man’s conscience can tell him his situation better than seven watchmen in a lofty tower.

15

Most important of all, pray to God to set your feet in the path of truth.

16

1 A word is the source of every deed; a thought, of every act.

17

The root of all conduct is the mind; four branches it shoots forth:

18

Good and evil, death and life, their absolute mistress is the tongue.

19

A man may be wise and benefit many, yet be of no use to himself.

20

Though a man may be wise, if his words are rejected he will be deprived of all enjoyment.

21

When a man is wise to his own advantage, the fruits of his knowledge are seen in his own person;

22

When a man is wise to his people’s advantage, the fruits of his knowledge are enduring:

23

Limited are the days of one man’s life, but the life of Israel is days without number.

24

One wise for himself has full enjoyment, and all who see him praise him;

25

One wise for his people wins a heritage of glory, and his name endures forever.

26

2 My son, while you are well, govern your appetite so that you allow it not what is bad for you;

27

For not every food is good for everyone, nor is everything suited to every taste.

28

Be not drawn after every enjoyment, neither become a glutton for choice foods,

29

For sickness comes with overeating, and gluttony brings on biliousness.

30

Through lack of self-control many have died, but the abstemious man prolongs his life.

Amanecer-2-X

1 [16-25] Thoughts determine action. Wisdom is the source of good and life; folly, of evil and death ( Sirach 36:16-18). If the fruits of a man’s wisdom benefit himself, he may be praised in his own lifetime; if they benefit his people, his praise endures after him, in their lives ( Sirach 37:19-25).

2 [26-30] Temperance and self-control should govern a man’s appetite for food, which is intended not to destroy but to preserve life.

Sirach – Chapter 36

The Bible – Old Testament

Sirach

Index

Sirach

Chapter 36

1

1 Come to our aid, O God of the universe, and put all the nations in dread of you!

2

Raise your hand against the heathen, that they may realize your power.

3

As you have used us to show them your holiness, so now use them to show us your glory.

4

Thus they will know, as we know, that there is no God but you.

5

Give new signs and work new wonders; show forth the splendor of your right hand and arm;

6

Rouse your anger, pour out wrath, humble the enemy, scatter the foe.

7

Hasten the day, bring on the time;

9

crush the heads of the hostile rulers.

8

Let raging fire consume the fugitive, and your people’s oppressors meet destruction.

10

Gather all the tribes of Jacob, that they may inherit the land as of old,

11

Show mercy to the people called by your name; Israel, whom you named your first-born.

12

Take pity on your holy city, Jerusalem, your dwelling place.

13

Fill Zion with your majesty, your temple with your glory.

14

Give evidence of your deeds of old; fulfill the prophecies spoken in your name,

15

Reward those who have hoped in you, and let your prophets be proved true.

16

Hear the prayer of your servants, for you are ever gracious to your people;

17

Thus it will be known to the very ends of the earth that you are the eternal God.

18

2 The throat can swallow any food, yet some foods are more agreeable than others;

19

As the palate tests meat by its savor, so does a keen mind insincere words.

20

A deceitful character causes grief, but an experienced man can turn the tables on him.

21

Though any man may be accepted as a husband, yet one girl will be more suitable than another:

22

A woman’s beauty makes her husband’s face light up, for it surpasses all else that charms the eye;

23

And if, besides, her speech is kindly, his lot is beyond that of mortal men.

24

A wife is her husband’s richest treasure, a helpmate, a steadying column.

25

A vineyard with no hedge will be overrun; a man with no wife becomes a homeless wanderer.

26

Who will trust an armed band that shifts from city to city?

27

Or a man who has no nest, but lodges where night overtakes him?

Amanecer-2-X

1 [1-17] Making an act of faith and hope in the supreme Lord of the universe, the author begs God to continue manifesting his holiness and mercy through Israel, his people ( Sirach 36:1-3,  10-13), and his power and justice through the punishment of the nations ( Sirach 36:2,  5-9), that all the earth may acknowledge him the eternal God ( Sirach 36:4,  14-17).

2 [ 36:18- 37:15] In the choice of wife, friend or associate, experience is a discerner of character ( Sirach 36:18-21). Beauty and kindly speech make a woman desirable as wife ( Sirach 36:22-24). The good wife becomes her husband’s richest treasure, his helpmate in establishing his household ( Sirach 36:24-27). A true friend fights for his comrade and shares his spoils with him ( Sirach 37:5-6); a false one deceives and abandons him in time of need ( Sirach 37:1-4). A true counselor and associate should be sought among those who keep the commandments, not among those who break them and seek their own advantage ( Sirach 37:7-12). In all things pray to God for light and follow conscience ( Sirach 37:13-15).

Sirach – Chapter 35

The Bible – Old Testament

Sirach

Index

Sirach

Chapter 35

1

1 To keep the law is a great oblation, and he who observes the commandments sacrifices a peace offering.

2

2 In works of charity one offers fine flour, and when he gives alms he presents his sacrifice of praise.

3

To refrain from evil pleases the LORD, and to avoid injustice is an atonement.

4

Appear not before the LORD empty-handed, for all that you offer is in fulfillment of the precepts.

5

The just man’s offering enriches the altar and rises as a sweet odor before the Most High.

6

The just man’s sacrifice is most pleasing, nor will it ever be forgotten.

7

In generous spirit pay homage to the LORD, be not sparing of freewill gifts.

8

With each contribution show a cheerful countenance, and pay your tithes in a spirit of joy.

9

Give to the Most High as he has given to you, generously, according to your means.

10

For the LORD is one who always repays, and he will give back to you sevenfold.

11

But offer no bribes, these he does not accept! Trust not in sacrifice of the fruits of extortion,

12

For he is a God of justice, who knows no favorites.

13

3 Though not unduly partial toward the weak, yet he hears the cry of the oppressed.

14

He is not deaf to the wail of the orphan, nor to the widow when she pours out her complaint;

15

Do not the tears that stream down her cheek cry out against him that causes them to fall?

16

He who serves God willingly is heard; his petition reaches the heavens.

17

The prayer of the lowly pierces the clouds; it does not rest till it reaches its goal,

18

Nor will it withdraw till the Most High responds, judges justly and affirms the right.

19

God indeed will not delay, and like a warrior, will not be still

20

Till he breaks the backs of the merciless and wreaks vengeance upon the proud;

21

Till he destroys the haughty root and branch, and smashes the scepter of the wicked;

22

Till he requites mankind according to its deeds, and repays men according to their thoughts;

23

Till he defends the cause of his people, and gladdens them by his mercy.

24

Welcome is his mercy in time of distress as rain clouds in time of drought.

Amanecer-2-X

1 [1-24] Keeping the commandments of the law and avoiding injustice constitute sacrifice pleasing and acceptable to God ( Sirach 35:1-3). Offerings also should be made to him, cheerfully and generously; these he repays . . . sevenfold ( Sirach 35:4-10). Extortion from widows and orphans is injustice, which God quickly repays ( Sirach 35:11-18). Punishing the proud and the merciless and coming to the aid of the distressed, he requites all according to their deeds ( Sirach 35:19-24).

2 [2] Fine flour, together with oil and frankincense, was a prescribed offering to God; cf  Lev 2:1-3.

3 [13] Cf  Lev 19:15.