The Bible – Old Testament
1 Empty and false are the hopes of the senseless, and fools are borne aloft by dreams.
Like a man who catches at shadows or chases the wind, is the one who believes in dreams.
What is seen in dreams is to reality what the reflection of a face is to the face itself.
Can the unclean produce the clean? can the liar ever speak the truth?
Divination, omens and dreams all are unreal; what you already expect, the mind depicts.
Unless it be a vision specially sent by the Most High, fix not your heart on it;
For dreams have led many astray, and those who believed in them have perished.
The law is fulfilled without fail, and perfect wisdom is found in the mouth of the faithful man.
A man with training gains wide knowledge; a man of experience speaks sense.
One never put to the proof knows little, whereas with travel a man adds to his resourcefulness.
I have seen much in my travels, learned more than ever I could say.
Often I was in danger of death, but by these attainments I was saved.
Lively is the courage of those who fear the LORD, for they put their hope in their savior;
He who fears the LORD is never alarmed, never afraid; for the LORD is his hope.
Happy the soul that fears the LORD! In whom does he trust, and who is his support?
The eyes of the LORD are upon those who love him; he is their mighty shield and strong support, A shelter from the heat, a shade from the noonday sun, a guard against stumbling, a help against falling.
He buoys up the spirits, brings a sparkle to the eyes, gives health and life and blessing.
2 Tainted his gifts who offers in sacrifice ill-gotten goods! Mock presents from the lawless win not God’s favor.
The Most High approves not the gifts of the godless, nor for their many sacrifices does he forgive their sins.
Like the man who slays a son in his father’s presence is he who offers sacrifice from the possessions of the poor.
The bread of charity is life itself for the needy; he who withholds it is a man of blood.
He slays his neighbor who deprives him of his living: he sheds blood who denies the laborer his wages.
If one man builds up and another tears down, what do they gain but trouble?
If one man prays and another curses, whose voice will the LORD hear?
If a man again touches a corpse after he has bathed, what did he gain by the purification?
So with a man who fasts for his sins, but then goes and commits them again: Who will hear his prayer, and what has he gained by his mortification?
1 [1-17] Confidence placed in dreams, divinations and omens is false because these are devoid of reality (⇒ Sirach 34:1-8). True confidence is founded on knowledge and experience (⇒ Sirach 34:9-12), and above all on the fear of the Lord, with its accompanying blessings of divine assistance and protection (⇒ Sirach 34:13-17).
2 [18-26] To be acts of true religion, sacrifice and penance must be accompanied by the proper moral dispositions. To offer to God goods taken from the poor (⇒ Sirach 34:18-22), or to practice penance without interior reform, is a mockery, worthless in the sight of God (⇒ Sirach 34:23-26). Cf ⇒ Matthew 15:4-7; ⇒ Mark 7:9-13.