Wisdom of Sirach 18
A Song of God’s Mercy
1 He who lives forever created everything;
2 The Lord alone will be declared righteous.
3 He permitted no one to proclaim His works, For who can trace out His mighty works?†
4 Who will measure His majestic power with a number, And who will add to this measure While describing His mercies?
5 There is no one who can add or subtract, And there is no who can search out the wonders of the Lord.
6 When a man completes his search, then he starts over; And when he stops, he will still be perplexed.
7 What is man and what use is he; What is his good and what is his evil?
8 The number of a man’s days is considered great If he is one hundred years old.†
9 But like a drop of water from the sea and a grain of sand, So are a few years within a day of eternity.
10 Therefore the Lord is patient with them And pours out His mercy upon them.
11 He sees and knows their end, that it is evil; Therefore He makes full atonement for them.
12 The mercy of a man is upon his neighbor, But the mercy of the Lord is upon all flesh, Rebuking, training, and teaching them Like a shepherd who returns his flock to the fold.
13 He has mercy on those who receive His discipline And who are eager for His judgments.
Take Care to Be Wise
14 My son, do not bring disgrace on the good you have done, Nor cause grief by your words when you make a gift.
15 Does not dew give relief from the burning heat? In the same way, a word is better than a gift.†
16 Indeed, is not a word better than a fitting gift? And both are found in a gracious man.
17 A fool will insult and disgrace someone, And the gift of an envious man makes his eyes waste away.
18 Before you speak, learn, And before you get sick, take care of your health.†
19 Before you make a judgment, examine yourself closely, And in the hour of visitation you will find atonement.
20 Before you become sick, humble yourself; And at the time of sinning, prove your conversion.
21 Let nothing hinder you from paying a vow promptly, And do not wait until death to become righteous.
22 Before you make a vow, prepare yourself; And do not become like a man who tempts the Lord.†
23 Remember His anger on the day of your death, At the time of vengeance, when He turns His face away.
24 Remember the time of hunger in the time of plenty, And poverty and need in the days of wealth.†
25 From morning until evening, time changes; And all things are soon in the presence of the Lord.
26 A wise man will have the fear of God in everything he does; And in these days of sin, he will guard against wrongdoing.†
27 Every intelligent man knows wisdom And praises the one who finds her.
28 The wise in words—they also make others wise, And they pour forth accurate proverbs.†
29 Do not walk after your own desires, But restrain your appetites.†
30 If you fill your soul with the desire for pleasure, It will make you the laughingstock of your enemies.
31 Do not rejoice in great luxury, Lest you become needy by its expense.
32 Do not become a beggar by feasting on borrowed money When you have nothing in your purse.
12 Who is the man who fears the Lord? He will instruct him in the way He chooses.
13 His soul shall dwell among good things; His seed shall inherit the earth.
14 The Lord is the strength of those who fear Him, And to those who fear Him, His name is the Lord, And He will show them His covenant.
15 My eyes are always toward the Lord, For He shall pluck my feet out of the trap.
16 Look upon me and have mercy on me, For I am only-begotten and poor.
17 The afflictions of my heart have been widened; Bring me out of my distresses.
18 Look on my humiliation and my pain And forgive all my sins.
19 Look on my enemies, because they multiply, And they hate me with unjustified hatred.
20 Keep my soul, and deliver me; Let me not be ashamed, because I hope in You.
21 The innocent and the upright cleave to me Because I wait upon You, O Lord.
22 Redeem Israel, O God, Out of all his afflictions.
Proverbs of Solomon 4
24 Let your eyes look straight forward, And let your eyelids assent to righteous things.
25 Make straight paths for your feet And direct your ways aright.
26 Do not turn aside to the right or to the left, But turn your foot from an evil way;
27 For God knows the ways on the right hand, But those on the left are perverse;
28 And He shall make your paths straight And guide your steps in peace.
The Trial Before Felix
1 Now after five days Ananias the high priest came down with the elders and a certain orator named Tertullus. These gave evidence to the governor against Paul.†
2 And when he was called upon, Tertullus began his accusation, saying: “Seeing that through you we enjoy great peace, and prosperity is being brought to this nation by your foresight,
3 we accept it always and in all places, most noble Felix, with all thankfulness.
4 Nevertheless, not to be tedious to you any further, I beg you to hear, by your courtesy, a few words from us.
5 For we have found this man a plague, a creator of dissension among all the Jews throughout the world, and a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes.†
6 He even tried to profane the temple, and we seized him, and wanted to judge him according to our law.
7 But the commander Lysias came by and with great violence took him out of our hands,
8 commanding his accusers to come to you. By examining him yourself you may ascertain all these things of which we accuse him.”
9 And the Jews also assented, maintaining that these things were so.
10 Then Paul, after the governor had nodded to him to speak, answered: “Inasmuch as I know that you have been for many years a judge of this nation, I do the more cheerfully answer for myself,
11 because you may ascertain that it is no more than twelve days since I went up to Jerusalem to worship.†
12 And they neither found me in the temple disputing with anyone nor inciting the crowd, either in the synagogues or in the city.
13 Nor can they prove the things of which they now accuse me.
14 But this I confess to you, that according to the Way which they call a sect, so I worship the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the Law and in the Prophets.†
15 I have hope in God, which they themselves also accept, that there will be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and the unjust.
16 This being so, I myself always strive to have a conscience without offense toward God and men.
17 “Now after many years I came to bring alms and offerings to my nation,†
18 in the midst of which some Jews from Asia found me purified in the temple, neither with a mob nor with tumult.
19 They ought to have been here before you to object if they had anything against me.
20 Or else let those who are here themselves say if they found any wrongdoing in me while I stood before the council,
21 unless it is for this one statement which I cried out, standing among them, ‘Concerning the resurrection of the dead I am being judged by you this day.’ ”
22 But when Felix heard these things, having more accurate knowledge of the Way, he adjourned the proceedings and said, “When Lysias the commander comes down, I will make a decision on your case.”
23 So he commanded the centurion to keep Paul and to let him have liberty, and told him not to forbid any of his friends to provide for or visit him.
24 And after some days, when Felix came with his wife Drusilla, who was Jewish, he sent for Paul and heard him concerning the faith in Christ.
25 Now as he reasoned about righteousness, self-control, and the judgment to come, Felix was afraid and answered, “Go away for now; when I have a convenient time I will call for you.”†
26 Meanwhile he also hoped that money would be given him by Paul, that he might release him. Therefore he sent for him more often and conversed with him.
27 But after two years Porcius Festus succeeded Felix; and Felix, wanting to do the Jews a favor, left Paul bound.