Wisdom of Sirach 23
A Prayer for Wisdom
1 O Lord, Father and Master of my life, Do not leave me to their counsel, Nor let me fall because of them.†
2 Who will set whips over my thoughts And the discipline of wisdom over my heart, So they may not spare me in my errors, nor neglect me in my sins?
3 Lest my mistakes be multiplied And my sins abound. Then I would not fall before my adversaries, And my enemy would not rejoice over me.
4 O Lord, Father and the God of my life, do not give me haughty eyes,
5 But turn me away from evil desire.
6 Do not let gluttony or lust overcome me, Nor give me up to a shameless soul.
Warning to Children
7 My children, hear the teaching of my mouth, For he who keeps it will not be conquered.
8 A sinner will be overtaken by his lips, And a slanderer and arrogant man will be made to stumble by them.
9 Do not accustom your mouth to vows, Nor make a habit of using the name of the Holy One.†
10 For as a servant who is continually beaten will not lack bruises, So also he who makes a vow and continually names the Holy One Will never be cleansed from sin.
11 A man who swears many oaths will be filled with lawlessness, And that plague will not depart from his house. If he offends, his sin will be on him, And if he overlooks it, he has sinned doubly. If he swears in vain, he will not be declared righteous, For his house will be filled with trouble.
12 There is a way of speaking comparable to death. May it not be found in the inheritance of Jacob; For all these things will be far from the godly, And they will not be involved in sins.
13 Do not accustom your mouth to lewd expressions, For this is sinful speech.
14 Remember your father and mother When you sit in council with great men, Lest you forget yourself in their presence And by habit act foolishly. Then you will wish you had never been born, And you will curse the day of your birth.
15 A man accustomed to abusive words Will never discipline himself as long as he lives.
Men of Sin
16 Two kinds of men multiply sins, And a third kind will bring down wrath:
17 A soul heated like a burning fire Will not be quenched until it is consumed; A man whose whole body is given to fornication Will not cease until the fire burns out. To a man who is a fornicator, all bread is sweet. He will not grow weary until he dies.
18 The man who transgresses against his marriage bed Says to himself, “Who sees me? Darkness encircles me. The walls of my house hide me, And no one sees me. Why should I be afraid? The Most High will not remember my sins.”
19 His fear is the eyes of men. Yet he does not know that the eyes of the Lord Are ten thousand times brighter than the sun And look upon all the ways of men, And observe even the secret places.
20 Before all things were created, Everything was known to Him, And the end of all things is also known to Him.†
21 This adulterer will be punished in the city streets, And where he does not suspect it, he will be seized.
Women of Sin
22 So also the woman who forsook her husband And brought in an heir by another man.
23 For she first disobeyed the law of the Most High; And second, she transgressed against her husband; And third, in her fornication she committed adultery And bore children by a stranger.
24 She will be brought before the assembly, And there shall be a visitation of her children.
25 Her children will not take root, And her branches will not bear fruit.
26 She will leave behind her memory as a curse, And her disgrace will not be blotted out.
27 Those left behind will know There is nothing better than the fear of the Lord; And there is nothing sweeter Than to give heed to the Lord’s commandments.
1 For the End; the psalm of an ode at the consecration of the house; by David. †
2 I will exalt You, O Lord, for You lifted me up, And did not let my enemies rejoice over me.
3 O Lord my God, I cry to You, and You will heal me.
4 O Lord, You brought my soul out of Hades; You saved me from those who go down to the pit.
5 Sing praises to the Lord, you saints of His, And give thanks at the remembrance of His holiness;
6 For there is wrath in His anger, But life in His will; Weeping will lodge at evening, But great joy in the morning.
7 As for me, I said in my prosperity, “I shall not be shaken forever.”
8 O Lord, in Your will, grant beauty and power; You turned away Your face, and I was troubled.
9 I shall cry to You, O Lord, And to God I shall make supplication.
10 What profit is there in my blood, When I go down into decay? Will the dust confess You? Or will it declare Your truth?
11 The Lord heard, and had mercy on me; The Lord became my helper.
12 You turned my lamentation into dancing for me; You tore up my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness,
13 That my glory may sing praise to You, And not be pierced with sadness; O Lord my God, I shall give thanks to You forever.
Proverbs of Solomon 6
A Careless Tongue
1 My son, if you assume the debt of your friend, You will deliver your hand to an enemy;†
2 For a man’s own lips become a strong snare to him, And he is conquered by the utterances of his own mouth.
3 My son, do what I command you, and you will save yourself; For you came into the hands of evil things through your friend;
4 Do not be faint, But provoke even your friend, for whom you assumed a debt;
5 Do not give sleep to your eyes Nor slumber to your eyelids
6 That you may be saved, as a gazelle from the snares, And as a bird from a trap. †
Winter at Malta
1 Now when they had escaped, they then found out that the island was called Malta.†
2 And the natives showed us unusual kindness; for they kindled a fire and made us all welcome, because of the rain that was falling and because of the cold.†
3 But when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks and laid them on the fire, a viper came out because of the heat, and fastened on his hand.†
4 So when the natives saw the creature hanging from his hand, they said to one another, “No doubt this man is a murderer, whom, though he has escaped the sea, yet justice does not allow to live.”†
5 But he shook off the creature into the fire and suffered no harm.
6 However, they were expecting that he would swell up or suddenly fall down dead. But after they had looked for a long time and saw no harm come to him, they changed their minds and said that he was a god.
7 In that region there was an estate of the leading citizen of the island, whose name was Publius, who received us and entertained us courteously for three days.
8 And it happened that the father of Publius lay sick of a fever and dysentery. Paul went in to him and prayed, and he laid his hands on him and healed him.†
9 So when this was done, the rest of those on the island who had diseases also came and were healed.
10 They also honored us in many ways; and when we departed, they provided such things as were necessary.
From Malta to Rome
11 After three months we sailed in an Alexandrian ship whose figurehead was the Twin Brothers, which had wintered at the island.†
12 And landing at Syracuse, we stayed three days.†
13 From there we circled round and reached Rhegium. And after one day the south wind blew; and the next day we came to Puteoli,†
14 where we found brethren, and were invited to stay with them seven days. And so we went toward Rome.
15 And from there, when the brethren heard about us, they came to meet us as far as Appii Forum and Three Inns. When Paul saw them, he thanked God and took courage.
Paul’s Ministry in Rome
16 Now when we came to Rome, the centurion delivered the prisoners to the captain of the guard; but Paul was permitted to dwell by himself with the soldier who guarded him.†
17 And it came to pass after three days that Paul called the leaders of the Jews together. So when they had come together, he said to them: “Men and brethren, though I have done nothing against our people or the customs of our fathers, yet I was delivered as a prisoner from Jerusalem into the hands of the Romans,
18 who, when they had examined me, wanted to let me go, because there was no cause for putting me to death.
19 But when the Jews spoke against it , I was compelled to appeal to Caesar, not that I had anything of which to accuse my nation.
20 For this reason therefore I have called for you, to see you and speak with you , because for the hope of Israel I am bound with this chain.”†
21 Then they said to him, “We neither received letters from Judea concerning you, nor have any of the brethren who came reported or spoken any evil of you.
22 But we desire to hear from you what you think; for concerning this sect, we know that it is spoken against everywhere.”†
23 So when they had appointed him a day, many came to him at his lodging, to whom he explained and solemnly testified of the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus from both the Law of Moses and the Prophets, from morning till evening.†
24 And some were persuaded by the things which were spoken, and some disbelieved.
25 So when they did not agree among themselves, they departed after Paul had said one word: “The Holy Spirit spoke rightly through Isaiah the prophet to our fathers,
26 saying, ‘Go to this people and say: “Hearing you will hear, and shall not understand; And seeing you will see, and not perceive;
27 For the hearts of this people have grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, And their eyes they have closed, Lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, So that I should heal them.” ’
28 “Therefore let it be known to you that the salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles, and they will hear it!”
29 And when he had said these words, the Jews departed and had a great dispute among themselves.
30 Then Paul dwelt two whole years in his own rented house, and received all who came to him,
31 preaching the kingdom of God and teaching the things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ with all confidence, no one forbidding him.†