Wisdom of Sirach 23:1-24:18
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.
In Praise of Wisdom
1 Wisdom will praise herself,
And in the midst of her people she will boast.
2 In the assembly of the Most High, she will open her mouth
And boast in the presence of His host.
3 “I came forth from the mouth of the Most High
And covered the earth like a mist.
4 I pitched my tent in the high places
And my throne on the pillar of cloud.
5 I alone encircle the ring of heaven,
And I walk in the depth of the abyss.
6 In the waves of the sea, in all the earth,
And in every people and nation
I have gained a possession.
7 With all these, I have sought a place to rest;
In what inheritance will I lodge?
8 “Then the Creator of all things commanded me,
And He who created me gave me a place to live.
He said, ‘Pitch your tent in Jacob
And receive an inheritance in Israel.’
9 Before the age, He created me from the beginning,
And in the age to come I will not cease.
10 I serve before Him in His holy tabernacle;
Therefore, I am established in Zion.
11 In the beloved city likewise He gives me rest,
And my authority is in Jerusalem.
12 I am firmly rooted among an honored people,
Among the Lord’s portion, His inheritance.
13 “Like a cedar tree I was raised on high in Lebanon,
Like a cypress tree in the mountains of Hermon.
14 I was exalted like a palm tree in En-Gedi
And like rose bushes in Jericho;
I was exalted like a beautiful olive tree in the plain
And grew tall like a plane-tree.
15 I gave forth the fragrance of aromatic spices
Like cinnamon and camel-thorn,
And I spread a fragrance like choice myrrh,
And like galbanum, onyx, and oil of myrrh,
And like the fragrance of frankincense in the tabernacle.
16 I spread forth my branches like a terebinth tree,
And my branches were glory and grace.
17 I yield grace like a vine,
And my flowers produce the fruit of glory and riches.
18 I am the mother of fair love, and fear, and knowledge, and holy hope:
I therefore, being eternal, am given to all my children who are named by Him.
1 For Solomon.
O God, give Your judgments to the King,
And Your righteousness to the King’s Son,
2 That He may judge Your people in righteousness
And Your poor with judgment.
3 Let the mountains raise up peace for Your people
And the hills in righteousness.
4 He shall judge the poor of the people,
And shall serve the sons of the poor;
He shall humble the false accuser,
5 And He shall continue as long as the sun
And before the moon from generation to generation;
6 And He shall come down like rain on the fleece,
Like raindrops falling on the earth.
7 In His days, righteousness and abundance of peace shall flourish,
Until the moon is removed.
8 And He shall rule from sea to sea,
And from the river to the ends of the inhabited earth.
9 The Ethiopians shall bow down before Him,
And His enemies shall lick the dust.
10 The kings of Tarshish and their islands will come bearing gifts;
The kings of Arabia and Saba will bring presents.
11 All the kings of the earth shall worship Him;
All the Gentiles shall serve Him.
12 For He rescued the poor from the hand of a strong man,
And the needy, for whom there was no helper.
13 He shall spare the poor and needy,
And He shall save the souls of the needy;
14 He shall redeem their souls from usury and injustice,
And precious shall be their name in His sight.
15 He shall live, and there shall be given Him from the gold of Arabia;
They shall pray continually because of Him,
All the day long shall they bless Him.
16 He shall be a support on the earth upon the summits of the mountains;
His fruit shall be exalted more than Lebanon,
And they shall flourish from the city like the grass of the earth.
17 Let His name be blessed unto the ages;
His name shall remain before the sun,
And all the tribes of the earth shall be blessed in Him;
All the Gentiles shall bless Him.
18 Blessed is the Lord God,
The God of Israel, who alone does wondrous things.
19 And blessed is the name of His glory forever and unto ages of ages,
And all the earth shall be filled with His glory. Amen! Amen!
20 The hymns of David the son of Jesse are ended.
31 A man with a gentle spirit is a healer of the heart,
But a sensual heart is the moth of the bones.
32 He who oppresses the poor provokes his Maker,
But he who honors Him has mercy upon a poor man.
33 In his evil an ungodly man will be rejected,
But a righteous man has confidence in his own holiness.
34 There is wisdom in the good heart of a man,
But wisdom is unknown in the heart of those without discernment.
35 Righteousness exalts a nation,
But sins diminish tribes.
36 A wise servant is acceptable to a king,
And by his own versatility he removes dishonor.
2 Corinthians 12
1 It is doubtless not profitable for me to boast. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord:
2 I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago—whether in the body I do not know, or whether out of the body I do not know, God knows—such a one was caught up to the third heaven.
3 And I know such a man—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows—
4 how he was caught up into Paradise and heard inexpressible words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.
5 Of such a one I will boast; yet of myself I will not boast, except in my infirmities.
6 For though I might desire to boast, I will not be a fool; for I will speak the truth. But I refrain, lest anyone should think of me above what he sees me to be or hears from me.
The Thorn in the Flesh
7 And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure.
8 Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me.
9 And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
Signs of an Apostle
11 I have become a fool in boasting; you have compelled me. For I ought to have been commended by you; for in nothing was I behind the most eminent apostles, though I am nothing.
12 Truly the signs of an apostle were accomplished among you with all perseverance, in signs and wonders and mighty deeds.
13 For what is it in which you were inferior to other churches, except that I myself was not burdensome to you? Forgive me this wrong!
Love for the Church
14 Now for the third time I am ready to come to you. And I will not be burdensome to you; for I do not seek yours, but you. For the children ought not to lay up for the parents, but the parents for the children.
15 And I will very gladly spend and be spent for your souls; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I am loved.
16 But be that as it may, I did not burden you. Nevertheless, being crafty, I caught you by cunning!
17 Did I take advantage of you by any of those whom I sent to you?
18 I urged Titus, and sent our brother with him. Did Titus take advantage of you? Did we not walk in the same spirit? Did we not walk in the same steps?
19 Again, do you think that we excuse ourselves to you? We speak before God in Christ. But we do all things, beloved, for your edification.
20 For I fear lest, when I come, I shall not find you such as I wish, and that I shall be found by you such as you do not wish; lest there be contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, backbitings, whisperings, conceits, tumults;21 lest, when I come again, my God will humble me among you, and I shall mourn for many who have sinned before and have not repented of the uncleanness, fornication, and lewdness which they have practiced.