Wisdom of Sirach 32, 33
1 Did they appoint you as leader of the banquet?
Do not exalt yourself.
Among them be as one of them.
Take care of them and only then be seated.
2 Then having fulfilled all your duties, take your place,
That you may make merry for their sake,
And receive a crown because of your orderly behavior.
3 Speak, O elder, for this is fitting for you to do so with accurate knowledge;
But do not interrupt the music.
4 Where there is entertainment, do not pour out talk,
And do not display your cleverness at the wrong time.
5 A concert of music at a banquet of wine
Is like a seal of ruby in a gold ornament.
6 A seal of emerald in a gold setting
Is the melody of music with delicious wine.
7 Speak, young man, if there is need of you,
But no more than twice, and only if you are asked repeatedly.
8 Be brief; say much in a few words.
Act like a man who knows, yet holds his tongue.
9 Among the great do not act as their equal,
And when another is speaking, do little talking.
10 Lightning flashes before thunder,
And favor goes before a modest man.
11 Rise to leave in good time, and do not lag behind.
Run home and do not be remiss.
12 Amuse yourself there, and do what you intend,
But do not sin by speaking arrogantly;
13 And for these things, bless Him who created you
And satisfies you with His good things.
Wise and Sinful Men
14 The man who fears the Lord will receive instruction,
And those who rise early will find His approval.
15 He who seeks the Law will be filled with it,
But the hypocrite will be made to stumble by it.
16 Those who fear the Lord will discover judgment,
And like the light they will kindle righteous deeds.
17 A sinful man will turn aside correction
And find a rationalization according to his will.
18 A man of counsel will not neglect thought,
But a strange and arrogant man does not tremble in fear.
19 Do nothing without counsel,
And when you have acted, do not regret it.
20 Do not walk a path filled with obstacles,
And do not trip over stony ground.
21 Do not put your trust in an unexplored way,
22 And keep watch because of your children.
23 In every work entrust your soul to the Lord,
For this is the keeping of the commandments.
24 He who believes in the Law heeds the commandments,
And he who trusts in the Lord will not suffer loss.
1 Evil will not befall the man who fears the Lord,
But in trial He will deliver him again and again.
2 A wise man will not hate the law,
But he who pretends to keep it is like a ship in a storm.
3 A man of understanding will trust in the law,
And to him the law is trustworthy because it is a divine revelation.
4 Prepare what to say and thus you will be heard.
Draw on your training and make your reply.
5 The heart of a fool resembles a wagon wheel,
And his reasoning is like a turning axle.
6 A lusty stallion is like a mocking friend;
He impregnates everyone who sits under him.
Reflecting on Creation
7 Why is one day better than another,
When all the light of a day in the year is from the sun?
8 They were separated by the knowledge of the Lord,
And He changed the seasons and feasts.
9 Some days He exalted and sanctified,
And some days He made ordinary.
10 All men are from the ground,
For Adam was created from the earth.
11 In the fullness of knowledge the Lord separated them
And changed their paths.
12 Some days He blessed and exalted,
And some days He sanctified and drew near to Himself.
Some days He has cursed and humbled
And removed from their place.
13 All His ways are according to His good pleasure.
Like clay in a potter’s hand,
Thus men are in the hand of Him who made them,
To render to them according to His judgment.
14 Good is the opposite of evil, and life is the opposite of death.
In the same way, a sinner is the opposite of a godly man.
15 Look, therefore, upon all the works of the Most High:
They also come in pairs, one the opposite of the other.
16 I kept the last watch like one gleaning after the harvest.
17 By the blessing of the Lord I arrived in time,
And like a grape-picker I filled my winepress.
18 Observe well that I did not labor for myself alone,
But for all who seek instruction.
19 Hear me, you leaders of the people,
And you rulers of the assembly, listen to me.
20 Do not give authority over yourself while you are still living
To your son or your wife, nor to your brother or a friend;
And do not give your property to another,
Lest you change your mind and need to beg for it.
21 While you are still alive and there is breath in you,
Do not change places with anyone.
22 For it is better that your children should ask from you
Than that you should look to the hands of your sons.
23 Be outstanding in all your works;
Do not put a blemish on your reputation.
24 On the day when the days of your life are fulfilled,
At the time of your death, distribute the inheritance.
Relating to Servants
25 Fodder, the rod, and a burden are for a donkey,
And bread, instruction, and work are for a servant.
26 Make a servant work, and you will find rest;
Leave his hands idle and he will seek freedom.
27 Yoke and strap will bend the neck,
And racks and tortures are for an evil servant.
28 Put him to work that he may not be idle,
For idleness teaches much evil.
29 Set him to the work appropriate for him;
And if he is not obedient, put heavy chains on his feet.
30 And do not act superior toward any flesh,
And do nothing without judgment.
31 If you own a servant, let him be as yourself,
For with your blood you bought him.
32 If you own a servant, treat him as a brother.
For you will need him as your own soul.
33 If you treat him badly and he runs away,
Which way will you go look for him?
1 For the End; do not corrupt; a psalm of an ode for Asaph.
2 We shall give thanks to You, O God;
We shall give thanks, and call upon Your name.
3 I shall describe all Your wonders.
“When I seize the opportunity,
I shall judge these rightly.
4 The earth is dissolved and all its inhabitants;
I made firm its pillars.”
5 I said to those who transgress the law, “Do not transgress the law,”
And to those who sin I said, “Do not exalt yourselves;
6 Do not boast in yourselves;
Do not accuse God of wrongdoing.”
7 For judgment comes neither from the sunrise nor the sunset
Nor from mountains of the deserts,
8 For God is judge;
This one He brings down low, and that one He raises up.
9 For the cup in the Lord’s hand
Is full of unmixed wine, a drink poured out;
And He tipped it from side to side,
But its dregs were not emptied out;
All sinners of the earth shall drink them.
10 But I shall greatly rejoice forever;
I shall sing to the God of Jacob.
11 All the horns of sinners I shall crush,
But the horns of the righteous man shall be exalted.
21 The ways of idle men are strewn with thorny plants,
But the thorny plants of the courageous are worn smooth.
22 A wise son gladdens a father,
But a son without discernment treats his mother with contempt.
23 The paths of one without understanding are in need of discernment,
But a man with discernment walks uprightly.
24 Those not honoring councils defer their deliberations,
But counsel remains in the hearts of those who resolve to do it.
25 The evil man will not obey counsel,
Nor will he speak anything appropriate, even something for the common good.
26 The thoughts of a wise man are his ways of life,
That he might turn aside and be saved from Hades.
1 Now I say that the heir, as long as he is a child, does not differ at all from a slave, though he is master of all,
2 but is under guardians and stewards until the time appointed by the father.
3 Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world.
4 But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law,
5 to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.
6 And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!”
7 Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.
Fears for the Church
8 But then, indeed, when you did not know God, you served those which by nature are not gods.
9 But now after you have known God, or rather are known by God, how is it that you turn again to the weak and beggarly elements, to which you desire again to be in bondage?
10 You observe days and months and seasons and years.
11 I am afraid for you, lest I have labored for you in vain.
12 Brethren, I urge you to become like me, for I became like you. You have not injured me at all.
13 You know that because of physical infirmity I preached the gospel to you at the first.
14 And my trial which was in my flesh you did not despise or reject, but you received me as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus.
15 What then was the blessing you enjoyed? For I bear you witness that, if possible, you would have plucked out your own eyes and given them to me.
16 Have I therefore become your enemy because I tell you the truth?
17 They zealously court you, but for no good; yes, they want to exclude you, that you may be zealous for them.
18 But it is good to be zealous in a good thing always, and not only when I am present with you.
19 My little children, for whom I labor in birth again until Christ is formed in you,
20 I would like to be present with you now and to change my tone; for I have doubts about you.
(Gen. 21:8–21; Is. 54:1)
21 Tell me, you who desire to be under the law, do you not hear the law?
22 For it is written that Abraham had two sons: the one by a bondwoman, the other by a freewoman.
23 But he who was of the bondwoman was born according to the flesh, and he of the freewoman through promise,
24 which things are symbolic. For these are the two covenants: the one from Mount Sinai which gives birth to bondage, which is Hagar—
25 for this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia, and corresponds to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children—
26 but the Jerusalem above is free, which is the mother of us all.
27 For it is written:
“Rejoice, O barren,
You who do not bear!
Break forth and shout,
You who are not in labor!
For the desolate has many more children
Than she who has a husband.”
28 Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are children of promise.
29 But, as he who was born according to the flesh then persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, even so it is now.
30 Nevertheless what does the Scripture say? “Cast out the bondwoman and her son, for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman.”
31 So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman but of the free.