Wisdom of Sirach 43:1-44:18
1 The exultation of the heavenly heights
Is the firmament of purity,
The form of heaven with the vision of glory.
2 The sun, when it appears, making proclamation as it goes forth,
Is a wonderful instrument, a work of the Most High.
3 At noon it dries up the land,
And who can endure its burning heat?
4 A man kindling a furnace works in burning heat,
But the sun burns the mountains three times as much,
Breathing out fiery steams,
And sending forth shining beams, it dims the eyes.
5 Great is the Lord who made it,
And by His command it hastens its journey.
6 He also made the moon to serve in its season
As a declaration of times and an everlasting sign.
7 From the moon comes the sign of a feast,
A light that wanes as it completes its course.
8 The month is named according to the moon,
Being increased wondrously in its phases,
A vessel encamped on high,
Shining in the firmament of heaven.
9 The glory of the stars is the beauty of heaven,
A world shining in the high places of the Lord.
10 By the words of the Holy One they stand according to His judgment
And do not grow weary in their watches.
The Majestic Creation
11 Behold the rainbow and bless Him who made it,
Exceedingly beautiful in its brightness.
12 It circles heaven with its glorious arc,
And the hands of the Most High laid out its course.
13 By His command He makes the snow to fall,
And speeds the lightning by His judgment.
14 Therefore the storehouses are opened
And the clouds fly forth like birds.
15 By His majesty He condenses the clouds,
And the hailstones break into pieces.
16 At His appearing the mountains are shaken,
And by His will the south wind blows.
17 The voice of His thunder makes the earth tremble,
And so do the hurricane from the north and the whirlwind as well.
18 He sprinkles the snow like birds flying down,
And its descent is like grasshoppers alighting.
The eye marvels at the beauty of its whiteness,
And the heart is astonished at its raining down.
19 He pours the hoarfrost like salt upon the earth,
And when it freezes, it becomes like pointed thorns.
20 A cold north wind blows
And ice freezes on the water,
And forms on every pool of water,
And clothes the water like armor.
21 He consumes the mountains and burns up the desert,
And withers the green herbage like fire.
22 A mist quickly heals it all,
And falling dew brings refreshment from the heat.
23 By His reasoning He quieted the great deep
And planted islands in it.
24 Those who sail the sea recount its dangers,
And we are amazed at the reports coming to our ears.
25 For therein are the incredible and wondrous works,
A diversity of many living things,
And a created order of huge sea creatures.
26 Because of Him His messenger has a prosperous journey,
And by His word all things are held together.
How Do We Praise Him?
27 We will say many things and not reach the end,
But the sum of our words is seen in this: “He is the all.”
28 How shall we ever be able to adequately praise Him?
For He is greater than all His works.
29 Fearful is the Lord and exceedingly great,
And wondrous is His power.
30 Glorify the Lord and exalt Him as much as you are able,
For He will surpass even that.
And when you exalt Him, put forth all your strength;
Do not grow weary, for you cannot exalt Him enough.
31 Who has seen Him and will describe Him?
And who can magnify Him as He truly is?
32 There are yet many hidden things greater than these,
For we have seen but few of His works.
33 For the Lord made all things
And gives wisdom to the godly.
In Praise of Honored Men
1 Let us now praise honored men and our fathers.
2 The Lord established His great glory
And majesty from the beginning through them.
3 There were those who ruled in their kingdoms
And were men renowned for their power,
Giving counsel through their understanding
And proclaiming prophecies.
4 There were leaders of the people by their counsels
And understanding of learning for the people,
Wise in their words of instruction.
5 There were composers of music,
And they set forth verse in writing,
6 Wealthy men with great resources,
Living in peace in their dwelling-places.
7 All these were honored in their generations
And in their days were a source of boasting.
8 There were those who left behind a name
That men might declare their praises.
9 There were also those whom no one remembers,
Who perished as if they never existed;
And they died as if they had not been born,
And so have their children after them.
10 Nevertheless, these were men of mercy,
Whose righteousness lives with God.
11 The good they did remains with their seed,
And their inheritance with their children’s children.
12 Their seed stands with the covenants,
And their children as well for their sake.
13 Their seed shall remain forever,
And their glory will not be blotted out.
14 Their bodies were buried in peace,
And their name lives to all generations.
15 Peoples will tell of their wisdom,
And the assembly will proclaim their praise.
16 Enoch pleased the Lord and was translated
As an example of repentance for all generations.
17 Noah was found perfect
And was righteous in the time of wrath,
In which he was rescued in exchange.
Therefore a remnant was left on the earth
When the flood came.
18 Everlasting covenants were made with him
That all flesh would not be wiped away again by a flood.
38 But He is merciful
And will atone for their sins, and not destroy them;
And He will multiply them, and turn away His anger;
And He will not kindle all His wrath.
39 For He remembered they are flesh,
A spirit that is passing and not returning.
40 How many times did they rebel against Him in the desert,
And provoke Him to wrath in the desert?
41 And they turned away and tempted God,
And provoked the Holy One of Israel.
42 They did not remember His hand
And the day He redeemed them from the hand of those afflicting them,
43 How He wrought His signs in Egypt,
And His wonders in the plains of Zoan,
44 And how He turned their rivers and rainfalls into blood,
So they could not drink;
45 He sent them the dog-fly, and it devoured them,
And the frog, and it destroyed them.
46 He gave their fruit to the mildew
And their labors to the locust;
47 He killed their vineyard with hail
And their mulberry trees with frost;
48 And He delivered their cattle to the hail
And their property to the fire;
49 He sent forth the wrath of His anger to them,
Anger and wrath and affliction,
Sent forth through evil angels;
50 He made a path for His wrath;
He did not spare their souls from death,
And their cattle He enclosed in death;
51 And He struck every firstborn in Egypt,
The firstfruit of their labor in the tents of Ham.
52 And He brought His people out like sheep,
And He led them like a flock in the desert;
53 And He guided them in hope, and they were not afraid;
And the sea covered up their enemies.
54 He brought them into the mountain of His holiness,
This mountain His right hand acquired;
55 And He cast out the nations from before their face,
And distributed them a measure of land as an inheritance;
And He settled the tribes of Israel in their tents.
16 Arrogance goes before destruction
And folly before a fall.
17 A gentle mind with humility is better
Than he who divides spoils with the arrogant.
18 A man wise in his deeds is a discoverer of good things,
But he who trusts in God is the most blessed.
19 Men call the wise and understanding worthless,
But those pleasing in speech will increase in understanding.
20 Understanding is a fountain of life to those who possess it,
But the instruction of those without discernment is evil.
1 I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called,
2 with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love,
3 endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling;
5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism;
6 one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.
7 But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift.
8 Therefore He says:
“When He ascended on high,
He led captivity captive,
And gave gifts to men.”
9 (Now this, “He ascended”—what does it mean but that He also first descended into the lower parts of the earth?
10 He who descended is also the One who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things.)
11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers,
12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ,
13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ;
14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting,
15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ—
16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.
The New Man
17 This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind,
18 having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart;
19 who, being past feeling, have given themselves over to lewdness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.
20 But you have not so learned Christ,
21 if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus:
22 that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts,
23 and be renewed in the spirit of your mind,
24 and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.