Ben Sira 30
New American Bible (Revised Edition)
The Training of Children[a]
1 Whoever loves a son will chastise him often,
that he may be his joy when he grows up.(A)
2 Whoever disciplines a son will benefit from him,
and boast of him among acquaintances.
3 Whoever educates a son will make his enemy jealous,
and rejoice in him among his friends.
4 At the father’s death, he will seem not dead,
for he leaves after him one like himself,
5 Whom he looked upon through life with joy,
and in death, without regret.
6 Against his enemies he has left an avenger,
and one to repay his friends with kindness.
7 Whoever spoils a son will have wounds to bandage,
and will suffer heartache at every cry.
8 An untamed horse turns out stubborn;
and a son left to himself grows up unruly.
9 Pamper a child and he will be a terror for you,
indulge him, and he will bring you grief.
10 Do not laugh with him lest you share sorrow with him,
and in the end you will gnash your teeth.
11 Do not give him his own way in his youth,
and do not ignore his follies.
12 Bow down his head in his youth,
beat his sides while he is still young,
Lest he become stubborn and disobey you,
and leave you disconsolate.(B)
13 Discipline your son and make heavy his yoke,
lest you be offended by his shamelessness.
Health and Cheerfulness[b]
14 Better the poor in vigorous health
than the rich with bodily ills.
15 I would rather have bodily health than any gold,
and contentment of spirit than pearls.
16 No riches are greater than a healthy body;
and no happiness than a joyful heart.
17 Better is death than a wretched life,(C)
everlasting sleep than constant illness.
18 Good things set before one who cannot eat
are like food offerings placed before a tomb.[c](D)
19 What good is an offering to an idol
that can neither eat nor smell?
So it is with the one being punished by the Lord,
20 who groans at what his eyes behold.
21 Do not give in to sadness,
or torment yourself deliberately.(E)
22 Gladness of heart is the very life of a person,
and cheerfulness prolongs his days.
23 Distract yourself and renew your courage,
drive resentment far away from you;
For grief has killed many,(F)
and nothing is to be gained from resentment.
24 Envy and anger shorten one’s days,
and anxiety brings on premature old age.
25 Those who are cheerful and merry at table
benefit from their food.[d](G)
- 30:1–13 Sound discipline (which would include physical beating) and careful education of children correct self-indulgence and stubbornness, prevent remorse and humiliation, and bring to parents lasting joy and delight, prestige among friends, jealousy of enemies, perpetuation and vindication of themselves through their offspring (vv. 1–6). Lack of discipline and overindulgence of children bring sorrow and disappointment, terror and grief (vv. 7–13).
- 30:14–25 Health of mind and body and joy of heart Ben Sira judges to be more precious than wealth (vv. 14–16), whereas bitterness, constant illness, and affliction are more difficult to bear than death (vv. 17–20). Sadness, resentment, anxiety, envy, and anger shorten days; they should be dispelled by cheerfulness and gladness of heart, which help to prolong one’s days (vv. 21–25).
- 30:18 The saying ridicules the practice of putting food and drink on the tombs of the dead.
- 30:25(27) Because of the dislocation of the Greek text, the numbering of this verse follows Ziegler’s edition. There are no verses 25–26.