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Ben Sira 34 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 34

Trust in the Lord and Not in Dreams[a]

Empty and false are the hopes of the senseless,
    and dreams give wings to fools.
Like one grasping at shadows or chasing the wind,
    so anyone who believes in dreams.
What is seen in dreams is a reflection,
    the likeness of a face looking at itself.
How can the unclean produce what is clean?
    How can the false produce what is true?
Divination, omens, and dreams are unreal;
    what you already expect, the mind fantasizes.
Unless they are specially sent by the Most High,
    do not fix your heart on them.
For dreams have led many astray,
    and those who put their hope in them have perished.
Without such deceptions the Law will be fulfilled,
    and in the mouth of the faithful is complete wisdom.

A much-traveled person knows many things;
    and one with much experience speaks sense.
10 An inexperienced person knows little,
11     whereas with travel one adds to resourcefulness.
12 I have seen much in my travels,
    and learned more than I could ever say.
13 Often I was in danger of death,
    but by these experiences I was saved.

14 Living is the spirit of those who fear the Lord,
15     for their hope is in their savior.
16 Whoever fear the Lord are afraid of nothing
    and are never discouraged, for he is their hope.
17 Happy the soul that fears the Lord!
18     In whom does he trust, and who is his support?
19 The eyes of the Lord are upon those who love him;
    he is their mighty shield and strong support,
A shelter from the heat, a shade from the noonday sun,
    a guard against stumbling, a help against falling.
20 He lifts up spirits, brings a sparkle to the eyes,
    gives health and life and blessing.

True Worship of God[b]

21 Ill-gotten goods offered in sacrifice are tainted.
22     Presents from the lawless do not win God’s favor.
23 The Most High is not pleased with the gifts of the godless,
    nor for their many sacrifices does he forgive their sins.
24 One who slays a son in his father’s presence—
    whoever offers sacrifice from the holdings of the poor.
25 The bread of charity is life itself for the needy;
    whoever withholds it is a murderer.
26 To take away a neighbor’s living is to commit murder;
27     to deny a laborer wages is to shed blood.

28 If one builds up and another tears down,
    what do they gain but trouble?
29 If one prays and another curses,
    whose voice will God hear?
30 If one again touches a corpse after bathing,
    what does he gain by the purification?
31 So one who fasts for sins,
    but goes and commits them again:
Who will hear his prayer,
    what is gained by mortification?


  1. 34:1–20 Confidence placed in dreams, divinations, and omens is false because these are devoid of reality (vv. 1–8). True confidence is founded on knowledge and experience (vv. 9–13), and above all on the fear of the Lord, with its accompanying blessings of divine assistance and protection (vv. 14–20).
  2. 34:21–31 To be acts of true religion, sacrifice and penance must be accompanied by the proper moral dispositions. To offer to God goods taken from the poor (vv. 21–27), or to practice penance without interior reform, is a mockery, worthless in the sight of God (vv. 28–31). Cf. Mt 15:4–7; Mk 7:9–13.
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.


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