Ben Sira 35
New American Bible (Revised Edition)
1 To keep the law is to make many offerings;(A)
2 whoever observes the commandments sacrifices a peace offering.
3 By works of charity one offers fine flour,[b]
4 and one who gives alms presents a sacrifice of praise.
5 To refrain from evil pleases the Lord,
and to avoid injustice is atonement.
6 Do not appear before the Lord empty-handed,
7 for all that you offer is in fulfillment of the precepts.(B)
8 The offering of the just enriches the altar:
a sweet odor before the Most High.
9 The sacrifice of the just is accepted,
never to be forgotten.
10 With a generous spirit pay homage to the Lord,
and do not spare your freewill gifts.(C)
11 With each contribution show a cheerful countenance,
and pay your tithes in a spirit of joy.(D)
12 Give to the Most High as he has given to you,
generously, according to your means.
13 For he is a God who always repays
and will give back to you sevenfold.(E)
14 But offer no bribes; these he does not accept!
15 Do not trust in sacrifice of the fruits of extortion,(F)
For he is a God of justice,
who shows no partiality.(G)
16 He shows no partiality to the weak
but hears the grievance of the oppressed.[c]
17 He does not forsake the cry of the orphan,(H)
nor the widow when she pours out her complaint.
18 Do not the tears that stream down her cheek
19 cry out against the one that causes them to fall?
20 Those who serve God to please him are accepted;
their petition reaches the clouds.
21 The prayer of the lowly pierces the clouds;
it does not rest till it reaches its goal;
Nor will it withdraw till the Most High responds,
22 judges justly and affirms the right.(I)
God indeed will not delay,
and like a warrior, will not be still(J)
Till he breaks the backs of the merciless
23 and wreaks vengeance upon the nations;
Till he destroys the scepter of the proud,
and cuts off the staff of the wicked;
24 Till he requites everyone according to their deeds,
and repays them according to their thoughts;
25 Till he defends the cause of his people,
and makes them glad by his salvation.
26 Welcome is his mercy in time of distress
as rain clouds in time of drought.
- 35:1–26 Keeping the commandments of the law and avoiding injustice constitute sacrifice pleasing and acceptable to God (vv. 1–5). Offerings also should be made to him, cheerfully and generously; these he repays sevenfold (vv. 6–13). Extortion from widows and orphans is injustice, and God will hear their cries (vv. 14–22a). Punishing the proud and the merciless and coming to the aid of the distressed, he requites everyone according to their deeds (vv. 22b–26).
- 35:3 Fine flour, together with oil and frankincense, was a prescribed offering to God; cf. Lv 2:1–3.
- 35:16 Cf. Lv 19:15; Dt 1:17. The divine impartiality is paradoxical, for it is tilted toward the poor.