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Sirach 16:1-14 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

God’s Punishment of Sinners

16 Do not desire a multitude of worthless[a] children,
    and do not rejoice in ungodly offspring.
If they multiply, do not rejoice in them,
    unless the fear of the Lord is in them.
Do not trust in their survival,
    or rely on their numbers;[b]
for one can be better than a thousand,
    and to die childless is better than to have ungodly children.
For through one intelligent person a city can be filled with people,
    but through a clan of outlaws it becomes desolate.

Many such things my eye has seen,
    and my ear has heard things more striking than these.
In an assembly of sinners a fire is kindled,
    and in a disobedient nation wrath blazes up.
He did not forgive the ancient giants
    who revolted in their might.
He did not spare the neighbors of Lot,
    whom he loathed on account of their arrogance.
He showed no pity on the doomed nation,
    on those dispossessed because of their sins;[c]
10 or on the six hundred thousand foot soldiers
    who assembled in their stubbornness.[d]
11 Even if there were only one stiff-necked person,
    it would be a wonder if he remained unpunished.
For mercy and wrath are with the Lord;[e]
    he is mighty to forgive—but he also pours out wrath.
12 Great as is his mercy, so also is his chastisement;
    he judges a person according to his or her deeds.
13 The sinner will not escape with plunder,
    and the patience of the godly will not be frustrated.
14 He makes room for every act of mercy;
    everyone receives in accordance with his or her deeds.[f]


  1. Sirach 16:1 Heb: Gk unprofitable
  2. Sirach 16:3 Other ancient authorities add For you will groan in untimely mourning, and will know of their sudden end.
  3. Sirach 16:9 Other ancient authorities add All these things he did to the hard-hearted nations, and by the multitude of his holy ones he was not appeased.
  4. Sirach 16:10 Other ancient authorities add Chastising, showing mercy, striking, healing, the Lord persisted in mercy and discipline.
  5. Sirach 16:11 Gk him
  6. Sirach 16:14 Other ancient authorities add 15 The Lord hardened Pharaoh so that he did not recognize him, in order that his works might be known under heaven. 16 His mercy is manifest to the whole of creation, and he divided his light and darkness with a plumb line.
New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


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