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Sirach 16:17-30 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

17 Do not say, “I am hidden from the Lord,
    and who from on high has me in mind?
Among so many people I am unknown,
    for what am I in a boundless creation?
18 Lo, heaven and the highest heaven,
    the abyss and the earth, tremble at his visitation![a]
19 The very mountains and the foundations of the earth
    quiver and quake when he looks upon them.
20 But no human mind can grasp this,
    and who can comprehend his ways?
21 Like a tempest that no one can see,
    so most of his works are concealed.[b]
22 Who is to announce his acts of justice?
    Or who can await them? For his decree[c] is far off.”[d]
23 Such are the thoughts of one devoid of understanding;
    a senseless and misguided person thinks foolishly.

God’s Wisdom Seen in Creation

24 Listen to me, my child, and acquire knowledge,
    and pay close attention to my words.
25 I will impart discipline precisely[e]
    and declare knowledge accurately.

26 When the Lord created[f] his works from the beginning,
    and, in making them, determined their boundaries,
27 he arranged his works in an eternal order,
    and their dominion[g] for all generations.
They neither hunger nor grow weary,
    and they do not abandon their tasks.
28 They do not crowd one another,
    and they never disobey his word.
29 Then the Lord looked upon the earth,
    and filled it with his good things.
30 With all kinds of living beings he covered its surface,
    and into it they must return.


  1. Sirach 16:18 Other ancient authorities add The whole world past and present is in his will.
  2. Sirach 16:21 Meaning of Gk uncertain: Heb Syr If I sin, no eye can see me, and if I am disloyal all in secret, who is to know?
  3. Sirach 16:22 Heb the decree: Gk the covenant
  4. Sirach 16:22 Other ancient authorities add and a scrutiny for all comes at the end
  5. Sirach 16:25 Gk by weight
  6. Sirach 16:26 Heb: Gk judged
  7. Sirach 16:27 Or elements
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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