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The Majesty of God

18 He who lives forever created the whole universe;(A)
    the Lord alone will be justified.[a](B)
To none has he given power to proclaim his works,
    and who can search out his mighty deeds?(C)
Who can measure his majestic power,
    and who can fully recount his mercies?(D)
It is not possible to diminish or increase them,
    nor is it possible to fathom the wonders of the Lord.(E)
When humans have finished, they are just beginning,
    and when they stop, they are still perplexed.
What are humans, and of what use are they?
    What is good in them, and what is evil?(F)
The number of days in their life is great if they reach one hundred years.[b](G)
10 Like a drop of water from the sea and a grain of sand,
    so are a few years among the days of eternity.(H)
11 That is why the Lord is patient with them
    and pours out his mercy upon them.
12 He sees and recognizes that their end is miserable;
    therefore he grants his forgiveness all the more.(I)
13 The compassion of humans is for their neighbors,
    but the compassion of the Lord is for every living thing.
He rebukes and trains and teaches them
    and turns them back, as a shepherd his flock.(J)
14 He has compassion on those who accept his discipline
    and who are eager for his decrees.(K)

The Right Spirit in Giving Alms

15 My child, do not mix reproach with your good deeds
    or harsh words with any gift.(L)
16 Does not the dew give relief from the scorching heat?
    So a word is better than a gift.(M)
17 Indeed, does not a word surpass a good gift?
    Both are to be found in a gracious person.
18 A fool will rebuke ungraciously,
    and the gift of a grudging giver makes the eyes weary.(N)

The Need of Reflection and Self-control

19 Before you speak, learn,
    and before you fall ill, take care of yourself.(O)
20 Before judgment comes, examine yourself,
    and at the time of scrutiny you will find forgiveness.(P)
21 Before falling ill, humble yourself,
    and when you have sinned, repent.(Q)
22 Let nothing hinder you from paying a vow promptly,
    and do not wait until death to be released from it.(R)
23 Before making a vow, prepare yourself;
    do not be like one who puts the Lord to the test.(S)
24 Think of his wrath on the day of death
    and of the moment of vengeance when he turns away his face.(T)
25 In the time of plenty think of the time of hunger;
    in days of wealth think of poverty and need.(U)
26 From morning to evening conditions change;
    all things move swiftly before the Lord.(V)

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  1. 18.2 Other ancient authorities add and there is no other beside him; he steers the world with the span of his hand, and all things obey his will, for he is king of all things by his power, separating among them the holy things from the profane.
  2. 18.9 Other ancient authorities add but the death of each one is beyond the calculation of all


30 Do not follow your base desires
    but restrain your appetites.(A)
31 If you allow your soul to take pleasure in base desire,
    it will make you the laughingstock of your enemies.(B)
32 Do not revel in great luxury,
    or you may become impoverished by contact with it.(C)
33 Do not become a beggar by feasting with borrowed money,
    when you have nothing in your purse.[b]

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  1. 18.30 This heading is included in the Gk text.
  2. 18.33 Other ancient authorities add for you will be plotting against your own life