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The Activity of the Scribe

39 On the other hand he who devotes himself
    to the study of the law of the Most High
will seek out the wisdom of all the ancients,
    and will be concerned with prophecies;
he will preserve the discourse of notable men
    and penetrate the subtleties of parables;
he will seek out the hidden meanings of proverbs
    and be at home with the obscurities of parables.
He will serve among great men
    and appear before rulers;
he will travel through the lands of foreign nations,
    for he tests the good and the evil among men.
He will set his heart to rise early
    to seek the Lord who made him,
    and will make supplication before the Most High;
he will open his mouth in prayer
    and make supplication for his sins.

If the great Lord is willing,
    he will be filled with the spirit of understanding;
he will pour forth words[a] of wisdom
    and give thanks to the Lord in prayer.
He will direct his counsel and knowledge aright,
    and meditate on his secrets.
He will reveal instruction in his teaching,
    and will glory in the law of the Lord’s covenant.
Many will praise his understanding,
    and it will never be blotted out;
his memory will not disappear,
    and his name will live through all generations.
10 Nations will declare his wisdom,
    and the congregation will proclaim his praise;
11 if he lives long, he will leave a name greater than a thousand,
    and if he goes to rest, it is enough[b] for him.

A Hymn of Praise to God

12 I have yet more to say, which I have thought upon,
    and I am filled, like the moon at the full.
13 Listen to me, O you holy sons,
    and bud like a rose growing by a stream of water;
14 send forth fragrance like frankincense,
    and put forth blossoms like a lily.
Scatter the fragrance, and sing a hymn of praise;
    bless the Lord for all his works;
15 ascribe majesty to his name
    and give thanks to him with praise,
with songs on your lips, and with lyres;
    and this you shall say in thanksgiving:
16 “All things are the works of the Lord, for they are very good,
    and whatever he commands will be done in his time.”

17 No one can say, “What is this?” “Why is that?”
    for in God’s[c] time all things will be sought after.
At his word the waters stood in a heap,
    and the reservoirs of water at the word of his mouth.
18 At his command whatever pleases him is done,
    and none can limit his saving power.
19 The works of all flesh are before him,
    and nothing can be hid from his eyes.
20 From everlasting to everlasting he beholds them,
    and nothing is marvelous to him.
21 No one can say, “What is this?” “Why is that?”
    for everything has been created for its use.

22 His blessing covers the dry land like a river,
    and drenches it like a flood.
23 The nations will incur his wrath,
    just as he turns fresh water into salt.
24 To the holy his ways are straight,
    just as they are obstacles to the wicked.
25 From the beginning good things were created for good people,
    just as evil things for sinners.
26 Basic to all the needs of man’s life
    are water and fire and iron and salt
and wheat flour and milk and honey,
    the blood of the grape, and oil and clothing.
27 All these are for good to the godly,
    just as they turn into evils for sinners.

28 There are winds that have been created for vengeance,
    and in their anger they scourge heavily;
in the time of consummation they will pour out their strength
    and calm the anger of their Maker.
29 Fire and hail and famine and pestilence,
    all these have been created for vengeance;
30 the teeth of wild beasts, and scorpions and vipers,
    and the sword that punishes the ungodly with destruction;
31 they will rejoice in his commands,
    and be made ready on earth for their service,
    and when their times come they will not transgress his word.

32 Therefore from the beginning I have been convinced,
    and have thought this out and left it in writing:
33 The works of the Lord are all good,
    and he will supply every need in its hour.
34 And no one can say, “This is worse than that,”
    for all things will prove good in their season.
35 So now sing praise with all your heart and voice,
    and bless the name of the Lord.


  1. Sirach 39:6 Other authorities read his words
  2. Sirach 39:11 Cn: the meaning of the Greek is uncertain
  3. Sirach 39:17 Gk his

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