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Sirach 1Common English Bible (CEB)

Prologue

Numerous and wonderful things have been given to us through the Law, the Prophets, and the other writings that followed them. For this reason, it is necessary to praise Israel for education and wisdom. It is also necessary not only for those who read them to gain understanding but also for those who love learning to be of service to strangers when they speak and write. Because of this, my grandfather, Jesus, who had devoted himself more and more to the reading of the Law, the Prophets, 10 and the other ancestral scrolls, 11 and had gained enough experience with them, 12 was himself led to compose a work dealing with education and wisdom. 13 His goal was that lovers of learning who were committed to education and wisdom[a] 14 should gain much more by living according to the Law.

15 You are invited, therefore, 17 to read 16 with goodwill and attention 18 and to be forgiving 19 in cases where we seem 20 less than perfect in translating some expressions, despite working hard on the translation.

21-22 What was originally expressed in Hebrew does not have the same power when translated into another language. 23 Not only in this case 24 but even in the case of the Law, the Prophets, 25 and the rest of the scrolls, 26 there’s no small difference between the translation and their expression in their own language.

27 In the thirty-eighth year of the rule of King Euergetes, 28 after I had arrived in Egypt and stayed awhile, 29 having found a copy of this scroll to contain no small amount of practical advice, 30 I personally made it a high priority to apply speed and hard work to translating this very scroll. 31-32 I worked skillfully and stayed up many nights 33 to bring the scroll to completion in order to publish it 34 for those living abroad, who want to become well educated, 35 preparing their character to live by the Law.

Wisdom’s origins

All wisdom comes from the Lord.
    It lives with him forever.
Who can count the grains of sand in the seas,
    the drops of rain,
    or the days of eternity?
Who can discover heaven’s height,
    the earth’s breadth,
    the abyss,[b] or wisdom?
Wisdom was created before everything else.
    Right understanding
    is as old as eternity.[c]
To whom was Wisdom’s root revealed?
    Who knew her wonderful feats?[d]
There is one who is wise, greatly feared,
    seated upon his throne.
The Lord himself created her;
    he saw her; he measured her.
The Lord poured her out
over everything he made,
    to be with each person
    to the extent that God grants,
    and he supplied her abundantly
    to those who love him.[e]

Fear of the Lord is Wisdom

11 Fear of the Lord is a person’s glory, boasting, gladness,
    and crown of rejoicing.
12 Fear of the Lord will cheer the heart,
    and it will give gladness, joy,
    and a long life.[f]
13 Things will go well at the end
for those who fear the Lord.
    They will be blessed
    at the time of death.

14 Wisdom starts with fearing the Lord,
    and she is joined to the faithful
    even within the womb.
15 Wisdom built her nest among human beings as an eternal foundation,
    and they will entrust
    their offspring to her.
16 Wisdom is fully satisfied
with fearing the Lord,
    and she will make people drunk
    with her fruits.
17 She will fill all their houses
with desirable things
    and fill their storehouses
    from her produce.
18 Fearing the Lord
is Wisdom’s crowning garland,
    sprouting forth peace
    and restorative health.[g]
19 She rained down skill
and insightful knowledge,
    and she raised up the reputation
    of those who held on to her.
20 Fearing the Lord is Wisdom’s root,
    and her branches yield a long life.[h]
22 Unjust anger won’t be justified,
    for the tipping point of one’s anger
    is one’s downfall.
23 Patient people will hold themselves back
until the right moment,
    and afterward they will be paid back
    with joy.
24 They will hide their words
until the right moment,
    and many will talk about
    their good judgment.

25 There are intelligent proverbs
in Wisdom’s treasuries,
    but sinners avoid godliness
    like the plague.
26 If you want to find Wisdom,
then keep the commandments,
    and the Lord will supply her to you in
    vast quantities.
27 Fearing the Lord brings
wisdom and education.
    He is pleased with faithfulness
    and gentleness.
28 Don’t disobey the fear of the Lord,
    and don’t approach him[i]
    with a divided heart.
29 Don’t give people reason
to call you a hypocrite,
    and pay attention to what you say.
30 Don’t exalt yourself,
or else you might fall
    and bring dishonor to yourself.
The Lord will reveal your secrets,
    and he will overthrow you
    in the middle of the congregation,
    because you didn’t come
    with proper regard for the Lord
        and your heart was full of insincerity.

Footnotes:

  1. Sirach 1:1 Gk these things
  2. Sirach 1:3 Gk abysson
  3. Sirach 1:4 LXXb adds 1:5 The source of wisdom is God’s word in the highest places. She walks in accordance with eternal commandments.
  4. Sirach 1:6 b adds 1:7 To whom has Wisdom’s skill been shown? Who has understood her vast experience?
  5. Sirach 1:9 b adds to 1:10 Love for the Lord is recognized as wisdom. He gives wisdom to the person to whom he appears as a vision of himself.
  6. Sirach 1:12 b adds to 1:12 Fear of the Lord is the Lord’s gift, because he also establishes paths for love.
  7. Sirach 1:18 b adds to 1:18 and the beginning of 1:19 Both are God’s gifts for peace, and those who love God find more reason to boast. God saw Wisdom and measured her.
  8. Sirach 1:20 b adds 1:21 Fear of the Lord drives sins away, and when it lasts, it will turn aside all wrath.
  9. Sirach 1:28 Or it
Common English Bible (CEB)

Copyright © 2011 by Common English Bible

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