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The Prologue

Whereas many great teachings have been given to us through the law and the prophets and the others that followed them, on account of which we should praise Israel for instruction and wisdom; and since it is necessary not only that the readers themselves should acquire understanding but also that those who love learning should be able to help the outsiders by both speaking and writing, my grandfather Jesus, after devoting himself especially to the reading of the law and the prophets and the other books of our fathers, and after acquiring considerable proficiency in them, was himself also led to write something pertaining to instruction and wisdom, in order that, by becoming conversant with this also, those who love learning should make even greater progress in living according to the law.

You are urged therefore to read with good will and attention, and to be indulgent[a] in cases where, despite out diligent labor in translating, we may seem to have rendered some phrases imperfectly. For what was originally expressed in Hebrew does not have exactly the same sense when translated into another language. Not only this work, but even the law itself, the prophecies, and the rest of the books differ not a little as originally expressed.

When I came to Egypt in the thirty-eighth year of the reign of Eu-er′getes and stayed for some time, I found opportunity for no little instruction.[b] It seemed highly necessary that I should myself devote some pains and labor to the translation of the following book, using in that period of time great watchfulness and skill in order to complete and publish the book for those living abroad who wished to gain learning, being prepared in character to live according to the law.

In Praise of Wisdom

All wisdom comes from the Lord
    and is with him for ever.
The sand of the sea, the drops of rain,
    and the days of eternity—who can count them?
The height of heaven, the breadth of the earth,
    the abyss, and wisdom—who can search them out?
Wisdom was created before all things,
    and prudent understanding from eternity.[c]
The root of wisdom—to whom has it been revealed?
    Her clever devices—who knows them?[d]
There is One who is wise, greatly to be feared,
    sitting upon his throne.
The Lord himself created wisdom;[e]
    he saw her and apportioned her,
    he poured her out upon all his works.
10 She dwells with all flesh according to his gift,
    and he supplied her to those who love him.

Fear of the Lord Is True Wisdom

11 The fear of the Lord is glory and exultation,
    and gladness and a crown of rejoicing.
12 The fear of the Lord delights the heart,
    and gives gladness and joy and long life.
13 With him who fears the Lord it will go well at the end;
    on the day of his death he will be blessed.

14 To fear the Lord is the beginning of wisdom;
    she is created with the faithful in the womb.
15 She made[f] among men an eternal foundation,
    and among their descendants she will be trusted.
16 To fear the Lord is wisdom’s full measure;
    she satisfies[g] men with her fruits;
17 she fills their whole house with desirable goods,
    and their storehouses with her produce.
18 The fear of the Lord is the crown of wisdom,
    making peace and perfect health to flourish.
19 He saw her and apportioned her;
    he rained down knowledge and discerning comprehension,
    and he exalted the glory of those who held her fast.
20 To fear the Lord is the root of wisdom,
    and her branches are long life.[h]

22 Unrighteous anger cannot be justified,
    for a man’s anger tips the scale to his ruin.
23 A patient man will endure until the right moment,
    and then joy will burst forth for him.
24 He will hide his words until the right moment,
    and the lips of many will tell of his good sense.
25 In the treasuries of wisdom are wise sayings,
    but godliness is an abomination to a sinner.
26 If you desire wisdom, keep the commandments,
    and the Lord will supply it for you.
27 For the fear of the Lord is wisdom and instruction,
    and he delights in fidelity and meekness.
28 Do not disobey the fear of the Lord;
    do not approach him with a divided mind.
29 Be not a hypocrite in men’s sight,[i]
    and keep watch over your lips.
30 Do not exalt yourself lest you fall,
    and thus bring dishonor upon yourself.
The Lord will reveal your secrets
    and cast you down in the midst of the congregation,
because you did not come in the fear of the Lord,
    and your heart was full of deceit.


  1. Sirach 1:1 Or Please read therefore with good will and attention, and be indulgent
  2. Sirach 1:1 Other authorities read a copy affording no little instruction
  3. Sirach 1:4 Other authorities add as verse 5, The source of wisdom is God’s word in the highest heaven, and her ways are the eternal commandments.
  4. Sirach 1:6 Other authorities add as verse 7, The knowledge of wisdom—to whom was it manifested? And her abundant experience—who has understood it?
  5. Sirach 1:9 Gk her
  6. Sirach 1:15 Gk made as nest
  7. Sirach 1:16 Gk intoxicates
  8. Sirach 1:20 Other authorities add as verse 21, The fear of the Lord drives away sins; and where it abides, it will turn away all anger.
  9. Sirach 1:29 Syr: Gk in the mouths of men

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