16 A large family is nothing to be desired if the children are worthless. Godless children are nothing to be proud of.2 No matter how many children you have, don't look on them with pride unless they fear the Lord.3 Don't put much hope in their future or expect them to live a long time. One child who does the Lord's will is better than a thousand who do not.[a] It is better to go to your grave with no children at all than to have children who are godless.
4 A city's population may grow because of the wisdom of one person, while a whole tribe of lawless people disappears.5 I have seen such things many times and have heard of even more striking examples.6 The Lord's flaming anger will break out against a small gathering of sinners or a disobedient nation.7 He did not forgive those ancient giants who rebelled against him, confident of their own strength.8 He detested the arrogance of the people among whom Lot lived, and he did not spare them.9 He showed no mercy on that nation which he doomed to destruction for its sins,10 nor on those 600,000 people on the march through the wilderness who gathered together in stubborn rebellion.11 Even if there had been only one stubborn person, it would have been a miracle if he had escaped punishment. The Lord is merciful, but he can also become angry. He can be overwhelming in his forgiveness or in his anger.12 His punishment is as severe as his mercy is great. He judges people by what they have done.13 No sinner can escape with what he has stolen. The Lord will reward the patience of devout people.14 Every righteous person will be rewarded;[b] everyone will get what he deserves.[c]
17 Never say, I will hide from the Lord. Nobody up there is going to give me a thought. How can I be noticed among so many people? The creation is so enormous, what am I worth?18 When the Lord comes, everything will tremble: the earth and the great waters beneath it, the sky and the heavens above it.19 The mountains will shake, and the foundations of the earth will shudder when he looks at them.20 The Lord isn't going to give me a thought. Nobody cares what I do.21 If I sin and am secretly disloyal, nobody will know it.[d]22 If I do what is right, nobody will tell the Lord about it. Who wants to wait for him, anyway? He is too slow in doing what he has said he would.
23 Only someone with very little sense, and foolishly misguided, would think things like that.
God's Wisdom in Creation
24 My child, listen and pay attention to me; you will gain knowledge if you do.25 I will give you diligent and accurate instruction.
26 In the beginning the Lord did his work of creation,[e] and gave everything a place of its own. 27 He arranged everything in an eternal order and decreed that it should be that way forever. Not one part of creation ever grows hungry; no part grows tired or stops its work. 28 The parts do not crowd one another, and they never disobey his word. 29 When the Lord had made all this, he looked at the earth and filled it with good things. 30 He covered it with all kinds of creatures that must die and return to the dust.
Sirach 16:3Hebrew who does...do not; Greek is better than a thousand.
Sirach 16:14Hebrew Every...rewarded; Greek He makes room for every act of mercy.
Sirach 16:14Some manuscripts add verses 15-16: The Lord made the king of Egypt so stubborn that he would not acknowledge the Lord, in order that the world might know the Lord's works. 16 He shows his mercy to all creation; he has divided his light from darkness with a plumb line.
Sirach 16:21Hebrew 20-21 The Lord...know it; Greek 20 It is altogether too big for the human mind to handle. No one can understand his ways. 21 Most of his works are just as invisible as the storm wind.
Sirach 16:26Hebrew In...creation; Greek In the judgment of the Lord his works are from the beginning.
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