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God’s Punishment of Sinners

16 Do not desire a multitude of worthless[a] children,
    and do not rejoice in ungodly offspring.
If they multiply, do not rejoice in them,
    unless the fear of the Lord is in them.
Do not trust in their survival,
    or rely on their numbers;[b]
for one can be better than a thousand,
    and to die childless is better than to have ungodly children.
For through one intelligent person a city can be filled with people,
    but through a clan of outlaws it becomes desolate.

Many such things my eye has seen,
    and my ear has heard things more striking than these.
In an assembly of sinners a fire is kindled,
    and in a disobedient nation wrath blazes up.
He did not forgive the ancient giants
    who revolted in their might.
He did not spare the neighbors of Lot,
    whom he loathed on account of their arrogance.
He showed no pity on the doomed nation,
    on those dispossessed because of their sins;[c]
10 or on the six hundred thousand foot soldiers
    who assembled in their stubbornness.[d]
11 Even if there were only one stiff-necked person,
    it would be a wonder if he remained unpunished.
For mercy and wrath are with the Lord;[e]
    he is mighty to forgive—but he also pours out wrath.
12 Great as is his mercy, so also is his chastisement;
    he judges a person according to his or her deeds.
13 The sinner will not escape with plunder,
    and the patience of the godly will not be frustrated.
14 He makes room for every act of mercy;
    everyone receives in accordance with his or her deeds.[f]

17 Do not say, “I am hidden from the Lord,
    and who from on high has me in mind?
Among so many people I am unknown,
    for what am I in a boundless creation?
18 Lo, heaven and the highest heaven,
    the abyss and the earth, tremble at his visitation![g]
19 The very mountains and the foundations of the earth
    quiver and quake when he looks upon them.
20 But no human mind can grasp this,
    and who can comprehend his ways?
21 Like a tempest that no one can see,
    so most of his works are concealed.[h]
22 Who is to announce his acts of justice?
    Or who can await them? For his decree[i] is far off.”[j]
23 Such are the thoughts of one devoid of understanding;
    a senseless and misguided person thinks foolishly.

God’s Wisdom Seen in Creation

24 Listen to me, my child, and acquire knowledge,
    and pay close attention to my words.
25 I will impart discipline precisely[k]
    and declare knowledge accurately.

26 When the Lord created[l] his works from the beginning,
    and, in making them, determined their boundaries,
27 he arranged his works in an eternal order,
    and their dominion[m] for all generations.
They neither hunger nor grow weary,
    and they do not abandon their tasks.
28 They do not crowd one another,
    and they never disobey his word.
29 Then the Lord looked upon the earth,
    and filled it with his good things.
30 With all kinds of living beings he covered its surface,
    and into it they must return.


  1. Sirach 16:1 Heb: Gk unprofitable
  2. Sirach 16:3 Other ancient authorities add For you will groan in untimely mourning, and will know of their sudden end.
  3. Sirach 16:9 Other ancient authorities add All these things he did to the hard-hearted nations, and by the multitude of his holy ones he was not appeased.
  4. Sirach 16:10 Other ancient authorities add Chastising, showing mercy, striking, healing, the Lord persisted in mercy and discipline.
  5. Sirach 16:11 Gk him
  6. Sirach 16:14 Other ancient authorities add 15 The Lord hardened Pharaoh so that he did not recognize him, in order that his works might be known under heaven. 16 His mercy is manifest to the whole of creation, and he divided his light and darkness with a plumb line.
  7. Sirach 16:18 Other ancient authorities add The whole world past and present is in his will.
  8. Sirach 16:21 Meaning of Gk uncertain: Heb Syr If I sin, no eye can see me, and if I am disloyal all in secret, who is to know?
  9. Sirach 16:22 Heb the decree: Gk the covenant
  10. Sirach 16:22 Other ancient authorities add and a scrutiny for all comes at the end
  11. Sirach 16:25 Gk by weight
  12. Sirach 16:26 Heb: Gk judged
  13. Sirach 16:27 Or elements

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