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Sirach 17Common English Bible (CEB)

17 The Lord created a human being
out of earth,
    and he returned that human being
    into it again.
God gave human beings a set number
of days and a fixed time,
    and he gave them authority
    over the things that are upon the earth.
God endowed them with strength like his, and he made them according
to his image.
God made all living beings afraid of them, so that they might exercise dominion over the animals and birds.[a]
God gave them the capacity to plan,
a tongue and eyes,
    ears and a mind[b] for thinking.
God filled them with common sense,
    and he showed them
    good things and bad.
God put awe for him in their hearts,
    in order to show them the greatness
    of his works.[c]
So that they might tell of the magnificence of his works,
10     they will praise his holy name.
11 God placed knowledge before them,
    and he gave them a code for living.[d]
12 God established an eternal covenant
with them,
    and he showed them his decrees.
13 They saw the majesty of his glory
with their own eyes,
    and they heard his glorious voice
    with their own ears.
14 God said to them,
“Beware of every injustice,”
    and he gave each of them commandments concerning
    their neighbor.

15 Their ways are always before him;
    they won’t be hidden from his sight.[e]
17 God appointed a leader for each nation,
    and Israel is
    the Lord’s responsibility.[f]
19 All of their deeds are before him
as plain as the sun,
    and his eyes are always on their ways.
20 Their wrongs are not hidden from him,
    and all their sins are exposed
    in the Lord’s presence.[g]
22 A person’s acts of charity
are like a seal with him,
    and he will treasure a person’s generosity like the apple of his eye.[h]
23 Afterward God will rise up
and repay them;
    he will deliver their repayment
    upon their heads.
24 However, for those who changed their hearts and minds, God granted a way back, and he encouraged those
who were abandoning hope.

25 Turn back to the Lord
and leave sin behind;
    offer prayers in his presence,
    and reduce your offense.
26 Return to the Most High,
and turn from injustice,[i]
    and hate what he detests.
27 Who will praise the Most High
in the grave[j]
    instead of the living
    and those who give thanks?
28 From the dead thanksgiving has perished, since they are no longer alive;
    those who are alive and healthy
    will praise the Lord.
29 How great is the Lord’s mercy!
    How quickly is he reconciled
    with those who turn back to him!
30 Human beings can’t do all things,
    because no person is immortal.
31 What shines brighter than the sun?
Even that fails.
    Flesh and blood will hanker after evil.
32 The Lord examines the might
of heaven’s height,
    and all human beings are dust and ashes.


  1. Sirach 17:4 LXXb adds 17:5 They received the use of the Lord’s five faculties, but he apportioned to them the gift of mind as a sixth, and the seventh, reason, the interpreter of his faculties.
  2. Sirach 17:6 LXX heart
  3. Sirach 17:8 LXXb adds He allowed them to boast about his wonders through the ages.
  4. Sirach 17:11 LXXb adds so that they are mindful that those who are alive now are mortal.
  5. Sirach 17:15 LXXb adds 17:16–17a Their ways from youth led toward evil things, and they were not strong enough to make their hearts flesh instead of stone. When he divided up the nations of all the earth,
  6. Sirach 17:17 LXXb 17:18 adds whom, being the oldest male, he nurtures with instruction, and, apportioning the light of his love, he doesn’t neglect Israel (or him).
  7. Sirach 17:20 LXXb adds 17:21 But the Lord, being kind and knowing how they are formed, neither neglected them nor stopped sparing them.
  8. Sirach 17:22 LXXb adds doling out changed lives to his sons and daughters.
  9. Sirach 17:26 LXXb adds because he will guide you out of darkness into the healthful light.
  10. Sirach 17:27 LXX Hades; Heb Sheol
Common English Bible (CEB)

Copyright © 2011 by Common English Bible


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