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17 The Lord created human beings out of earth,
    and makes them return to it again.
He gave them a fixed number of days,
    but granted them authority over everything on the earth.[a]
He endowed them with strength like his own,[b]
    and made them in his own image.
He put the fear of them[c] in all living beings,
    and gave them dominion over beasts and birds.[d]
Discretion and tongue and eyes,
    ears and a mind for thinking he gave them.
He filled them with knowledge and understanding,
    and showed them good and evil.
He put the fear of him into[e] their hearts
    to show them the majesty of his works.[f]
10 And they will praise his holy name,
    to proclaim the grandeur of his works.
11 He bestowed knowledge upon them,
    and allotted to them the law of life.[g]
12 He established with them an eternal covenant,
    and revealed to them his decrees.
13 Their eyes saw his glorious majesty,
    and their ears heard the glory of his voice.
14 He said to them, “Beware of all evil.”
    And he gave commandment to each of them concerning the neighbor.
15 Their ways are always known to him;
    they will not be hid from his eyes.[h]
17 He appointed a ruler for every nation,
    but Israel is the Lord’s own portion.[i]
19 All their works are as clear as the sun before him,
    and his eyes are ever upon their ways.
20 Their iniquities are not hidden from him,
    and all their sins are before the Lord.[j]
22 One’s almsgiving is like a signet ring with the Lord,[k]
    and he will keep a person’s kindness like the apple of his eye.[l]
23 Afterward he will rise up and repay them,
    and he will bring their recompense on their heads.
24 Yet to those who repent he grants a return,
    and he encourages those who are losing hope.

A Call to Repentance

25 Turn back to the Lord and forsake your sins;
    pray in his presence and lessen your offense.
26 Return to the Most High and turn away from iniquity,[m]
    and hate intensely what he abhors.
27 Who will sing praises to the Most High in Hades
    in place of the living who give thanks?
28 From the dead, as from one who does not exist, thanksgiving has ceased;
    those who are alive and well sing the Lord’s praises.
29 How great is the mercy of the Lord,
    and his forgiveness for those who return to him!
30 For not everything is within human capability,
    since human beings are not immortal.
31 What is brighter than the sun? Yet it can be eclipsed.
    So flesh and blood devise evil.
32 He marshals the host of the height of heaven;
    but all human beings are dust and ashes.


  1. Sirach 17:2 Lat: Gk it
  2. Sirach 17:3 Lat: Gk proper to them
  3. Sirach 17:4 Syr: Gk him
  4. Sirach 17:4 Other ancient authorities add as verse 5, They obtained the use of the five faculties of the Lord; as sixth he distributed to them the gift of mind, and as seventh, reason, the interpreter of one’s faculties.
  5. Sirach 17:8 Other ancient authorities read He set his eye upon
  6. Sirach 17:8 Other ancient authorities add and he gave them to boast of his marvels forever
  7. Sirach 17:11 Other ancient authorities add so that they may know that they who are alive now are mortal
  8. Sirach 17:15 Other ancient authorities add 16 Their ways from youth tend toward evil, and they are unable to make for themselves hearts of flesh in place of their stony hearts. 17 For in the division of the nations of the whole earth, he appointed
  9. Sirach 17:17 Other ancient authorities add as verse 18, whom, being his firstborn, he brings up with discipline, and allotting to him the light of his love, he does not neglect him.
  10. Sirach 17:20 Other ancient authorities add as verse 21, But the Lord, who is gracious and knows how they are formed, has neither left them nor abandoned them, but has spared them.
  11. Sirach 17:22 Gk him
  12. Sirach 17:22 Other ancient authorities add apportioning repentance to his sons and daughters
  13. Sirach 17:26 Other ancient authorities add for he will lead you out of darkness to the light of health.