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Sirach 18Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (RSVCE)

The Majesty of God

18 He who lives for ever created the whole universe;
    the Lord alone will be declared righteous.[a]
To none has he given power to proclaim his works;
    and who can search out his mighty deeds?
Who can measure his majestic power?
    And who can fully recount his mercies?
It is not possible to diminish or increase them,
    nor is it possible to trace the wonders of the Lord.
When a man has finished, he is just beginning,
    and when he stops, he will be at a loss.
What is man, and of what use is he?
    What is his good and what is his evil?
The number of a man’s days is great if he reaches a hundred years.
10 Like a drop of water from the sea and a grain[b] of sand
    so are a few years in the day of eternity.
11 Therefore the Lord is patient with them
    and pours out his mercy upon them.
12 He sees and recognizes that their end will be evil;
    therefore he grants them forgiveness in abundance.
13 The compassion of man is for his neighbor,
    but the compassion of the Lord is for all living beings.
He rebukes and trains and teaches them,
    and turns them back, as a shepherd his flock.
14 He has compassion on those who accept his discipline
    and who are eager for his judgments.

The Right Spirit in Giving Alms

15 My son, do not mix reproach with your good deeds,
    nor cause grief by your words when you present a gift.
16 Does not the dew assuage the scorching heat?
    So a word is better than a gift.
17 Indeed, does not a word surpass a good gift?
    Both are to be found in a gracious man.
18 A fool is ungracious and abusive,
    and the gift of a grudging man makes the eyes dim.

The Need of Reflection and Self-control

19 Before you speak, learn,
    and before you fall ill, take care of your health.
20 Before judgment, examine yourself,
    and in the hour of visitation you will find forgiveness.
21 Before falling ill, humble yourself,
    and when you are on the point of sinning, turn back.
22 Let nothing hinder you from paying a vow promptly,
    and do not wait until death to be released from it.
23 Before making a vow,[c] prepare yourself;
    and do not be like a man who tempts the Lord.
24 Think of his wrath on the day of death,
    and of the moment of vengeance when he turns away his face.
25 In the time of plenty think of the time of hunger;
    in the days of wealth think of poverty and need.
26 From morning to evening conditions change,
    and all things move swiftly before the Lord.

27 A wise man is cautious in everything,
    and in days of sin he guards against wrongdoing.
28 Every intelligent man knows wisdom,
    and he praises the one who finds her.
29 Those who understand sayings become skilled themselves,
    and pour forth apt proverbs.

30 Do not follow your base desires,
    but restrain your appetites.
31 If you allow your soul to take pleasure in base desire,
    it will make you the laughingstock of your enemies.
32 Do not revel in great luxury,
    lest you become impoverished by its expense.
33 Do not become a beggar by feasting with borrowed money,
    when you have nothing in your purse.


  1. Sirach 18:2 Other authorities add and there is no other beside him; he steers the world with the span of his hand, and all things obey his will; for he is king of all things, by his power separating among them the holy things from the profane.
  2. Sirach 18:10 Gk pebble
  3. Sirach 18:23 Or offering a prayer
Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (RSVCE)

The Revised Standard Version of the Bible: Catholic Edition, copyright © 1965, 1966 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


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