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Sirach 51:13-30 Revised Standard Version (RSV)

Autobiographical Poem on Wisdom

13 While I was still young, before I went on my travels,
    I sought wisdom openly in my prayer.
14 Before the temple I asked for her,
    and I will search for her to the last.
15 From blossom to[a] ripening grape
    my heart delighted in her;
my foot entered upon the straight path;
    from my youth I followed her steps.
16 I inclined my ear a little and received her,
    and I found for myself much instruction.
17 I made progress therein;
    to him who gives wisdom I will give glory.
18 For I resolved to live according to wisdom,[b]
    and I was zealous for the good;
    and I shall never be put to shame.
19 My soul grappled with wisdom,[c]
    and in my conduct I was strict;[d]
I spread out my hands to the heavens,
    and lamented my ignorance of her.
20 I directed my soul to her,
    and through purification I found her.
I gained understanding[e] with her from the first,
    therefore I will not be forsaken.
21 My heart was stirred to seek her,
    therefore I have gained a good possession.
22 The Lord gave me a tongue as my reward,
    and I will praise him with it.

23 Draw near to me, you who are untaught,
    and lodge in my school.
24 Why do you say you are lacking in these things,[f]
    and why are your souls very thirsty?
25 I opened my mouth and said,
    Get these things[g] for yourselves without money.
26 Put your neck under the yoke,
    and let your souls receive instruction;
    it is to be found close by.
27 See with your eyes that I have labored little
    and found for myself much rest.
28 Get instruction with a large sum of silver,
    and you will gain by it much gold.
29 May your soul rejoice in his mercy,
    and may you not be put to shame when you praise him.
30 Do your work before the appointed time,
    and in God’s[h] time he will give you your reward.


  1. Sirach 51:15 Other authorities read As from
  2. Sirach 51:18 Gk her
  3. Sirach 51:19 Gk her
  4. Sirach 51:19 The Greek text of this line is uncertain
  5. Sirach 51:20 Gk heart
  6. Sirach 51:24 Cn Compare Heb Syr: The Greek text of this line is uncertain
  7. Sirach 51:25 Greek lacks these things
  8. Sirach 51:30 Gk his
Revised Standard Version (RSV)

Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright © 1946, 1952, and 1971 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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