ECCLESIASTICUS

or

THE WISDOM OF JESUS SON OF SIRACH

Introduction

The title Ecclesiasticus implies that this book was used within the church. In the Christian Church in the area of Alexandria, Egypt there is evidence that this was so. Across the centuries, however, Jewish and Christian reformers rejected the book as a part of the canon. The earliest evidence of the text in Hebrew was discovered in 1900. The discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls brought to light approximately two thirds of the text in fragments. The text was translated into Greek (LXX), possibly as early as 180 -175 BCE, and later was translated into Latin by St. Jerome in his translation of the Vulgate at the request of Pope Damasus I in 382 CE. The Vulgate it was accepted but not ‘oficially” approved for many centuries. A movement to officially approve the Vulgate was made at the Council of Trent (1549 – 63) but official approval was given by Pope Pius XII in his Encyclical: “Divino Afflante Spiritu” in 1943, thereby approving not only this but also the other fourteen books of the Apocrypha, as the official text of the Roman Catholic Biblical Canon.

There seem to be several some-what different recensions of the text in various ancient manuscripts. Earlier work in standardizing the text was done by Mr. Brown and Mr. Gelson, and later expanded by Dr. Schechler This translation is an attempt to unify the various recensions as much as possible, and is based on the work edited by J. Ziegler.

The writer signs his name in 50:27, his profession in 36:14, and invites students to attend his school in 51:23. The work seems to have some evidence of a connection with the Maccabean Revolt, devoting his energies into writing in an attempt to guide the way of life of the people in that difficult time.

Some time later a Prologue was written, thought by some to have been written by the author’s grandson, who urges strongly the importance of understanding and knowledge of the Law and the Prophets and other books, which presumably are in the Hebrew canon.

The book is not carefully structured. Scholars have tried to outline the book but it is not carefully divided by subject to make an outline plausible. Its characteristic is much like that of the book of Proverbs. The emphasis is on a variety of subjects, among them being: wisdom teaching, proper speech, riches and poverty, honesty, diligence, choice of

friends, sin and death, retribution, the problem of suffering and wisdom. He has used many of the traditional themes of the prophets.

It follows the usual pattern of Hebrew teaching, in that one’s immortality comes through one’s progeny and a good name. As with other wisdom literature, it does not deal with immortality beyond what has just been written, giving no knowledge or suggestion about the end time and a possible eternal abode.

A word should be said about the alternate name for the book: The Wisdom of Jesus, Son of Sirach. The title is often written as “The Wisdom of Jesus Ben Sirach.” Ben, in Hebrew, means “son.” We have no information concerning Sirach, though possibly he was a well known person at the time of the writing of the book.

Some scholars have attempted to declare that there is evidence to unite this ook with New Testament writings. Examples of their work can be found by studying the following:

John Eccl. Matt Eccl.

1:5 18:4 6:14 28:2

1:6. 8 1:28 6:19 29:1

1:2 – 4 2:11 16:25 32:24

1:13 – 15 5:11- 2O

1:19 5:11 Luke Eccl.

1:23 5:11 1:17 48:10

5:8 27:{9 - 15

None of the studies of the connection of the above passages is very convincing. The book is listed as approved in the earliest writing of the Didache but excluded in later revisions.

On occasion a verse, in the various recensions, is found only in one ancient or a few ancient manuscripts. These are generally noted with brackets [ ] and are possibly only found in one recension.

ECCLESIASTICUS

Foreword

Many great teachings have been given to us through the Law and the Prophets and

the others (or, other books) that followed them, and for these we should praise Israel for

instruction and wisdom. [1] Now, those who read the scriptures must not only themselves

understand them, but must also be their duty, as lovers of learning, to be able through the spoken and written word, to help the outsiders. So my grandfather, Jesus [the son of Sirach], who had devoted himself especially to the reading of the Law and the Prophets and the other writings of our ancestors, and had acquired considerable proficiency in them, and felt himself to be compelled to write something pertaining to instruction and wisdom so that by becoming familiar also with his book [2] those who love learning might make even greater progress in living according to the law.

You are therefore invited [or, asked] to read it with goodwill and attention, and to be intelligent in cases where, despite our diligent labor in translating, we may seem to have rendered some phrases imperfectly. For what was originally expressed in Hebrew dies, but, gave exactly the same sense when translated [3] into another language. Not only this good, but even the Law itself, the Prophecies, and the rest of the books differ but a little when read in the original.

When I came to Egypt in the thirty-eighth year of the reign of Euergetes II and

stayed for some time, [4] I found opportunity for no little instruction. [5] It seemed highly

necessary that I should myself devote some diligence and labor [6] to the translation of this

book. During that time I had applied my skill day and night, to complete and publish the

book for those living abroad who wished to gain knowledge and are disposed to live

according to the law.

<CHAPTER 1>

In Praise of Wisdom

1 All wisdom is from the Lord, and remain with them forever. [7]

2 Who can count the sand of the sea,

the drops of rain, and the days of eternity?

3 Who can measure the height of heaven, the breadth of the earth,

the subterranean waters, (or, the depth of the abyss), or wisdom?

` 4 Wisdom was created before all other things,

and prudent understanding from eternity. [8]

5 [The source of wisdom is God’s word in the highest heaven,

and her ways are the eternal commandment.] [9]

6 The root of wisdom – to whom has it been revealed?

Her subtleties – who knows them?

7 [The knowledge of wisdom – to whom was it manifested?

And her abundant experience – who has understood it?]

8 There is but one who is wise, greatly to be feared,

seated upon his throne – the Lord.

9 It is he who created her, he saw her and took her measure,

he poured her out upon all his works,

10 upon all the living according to his gift,

he lavished her upon those who love him.

[Love of the Lord is glorious wisdom; to those to whom he appears,

he apportions her, that they may see him.]

11 This fear [10] of the Lord is brings glory (or, hope) and exultation,

and gladness and a garland of rejoicing.

12 The fear of the Lord delights the heart,

and gives gladness and joy and long life.

[The fear of the Lord is a gift from the Lord,

also for love he makes firm paths.]

13 Those who fear the Lord will have a happy end;

on the day of their death they will be blessed.

14 To fear the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,

she is created with the faithful in her womb.

15 She made [11] among human beings an eternal foundation,

and among their descendants [12] she will abide forever.

16 To fear the Lord is fullness of wisdom,

she inebriates morals with her fruit;

17 she fills their [13] entire house with desirable goods,

and their storehouses with her produce.

18 The fear of the Lord is divine wisdom,

making peace and perfect health to flourish.

[Both are gifts of God for peace, glory opens up for those who love him:

He saw her and took her measure.]

19 She rained down knowledge and discerning comprehension,

and she heightened the glory of those who held her fast.

20 To fear the Lord is the root of wisdom,

and her branches are long life.

21 [The fear of the Lord drives away sins,

and where it abides, it will turn away all anger.]

Self-control

22 Unjust anger cannot be justified (or, excused),

for anger tips the scale to one’s personal downfall.

23 Those who are patient stay calm until the right moment,

and then cheerfulness comes back to them.

24 They hold back their words until the right moment,

for then many will speak of their good sense.

Wisdom and Reverence for God

25 In the treasures of wisdom are wise sayings,

but godliness [14] has been deserted by the sinners.

26 If you desire wisdom, keep the commandments,

and the Lord will lavish wisdom upon you.

27 For the fear of the Lord is wisdom and discipline,

fidelity and humility are his delight.

28 Do not disobey the fear of the Lord,

do not approach him with your mind being insincere.

29 Do not be a hypocrite [15] before others,

and keep watch over your lips.

30 Do not be arrogant, or you will fall

and bring dishonor upon yourself.

The Lord will reveal your secrets,

and humiliate you before the entire congregation,

because you did not come in the fear of the Lord,

and your heart was full of deceit.

<CHAPTER 2>

Faithfulness to God

1 My child, when you come to serve the Lord,

prepare yourself for testing (or, trials).

2 Set your heart on the right course and be steadfast,

and do not be dismayed in times of calamity. [16]

3 Cling to him and do not let go,

so that your last days may be prosperous.

4 Accept whatever befalls you,

and be patient in times of humiliation, [17].

5 for gold is tested (or, assayed) in the fire,

and those found acceptable (or, chosen), in the furnace of humiliation, [18]

6 must trust I him, and he will help you.

set the straight course for yourself, and base your hope in him..

7 You who fear the Lord, wait for his mercy,

do not stray, or else you may fall.

8 You who revere the Lord: trust his mercy,

and your reward will not be lost.

9 You who are in awe of the Lord, hope for prosperity (or, good things),

for lasting joy and mercy. [19]

10 Consider the past generations and be attentive:

has anyone trusted in the Lord and been disappointed?

Or has anyone who has stood firm in reverence of the Lord [20] and been forsaken?

Or, has anyone called upon him and been neglected?

11 The Lord is compassionate and merciful,

he forgives sins, and saves in time of distress

12 Woe to faint hearts and to slack hands,

and to the sinner who leads a double life!

13 Woe to the fainthearted who have no trust (or, faith)!!

Therefore they will have no shelter (or, protection)..

14 Woe to you who have lost your nerve!

What will you do at the time of the Lord’s reckoning comes?

15 Those who fear the Lord never disobey his words,

and those who love him keep his ways.

16 Those who fear the Lord try to please him,

and those who love him are filled with his law.

17 Those who fear the Lord prepared their hearts,

and humble themselves before him, saying,

18 [“Let us fall into the hands of the Lord,

but not into the hands of people,] [21]

for equal to his majesty is his mercy,

and equal to his name are his works. [22]

<CHAPTER 3>

Duties to Parents

1 O children, listen to me your father,

act accordingly, that you may be kept in safety,

2 for the Lord honors a father above his children,

and he confirms a mother’s right over her children.

3 Those who honor their father atone for sins,

4 and those who respect their mother are like those who lay up treasure.

5 Those who respect their father will have joy in their own children,

and when they pray they will be heard.

6 Those who respect their father will have a long life,

and those who honor [23] their mother obey the Lord,

7 they will submit [24] to their parents as their masters. [25]

8 Honor your father by word and deed,

that his blessing may come upon you.

9 A father’s blessing strengthens the houses of their children,

but a mother’s curse uproots their foundations. [26]

10 Do not glorify yourself by dishonoring your father,

for how can your father’s dishonor bring glory to you?

11 The honor [27] of one’s father is one’s own glory,

and it is a disgrace for children not to respect their mother.

12 My child, help your father in his old age,

and as long as he lives do nothing that would grieve him.

13 Even if his mind fails, be patient (or, considerate) with him,

for just because you have all your faculties

does not grant you permission to despise him.

14 Kindness [28] to a father will not be forgotten,

and will be as a credit to you and thus you will gain forgiveness,

15 so that, in the days of your distress it will be remembered in your favor,

like frost in sunny weather, your sins will melt away.

16 Whoever forsakes a father is like a blasphemer,

and whoever angers a mother is cursed by the Lord.

Humility

17 My child, perform your tasks with humility, [29]

then you will be loved by those whom God accepts.

18 The greater you are, the more you must humble yourself;

so you will find favor in the sight of the Lord.

19 [Many are haughty and illustrious,

but he reveals his secrets to the humble.]

20 Great is the might of the Lord,

but by the humble he is glorified.

(or, he reveals his secrets to the humble).

21 Do not meditate on what is too difficult for you,

nor investigate what is beyond your power.

22 Meditate on what has been commanded,

for what is hidden is not your concern.

23 Do not meddle in matters that you, cannot grasp,

[respond to the things that have been commanded]

for more than you can understand has been shown you,

even when they seem to be beyond you.]

24 Their desire to appear to be wise [30] has led may astray,

and wrong opinion has impaired their judgments.

25 Without eyes there is no light,

without knowledge there is no wisdom. [31]

26 A stubborn mind [32] will fare badly at the end,

and whoever loves danger will perish in it.

27 A stubborn mind will be burdened with troubles,

and the sinner adds sins to sins.

28 When calamity befalls the arrogant, there is no healing,

for an evil plant has taken root in him.

29 The mind of the intelligent appreciates proverbs,

and an attentive ear is the desire of the wise.

Giving to the Poor

30 As water extinguishes a blazing fire,

so almsgiving atones for sin.

31 Those who repay favors give thought for the future;

when they fall, they will find support.

<CHAPTER 4>

1 My child, do no cheat the poor of their livelihood,

and do not keep [33] needy eyes waiting.

2 Do not grieve (or, tantalize) the hungry, or anger ones who are in need.

3 Do not add to the troubles of the desperate,

or delay giving to the needy.

[Do not add more trouble

to a heart that is filled with problems.]

4 Do not refuse to help a beggar in distress,

or turn your face away from the poor.

5 Do not look the other way to avoid the needy,

and give no one reason to curse you,

6 for if in bitterness of soul some should curse you,

their Creator will hear their prayer.

7 Make yourself accepted by (or, popular with) the congregation,

and do not pretend to be an authority to those who are in leadership.

8 Listen to the poor,

and return their greeting politely.

9 Protect the oppressed from those who oppress,

and do not be hesitant in giving a verdict.

[Do not be fainthearted when giving judgment.]

10 Be a parent to the fatherless,

and provide, like a husband, to their mother,

for you will then be like a son of the Most High,

and he will love you more than your mother does.

Wisdom as a Teacher

11 Wisdom exalts (or, takes care) [34] of her children

and gives help to those who seek her.

12 To love wisdom is to have life,

and those who seek her early in the morning

are filled with joy.

13 Whoever holds her fast inherits glory,

and the Lord blesses the place she (or, he) enters.

14 Those who serve her ministers to the Holy One, [35]

the Lord loves those who love her.

15 Those who obey her will judge the nations,

and all who listen to her will have security.

16 If they remain faithful [to wisdom], they will inherit her,

their descendants will also obtain her. [36]

17 For at first she will walk with them on tortuous paths,

she will bring fear and dread upon them,

and will torment them by her discipline

until she trusts them, (or, until they remain faithful in their heart)

and she will test them with her ordinances. [37]

18 Then she will come straight back

to them again and gladden them,

and will reveal her secrets to them.

19 If they go astray she will forsake them,

and hand them over to their ruin.

Self-Confidence

20 [My son, observe the times and the seasons.]

Watch for the opportune time, an beware of evil,

and do not under-rate yourself.

21 For there is a shame that leads to sin,

and there is a shame that is glory and favor.

22 Do not show partiality to your own harm,

or favoritism, to your downfall.

23 Do not remain silent at the proper moment, [38]

and do not hide your wisdom. [39]

24 For Wisdom becomes known through speech,

and education through the words you speak..

25 Never speak against the truth,

but be ashamed to confess your ignorance.

26 Do not be ashamed to confess your sins, (or, name your misdeeds),

and do not try to stop the current of a river.

27 Do not let [40] yourself be dominated by a fool,

or show partiality to a ruler.

28 Stand for the truth, even if it costs you your life,

and the Lord God will fight for you.

29 Do not be reckless in your speech,

or sluggish and remiss in your deeds.

30 Do not be like a lion in your home,

or suspicious of your servant.

31 Do not let your hand be stretched out to receive,

and closed (or, tightfisted) when it is time to give.

<CHAPTER 5>

Don’t Be Presumptuous

1 Do not rely [41] on your wealth,

to make you feel independent. [42]

2 Do not follow your inclination and strength,

in pursuing the desires of our heart.

3 Do not say, “Who can have power over me?

for the Lord will surely punish you.

4 Do not say, “I sinned, yet what has happened to me?”

Understand that the Lord is slow to anger.

5 Do not be so confident of forgiveness, [43]

that you do not keep on being sinful.

6 Do not say, “His mercy is great, he will forgive the multitude of my sins,”

for both mercy and wrath are with him,

and you will feel the rage of his retribution.

7 Do not delay to return to the Lord,

and do defer action from one day to the next,

for suddenly the wrath of the Lord will come upon ou,

and at the time of punishment you will perish.

8 Do not depend on dishonest wealth,

for it will not benefit you on the day of calamity.

Sincerity and Self-control

9 Do not winnow in every wind, or follow every path.

[so it is with the double-tongued sinner,]

(or, this is the manner of duplicity).

10 Stand firm for what you know,

and let your speech be consistent.

11 Be quick to listen, but be steadfast with a good response.

12 If you know what to say, answer your neighbor;

but if not, put your hand over your mouth.

13 Honor and dishonor come from speaking,

and the tongue can be its owners downfall.

14 Do not be a gossip (or, two-faced) [44] and do not lay traps with your tongue;

for shame comes to the thief,

and severe condemnation to the double-tongued.

15 In great and small matters cause no harm, [45]

<CHAPTER 6>

1 and do not become an enemy instead of a friend,

for a bad reputation results in shame and disgrace,

so it is with the double-tongued sinner (or, duplicity)..

2 Do not fall into the grip of passion, [46]

or you may be torn apart as if by a bull. [47]

[Do not exalt yourself in the council,

so that your soul might not be tossed in pieces, as does a bull.]

3 Your leaves will be devoured and your fruit destroyed,

and you will be left like a withered tree.

4 Uncontrolled desire destroys those who harbor it, [48]

and makes them the laughingstock of their enemies.

Friendship

5 Pleasant speech [49] multiplies friends,

and courteous tongue makes acquaintance easily.

6 Let those who are friendly with you be many,

but accept advice only from one in a thousand.

7 When you acquire friends, begin by testing them,

and do not rush to trust.

8 For there are friends who are such when it suits them,

but they will not stand by you in time of trouble.

9 There are friends who change into enemies,

and disgrace you in public by quarreling.

10 And there are friends who sit at your table,

but they will not stand by you in time of trouble. [50]

11 When you are prosperous, they become your second self,

and do not speak in a humiliating manner to your servants,

12 but if you are brought low, they turn against you,

and hide themselves from you.

13 Keep a distance between you and your enemies,

and be wary of your friends.

14 Faithful friends are a secure shelter,

and whoever finds one has found a treasure, [51]

[and are found only by those who revere the Lord.]

15 Faithful friends are beyond price,

no amount can balance their worth,

[and there is no problem with his goodness.]

16 Faithful friends are life-saving medicine, [52]

and those who revere the Lord will find them.

17 Those who stand in awe of the Lord direct their friendship aright,

for as they are, so are their neighbors also.

Learn From Wisdom

18 My child, from your youth choose discipline,

and when you have gray hair you will still find wisdom.

19 Come to her like one who plows and sows,

` [in cultivating her you need to take very little]

and you will await her good harvest.

[If you cultivate her you will labor for a brief time

but soon will be enjoying the harvest.]

20 She seems very harsh to the undisciplined,

fools cannot stand her

[How hard she is to a fool,

and he who lacks understanding cannot stand her.].

21 She will be like a heavy stone to test them,

and they will not delay in casting her aside.

22 For wisdom is like her name, [53]

she is not readily perceived by many.

23 Listen, my child, and accept my opinion,

do not reject my advice.

24 Put your feet into wisdom’s fetters,

and your neck into her collar.

25 Bend your shoulders and carry her,

and do not chafe [54] under her bonds.

26 Come to her with all your soul,

and keep her ways with all your might.

27 Search out and seek, and she will become known to your,

and when you grasp her, do not let her go,

28 for at last you will find the rest she offers,

and she will be transformed into luxury for you.

29 Then her fetters will become for you a strong defense,

and her collar a glorious robe..

30 Her yoke [55] is a golden ornament,

and her bonds a purple coat. [56]

31 You will wear her like a glorious robe,

and put her on like a splendid crown.[57]

32 If you are willing, my child, you can be disciplined (or, instructed),,

and if you apply yourself you will become clever;

33 If you love to listen you will gain knowledge,

and if you apply yourself you will become clever.

34 Stand in the company of the elders.

Who is wise? Attach yourself to such a one.

35 Be ready to listen to every godly conversation,

and let no wise proverbs escape you.

36 If you discover an intelligent person, rise early to visit him,

let your feet wear out his doorstep.

37 Reflect on the statutes of the Lord,

and meditate at all times on his commandments.

It is he who will give insight to [58] your mind,

and your desire for wisdom will be granted.

<CHAPTER 7>

Miscellaneous Advice

1 Do no evil and evil will never overtake you.

2 Avoid [59] wrong, and it will avoid you.

3 My child, do not sow in the furrows of injustice,

lest you will not reap a sevenfold crop.

[60]

4 Do not seek a high office from the Lord,

or the seat of honor from the king.

5 Do not assert your righteousness before the Lord’s presence,

or display your wisdom in the king’s presence..

6 Do not seek to become a judge,

or you may lack the ability [61] to root out injustice,

you may be intimidated by the powerful,

and thus compromise your integrity.

7 Commit no offense against the public,

and do not disgrace yourself among the people.

8 Do not commit a sin twice, [62]

not even when you go unpunished.

9 Do not say, “He will take into account the great number of my gifts,

and when I make an offering to the Most High God, he will accept it.”

10 Do not grow weary when you pray,

do not neglect to give alms

11 Do not ridicule anyone in his bitter humiliation,

for there is One who humbles and exalts.

12 Do not devise [63] a lie against your brother,

or do the same to a friend.

13 Refuse to utter any lie,

for it is a habit that results in no good.

14 Do not babble in the assembly of the elders,

and do not repeat yourself when you pray.

15 Do not hate manual labor, [64]

or farm work, which was created by the Most High.

16 Do not enroll in the ranks of sinners,

remember that retribution does not delay.

17 Humble yourself to the utmost,

for the punishment of the ungodly is fire and worms. [65]

Relations with Others

18 Do not exchange a friend for mercy [gain],,

or a real brother for the gold of Ophir.

19 Do not dismiss [66] a wise and good wife,

for her charm (or, attractiveness) is worth more than gold.

20 Do not abuse slaves who work faithfully,

or hired laborers who devote themselves to their task.

21 Let your soul love intelligent slaves, [67]

do not withhold their freedom from them.

22 Do you have cattle? Look after them;

if they are profitable [68] to you, keep them.

23 Do you have children? Discipline them,

and make them obedient [69] from their youth.

24 Do you have daughters? Be concerned for their chastity, [70]

and do not show yourself too indulgent with them. [71]

25 Give a daughter in marriage, and you will have completed a great task;

but give her a sensible man.

26 Do you have a wife who pleases you? Do not divorce her;

but do not trust yourself to one whom you are unable to love.

27 Honor your father with all your heart, [72]

and do not forget your mother’s the birth pangs.

28 Remember that it was of your parents [body] that you were born,

how can you repay what they have given to you?

29 Reverence the Lord with your entire soul,

and respect his priests.

30 Love your Maker with all your heart,

and do not neglect respect for his ministers.

31 Stand in awe of the Lord and honor the priest,

and give him his portion, as you have been commanded,

the first fruits, the guilt offering, the gift of the shoulders,

the sacrifice of sanctification, and the first fruits of the holy things.

32 Stretch out your hand [73] on behalf of the poor,

so that your blessing may be complete.

33 Give graciously to all the living,

do not withhold kindness even from the dead.

34 Do not avoid [74] those who weep,

but mourn with those who mourn.

35 Do not hesitate to visit the sick,

because for such deeds you will be loved.

36 In all you do, remember the end of your life,

and then you will never sin.

<CHAPTER 8?

Using Common Sense

1 Do not contend with the powerful,

or you may fall into their hands.

2 Do not quarrel [75] with the rich,

in case their resources [outweigh] yours, [76]

for gold has ruined [77] many, and has perverted the minds of kings.

3 Do not argue with those who are loud mouthed, [78]

and do add fuel to their fire.

4 Do not make fun of one who is ill-mannered,

or you may hear your ancestors being insulted. [79]

5 Do not reproach one who is a repentant sinner, [80]

remember that we all deserve punishment (or, are guilty)..

6 Do not disdain one who is old,

for some of us are also growing old.

7 Do not rejoice [81] over anyone’s death;

remember that we all must die.

8 Do not slight the discourse of the sages, [82]

but apply [83] yourself with their maxims;

because from them you will learn discipline

and how to serve princes.

9 Do not ignore the discourse of the aged (or, elders),

for they themselves heard [84] from their parents (or, ancestors);

from them you learn how to understand

and have an answer ready when the need arises.

10 Do not start a blaze in sinners,

for you may be burned in their flaming fire.

11 Do not let sources of insolence bring you to your feet,

or they may lie in ambush against your words.

12 Do not lend to one who is stronger than you,

but if you do lend anything, write it off as a loss.

13 Do not give surety beyond your means,

but if you give surety, be prepared to pay.

14 Do not go to law against a judge,

lest you be overshadowed by his position.

15 Do not go traveling with the reckless,

or they will be burdensome to you;

for they will act as they please,

and through their folly you will perish [85] with them.

16 Do not pick a fight [86] with the quick-tempered, [87]

and do not journey with them through lonely country,

because bloodshed means nothing to them, [88]

and where no help is at hand

they will strike you down.

17 Do not consult any fools,

for they are unable to keep a secret.

18 In the presence of strangers do nothing that is to be kept secret, [89]

for you do not know what they will divulge. [90]

19 Do not reveal thoughts to anyone,

or you my drive away your happiness, [91]

[or accept favors from them]. [92]

<CHAPTER 9>

Women

1 Do not be jealous of your dear wife, [93]

or you will teach her an evil lesson in your own hurt.

2 Do not give yourself to a woman

and let her trample down your strength. [94]

3 Do not go near an immoral [95] woman,

or you will fall into her snares.

4 Do not dally with a singing (or, dancing) girl,

or you will be caught by her wiles.

5 Do not look intently at a virgin,

or you may become trapped, and incur penalties for her.

6 Do not give yourself to prostitutes

or you may lose all that you possess..

7 Do not look around in the streets of a city,

or wander about in its unfrequented streets.

8 Turn away your eyes from a shapely woman,

and do not stare at beauty belonging to another,

many have been seduced by a woman’s beauty,

and by it a passion is kindled like a fire.

9 Never dine [96] with another man’s wife,

or join her and imbibe in a drink of wine,

or your heart may turn aside to her,

and in blood [97] for the result will be destruction.

Friendship with Other Men

10 Do not forsake old friends,

for new ones cannot equal them.

A new friend is like new wine;

For until it is aged it cannot be drunk with pleasure.

11 Do not envy the success of sinners,

for you do not know what their end will be like.

12 Do not delight in what pleases the ungodly,

remember that their guilt will overtake them permanently.

13 Keep far from those who have power to kill,

and you will not be haunted by the fear of death.

But if you approach them make no misstep,

or they may rob you of your life.

Know that you are stepping among snares,

and that you are walking on the city battlements.

14 [Try to know your neighbors as much as possible,

and accept advice from those who are wise.]

15 Let your conversations be with intelligent people,

and let all your discussion be about the law of the Most High.

16 Let the righteous be your dinner companions,

and let your glory be in reverence of the Lord.

Rulers

17 A work is praised for the skill of the craftsmen,

and so a people’s leader is proved wisely by his words.

18 Those who are loud-mouthed are feared in their city,

and the one who is reckless in speech is hated.

<CHAPTER 10> [98]

1 A wise magistrate [99] educates his people,

and the rule of an intelligent person will be orderly.

2 As the people’s judge [100] is, so are the officials, [101]

as the ruler of the city is, so are all its inhabitants.

3 A king who has broken loose from all restraints ruins his people,

but a city becomes fit to live in through the understanding of its rulers.

4 The government of the world is in the hand of the Lord,

and at the right time he will find the right leader to rule.

5 Human success is in the hand of the Lord,

and it is he who confers honor upon the lawgiver (or, scribe).

Pride

6 Do not get angry with your neighbor for every offence,

and do not resort to acts of insolence because of injured pride.

7 Arrogance is hateful to God and to persons,

and injustice is offensive [102] to both..

8 Sovereignty passes from nation to nation

on account of the injustice, insolence and wealth.

[Nothing is more wicked than one who loves money,

for such a person puts his own soul up for sale.]

9 Of what can dust and ashes be proud?

[He is only dust and ashes.]

Even in life the human body decays. [103]

10 A long illness baffles the physician, [104]

today’s king will die tomorrow.

11 When one is dead he inherits maggots, vermin and worms.

12 The beginning of human pride is to forsake the Lord,

the heart has withdrawn from its Maker.

13 The beginning of pride is sin,

and the one who clings to it pours out abominations (or, depravity)..

[Therefore the Lord inflicts punishment on the proud,

and brings them to utter disaster.]

14 The Lord overthrows the thrones of rulers,

and enthrones the meek in their place.

15 The Lord plucks up the roots of the [proud] nations,

and plants the humble in their place.

16 The Lord lays waste the lands of nations,

and destroys them in the foundations of the earth.

17 He removes some of them and destroys them,

and erases the memory of them from the earth.

18 Pride was not created for human beings,

or violent anger for those born of women.

People Who Should Be Honored

19 Whose offspring are worthy of honor?

Human offspring.

Whose offspring are worthy of honor?

Those who revere the Lord.

Whose offspring are unworthy of honor?

Human offspring.

Whose offspring are unworthy of honor?

Those who break the commandments.

20 Among family members their leader is worthy of honor,

but those who fear the Lord are worthy of honor in his eyes.

21 [The reverence of the Lord is the beginning of acceptance,

obduracy and prude are the beginning of rejection.]

22 The rich, the eminent, and the poor –

their glory is their reverence of the Lord.

23 It is not right to despise one who is intelligent but poor,

and it is not proper to honor one who is sinful.

24 The prince, the judge and the ruler are honored,

but none of them is greater than the one who reveres the Lord.

25 Free citizens will serve a wise servant,

and an intelligent person will not complain.

Humility and Self-respect

26 Do not make a display of your wisdom when you do your work,

and do not boast when you are in need.

27 Better is the worker who has goods in plenty,

than the boaster who lacks bread.

28 My child, honor yourself with humility,

and give yourself the esteem you deserve.

29 Who will acquit those who condemn [105] themselves?

Who will honor those who dishonor themselves? [106]

30 The poor are honored for their knowledge,

while the rich are honored for their wealth.

31 One who is honored in poverty,

how much more in wealth!

If one is dishonored in wealth,

how much more is his poverty!

<CHAPTER 11>

1 The wisdom of the humble lifts their heads high,

and seats them among the great.

Appearances

2 Do not praise individuals for their good looks,

or be repelled solely by appearance. [107]

3 The bee is small among winged creatures,

yet what it produces is the best of all that is sweet.

4 Do not mock the clothing worn by the poor,

and do not exalt yourself when you are honored.

Remember that the works of the Lord are wonderful,

and his works are concealed from human eyes.

[Do not ridicule someone who is poor, and is dressed in rags.

Do not take pride in fine clothes,

and do not let compliments go to your heart.]

5 Many kings have been reduced to sitting on the ground,

while one who was never thought of has worn a crown.

6 Many rulers have been utterly disgraced, [108]

and the honored have been handed over to the mercy of others.

Be Cautious

7 Do not find fault before you investigate,

examine first, and then criticize.

8 Do not answer before you listen,

and do not interrupt when another is speaking.

9 Do not argue about a matter that does not concern you,

and do not become involved with sinners when they judge a case.

10 My child, do not busy yourself with many matters,

if you try to do too many activities you will not be held blameless.

If you pursue, you will not overtake,

and by fleeing you will not escape.

11 There are those who work and struggle and hurry,

but are so much the more in want.

12 There are others who are slow and need help,

who lack strength and abound in poverty;

but the eyes of the Lord look kindly upon them;

he lifts them out of their lowly condition

13 and raises up their heads,

to the amazement of the many.

14 Good things and bad, life and death,

[all things are equal with God.]

poverty an wealth, come from the Lord.

15 [Wisdom, understanding and knowledge of the law come from the Lord;

affection and the ways of good works come from him.

16 Error and darkness were created [109] with sinners;

evil grows old with those who take pride in malice.]

17 The Lord’s gift remains with the devout,

and his favor brings lasting prosperity.

18 One becomes rich through diligence and self-denial,

and the reward allotted to him is this,

19 when he says, “I have found rest,

and now I will feast on my goods (or, savings)!

He does not know how long it will be

until he leaves them to others and dies.

[My son, be steadfast in your allotted time.]

20 Stand by your agreement and attend to it,

and grow old in your work.

21 Do not wonder at the works of the wicked,

but trust in the Lord and keep at your job;

for it is easy in the sight of the Lord

to make the poor rich suddenly, in an instant.

22 The blessing of the Lord is [110] the reward of the pious,

and God quickly causes his blessings to flourish. [111]

23 Do not say, “What do I need,

and what goal can the future bring to me?

[What further benefit can be mine?”

24 Do not say, “I have enough (or, I am self sufficient),

and what harm can come to me now?”

25 In the day of prosperity hardships are forgotten,

and in the day of adversity prosperity is not remembered.

26 It is easy for the Lord, on the day of death,

to reward individuals according to their conduct.

27 An hour’s misery makes one forget past delights,

and at the close of one’s life one’s deeds are revealed.

28 Call no one happy before his death,

for a person becomes known by how he ends,

[and through his children a person becomes known.]

Be Careful in Choosing Friends

29 Do not invite everyone into your home,

for the tricks of the crafty are many.

30 Like a decoy partridge in a cage, [112] so is the mind of the proud,

and like spies they observe your weakness; [113]

31 for they lie in wait, to turn good into evil,

and they attach blame to worthy actions.

32 From a spark many coals are kindled (or, Do not play with fire),

and a sinner lies in wait to shed blood.

33 Beware of scoundrels, for they devise evil,

and they may ruin your reputation forever.

34 Receive strangers into your home and they will stir up trouble for you,

and will make you a stranger to your own family.

<CHAPTER 12>

1 If you do good, know to whom you do it,

and you will be thanked for your good deeds.

2 Do good to the devout, and you will be repaid –

if not by them, then certainly by the Most High.

3 No good comes to one who persists in evil

or to one who does not give alms.

4 Give to the devout, but do not help the sinner.

[Reject one who makes evil a habit, or refuses to give to the poor.] [114]

5 Do good to the humble, but do not give to the ungodly’

hold back their bread, and do not give it to them,

for by means of it they might subdue you,

then you will receive twice as much evil

for all the good you have done to them.

6 For the Most High also hates sinners

and will inflict punishment on the ungodly.

7 Give to the one who is good, but do not help the sinner.

8 A friend is not known [115] in prosperity,

nor is an enemy hidden in adversity.

9 One’s enemies can be friendly [116] when one prospers,

but in adversity even one’s friend disappears.

10 Never trust your enemy,

for like corrosion in copper (or, bronze), so is his wickedness.

11 Even if he humbles himself, (or, is compliant) and walks bowed down,

take care to be on your guard against him.

Be to him like one who polishes a mirror,

to be sure it does not become completely tarnished.

12 Do not let him sit at your right hand,

or else he may try to take your own seat,

and at last you will realize the truth of my words,

and be stung by what I have said.

13 Who pities a snake charmer when he is bitten,

or all those who go near wild animals.

14 No one pities a person who associates with a sinner,

and becomes involved in the other’s sins.

15 He stands by you for a while,

but if you falter, he will not be there.

16 An enemy speaks sweetly with his lips,

but in his heart he plans to throw you into a pit,

an enemy may have tears in his eyes,

but if he finds an opportunity he will never have enough of your blood.

17 If evil comes upon you, you will find him there ahead of you,

pretending to help, he will trip you up.

18 Then he will shake his head, and clap his hands,

and whisper much, and show his true face.

<CHAPTER 13>

1 Whoever handles pitch gets dirty,

and whoever associates with arrogant persons becomes like them.

2 Do not lift a weight that is too heavy for yourself,

or associate with one mightier and richer than you.

How can the clay pot associate with the iron kettle?

The pot will strike against it and be smashed.

3 A rich person does wrong, and even adds insult to injury;

a poor person suffers wrong and must even apologise.

4 A rich person [117] will exploit you if you can be of use to him,

but if you are in need he will abandon you.

5 If you own something, he will live with you as your constant companion,

he will drain your resources without any qualms. [118]

6 When he needs you he will deceive you,

and will smile at you and encourage you,

he will pay you a compliment, saying,

“What do you need?” (or, “What can I do for you?”

7 He will embarrass you with his hospitality,

until he has drained you two or three times,

and finally he will laugh at you.

Should he see you afterwards, he will pass you by

[as if he does not know you,]

and shake his head at you.

8 Take care not to be misled,

and humiliated when you are enjoying yourself (or, your folly).

9 When an influential person invites you, be reserved,

and he will invite you more insistently.

10 Do not be forward, lest you might be rebuffed,

do not stand aloof, or you will be forgiven.

11 .Do not try to treat him as an equal,

or trust his lengthy conversations,

for he will test you by his prolonged talk,

and while he smiles he will be examining you.

12 Those who betray a confidence are cruel,

they will not spare you injury or imprisonment.

13 Be on your guard and very careful,

[do not speak in confidence to others,]

for you are walking about on dangerous ground,

14 [When you hear these things in your sleep, wake up!

Love the Lord during your entire life,

[and appeal to him for your salvation.]

15 Every creature loves its own species,

and every person his fellow human beings.

16 All living beings associate with their same species,

and people stick close to those like themselves.

17 What does the wolf have in common with a lamb?

Nor does the sinner have things in common with the devout.

18 What peace is here between a hyena and a dog?

And what peace is there between the rich and the poor?

19 Wild donkeys in the wilderness are the prey of lions,

likewise the poor are feeding grounds for the rich.

20 Humility is disgusting to the proud,

likewise the poor are disgusted by the rich.

21 When the rich person totters, he is steadied by friends,

but when the humble (or, poor) falls, he is even disdained [119] by friends.

22 If the rich person slips, many come to his rescue,

he speaks outrageous words, but they justify him.

If the humble person speaks in error, they even criticize him.

Even if he talks sense, he is not given a hearing.

23 The rich person speaks and all are silent,

they praise what he says to the clouds.

The poor person speaks and they say, “Who is this fellow?”

And should he stumble, they even push him down.

24 Riches are good if they are not tainted by sin,

poverty is evil only in the opinion of the ungodly.

25 The heart changes the countenance,

either for good or for evil,

[and a glad heart makes a cheerful countenance.]

26 The sign of a happy heart is a cheerful face,

but to devise proverbs requires proverbs requires wearisome thinking. [120]

<CHAPTER 14>

1 Happy are those who never blunder with their lips,

and have no need to suffer remorse for sin.

2 Happy are those whose conscience [121] does not accuse them,

and who have never had dashed hopes.

Responsible Use of Wealth

3 Riches are inappropriate for a small-minded person,

and of what use is wealth to a miser?

4 He derives himself, only to hoard for others;

and others will live in luxury on his goods.

5 If one is mean to himself, to whom will he be generous?

He will not enjoy his own riches.

6 No one is worse than one who is grudging to himself,

[his stinginess is his own retribution,]

for this is the punishment for his meanness. [122]

7 If ever he does good, it is done by accident,

in the end he reveals his meanness. [123]

8 The miser is an evil person,

for he turns his back, disregarding other people.

9 The eye of the greedy person is not satisfied with his share,

greedy injustice withers the soul.

10 A miser begrudges bread,

and it is lacking at his table.

[A good person provides bread for the table,

and a dry fountain provides water for the table.] [124]

11 My child, treat yourself well, according to your means,

and present worthy offerings to the Lord.

12 Remember that death does not tarry,

and the decree [125] of death has not yet been determined for you.

13 Do good to friends before you die,

and reach out and give to them as much as you can.

14 Do not deprive yourself of a day’s enjoyment,

do not let your share of innocent pleasure pass by you.

15 Will you not leave the fruit of your labors to another,

and what you acquired by toil to be divided by lot?

16 Give, and take, and pamper yourself,

because in the grave one cannot look for luxury.

17 All living beings become old like a garment,

for the decree [126] from of old is “You must die.”

18 Like abundant leaves on a spreading tree

that sheds some and others flourish in their stead,

so are the generations of flesh and blood:

one dies and another is born.

19 Every work decays and ceases to exist,

and the one who made it will pass away with it.

The Happiness of Having Wisdom

20 Happy is the person who mediates on [dies in] wisdom

and reasons intelligently.

21 who reflects in his heart on her ways [127]

and ponders her secrets,

22 pursuing her like a hunter,

and lying in wait on her paths, [128]

23 who peers through her windows

and listens at her doors,

24 who camps near her house,

and fastens his tent peg to her walls;

25 who pitches his tent near her,

thus occupying an excellent lodging place,

26 who places his children under her shelter,

and lodges under her boughs,

27 who is sheltered by her from the heat,

and dwells in the midst of her glory.

<CHAPTER 15>

1 Whoever reveres the Lord will do this,

and whoever holds to the law will obtain wisdom. [129]

2 She will come to meet him like a mother,

and she will welcome him like a young bride.

3 She will feed him with the bread of learning (or, understanding),,

and give him the water of wisdom to drink.

4 He will lean on her, and not fall,

and he will rely on her and not be put to shame.

5 She will exalt him above his neighbors,

and will enable him to speak in the midst of the assembly.

6 He will find gladness and a crown of rejoicing,

and will inherit everlasting renown.

7 The foolish [130] will not obtain wisdom,

and sinners [131] will not even get a glimpse of her.

8 She is far from arrogant,

and liars will never think of her.

9 Praise is out of place on the lips of a sinner,

for it has not been sent from the Lord.

10 For praise must be uttered in wisdom,

and the Lord will make it prosper.

Free Will

11 Do not say, “It was the Lord’s doing that I went astray,”

for he does not create [132] what he hates.

12 Do not say, “It was he who led me to live a life in error.”

for he has no need of the sinful.

13 The Lord hates all kinds of evil;

such things are not capable to be loved by those who revere him.

14 It was he who created humans in the beginning,

and he left them in the power of their own free choice.

15 If you choose, you can keep the commandments,

and to act faithfully is a matter of your own choice.

16 He has placed fire and water before you.

Stretch out your hand for whichever you choose.

17 Each person is offered life or death,

and whichever one chooses will be given.

18 Great is the wisdom of the Lord,

he is mighty in power and sees everything,

19 his eyes are on those who are in awe of him,

and he knows every human action.

20 He has not commanded anyone to be wicked,

and he has not given anyone permission to sin.

<CHAPER 16>

God’s Punishment of Sinners

1 Do not desire a multitude of worthless [133] children,

and do not rejoice in ungodly offspring.

2 If they multiply, do not rejoice in them,

unless the reverence of the Lord is in them.

3 Do not trust in their survival,

or rely on their numbers,

[for you will groan, in untimely mourning,

and will know of their sudden end.]

for one son can be better than a thousand,

and to die childless is better than to have ungodly children.

4 Through one intelligent [134] person a city can be filled with people,

but through a clan of outlaws it becomes desolate.

5 Many such things my eye has seen,

and my ear has heard things more striking tht these.

6 In an assembly of sinners a fire is kindled

and in a disobedient nation retribution blazes up.

7 He did not forgive the ancient giants, [135]

who revolted in their might.

8 He did not spare the neighbors of Lot,

whom he loathed on account of their arrogance.

9 He showed no pity on the doomed nation,

on those dispossessed because of their sins.

[All these things he did to the hard-hearted nations,

and by the multitude of his holy ones he was not appeased;]

10 or on the six hundred thousand foot soldiers,

who assembled in their stubbornness.

Chastising, showing mercy, striking, and healing,

for Lord persisted in mercy and discipline.

11 Even if there were only one stiff-necked person,

it would be a wonder if he remained unpunished.

Mercy and wrath are with the Lord; [136]

He is mighty to forgive -- but he also pours out wrath.

12 As great as is his mercy, so also is his condemnation,

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.

15 [The Lord hardened Pharaoh so that he did not recognize him,

in order that his work might be known under heaven.

16 His mercy is manifest to the entire creation,

and he divided his light and darkness with a plumb line.]

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 Heaven and the highest heaven,

the abyss and the earth tremble at his visitation!

[The whole world, past and present, is in his will.]

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 Just as a tempest that strikes people unaware

so most of his works are concealed. [137]

[If I sin no eye can see me

and if I am disloyal all in secret,

who is to know?]

22 Who is to announce his acts of justice?

Who can await them? His decree [138] is far off,”

[and a scrutiny for all comes at the end.]

23 Such are the thoughts of one who has little understanding,

a senseless and misguided person thinks foolishly.

God’s Wisdom in Creation

24 Listen to me, my child, and acquire knowledge,

and pay close attention to my words.

25 I will impart [139] correct instruction [140] and teach you accurate knowledge.

26 When the Lord created [141] his works from the beginning,

and, in making them, determined their boundaries,

27 he arranged his works in an eternal order,

and their dominion (or, elements) for all generations.

They neither hunger nor grow weary,

and they do not abandon their tasks.

28 They do not crowd 9or jostle) 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 the surface,

and into it they must return.

<CHAPTER 17>

1 The Lord created human beings out of earth,

and makes them return to it again.

2 He set a fixed span on everything on the earth. [142]

but granted them authority over everything on earth. [143]

3 He endowed them with strength like his own, [144]

(or, he clothed them with power like his own),

and made them in his own image.

4 He put the fear of them [145] in all living beings,

and gave them dominion over beasts and birds.

5 [They obtained the use of five faculties of the Lord,

as sixth he distributed to them the gifts of mind,

and as the seventh, reason, the interpreter of one’s faculties,]

6 Discretion and tongue and eyes,

he gave then ears and a mind for thinking.

7 He filled them with knowledge and understanding,

and showed them good and evil.

8 He put the fear of him into [He kept his eyes on ] their hearts,

to show them the majesty of his works.

[and he gave them to boast of his miracles forever.]

` 10 They will praise his holy name, [146]

9 to proclaim the grandeur of his works.

11 He bestowed knowledge upon them,

and allotted to them the law of life,

[so that they may know that they who are alive now are mortal.]

12 He established [147] an eternal covenant with them,

and revealed his decrees to them.

13 Their eyes saw his glorious majesty,

and their ears heard the glory of his voice.

14 He said to them, “Beware of all wrongdoing,”

and he gave commandments to each of them

concerning how to deal with their neighbor.

God Is Judge

15 Their ways are always known to him,

they will not be hidden from his sight.

16 [Their ways, from youth tend toward evil,.

and they were unable to make for themselves hearts

of flesh and blood in place of their hearts of stone.

17 For in his division of the leaders of the entire earth,]

he appointed a ruler for every nation,

but Israel is the Lord’s own portion,. [148]

18 He reared them with discipline as his first-born,

imparting to them the light of one from which they should never part,

[whom, being his firstborn, he brings up with discipline,

and allotting to him the light of his love,

he does not neglect him.]

19 All their works are as clear as the sun before him

and his eyes are always upon their ways.

20 Their misdeeds are not hidden from him,

and all their sins are observed by the Lord.

[The Lord who is gracious knows who they are,

and he does not reject or condone them but spares them.]

21 [But the Lord who is gracious and knows how they are formed,

has neither left them nor abandoned them, but has spared them.]

22 One’s almsgiving [149] is like a signet ring with the Lord, [150]

and he will keep a person’s kindness like the apple of his eye,

[apportioning repentance to his sons and daughters.]

23 Afterward he will rise up and repay them,

and he will bring their retribution on their heads.

24 Yet to those who repent he grants a return,

and he encourages those who are losing hope.

Call to Repentance

25 Return to the Lord and forsake your sins,

pray in his presence and lessen your offense.

26 Return to the Most High and renounce wrong-doing,

and hate intensely what he abhors.

[for he will lead you out of darkness to the light of health.]

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,

and those who are alive and well sing the Lord’s praises.

29 How great is the mercy [151] 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 beings are dust and ashes.

<CHAPTER 18>

The Greatness of God

1 He who lives forever created the whole universe,

2 the Lord alone is just. [and there is no other beside him.

[and none of those with him bless him.]

3 Ho cab steer the world with the span of his hand,

so that all things obey his will;

for he is king of all things by his power,

separating them [to designate then as

the holy things or the profane.]

4 To none has he given power to proclaim his works;

and who can search out his mighty deeds?

5 Who can measure his majestic power?

Who can fully name his mercies?

6 It is not possible to diminish or increase them,

nor is it possible to fathom the wonders of the Lord.

7 when human beings have finished, they are just beginning,

and when they stop, they are still perplexed.

Man is Nothing

8 What are human beings, and of what use are they?

What is good in them, and what is evil?

9 The number of days in their life is great if they reach one hundred years.

[but the death of each one is beyond the calculation of all.]

10 Like a drop of water from the sea and a grain of sand,

so are a few yeas among the days of eternity.

11 That is why the Lord is patient with his people,

and pours out his mercy upon them.

12 He sees, knows, and recognizes that their end is miserable, [152]

therefore he grants them forgiveness all the more.

13 This compassion of human beings reaches out to their neighbors,

but the compassion of the Lord is for every living thing.

He corrects, disciplines and teaches them,

turning them back, as does a shepherd his flock.

14 He has compassion on those who accept his discipline,

and who are eager for his precepts.

Kindness and Charity

15 My child, do not mix reproach with your good de

or spoil your gift by harsh words.

16 Does not the dew give relief from 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 person.

18 A fool is ungracious and abusive,

and the gift of a grudging giver makes the eyes dim.

Self-examination

19 Before you speak, learn,

and before you fall ill, take care of your health.

20 Before judgment comes, examine yourself,

and at the time of scrutiny you will find forgiveness.

21 Before falling ill, humble yourself,

and when you have sinned, repent.

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, prepare yourself,

do not be like one who puts the Lord to the test.

24 Think of his wrath on the day of death,

and of the moment of reckoning,

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,

all things move swiftly before the Lord.

27 One who is wise is cautious in everything,

when sin is all around, one guards against wrongdoing.

28 Every intelligent person knows wisdom,

and praises the one who finds her.

29 Those who are skilled in words become wise themselves,

and pour forth apt proverbs.

[Better is confidence in the Lord

from clinging with a dead heart to a dead one.]

Self-control [153]

30 Do not follow your base desires,

but restrain your lusts.

(or, keep your lusts under control).

31 If you allow your soul to take pleasure in base desire,

it will make a laughing stock of your enemies.

32 Do not revel in great luxury,

or you may become impoverished by its expense.

33 Do not become a beggar by feasting with borrowed money,

when you have nothing in your purse,

[for you will be plotting against your own life.]

<CHAPTER 19>

1 The one who does this [154] will not become rich,

one who despises small things will fail little by little.

2 Wine and women lead intelligent men astray, [155]

and the man who consorts with prostitutes is increasingly reckless.

3 Decay and worms will take possession of him,

and the reckless person will be snatched away (or, estranged)..

4 One who trusts others too quickly has a shallow mind, [156]

and one who sins does injury to himself.

Loose Talk

5 One who rejoices in wickedness [157] will be condemned,

[but one who withstands pleasure crowns his life.

6 One who controls his tongue will live without strife.]

but one who hates gossip has less evil.

7 Never repeat a conversation,

and you will lose nothing at all.

8 With friend or foe do not report it,

and unless it would be a sin for you, do not reveal it,

9 for someone may have heard you and watched you,

and in time will hate you.

10 Have you heard a rumor? Let it die with you.

Be brave, it will not make you burst!

11 A fool, having heard something, the fool suffers birth pangs

like a woman in labor with a child.

12 Like an arrow stuck in a person’s thigh,

so is gossip inside a fool.

13 Question (or, exhort) a friend; perhaps he did not do what was wrong,

or if he did, so that he may not do it again.

14 Question 9or, exhort) a neighbor; perhaps he did not say it,

or if he said it, so that he may not repeat it.

15 Question (or, exhort) a friend, for often it is slander;

so do not believe everything you hear.

16 A person may make a slip without intending it.

Who has not sinned with his tongue?

17 Question (or, exhort) your neighbor before you threaten him,

and let the law of the Most High take its course.

[and do not be angry.

18 The reverence of the Lord is the beginning of acceptance,

and wisdom obtains his love.

19 The knowledge of the Lord’s commandments is life giving discipline,

and those who do what is pleasing to him

enjoy the fruit of the tree of immortality.]

Recognizing Real Wisdom

20 All of wisdom reveres of the Lord,

and in all wisdom there is the fulfillment of the law.

[and the knowledge of his omnipotence.

21 When a slave says to his master,

“I will not act as you wish,”

even if later he does it,

he angers the one who supports him.]

22 The knowledge of wickedness is not wisdom,

nor is there prudence in the counsel of sinners.

23 There is a cleverness that repels,

and there is a fool who merely lacks wisdom.

24 Better are the God-fearing who lack understanding

than the highly intelligent who transgress the law.

25 There is a cleverness that is exact but unjust,

and there are people who use favors to gain a verdict.

26 There is a villain bowed down in mourning,

but inwardly he is full of deceit.

27 He hides his face and pretends to be deaf, [158]

but when no one notices, he will take advantage of you.

28 Even if lack of strength keeps him from sinning,

he will nevertheless do evil when he finds the opportunity.

29 A person is known by his appearance,

and a sensible person is known when first met, face to face.

30 A person’s attire and hearty laughter,

and the way he walks, shows his character.

.

<CHAPTER 20>

Knowing When to Talk

1 There is a rebuke that is untimely,

and there is the person who is wise enough to keep silent.

2 How much better it is to rebuke than to vent one’s anger@

3 The one who admits his fault will be kept from failure.

[How good it is to meet reproof with repentance,

and so escape deliberate sin.]

4 Like a eunuch lusting to ravish a girl

is person who resorts to force ( lit. judgment) to get what is desired..

5 Some people keep silent and are thought to be wise,

while others are detested for being talkative.

6 Some people keep silent because they have nothing to say, [159]

while others keep silent because they recognize when to keep silent.

7 The wise remain silent until the right moment,

but the boasting fool misses the right moment.

8 Whoever talks too much is detested,

and whoever pretends to be an authority is hated.

[How good it is to show repentance when you are reproved,

for so you will escape deliberate sin.]

Sudden Changes in Fortune

9 There may be good fortune for the person in adversity,

and a windfall my result in a loss.

10 There is the gift that profits you nothing,

and the gift to be paid back double.

[The quest for honor may lead some to loss of position,

while others may rise from obscurity to eminence.]

11 There are losses for the sake of glory,

and there are some who have raised their heads

from humble circumstances.

12 Some buy much for little,

and yet pay for it seven times more.

13 The wise persons endear themselves by only few words, [160]

but the courtesies of fools are wasted.

14 A fool’s gift will profit you nothing,

[so it is with the envious who give under compulsion,]

for he looks for recompense sevenfold. [161]

15 He gives little and criticizes much,

he opens his mouth as widely as a town crier.

Today he lends and tomorrow he demands that it is returned,

Such a one is hateful to God and humans. [162]

16 The fool says, “I have no friends, and I get no thanks for my good deeds,

Those who eat my bread [163] are evil tongued,

[for he has not honestly received what he has,

and what he does not have is unimportant to him.]

17 How many will ridicule him, and how often! (or, his foolish look).

Inappropriate Talk

18 A slip on the pavement is better than a slip of the tongue,

the downfall of the wicked will occur just as suddenly.

19 A course person is like an inappropriate story,

continually on the lips of the ignorant.

20 A proverb from a fool’s lips will be rejected,

for he does not tell it at the proper time.

21 One may be prevented from sinning by poverty,

so when he rests he feels no remorse.

22 One might lose his life through shame,

or lose it because of human respect. (or, his foolish look). [164]

23 Another out of shame makes promises to a friend,

and so needlessly make an enemy.

24 A lie is an ugly blot on a person’s name,

for it is continually on the lips of the ignorant.

25 A thief is preferable to a habitual liar,

but the lot of both is ruin.

26 A liar’s way leads to disgrace,

and his shame is eve with him.

Proverbial Sayings [165]

Stewardship or Wisdom

27 The wise person advances himself by his words,

and one who is sensible pleases the great.

28 Those who cultivate the soil heap up their harvest,

and those who please gain a pardon for their offenses.

29 Favors and gifts blind the eyes of the wise,

like a muzzle on the mouth they stop reproofs.

30 Hidden wisdom and unseen treasure,

of what value are either?

31 Better are those who hide their folly

than those who hide their wisdom.

32 [Unwearied endurance in seeking the Lord

is better than a master-less charioteer of one’s own life.]

<CHAPTER 21>

Sin

1 Have you sinned, my child? Do so no more,

but ask forgiveness for your wrong doing.

2 Flee from sin as from a snake,

for if you approach sin, it will bite you.

It’s teeth are like those of a lion.

and can destroy human lives.

3 Every breach of the law is like a two-edged sword;

the wound it inflicts is incurable.

4 Bullying [166] and insolence will destroy wealth,

thus the house of the proud will be destrpued. (or, uprooted).

5 The prayer of the poor goes from their lips to the care of God,

and his judgment comes promptly.

8 Those who hate reproof walk in the pathway of sinner’s,

but those who revere the Lord repent in their heart.

7 The mighty in speech are widely known,

when they slip, the sensible person knows it.

8 Whoever builds his home with borrowed money,

is like one who gathers stories for his burial tomb [or, for the winter].

9 An assembly of the wicked is like a bundle of tow;

and their end is a blazing fire. [167]

10 The way of sinners is paved with smooth stones,

but at its end is the pit of the grave.

Wisdom and Foolishness

11 Whoever keeps the law controls his thoughts, [168]

and the fulfillment of the awe of the Lord is wisdom.

12 The one who is not clever can not be taught,

but there is a cleverness that breeds bitterness.

13 The knowledge of the wise will increase like a flood,

and their advice is like a life-giving spring.

14 The mind [169] of a fool is like a broken jar,

it can not retain knowledge.

15 When an intelligent person hears a wise saying,

he praises it and improves on it.

When a fool [170] hears it he laughs at (or, dislikes) it, and disregards it.

16 A fool’s chatter is like a burden on a journey,

but delight is found in the speech of the sensible person.

17 The utterance of a sensible person is sought in the assembly,

and they ponder his words in their minds.

18 Wisdom to a fool is like a house in ruins,

and to an ignorant, knowledge is talk that has no meaning.[171]

19 To a senseless person education is fetters to his feet,

and like manacles on his right hand.

20 A fool raises his voice when he laughs,

but the wise [172] youths smile quietly.

21 To the sensible person education is like a golden ornament,

and like a bracelet on the right arm.

22 The foot of a fool rushes into a house, [173]

but an experienced person waits respectfully outside.

23 A boor peers into the house from the door,

but a cultivated person remains outside.

24 It is ill-mannered for a person to eavesdrop at a door,

the discreet would be grieved by the intolerable disgrace.

25 The lips of babblers speak of what is not their concern,

[or, speak of these things].

but the words of the prudent are weighed in the balance.

26 The mind of fools is in their mouth,

but the mouth of the wise is in [174] their mind.

27 When an ungodly person curses an adversary (or, curses Satan),

he really curses himself.

28 A whisperer degrades himself,

and is hated in his neighborhood.

<CHAPTER 22>

Laziness and Foolishness

1 The idler is like a filthy stone,

and every one hisses at his disgrace.

2 The killer is like the filth of dunghills,

anyone who picks it up will shake it off his hand.

3 it is a disgrace to be the father of an undisciplined son,

and the birth of a daughter is a loss.

4 A sensible daughter obtains a husband of her own,

but one who acts immodestly is a grief to her father.

5 An impudent daughter disgraces her father and husband,

and is despised by both.

6 Like music in a time of mourning is ill-timed conversation,

but a thrashing and discipline are at all times wisdom.

[Children who are brought up in a good life,

are disdainfully and boorishly haughty

and stain the nobility of their kindred.]

9 Whoever teaches a fool is like one who glues potsherds together,

or who rouses a sleeper from deep slumber.

10 Whoever tells a story to a fool tells it to a drowsy man,

and at the end he will say, “What is it?”

11 Weep for the dead, for he has left the light behind, [175]

and weep for the fool, for he has left intelligence behind.

Weep less bitterly for the dead, for he is at rest,

but the life of a fool is worse than death.

12 Mourning for the dead lasts seven days,

but for the foolish or the ungodly it lasts all the days of their lives.

13 Do not prolong conversation with a senseless person

or visit an unintelligent person, [176]

[for being without sense he will despise everything about you.]

Stay clear of him, or you may have trouble,

and be spattered when he shakes himself off.

Avoid him and you will find rest,

and you will never be wearied by his lack of sense.

14 What is heavier than lead?

and what is its name except “Fool”?

15 Sand, salt, and a piece of iron are easier to bear than a stupid person.

16 A wooden beam firmly bonded into a building

is not loosened by an earthquake,

so the mind firmly resolved after due reflection

will not be afraid in a crisis.

17 A mind settled on an intelligent thought

is like stucco decoration that makes a wall smooth.

18 Fences (or, Pebbles) [177] set on a high place will not stand firm against the wind,

so a timid mind with a fool’s resolve will not stand firm against any fear.

Friendship

19 One who pricks the eye brings tears,

and one who pricks the heart clearly reveals how sensitive it is.

20 One who throws a stone at birds scares them away,

and one who taunts a friend destroys a friendship.

21 Even if you draw your sword against a friend,

do not despair, for there is a way back.

22 If you have quarreled with your friend,

do not worry, for reconciliation is possible.

But as for taunting, arrogance, disclosure of secrets, or a treacherous blow---

in these cases a friend will take to flight.

23 Gain the confidence of your neighbor in his poverty,

so that you say rejoice with him in his prosperity.

Stand by him in time of distress,

so that you may share with him in his inheritance,

[For one should not always despise restricted circumstances,

or admire a rich person who is stupid.]

24 Just as vapor and smoke of the furnace precede the fire,

so insults precede bloodshed.

25 I am not ashamed to protect a friend,

and I will not hide from him.

26 But if harm should come to me because of him,

whoever hears of it will beware of him.

A Prayer for Help Against Sin

27 Provide a sentry to guard my mouth,

and an effective seal upon my lips,

so that I may not experience a downfall because of them,

and keep my tongue from destroying me?

<CHAPTER 23>

1 O Lord, Father, and Master of my life, [178]

do not abandon me to these designs,

and do not let me fall because of them.

2 Who will set whips over my thoughts,

and the discipline of wisdom over my mind,

so as not to spare me in my errors,

and not overlook my [179]sins.

3 Otherwise my mistakes may be multiplied, and my sins may abound,

and I may fall before my adversaries, and my enemy may gloat over me,

[From them the hope of your mercy is remote.]

4 O Lord. Father and God of my life,

do not give me a supercilious look,

5 and remove evil desire from me.

6 Let neither gluttony nor lust overcome me,

and do not give me over to shameless passion.

Discipline of the Tongue [180]

7 My children, be attentive to instruction concerning the mouth,

the one who observes it will never be caught.

8 Sinners are ensnared to speak evil with their lips,

by them the reviler and the arrogant are tripped up.

9 Do not accustom your mouth to oaths,

do not habitually utter the name of the Holy One,

10 for as a servant who is constantly under the lash will not lack welts,

so also the person who always swears and utters the Name

will never be cleansed from sin (or, cleared of guilt)..

11 The one who swears many oaths is full of iniquity,

and the scourge will not leave his house.

If he swears in error, his sin remains on him,

and if he disregards it, he sins doubly,

If he swears a false oath, he will not be justified,

for his house will be filled with calamities (or, the counterpart of death)..

Filthy Talk

12 There is a manner of speaking comparable to death

[or clothed about with death],

may it never be found in the inheritance of Jacob!

Such conduct will be far from the godly,

and they will not wallow in sins.

13 Do not accustom your mouth to coarse, foul language,

for it involves sinful speech.

14 Remember your father and mother when you sit among the great,

or you may forget yourself in their presence,

and behave like a fool through bad habit,

then you will wish you had never been born,

and you will curse the day of your birth.

15 Those who are addicted to using abusive language,

will never become disciplined as long as they live.

Sexual Sins

16 Two kinds of individuals multiply sins,

and a third incurs wrath.

Hot passion that blazes like a fire will not be quenched until it burns itself out,

one whose entire body is given to sexuality with close relatives

will never cease until the fire buns him up.

17 To a fornicator all bread is sweet,

he will never weary until he dies.

18 The one who sins against his marriage bed

says to himself, “Who can see me?

Darkness surrounds me, the walls hide me,

and no one sees me. Why should I worry?

The Most High will not remember my sins.”

19 His fear is confined to human eyes

and he does not realize that the eyes of the Lord

are ten thousand times brighter that the sun,

they look upon every aspect of human behavior,

and see into hidden corners.

20 Before the universe was created, it was known to him,

and so it is since its completion.

21 This man will pay the penalty in the streets of the city,

for he will be seized when he least suspects it:

22 So it is with a woman who leaves her husband

and presents him with an heir by another man.

23 First of all, she has disobeyed the law of the Most High,

second, she has committed an offense against her husband,

and third, through her prostituting herself she has committed adultery

and brought forth children by another man.

24 She herself will be brought before the assembly for judgment,

and her punishment will extend to her children.

25 Her children will not take root,

and her branches will not bear fruit.

26 She will leave behind an accursed memory

and her disgrace will never be blotted out.

27 Those who survive her will recognize

that nothing is better than reverence of the Lord,

and nothing sweeter than to obey the commandments of the Lord.

28 [It is a great honor to follow God,

and to be received by him is long life.]

In Praise of Wisdom [181]

1 Wisdom praises herself [182] – and tells of her glory

in the midst of the people.

2 In the assembly of the Most High she opens her mouth,

and in the presence of his hosts she tells of her glory.:

3 “I came forth from the mouth of the Most High,

and covered the earth like a mist.

4 I dwelt in the highest haven

and my throne was a pillar of cloud.

5 Alone I compassed the vault of heaven

and traversed the depths of the abyss.

6 Over waves of the sea, over all the earth,

and over every people and nation I have held sway.

[I have acquired a possession.]

7 Among all these I sought a resting place,

in whose territory should I abide?

8 “Then the creator of all things gave me a command,

and my Creator chose the place for my tent.

He said, ‘Make your dwelling with Jacob,

and in Israel receive your inheritance.’

9 Before the ages, in the beginning, he created me,

and for all the ages I shall not cease to be.

10 In the holy tent I ministered before him,

and so I was established in Zion.

11 Thus in the beloved city he gave me a resting place,

and in Jerusalem was my domain.

12 I took root in an honored people,

in the portion of the Lord, his heritage.

13 “Thus I grew tall like a cedar in Lebanon,

like a cypress on the heights of Hermon.

14 I grew tall like a palm tree in En-gedi [on the beaches],

and like rosebushes in Jericho,

like a fair olive tree in the field,

and like a plane tree beside water [183] I grew tall.

15 Like cassia and camel’s thorn I gave forth perfume,

and like choice myrrh I spread my fragrance,

like galbanum, [184] onycha, and stacte, [185]

and like the odor of incense in the tent.

16 Like a terebinth I spread out my branches,

and my branches are glorious and graceful.

17 Like a vine I bud forth delights,

and my blossoms become glorious and abundant fruit.

18 [I am the mother of beautiful love, of fear, of knowledge,

and of holy hope, being eternal,

I am given to all my children,

to those who are named by him.]

19 “Come to me, you who desire me,

and eat your fill of my fruits.

20 For the memory of me is sweeter than honey,

and the possession of which is sweeter than the honeycomb.

21 Those who eat of me will hunger for more,

and those who drink of me will thirst for more.”

22 Whoever obeys me will not be put to shame,

and those who work with me will not sin.”

Wisdom and the Law

23 All this is the book of the covenant of the Most High God,

the law that Moses commanded us,

as an inheritance for the congregations of Jacob.

24 “Do not cease to be strong in the Lord,

cling to him so that he may strengthen you,

the Lord Almighty alone is God, and beside hm there is no savior.”

25 It overflows, like the Pishon, with wisdom,

and like the Tigris at the time of the first fruits.

26 It runs over, like the Euphrates, with understanding

and like the Jordan at harvest time.

27 It pours forth instruction like the Nile, [186]

[It makes instruction shine forth like light.]

like the Gihon at the time of vintage,

28 The first man did not know wisdom [187] fully.

nor will the last one fathom her.

29 For her thoughts are ore abundant than the sea,

and her counsel deeper than the great abyss.

30 As for me: I was like a canal from a river,

like a water channel into a garden.

31 I said, “I will water my garden,

and drench my flower-beds,”

and lo, my canal became a river, and my river a sea.

32 I will again make instruction shine forth like the dawn,

and I will make it clear from far away.

33 I will again pour out teaching like prophecy,

and leave it to all future generations.

34 Observe that I have not labored for myself alone,

but for all who seek wisdom. [188]

<CHAPTER 25>

People Who Deserve Praise

1 I take pleasure in seeing three things which warm my heart,

and they are beautiful in the sight of God and of mortals.[189]

[In three things I was beautiful and I stood in beauty before the Lord and mortals:]

agreement among brothers and sisters, friendship among neighbors,

and a wife and a husband who are inseparable.

2 I hate three kinds of people who cause anger within me,

and I loathe their manner of life,

a needy man who boasts, a rich person who lies,

and an old fool who commits adultery.

3 If you gathered no wisdom in your youth

how can you find anything in your old age?

4 How attractive sound judgment is for those who are older,

and those in advanced age to possess good counsel!

5 How attractive is wisdom in the aged,

and understanding and counsel in the venerable!

6 Rich experience is the crown of the aged,

and their boast is the reverence of the Lord.

7 I can think of nine whom I would call blessed,

and a tenth my tongue proclaims:

a man who can rejoice in his children,

a man who lives to see the downfall of his foes,

8 Happy the man who lives with a sensible wife,

and the one who does not plow using an ox and donkey together. [190]

Happy is the one who does not sin when speaking, [191]

and the one who has not served an inferior.

9 Happy is the one who finds a friend [or, good sense].

and the person who speaks to attentive listeners.

10 How great is the one who finds wisdom!

None is superior to the one who reveres the Lord.

11 Reverence of the Lord surpasses all other gifts:

to whom can we compare the one who has it?

12 [The fear of the Lord is the beginning of love for him,

and faith is the beginning of clinging to him.]

Women

13 Any wound, but not a wound of the heart.

Any wickedness, but not the wickedness of a woman1

14 Any suffering, but not suffering from those who hate!

Any vengeance, but not the vengeance of enemies!

15 There is no venom [192] more deadly than a snake’s venom,

and no anger worse than a woman’s [or, an enemy’s] wrath.

16 I would rather live with a lion and dragon,

than to live with an malicious woman.

17 A woman’s wickedness changes her expression (or, appearance),

causing darkness her face like that of a bear.

18 Her husband sits [193] among his neighbors,

and he cannot help sighing [or, and as he listens he sighs].bitterly.

19 Any iniquity is small compared to a wife’s iniquity,

may a sinner’s lot befall her!

20 A sandy ascent for the feet of the aged –

is such a garrulous wife to a quiet husband.

21 Do not be ensnared by a woman’s beauty,

and do not desire a woman for her possessions [or, beauty].

22 There is wrath and impudence and great disgrace

when a wife supports her husband.

23 Dejected mind, gloomy face,

and wounded heart come from an evil wife.

Helpless [194] hands and weak knees [195] come from the wife

that does not make her husband happy.

24 From a woman sin had its beginning,

and because of her we all die.

25 Allow no outlet to water,

and no boldness of speech to an evil wife.

36 If she does not go as you direct

separate her from yourself.

<CHAPTER 26>

1 Happy is the husband of a good wife;

the number of his days will be doubled.

2 A loyal wife brings joy [196] to her husband,

and he will complete his years in peace.

3 A good wife is a great blessing;

she will be granted among the blessings of the man who reveres God.

4 Whether rich or poor, his heart is content,

and at all times his face is cheerful.

5 Of three things my heart is frightened,

and of a fourth I am in great fear.[197]

Slander in the city, the gathering of a mob,

and false accusation -- all these are worse then death.

6 But it is heartache and sorrow when a wife is jealous of a rival,

and a tongue-lashing makes it known to all. [198]

7 A bad wife is a chafing yoke,

taking hold of her is like handling a scorpion.

8 A drunken wife arouses great anger,

she cannot hide her shame.

9 The haughty state betrays an roving wife,

her eyelids give her away.

10 Keep strict watch over a headstrong daughter,

or else, when she finds you off guard, she will make use of it.

11 Be on guard against her impudent eye,

and do not be surprised if she is disobedient toward you.

12 As a thirsty traveler opens his mouth

and drinks from any water near him,

so she will sit in front of every tent,

ready to engage in sexual activities. [199]

13 A wife’s charm delights her husband,

and her skill puts flesh on his bones.

14 A silent wife is a gift from the Lord,

and nothing is so precious as her self-discipline.

15 A modest wife adds charm to charm,

and no scales can weigh the value of her chastity.

16 Like the sun rising in the heights of the Lord,

so is the beauty of a good wife in her well-ordered hme.

17 Like the shining lamp on the lamp stand,

so is a beautiful face on a stately figure.

18 Like golden pillars on silver bases,

so are shapely legs and steadfast feet.

19 [My child, keep sound the bloom of your youth,

and do not give your strength to strangers.

20 Seek a fertile field within the entire plain,

and sow it with your own seed, trusting in your fine stock.

21 Your offspring will prosper,

and having confidence in their good descent, will grow great.

22 A prostitute is regarded as spittle,

and a married woman as a tower of death to her lovers.

23 A godless wife is given as a portion to a lawless man,

but a pious wife is given to the man who reverences God.

24 A shameless woman constantly acts disgracefully,

but a modest daughter will even be embarrassed before her husband.

25 A headstrong wife is regarded as a dog,

but one who has a sense of shame will revere the Lord.

26 A wife honoring her husband will seem wise to all,

but if she dishonors him in her pride she will be know to all as ungodly.

Happy is the husband of a good wife;

for the number of his years will be doubled.

27 A loud-voiced and garrulous wife is like a trumpet sounding the charge,

and every person like this lives in the anarchy of war.]

Sad Observations

28 At two things bring grief to my heart,

and because of a third anger comes over me:

a warrior in want through poverty,

intelligent men who are treated contemptuously,

a man who deserts righteousness in order to sin --

the Lord will prepared him for the sword!

29 A merchant can hardly keep from wrongdoing,

nor a tradesman innocent of sin.

<CHAPTER 27>

1 Many have committed sin (or, death) for [a trifle of] gain,

and those who seek to get rich will always turn a blind eye.

2 As a stake [200] is driven firmly into a fissure between stones,

so sin is wedged in between selling and buying.

(or, and dishonesty is squeezed between selling and buying).

3 If a person is not steadfast in the reverence of the Lord,

his house will be quickly collapse.

Speech Reflects True Feelings

4 When a sieve is shaken, the refuse appears, [201]

so also a person’s faults when he speaks.

5 The kiln tests the potter’s vessels,

in the same manner a person is tested bt his conversation.

6 The fruit of the tree discloses the care the tree has received.,

In the same manner, a person’s speech discloses

the cultivation of his mind.

7 Do not praise anyone before he speaks,

for this is the way people are tested.

Honesty

8 If you pursue justice, you will attain success.

and wear it like a glorious robe.

9 Birds roost with their own kind,

so honesty comes home to those who practice it.

10 A lion lies in wait for prey,

and so does sin for evildoers.

Foolish Talk

11 When devout people converse their conversation is always wiser,

but the fool contradicts himself.

12 Limit your time among stupid people,

but among thoughtful people linger on.

13 The conversation of fools is offensive (or, disgusting),,

and their laughter is wantonly sinful.

14 The cursing and swearing make one’s hair stand on end,

and their quarrels make others plug [202] their ears.

15 The strife of the proud least to bloodshed,

and their abuse is grievous to hear.

Betraying Secrets

16 Whoever betrays secrets destroys confidence (or, trust),

and that person will never find a congenial friend.

17 Love your friend and keep faith with him;

but if you betray his secrets, do not follow after him.

18 Just as a person destroys his enemy,

so you have destroyed the friendship of your neighbor.

19 And as you allow a bird to escape from your hand,

so you have let your neighbor go,

and you will be unable to reestablish that relationship again.

20 Do not go after him, for he is too far off,

[for you are too widely separated to pursue him.]

and he has escaped like a gazelle from a snare.

21 For a wound maybe bandaged, and there is reconciliation after an insult,

but whoever has betrayed secrets is without hope.

Hypocrisy

22 Whoever winks the eye plots mischief,

and those who know him will keep their distance. [203]

23 To your face his conversation is all sweetness,

and he admires your words,

but later he will change his tune, [204]

and cause your own words to trip.

24 I have hated may things, but him above all,

even the Lord hates him.

25 Whoever throws a stone straight up throws it on his own head,

and a treacherous blow opens up many wounds.

26 Whoever digs a pit will fall into it,

and whoever sets a snare will be caught in it.

27 If a person does evil, it will recoil on him,

and he will not know where it came from.

28 Mockery and abuse issue from the arrogant,

like a lion, vengeance lies in wait for him..

29 Those who rejoice in the death of the godly will be caught in a snare,

and pain will consume them before their death.

Resentment

30 Anger and rage, these also are abominations,

yet a sinner holds them in readiness.

<CHAPTER 28>

1 The vengeful will face the vengeance of the Lord,

for he keeps a strict account of [205] their sins.

2 Forgive your neighbor of the wrong he has done,

and when you pray your sins will be pardoned.

3 Does anyone harbor anger against another.

and expect healing (or, help) from the Lord?

4 If a mere mortal harbors wrath,

can he then seek pardon for his own sins?

5 If a mere mortal harbors wrath,

who will make an atoning sacrifice for his sins?

6 Remember the end of your life, and set enmity aside,

[remember corruption and death, and be true to the commandments].

7 Remember the commandments

and do not be angry with your neighbor,

remember the covenant of the Most High, and overlook faults.

Arguments

8 Refrain from strife, and your sins will be fewer,

for the hot-tempered kindle strife.,

9 and the sinner disrupts friendships

and sows discord among those who are at peace.

10 The fuel will burn in proportion to the supply,

and in proportion to the obstinacy, so will strife increase. [206]

[The greater his wrath, the longer his temper will flair.]

11 A hasty quarrel kindles a fire,

and a hasty dispute leads to bloodshed..

12 If you blow on a spark, I will glow,

and if you spit on it, it will be put out,

yet both come out of your mouth.

Vicious Talk

13 Curse the gossips and the double-tongued,

for they destroy the peace of many.

14 Slander [207] has shaken many and scattered them from nation to nation.

It has destroyed strong cities and overturned the houses of the great.

15 Slander [208] has driven virtuous women from their homes,

and deprived them of the fruit of their toil.

16 Those who pay heed to slander will not find rest,

and they will settle down in peace.

17 The blow of a whip raises a welt,

but a blow of the tongue crushes the bones.

18 Many have fallen by the edge of the sword,

but not as many have been taken because of the tongue.

19 Happy is the one who is protected from conflict,

who has not been exposed to its anger,

who has not borne its yoke, and has not been bound with its fetters.

20 For its yoke is a yoke of iron

and its fetters are fetters of bronze,

21 its death is an infection of evil,

and the grave is preferable to it.

22 It has no power over the godly,

they will not be burned in its flame.

23 Those who forsake the Lord will fall into its power,

it will burn among them and will not be put out.

It will be sent out against them like a lion,

Like a leopard it will mangle them.

24a As you fence in your property with thorns-hedge, [209]

25a so make your door and a bolt for your mouth.

24b [As you lock up your silver and gold,

25b so make balances and scales for your words.]

26 Take care not to err with your tongue, [210]

and fall victim to one lying in wait.

<CHAPTER 29>

Loans and Repayment

1 The compassionate lend to their neighbors,

by granting a helping hand they keep the commandments.

2 Lend to your neighbor in his time of need;

repay your neighbor when a loan falls due.

3 Keep your promise and be honest with him,

and you will find what you need on every occasion.

4 Many regard a loan as a windfall,

and cause trouble to those who help them.

5 One kisses another’s hand [211] until he gets a loan,

and is deferential in speaking [212] of his neighbor’s money,

but at the time for repayment he finds fault because of hard times.

6 If he must pay, his creditor [213] will hardly get back half,

and will regard that as a windfall.

If he cannot pay, the borrower [214] has robbed the other of his money,

and he has needlessly made him an enemy,

he will repay him with curses and reproaches,

and instead of honoring he will repay him with dishonor.

7 Many refuse to lend, not because of meanness,

but from fear of being defrauded needlessly.

[many refuse to lend, therefore,

because of such meanness, for they are afraid.]

Generosity

8 Nevertheless, be patient with someone in humble circumstances,

and do not keep him waiting for your alms.

9 Help the poor for the commandment’s sake,

and in their need do not send them away empty-handed.

10 Lose your silver for the sake of a bother or a friend,

and do not let it rust under a stone and be lost.

11 Lay up your treasure according to the commandments of the Most High,

and it will benefit you more than gold.

12 Store up almsgiving in your treasury,

and it will rescue you from every disaster;

13 better than a stout shield and a sturdy spear,

it will fight for you against the enemy.

Guaranteeing Debts

14 A good person will be surely for his neighbor, [215]

but the one who has lost all sense of shame will fail him.

15 Do not forget the kindness of your guarantor,

for he has given his life for you.

16 A sinner wastes the property of his guarantor,

17 and the ungrateful person abandons his rescuer.

18 Being surety has ruined many who were prosperous,

and has tossed them about like waves of he sea,

it has driven the influential into exile,

and they have wandered among foreign nations.

19 The sinner comes sto grief through surety,

his pursuit of gain involves him in lawsuits.

20 Assist your neighbor to the best of your ability,

but be careful not to fall yourself.

Home and Hospitality

21 The necessities of life are water, bread, and clothing,

and also a house to assure privacy. [216]

22 Better is the life of the poor under their own crude roof, [217]

than sumptuous food in the house of others.

23 Be content with little or much,

and you will not become known as a person who lives off others. [218]

[you will not hear any reproach for being a guest, or from your family.]

24 It is a miserable life to go from house to house,

as a guest you should not open your mouth,

25 you will play the host and provide drink without being thanked,

and besides this you will hear rude words like these:

26 “Come here, stranger, prepare the table,

hand over what you have to eat.”

27 “Be off, stranger, for an honored guest [219] is here,

my brother has come for a visit, and I need the guest-room.”

28 It is hard for a sensible person to bear

scolding about lodging [or, scolding from the household},

and the abuse of the money lender

[Give to the poor very freely from what is in your hand;

if he is naked clothe him, for thus you will be serving God,

and he will repay you seven fold.]

<CHAPTER 30>

Concerning Children [220]

Bringing up Children

1 He who loves his son will whip him often,

so that he may rejoice at the way he turns out.

2 He who disciplines his son will profit by him,

and will be proud of him among his acquaintances.

3 He who teaches his son will make his enemies envious,

and will glory in him among his friends.

4 When the father dies he will not seem to be dead,

for he has left behind him one like himself,

5 whom in his life he looked upon with joy,

and at death he will have no regrets..

6 He has left an heir behind him an avenge against his enemies,

and one to repay the kindness of his friends.

7 Whoever spoils his son will bind up his wounds,

and will suffer heartache at every cry.

8 An unbroken horse turns out stubborn,

and an unchecked son turns out headstrong.

9 Pamper a child, and he will terrorize you,

play with him, and he will grieve you,

10 Do not laugh with him, or you will have sorrow with him,

and in the end you will gnash your teeth.

11 Give him no freedom in his youth,

and do not ignore his errors.

12 Break him in when he is young, [221]

and beat his sides while he is young,

or else he will become stubborn and disobey you,

and you will have sorrow of soul from him. [222]

13 Discipline your son and make his yoke heavy, [take pains with him],

so that you may not be offended by his shamelessness.

Health

14 Better off poor, healthy, and fit

than rich and afflicted in body.

15 Health and fitness are better than any gold,

and a robust body than countless riches. [223]

16 There is no wealth better than health of body,

and no gladness above joy of health.

17 Death is better than a life of misery,

and eternal sleep [224] than chronic illness

Concerning Foods [225]

18 Great things poured out upon a mouth that was closed

are like offerings of food placed upon a grave.

19 Of what use to an idol is a sacrifice? [226]

It can neither taste nor smell.

[so is one punished by the Lord,]

20 he sees with his eyes and groans,

as a eunuch groans when embracing a girl.,

[so is the person who does right under computation].

Cheerfulness and Sadness

21 Do not give yourself over to sorrow,

and rejoicing lengthens one’s life span.

23 Indulge yourself [or, Beguile yourself] and take comfort,

[a merry heart keeps a person alive.]

Banish sorrow far from you,

for grief has destroyed many,

and no advantage ever comes from it.

24 Jealousy and anger shorten life,

and anxiety brings on premature old age.

25 Those who are cheerful and merry at table,

will benefit from their food.

<CHAPTER 31>

Problems Caused by Money

1 Wakefulness over wealth makes a person lose weight,

and a severe illness caries off sleep.

2 Wakeful anxiety prevents slumber,

and a severe illness banishes sleep. [227]

[Reproach causes the faithful friend to flee,

but whoever hides a secret (loves a friend) as his own soul.] [228]

3 The rich person toils to amass a fortune,

and when he rests he fills himself with luxurious foods..

4 The poor person toils to make a meager living,

and if ever he rests he becomes needy.

5 One who loves gold will not be justified;

one who pursues money [for gain] will be led astray [229] by it.

6 Many have come to ruin because of gold,

and their destruction has met them face to face.

7 It is a stumbling block to those who are avid for it,

[They did not find how to deliver themselves from evil,

nor did they save themselves in the time of wrath.] [230]

and every fool will be taken captive by it.

8 Happiness is the rich person who is found blameless,

and who does not go after gold.

9 Who is he, that we may praise him?

He has done wonders among his people.

10 Who has been tested by it and found perfect?

Let it be for him a ground for boasting.

Who has had the power to transgress and did not transgress,

and to do evil and did not do it.

11 His prosperity will be established, [because of this.]

and the assembly will proclaim his acts of charity.

Behavior at Dinner Parties:

12 Are you seated at the table of the great? [231]

Do not be greedy at it,

and do not say, “What a great feast this is..”

13 Remember that a greedy eye is a bad thing.

What has been created more greedy than the eyes?

Therefore it sheds tears for any reason.

[God hates the man who has the evil eye,

and he has not created anything meaner that him,

For this—by reason of everything the eye quivers,

and makes tears on the face.] [232]

14 Do not reach out your hand for everything you see, [233]

and do not crowd your neighbor [234] at the dish.

15 Judge your neighbor’s feelings by your own,

and in every matter be thoughtful.

16 Eat what is set before you like a well brought-up peson,

and do not chew greedily, or you will give offense.

17 Be the fist to stop, as befits good manners,

and do not be a glutton, or you will give offense.

18 If you are seated in a large crowd of people,

do not help yourself [or, reach out your hand] before they do.

19 How ample a little is for a well-disciplined person!

He does no breathe heavily when in bed.

20 Healthy sleep depends on moderate eating;

he rises early, and feels fit.

The distress of sleeplessness and of nausea

and colic are the lot of the glutton.

21 If you are overstuffed with food,

get up to vomit, and you will have relief. [235]

22 Listen to me, my child, and do not disregard me,

and in the end you will appreciate my words.

In everything you do be moderate, [236]

and no sickness will overtake you.

23 People bless the one who is liberal with food,

and their testimony to his generosity is trustworthy.

24 The city complains of the one who is stingy with food,

and their testimony to his stinginess is accurate.

25 Do not try to prove your strength by wild-drinking,

for wine has destroyed many.

26 As the furnace tests the work of the smith, [237]

so wine tests hearts when the insolent quarrel.

27 Wine is very life to human beings if taken in moderation,

What is life to one who is deprived of wine?

It has been created to make people happy.

28 Wine drunk at the proper time and in moderation,

is rejoicing of heart and gladness of soul.

29 Wine drunk to excess leads to bitterness of spirit,

quarrels and stumbling.

30 Drunkenness increases the anger of a fool to his own hurt,

reducing his strength and adding wounds.

31 Do not reprove your neighbor at a banquet of wine,

and do not despise him in his merrymaking;

speak no word of reproach tohim,

and do not distress him by making demands of him.

<CHAPTER 32>

1 1f they make you the banquet master of the feast, do not exalt yourself,

be among them as one of their number.

Take care of them first and then sit down.

2 When you have fulfilled all your duties, take your place,

so that you may be merry along with them,

and receive a wreath for your excellent leadership. [238]

3 Speak, you who are older, for it is your right,

but with accurate knowledge, do not interrupt the music.

4 Where there is entertainment, do not pour out talk,

do not display your cleverness at the wrong time.

5 A ruby (or, a garnet) seal in a setting of gold

is a concert of music at a banquet of wine.

6 as an emerald in a rich setting of gold

is the melody of music with good wine.

7 Speak, you who are young, if you are obliged to,

but no more than twice, and then only if asked.

8 Be brief, say much in few words,

be as one who knows and can still hold his tongue.

9 Among the great do not act as their equal,

and dl\o not babble when another is speaking.

:

10 Lightning travels ahead of the thunder,

and approval (or, esteem) goes before one who is modest.

11 Leave in good time and do not be the last,

go home quickly and do not linger.

12 Amuse yourself there to your heart’s content,

but do not sin through arrogant speech.

13 But above all give praise to your Maker,

who fills you with his good gifts.

Interpreting the Law

14 The one who seeks God [239].will accept his discipline;

and those who rise early to seek him [240] will find favor.

15 The one who studies the law will find it to be a safeguard,

but the hypocrite will stumble at it.

16 Those how are in awe of the Lord will form true judgments,

and they will kindle righteous deeds like a light.

17 The sinner will shun reproof,

and will find a decision according to his liking

18 A sensible person will no overlook a thoughtful suggestion,

ia an arrogant [241] and proud person will not be deterred by fear. [242]

19 Do nothing without deliberation,

but when you have acted, do not regret it.

20 Do not go on the path full of obstacles,

and do not stumble at an obstacle twice. [243]

21 Do not be overconfident on a smooth [or, unexplored] road

22 and give good heed to your paths. [244]

23 Guard [or, trust] yourself in every act,

for this is the keeping of the commandments.

24 The one who keeps the law preserves himself, [245]

and the one who trusts the Lord will not suffer loss.

<CHAPTER 33>

1 No evil will befall the one who reveres the Lord,

but in trials such a one will be rescued time and again.

2 The wise will not hate the law,

but the one who is insincere about it is like a boat in a storm.

3 A sensible person will trust in the law,

for such a one the law is as dependable as a divine oracle.

4 Prepare what to say, and when you will be listened to,

draw upon your training (or, learning), and give your answer.

5 The feelings of a fool is like a cart wheel,

and his thoughts like a turning axle.

6 A sarcastic friend is like a stallion

that neighs no matter who its rider is.

[A mocking friend is like a saddled horse

that loves any fool that rides on its back.],.

People are Not Alike

7 Why is one day more important than any other,

when every day in the year it receives its light from the sun?

8 By the Lord’s wisdom they were distinguished,

and he appointed the different seasons and festivals.

9 Some days he exalted and hallowed,

and some he made ordinary days.

10 All human beings come from the ground,

and human beings [246] were created out of dust.

11 In the fullness of his great knowledge, the Lord distinguished them,

and appointed their different ways.

12 Some he blessed and exalted, and some he made holy

and brought near to himself;

but some he cursed and humbled,

and removed others to be near to himself.

13 Like clay in the hand of a potter, to mould as he pleases,

so all are in the hand of their Maker,

to be formed into whatever he decides.

14 Good is the opposite of evil, and life the opposite of death,

so the sinner is he opposite of the godly.

15 Look at all the works of the Most High,

they come in pairs, one the opposite of the other.

16 Now I was the last to keep vigil’

I was like a gleaner following the grape pickers,

17 by the blessing of the Lord I arrived first, [247]

and like the grape pickers I filled my wine press.

18 Consider that I have not labored for myself alone,

but for all who seek instruction.

19 Hear me, you who are great among the people,

and you leaders of the congregation, pay heed!

Be independent

20 As long as you live, do not give power over yourself

to son or wife, to brother or friend,

and do not give our property to another,

in case you change our mind and must ask for it.

21 While you are still alive and have breath in you,

do not let anyone take your place.

22 It is better that your children should ask from you,

than that you should look to the hand of your children.

[That you should beg from them.]

23 Excel in all that you do;

bring no stain upon your honor.

24 At the time when you end the days of your life,

in the hour of death, distribute your inheritance.

Treatment of Slaves

25 Fodder and a stick and burdens for a donkey;

bread, discipline and work for a slave.

26 Make your slave work, and you will find rest for yourself,

leave his hands idle, and he will seek liberty.

27 Yoke and harness will tame the neck,

and for a wicked slave there are racks and tortures.

28 Put him to work, in order that he may not be idle,

29 for idleness teaches much evil.

30 Have him do work that he is fit to do.

and if he does not obey, make his fetters heavy.

Do not be overbearing toward anyone, and do nothing unjust.

31 If you have but one slave, treat him like yourself,

because you have bought him with blood.

If you have but one salve, treat him like a brother,

for you will need him as you need your life.

[Do not be concerned about your status in life,

or because you have afflicted him

and if he leaves for a period of time, or gets lost,

what will you give him?]

32 If you ill-treat him, and he leaves you and runs away,

33 which way will you go to seek him?

<CHAPTER 34>

Dreams Mean Nothing

1 The person without understanding is vain,

and has false hopes, and dreams that give wings to fools.

2 As one who catches at a shadow and pursues the wind, [248]

so is anyone who believes [249] the dreams.

3 What is seen in dreams is but a refection,

the likeness of a face looking at itself.

4 Truth cannot come from an illusion,

nor can what is false be true?

5 Divinations and omens and dreams are futile,

and like a woman in labor, the mind has fantasies.

6 Unless they are sent by intervention from the Most High,

pay no attention to them.

7 Dreams have deceived many,

and those who put their hope in them have perished.

8 Without such deceptions the law will be fulfilled,

and wisdom is complete in the mouth of the faithful.

Travel

9 An educated [or, A well traveled] person knows many things,

and one with much experience knows what hi is talking about.

10 An inexperienced person knows few things,

11 but he that has traveled acquires much cleverness.

12 I have seen many things in my travels,

and I understand more than I can express.

13 I have often been in danger of death.

but have escaped because of these experiences.

Reverence of the Lord

14 The spirit of those who fear the Lord will live,

15 for their hope is in him who saves them.

16 Those who revere [250] the Lord are timid,

or play the coward, for he is their hope.

17 Happy is the soul that reveres the Lord:

[He knows where to look for support.]

18 He knows to whom he should look, and where he can stay.

19 The eyes of the Lord are on those who love him,

a mighty shield and strong support,

[a shelter from scorching wind and a shade from noonday sun,

a guard against stumbling and a help against falling.]

20 He is elated in his soul and makes the eyes sparkle,

he gives health and life and blessing.

Offering Sacrifices

21 If one sacrifices ill-gotten goods,

the offering is blemished. [or, the offering is made a mockery],

22 the gifts [251] of the lawless are not acceptable.

23 The Most High is not pleased with the offerings of the ungodly,

nor for a multitude of sacrifices does he forgive sins.

24 Like one who kills a son before his father’s eyes

is the person who offers a sacrifice from the property of the poor.

25 The bread of the needy is the life of the poor,

whoever deprives them of it is a murderer.

26 To take away a neighbor’ living is to commit murder,

27 to defraud an employee of wages is to shed blood.

28 When one builds and another tears down,

what do they gain but hard work?

29 When one prays and another curses,

to whose voice with the Lord listen?

30 If one washes after touching a corpse, and touches it again,

what has been gained by washing?

31 So if one fasts for his sins, and goes again and does the same things,

who will listen to his prayer?

And what has he gained by humbling himself?

<CHAPTER 35> [252]

1 The one who keeps the law makes may offerings,

[or, To keep the law is worthy many offerings.]

2 one who heeds the commandments makes an offering of well-being

(or, a shared offering)..

3 The one who returns a kindness [offers choice flour],

4 and one who gives alms sacrifices through a thank offering.

5 To keep from wickedness is pleasing to the Lord,

and to forsake unrighteousness is an atonement.

6 Do not appear before the Lord empty handed. [253]

7 for all that you offer is in fulfillment of the commandment. [254]

8 The offering [or fat brought by the righteous] of the righteous enriches the altar,

and its pleasing odor rises before the Most High.

9 The sacrifice of the righteous is acceptable,

and it will never be forgotten.

10 Be generous [255] when you worship the Lord,

and do not stint the first fruits of your hands.

11 With every gift show a cheerful face,

and dedicate your tithe with gladness.

12 Give to the Most High as he has given you,[256]

and as generously as you can afford.

13 The Lord is the one who always repays,

and he will repay you sevenfold.

14 Do not offer him a bribe, for he will not accept it.

15 and do not rely on a dishonest sacrifice,

for the Lord is the judge and with him there is no partiality.

God’s Justice

16 He will not show partiality to the poor,

[He will not show you preference at the expense of the poor.]

but he will listen to the prayer of one who is wronged..

17 He will never ignore the supplication of the orphan,

or the widow when she pours out her complaint.

18 The tears of a widow run down her cheek,

19 as she cries out against the one who causes them to fall.

20 The one whose service is pleasing to the Lord will be accepted, [257]

and his prayer will reach to the clouds.

21 The prayer of the humble pierces the clouds,

and it will not rest until it reaches its goal,

22 and does justice for the righteous, and executes judgment.

[giving the just their rights, and seeing justice done.]

Indeed the Lord will not delay and like a warrior [258] will not be patient,

until he crushes the loins [or, breaks the bones] of the unmerciful.

23 and repays vengeance on the nations’

until he destroys the multitude of the insolent,

and breaks the scepters of the unrighteous,

24 until he repays the mortals according to their deeds,

and the works of all according to their thoughts,

25 until he judges the case of his people, [259]

[he recompenses people according to their deserving,

until he pleads the case of the people.]

and makes them rejoice in his mercy.

26 His mercy is as welcome in time of distress

as clouds of rain in time of drought.

[Beautiful is his favor in a time of sky,

and rain-clouds in a time of drought.]

<CHAPTER 36>

A Prater for Israel

1 Have mercy upon us, [or, Save us], O God, [260]

2 and put all the nations in fear of you.

3 Lift up your head against foreign nations

and let them see your glory [or, power] toward us.

and use them to show your glory to us.

4 As you have used us to show your holiness to them,

so use them to show your glory to us.

5 Then they will know [261] as we have known

that there is no God but you, O Lord.

6 Give new signs, and work other wonders;

7 make your hand and right arm glorious.

8 Rouse your anger [262] and pour out your wrath;

9 destroy the adversary and wipe out the enemy,

10 Hasten the day, and remember the appointed time,

[remember your oath].

and let people recount your mighty deeds.

11 Let survivors be consumed in the fiery wrath,

and may those who harm your people meet destruction.

12 Crush the heads of hostile rulers who say,

‘There is no one other than ourselves that is important.”

13 Gather all the tribes of Jacob, [263]

16 and give them their inheritance as [you had done] at the beginning.

17 Have mercy, O Lord, on the people called by your name,

on Israel, whom you have named [or, likened to] your firstborn.

18 Have pity on the city of your sanctuary, [or, on your holy city] with your glory.

19 Fill Zion with your majesty, [264]

and your temple [265] with your glory.

20 Bear witness to those whom you created in the beginning,

and fulfill the prophecies spoken in your name.

21 Reward those who wait for you

and let your prophets be found trustworthy.

22 Hear, O Lord, the prayer of your servants,

according to your good will toward [266] your people,

and all who are on the earth will know

that you are the Lord, the God of the ages.

Choosing a Wife

23 The stomach will take any food,

yet one food is better than another.

24 As the palate tastes the kids of game,

so an intelligent mind detects false words.

25 A perverse mind will cause grief,

but a person with experience will pay him back.

26 A woman will accept any man as a husand

but one girl is preferable to another.

27 A woman’s beauty lights up a man’s face

and there is nothing he desires more.

28 If kindness and humility mark her speech, [267]

her husband is more fortunate than other men.

29 He who accepts a wife gets his best possession, [or, enters upon a possession,

a helper fit for him and a pillar of support.[268]

30 Where there is no hedge, the property will be plundered,

and where there is no wife, a man will become a fugitive and wander.[269]

31 For who will trust a nimble robber

that skips from city to city?

So who will trust a man that has no nest,

but lodges wherever night overtakes him?

<CHAPTER 37>

False Friends

1 Every friend says, “I too am a good friend”;

but some friend are friends only in name.

2 Is there any sorrow like that for death itself

when a dear friend turns into an enemy?

3 O inclination to evil, why were you formed

to cover the land with deceit [or, treachery]?

4 Some companions rejoice in the happiness of a friend,

but in time of trouble they are against him.

5 Some companions help a friend for their stomachs’ sake,

[or, for the sake of a meal].

yet in battle they will carry his shield.

6 Do not forget a friend during the battle, [or, in your heart],

and do not neglect him when you distribute our spoils. [270]

Caution in Taking Advice

7 All counselors praise the counsel they give, [271]

and some give counsel in their own interest.

8 Be wary of a counselor and learn first what is I interest,

for he will take thought for himself.

He may cast the lot against you

9 and tell you, “Your way is good,”

and then stand aside to see what happens to you.

10 Do not consult the one who regards you with suspicion,

hide your intentions from those who are jealous of you.

11 Do not consult with a woman about her rival, [272]

or with a coward about war,

with a merchant about business

or with a buyer about selling,

with a miser about generosity [273]

or with the merciless about kindness,

with the idler about any work,

or with a seasonal laborer about his completion of his work,

with a lazy servant about an excruciating task --

pay no attention to any advice they give.

12 Associate with a godly person,

whom you know to be a keeper of the commandments,

who is like-minded with yourself,

and who will sympathize with you if your fail.

13 Trust the council of your own judgment,

for no one is more faithful to you than it is.

14 Our own mind sometimes keeps us better informed

than seven sentinels sitting high on the watchtower.

15 Above all pray to the Most High,

that he may direct your way in truth.

Wisdom and Confidence

16 Discussion is the beginning of every work

and counsel precedes every undertaking.

17 The mind is the root of all conduct,

18 it sprouts four branches

[as a clue to changes of heart four kinds of destiny appear:]

good and evil, life and death,

and it is the tongue that continually rules them.

19 Some people may be cleaver enough to teach many,

and yet be useless to themselves.

20 A brilliant speaker may be hated,

he will be destitute of all food,

21 for the Lord has withheld the gift of grace and charm,

sine he is deprived of all wisdom.

22 If a person is wise to his personal advantage,

the fruits of his good sense will be praiseworthy.

[or, trustworthy when he gives advice].

23 A wise person instructs his own people,

and the fruits of his wise sense will endure.

24 A wise person will have praise heaped upon him,

and all who see him will call him happy [or, will say he can be trusted]..

25 The days of a person’s life are numbered,

but the days of Israel are without number.

[A wise person will receive praises,

and will be regarded as being happy.]

26 One who is wise among his people will inherit honor [or, confidence],

and his name will live forever.

Controlling the Appetite

27 My child, test yourself while you live,

see what is bad for you and do not give in to it.

28 Not everything is good for everyone,

and we do not all enjoy the same thing.

29 Do not be greedy for every delicacy,

and do not eat without restraint,

30 for overeating brings sickness,

and gluttony leads to nausea.

31 Many have died of gluttony,

but the one who guards against it prolongs his life.

<CHAPTER 38>

Sickness and Medicine

1 Honor physicians for their services

for the Lord created them,

2 for their gift of healing comes from the Most High,

and they are rewarded by the king.

3 The skill of physicians makes them distinguished,

and in the presence of the great they are admired.

4 The Lord created medical remedies out of the earth,

and the sensible will not despise them.

5 Was bitter water made sweet with a tree

in order that its [274] power might be known?

6 The Lord gave skill to human beings

that he [or, they] might know?

7 By them he physician heals and takes away pain,

8 the pharmacist makes a mixture from the.

God’s works will never be finished,

and from him health spreads over the entire earth.

9 My child, when you are ill do not delay,

but pray to the Lord, and he will heal you.

10 Give up your faults and direct your hands rightly,

and cleanse your heart from all sin.

11Offer a sweet-smelling sacrifice, and a memorial portion of choice flour

and pour oil on your offering, as much as you can afford. [275]

12 Then give the physician his place, for the Lord created him;

do not let him leave you, for you need him.

13 The time may come when recovery lies in the hands of the physicians, [276]

14 for they too pray to the Lord

that they be granted success in their diagnosis,[277]

and in healing, for the sake of preserving life.

15 He who sins against the Maker will be defiant toward the physician. [278]

Mourning for the Dead

16 My child, let your tears fall for the dead,

and as one in great pain begin the lament.

Lay out the body with due ceremony,

and do not neglect the burial.

17 Let your weeping be bitter and your wailing fervent; [279]

make your mourning worthy of the departed,

for one day, or two, to avoid criticism,

then be comforted for your grief.

18 Grief may lead to death,

and a sorrowful heart saps one’s strength.

19 When a person is taken away, sorrow is over,

but the life of the poor weighs down the heart.

20 Do not give your heart to grief [or, quarreling]

but drive it away, and remember your own end.

21 Do not forget, there is no coming back,

you do the dead no good, and you injure yourself.

22 Remember his fate, and yours will be like it;

yesterday it was his, and today it is yours.

23 When the dead is at rest, let his remembrance rest too,

and be comforted for him when his spirit has departed.

Scholarship and Other Occupations

24 The wisdom of the scribe depends on the opportunity of leisure,

only the one who has little business can become wise.

25 How can one become wise who handles the plow,

and who glories in the shaft of a goad,

when driving oxen and is occupied with their work,

and whose talk is about bulls?

26 He sets his heart on plowing furrows,

and he is careful about fodder for his heifers.

27 So it is with every artisan and master artisan,

who labors by night as well as by day,

those who engrave the signets of seals,

each is different in making a great variety,

they set their heart on painting a lifelike image,

and they are careful to finish their work.

28 So it is with the smith, sitting by his anvil,

intent on his iron-work;

the breath of the fire melts his flesh,

and he struggles with the heat of the furnace,

the sound of the hammer deafens his ears.[280]

And his eyes are on the pattern of the object.

He sets his heart on finishing his handiwork,

and he is careful to complete its decoration.

29 So it is with the potter sitting at his work

and turning the wheel with his feet,

he is always deeply concerned over his products,

and he produces them in quantity.

30 He molds the clay with his arms [281] and makes it pliable with his feet,

he sets his heart to finish the glazing,

and takes care in firing the kiln.

31 All these rely on their hands,

and all are skillful in their own work.

32 Without them no city can be inhabited,

and wherever they live, they will not go hungry. [282]

[Yet they are not sought out for the council of the people,] [283]

33 nor do they attain eminence in the public assembly.

They do not sit in the judge’s seat,

nor do they understand the decisions of the courts,

they cannot expound discipline, or judgment,

and they are not found among the rulers. [284]

34 But they maintain the fabric of the world,

and their concern [285] is for the exercise of their trade,

How different the one who devotes himself,

to the study of the law of the Most High!

<CHAPTER 39>

1 How different it is for one who devotes himself to ancient wisdom,

and reflects on the law of the Most High.

2 He preserves the sayings of the famous,

and penetrates the subtleties of parables,

3 he seeks out the hidden meaning of proverbs

and is at home with the obscurities of parables.

4 He serves among the great and appears before rulers,,

he travels in foreign lands, and learns what is good and evil in humanity.

5 He sets his heart to rise early to seek the Lord who made him,

and to petition the Most High;

he opens his mouth in prayer, and asks pardon for his sins.

6 If the great Lord is willing, he will be filled with the spirit of intelligence;

he will pour forth words of wisdom of his own,

and give thanks to the Lord in prayer.

7 The Lord [286] will direct his counsel and knowledge,

as he meditates on his concept of mysteries.

8 He will reveal what he has learned,

and will glory in the law of the Lord’s covenant.

9 Many will praise his intelligence, and it will never be blotted out.

His memory will not disappear,

and his name will live through all generations.

10 Nations will speak of his wisdom,

and the congregation will sing his praise.

11If he lives long, he will leave a name greater than a thousand,

and if he goes to rest, he will be content. [287]

A Hymn of Praise of God [288]

12 I have more on my mind to express,

I am full, like the full moon.

13 Listen to me, my faithful children, and blossom

like a rose [or, lily] growing by a stream of water.

14 Send out fragrance like incense,

and put forth blossoms like a lily.

Scatter the fragrance; and sing a hymn of praise,

Bless the Lord for all his works.

15 Ascribe majesty to his name and give thanks to him with praise,

with songs on your lips, an with harps,

this is what you are to say in thanksgiving.

16 “All the works of the Lord are exceedingly good,

and whatever he commands will be done at the appointed time.

17 No one can say, ‘What is this:’ or ‘Why is that?’-- [289]

for at the appointed time all such questions will be answered.

At his word the waters stood in a heap,

and the reservoirs of water at the word of his mouth.

[By his word the waters formed into a heap,

and by his mouth treasures were made.]

18 What he commands, his every purpose is fulfilled,

and none can limit his saving power.

19 The works of all are before him.

and nothing can be hidden from his eyes.

20 From the beginning to the end of time he can see everything,

and nothing is too marvelous for him.

21 No one can say, ‘What is this?’ or ‘What is that?’—

for everything has been creed for his own purpose.

22 ( “His blessing covers the fry land like a river,

and drenches it like a flood.

23 But his wrath drives out the nations.)

This is as certain as when he turned a watered land into brine,

24 To the devout his ways are straight,

but full of pitfalls for the wicked.

25 From the beginning good things were created for the good,

but for sinners good things and bad. [290]

26 The basic necessities of human life are water, fire, iron, salt,

wheat flour. milk, and honey,

the juice of the grape, oil and clothing.

27 All these are good for the godly,

but for sinners they turn into evils.

28 “These are winds created for vengeance,

and in their anger they can dislodge mountains, [291]

on the day of reckoning they will exert their strength

and calm the anger of their Maker.

29 Fire and hail and famine and pestilence,

all these have been created fo vengeance,

30 the fangs of wild animals and scorpions an vipers,

and the sword that punishes the ungodly with destruction.

31 They take delight in carrying out his bidding,

always ready for his service on earth,

and when their time comes they never disobey his command.”

32 From the beginning I have been convinced of all this,

and have thought it out and left it in writing.

33 All the works of the Lord are good,

and he will supply every need in its time.

34 No one can say, “This is not as good as that.”

for everything proves good in its appointed time.

35 So now sing praise with all your heart and voice,

and bless the name of the Lord!”

<CHAPTER 40> [292]

The Misery of Human Life

1 Hard work was created for everyone;

and a heavy yoke is laid on the children of Adam,

from the day they come forth from their mother’s woom

until the day they return to the mother of all the living. [293]

2 Perplexities and fear of heart are theirs,

and anxious thought on the day of their death.

3 From the one who sits on a splendid throne,

to the one who grovels in dust and ashes,

4 from the one who wears purple and a crown

to the one who is clothed in burlap,

5 there is anger and envy and trouble, contention,

fear of death, fury and strife.

When one rests upon his bed,

his sleep at night confused by mysteries..

6 He gets little or no rest;

he struggles in his sleep as he did by day. [294]

He is troubled by night mares,

like one who has escaped from the battlefield.

8 This occurs to all creatures, human and animal,

but to sinners seven times more,

9 come death and bloodshed and strife and sword,

calamities and famine and rain and plague.

10 All these were create for the wicked,

and on their account the flood came.

11 All that is of earth returns to earth,

and what is from above returns above.

The Results of Evil

12 All bribery and injustice will vanish completely;

but good faith will last forever. [295]

13 The wealth of the wicked will dry up like a river,

and crash like a loud clap of thunder in a storm.

[Everyone who sins or cheats will decease,

but the diligent in the word, even they, will live.]

14 As a generous person has cause to rejoice

so lawbreakers will utterly fail.

15 The children of the ungodly put out few branches,

for they are as unhealthy roots on sheer rock.

16 The reeds by any water or river bank

are plucked up before any grass,

17 but kindness is like a garden of blessings,

and almsgiving endures forever,

The Joys of Human Life:

18 To be wealthy and employed makes life sweet, [296]

but better than either is finding a treasure.

19 Children and the building of a city establish one’s name,

but better than either is the one who finds wisdom.

[Cattle and orchards make one prosperous, [297]

But a blameless wife is accounted better than either.]

20 Wine and music gladden the heart,

but the love of friends [298] is better than evil.

21 The flute and the harp make sweet melody.

but a pleasant voice is better than evil.

22 The eye desires to see grace and beauty,

but the green shoots of grain more than either.

23 A friend or companion is always welcome

but a sensible wife is better than either.

24 Kindred and helpers are for a time of trouble,

but almsgiving rescues better than either.

25 Gold and silver make one sand firm,

but good advice is esteemed more than either.

26 Riches and strength build up confidence

but reverence of the Lord is better than either.

[The reverence of the Lord causes us to lose nothing,

but will be an unending source of support.] [299]

27 The reverence of the Lord is like a paradise or blessing,

and covers a person better than any glory.

Begging

28 My child, do not lead the life of a beggar,

it is better to die than to beg.

29 When one looks to the table of another,

one’s way of life cannot be considered a life.

One loses self-respect with another person’s food,

but one who is intelligent and well instructed guards against that.

30 In the mouth of the shameless begging is sweet,

but it kindles resentment within him.

<CHAPTER 41>

Death

1 O death, how bitter is the thought of you

to the one at ease with his worldly possessions,

who is free of all cares, and is prosperous in everything,

and is still vigorous enough to enjoy [300] food!

2 O death, how welcome is your sentence

to one whose activity is waning, needy and whose strength is failing,,

having constant anxiety due to old age, [301]

to one who is contrary, and has lost all of his patience!

3 Do not fear death’s sentence [302] for you,

but remember those who went before you,

and those who will come after you.

4 This is the Lord’s decree for all of humanity.

Why then should you reject the will of the Most High?

Whether life lasts for ten years or a hundred or a thousand,

there are no questions asked in grave.

The Fate of the Wicked

5 The children of sinners have a sense of lostness, [303]

for they frequent the haunts of the godless.

6 The inheritance of the children of sinners [304] will perish,

and there will be a perpetual disgrace on their offspring..

7 Children with a mean ungodly father,

will be brought up in the haunts of the ungodly,

for they suffer disgrace because of him.

8 Woe to you, the ungodly,

who have abandoned the law of the Most High God!

9 If you have children, disgrace will be there’s;

you will beget them only for groaning.

When you die, there is lasting joy, [305]

for when you die, a curse is your lot.

10 Whatever comes from earth returns to earth,

so the ungodly go from curse to destruction.

11 The human body is a fleeting thing for which we grieve,

but a virtuous name will never be blotted out. [306]

12 Consider your name, since it will outlive you

longer than a thousand hoards of gold.

13 The days of a good life are numbered [or, limited],

but a good name lasts forever.

A Sense of Decency

14 My children, be true to your training and be at peace,

hidden wisdom and unseen treasure –

of what value are either of them?

15 Better are those who hide their folly

than those who hide their wisdom.

16 Therefore show respect for my teaching,

for it is not good to feel shame in every circumstance.

nor is every kind of shame necessarily approved. [307]

16 Be ashamed to engage in sexual immorality before your father or mother,

and of a lie in the presence of a prince or a ruler.

18 or commit a crime, before a judge or magistrate,

and a breach of the law, before the congregation and all people;

of unjust dealing, before your partner or your friend;

19 and of theft, in the place where you live.

Be ashamed of breaking an oath of agreement, [308]

and of leaning on your elbow at meals; [309]

of surliness in receiving or giving’

20 and of silence before those who greet you, [310]

of ogle at a prostitute.

21 or reject the presence of a relative,

or taking away someone’s portion or gift,

or eyeing at another man’s wife;

22 Be ashamed or meddling with his servant girl—

and do not lie in her bed.

Be ashamed to use abusive words, before friends,

and do not be insulting after making a gift.

23 [Be ashamed to report what you have heard, or betray a confidence

24 Then you will show a proper sense of shame

and be popular with everyone.] [311]

<CHAPTER 42

A Sense of Pride

1Be ashamed of repeating what you hear,

and of betraying secrets.

Then you will show proper shame and will win favor with everyone.

Of the following things do no be ashamed:

2 Do not be ashamed of the law of the Most High and his covenant,

and do not sin to save face.

3 Do not be ashamed of the law of the Most High and his covenant,

and of rendering judgment to acquit the ungodly,

3 of keeping accounts with a partner or traveling companions,

and of dividing the inheritance of friends,

4 of accuracy of scales and weights,

and of acquiring many or few possessions;

5 of profit from dealing with merchants,

and of frequent disciplining of children,

and of drawing blood from the back f a worthless slave.

6 Where there is an untrustworthy wife, bolt the door,

and where there are many hands, lock things up.

7 When you make a deposit, be sure it is counted and weighed,

and when you give or receive, put it all in writing.

8 Do not be ashamed to correct the ignorant or foolish

or the aged who are guilty of sexual immorality.

Then you will show your sound training

and you will experience universal approval.

Fathers and Daughters

9 A daughter is a secret anxiety to her father,

and worry over her robs him of a night’s sleep,

when she is young, for fear she may not marry, [312]

or, if married, for fear she may be disliked, and divorced..

10 While a virgin, for fear that she may be seduced,

and become pregnant in her father’s house;

or, having a husband, for fear she may be unfaithful,’

or, though married, for fear she will be barren.

11 Keep strict watch over a headstrong daughter,

or she may make you a laughingstock [313] to your enemies,

and the talk of the town [314] and its population,,

and put you to shame in public gatherings [315] while your enemies gloat.

See that there is no lattice (or, window) in her room,

no spot that overlooks the entrance to the house. [316]

12 Do not let her display her beauty to any man,

or spend her gossiping with women who live in the women’s auarters, [317]

13 for from garments comes the moth,

and from a woman comes women’s wickedness.

14 Better is the wickedness of a man than a woman who does good,

it is the woman who brings shame and disgrace/

The Glory of God in Nature

15 I will now call to mind the works of the Lord,

and will describe what I have seen.

By the word of the Lord his works are made,

and all his creatures do his will. [318]

16 The sun illuminates everything with its light,

and the work of the Lord is full of his glory.

17 The Lord has not empowered even his holy ones (or, angels),

to recount all his marvelous works,

which the Lord the Almighty has established

so that the universe may stand firm in his glory.

18 He searches out the abyss and the human heart;

he understands their innermost secrets.

For the Most High knows all that may be known,

he sees from of old the things that are to come. [319]

19 He discloses what has been and what will be,

and he reveals the traces of secret things.

20 No thought escapes him, and nothing is hidden from him.

21 He has set in order the splendors of his wisdom,

he is from eternity one and the same.

Nothing can be added or taken away,

and he needs no one to be his counselor.

22 How pleasant are all his works,

and how sparkling they are to see. [320]

23 All these things live and remain forever,

each creature is responsible to deal with its specific need. [321]

24 All things come in pairs, each as the other’s counterpart,

and he has made nothing incomplete.

25 Each supplements the virtues of the other.

Who could ever tire of seeing his glory?

<CHAPTER 43>

1 The pride of the higher realms is the clear vault of the sky,

how spectacular to behold is the sight of the heavens.

2 The sun, when it appears, proclaims as it rises.

What a marvelous instrument it is, for it is the work of the Most High.

3 At noon it parches the land, and who can withstand is burning heat?

4 A man tending [322] a furnace works in burning heat,

but three times as hot is the sun scorching the mountains.

It breathes out fiery vapors, and the glare of its rays blind the eyes.

5 Great is the Lord who made it, at his orders it hurries on its course.

.

6 It is the moon that marks the changing seasons, [323]

governing the times, their everlasting sign.

[The feast days are determined by its light

as it concludes its course.]’

7 From the moon comes the sign for festal days,

a light that wanes when it completes its course.

8 The new moon, as its name suggests, renews itself, [324]

how marvelous it is in this change,

a beacon to the hosts on high,

shimmering in the vault of the heavens!

9 The glory of the stars is the beauty of heaven,

a glittering array in the heights of the Lord.

10 On the orders of the Holy One they are commanded

to be in their appointed places,

they never default in their watches.

11 Look at the rainbow, and praise him who made it,

it is exceedingly beautiful in its brightness.

12 It spans heaven with its glorious arc,

the hands of the Most High have stretched it out.

[Like a a bow that is bent by the hands of the Most High,

it spans the horizon in is circle of glory.]

13 By his command he sends the snow storm,

and the swift lightning to carry out his orders.

14 Therefore the storehouses are opened,

and the clouds fly out like a flock of birds.

15 In his mighty power he gives the clouds their strength,

and the hailstones that are broken into pieces.

17a The voice of his thunder rebukes the earth, [325]

16 when he appears, the mountains shake,

At his will the south wind blows,

17b so do the storm from the north and the whirlwind.

He scatters the snow like birds flying down,

and its descent is like locusts that are alighting.

18 The eye is dazzled by the beauty of its whiteness,

and the mind is entranced as it falls.

19 He pours frost over the earth like salt,

and icicles form like pointed thorns.[326]

[He makes the crystals shine like sapphire.]

20 The cold north wind [327] blows and ice freezes on the water,

it settles on every pool of water,

and the (frozen) water gives the impression of being a breast-plate.

21 He consumes the mountains and burns up the wilderness,

and shrivels the tender grass like fire.

22 A mist quickly heals all things,

the falling dew gives refreshment from the heat.

23 By his declaration he stilled the deep

and planted islands in it.

24 Those who sail the sea tell of its dangers,

and we marvel at what we hear.

25 In it are strange and marvelous creatures,

all kinds of living things, and huge sea-monsters.

26 Because of him each of his messengers succeeds,

and by his word all things hold together.

27 We could say more but could never say enough,

let the final word be: “He is the all.”

28 Where can we find the strength to praise him?

For he is greater than all his works.

29 Awesome is the Lord and very great,

and marvelous is his power.

30 Honor the Lord and exalt him as much as you can,

for he surpasses even that. (or, he is above all praise0.

[Summon your strength to extol him,

be constant in this, for you will always fall short in your praise]

30 When you exalt him, summon all your strength,

and do not grow weary, for you cannot praise him enough.

31 Who has seen him and can describe him?

Or who can extol him as he is?

32 Many things greater than these he has hidden,

for I [328] have seen but few of his works.

33 For the Lord has made all things,

and to the godly he has given wisdom.

<CHAPTER 44>

Hymn in Honor of Our Ancestors [329]

The Glory of God in History

1 Let us now sing the praises of famous men,

our ancestors in their generations.

2 The Lord apportioned great glory to them, [330]

his majesty from the beginning.

3 There were those who ruled in their kingdoms, [331]

and gain renown for themselves by their valor,

those who gave counsel because they were intelligent;

those who spoke in prophetic oracles.

4 those who led the people by their counsels,

and by their knowledge of the people’s lore,

they were wise in their words of instruction,

[wise in meditation on their writing,

giving in their watchfulness,

outstanding in their instruction,

and were looked upon with appeal.]

5 those who composed musical tunes,

or put verse in writing;

6 rich men endowed with resources, living peacefully in their homes –

7 all these were honored in their generations,

and were the pride of their times,

8 Some of them have left behind a name;

so that others declare their praise.

9 But of others there is no memory,

they have perished as if they never existed,

they have become as if they had never been born,

they and their children after them.

10 But these also were people of piety,

whose righteous deeds have not been forgotten.

11 their prosperity will remain with their descendants,

and their inheritance with their children’s children.[332]

12 Their descendants stand by their covenants,

their children also, for their sake.

13 Their descendants will continue forever,

and their glory will never be blotted out.

14 Their bodies are buried in peace,

but their name lives on generation after generation.

15 The assembly declares [333] their wisdom,

and the congregation will sing their praise.

Enoch

16 Enoch pleased the Lord and was taken up,

an example of repentance to all generations.

Noah

17 Noah was found perfect and righteous;

and in that way he made amends in the time of God’s wrath,

[in the time of wrath he kept the race alive,] [334]

therefore a remnant was left on the earth when the flood came.

18 Everlasting covenants were established,

so that all flesh should live and never again be blotted out by a flood.

Abraham

19 Abraham was the great father of a multitude of nations,

and no one had been found like him in glory.

[did not trust his glory,]

20 He kept the law of the Most High,

and entered into a covenant with him,

he certified the covenant in his flesh,

and when he was tested he proved faithful.

21 Therefore the Lord assured him with an oath

that the nations would be blessed through his offspring,

that he would make his descendents as numerous as the dust of the earth,

and exalt his offspring like the stars,

and give them an inheritance from sea to sea

and from the Euphrates [335] to the ends of the earth.

Isaac and Jacob

22 To Isaac also he gave the same assurance

for the sake of his father Abraham.

The blessing of all people, and the covenant

23 he made to rest on the head of Jacob;

he acknowledged him with his blessings.

and gave him his inheritance,

he divided his portions,

and distributed them among twelve tribes.

<CHAPTER 45>

[From his people the Lord brought forth a godly man,

who found favor in the sight of all.]

Moses

`1 He was beloved by God and people;

Moses, whose memory is blessed.

2 The Holy One made him equal In glory to the holy ones,

and made him great, [granting him power] to the terror of his enemies.

3 By his words he performed great miracles; [336]

the Lord glorified him in the presence of kings.

He gave him commandment(s) for his people, [337]

and revealed to him his glory.

4 For his faithfulness and humility he consecrated him,

choosing him out of all of humanity.

5 He allowed him to hear his voice and led him into the dark cloud,

and gave him the commandments face to face,

the law of life and knowledge,

so that he might teach Jacob the covenant,

and Israel his decrees.

Aaron

6 He exalted Aaron, a holy man like Moses, [338]

who was his brother, of the tribe of Levi.

7 He made an everlasting covenant with him,

and conferred on him the priesthood of the people.

He blessed him with stateliness

and put a glorious robe on him. [339]

8 He clothed him with appropriate signs of his position.,

and strengthened the symbols of authority,

the linen under trousers,, long robe, and the ephod.

9 He encircled him with pomegranates,

and with many golden bells all around

to send forth a sound as he walked,

to make their ringing heard in the temple

as a reminder to the people.

10 with the sacred vestments of gold and violet

and purple, the work of an embroiderer,

with the oracle of judgment,

and the token of truth, Urim and Thummim; [340]

11 with twisted crimson, the work of an artisan,

with precious stones engraved like signets,

mounted in a setting of gold, the work of a jeweler,

for each of the tribes of Israel,

12 with a gold crown on his turban,

inscribed like a signet with ”Holy(ness) to the Lord,”

a distinction to be prized, the work of an expert,

a delight to the eyes, richly adorned.

13 Prior to him such beautiful things did not exist.

No outsider ever wore them, [341]

but only his sons and his descendants in perpetuity.

14 His sacrifices will be wholly burned

twice ever day continually.

15 Moses ordained him, and anointed him with sacred oil;

for it was an everlasting covenant for him,

and his descendants as long as heaven endures,

to minister to the Lord and serve in the priestly office,

and bless his people in his name.

16 He chose him out of all the people of Israel,

to offer sacrifices to the Lord,

incense and pleasing odor as a memorial sacrifice,

to make atonement for the people.

17 In his commandments the Holy One entrusted him

with authority and statutes and [342] judgments,.

to teach Jacob the testimonies

and to enlighten Israel with his laws.

18 Outsiders conspired against him,

and envied him in the wilderness,

Dathan and Abiram and their supporters,

and the company of Korah, enflamed with wrath and anger.

19 The Lord saw it and was not pleased,

and in the heat of his wrath they were destroyed.

He performed wonders against them to consume them in flaming fure,

20 He added glory to Aaron, and gave him a heritage;

by allotting the best of the first fruits to the priesthood;

and prepared of first fruits in abundance.

21 for they were to eat the sacrifices of the Lord

which he gave to him and his descendants.

22 But in the land of the people he had no inherited territory,

and he has no portion among the people,

for the Lord himself is his portion and inheritance.

Phinehas

23 Phinehas son of Eleazar ranks third in renown, [343]

for being zealous in the fear of the Lord,

and standing firm, when the people turned away,

in the noble courage of his soul,

and he made atonement for Israel.

24 Therefore a covenant of friendship was established with him,

that he should be in charge of the sanctuary and of his people.

that he and his descendants should have

the dignity of the priesthood forever.

David

25 Just as a covenant was established with David

son of Jesse of the tribe of Judah;

that the king’s heritage passes only from son to son,

so the heritage of Aaron is for his descendants alone.

26 Now bless the Lord who has crowned you with glory.

May the Lord grant you wisdom of mind,

to judge his people with justice’

so that their prosperity may not vanish,

and that their glory may endure through all their generations.

<CHAPTER 46>

Joshua

1 Joshua son of Nun was mighty in war,

and was the successor of Moses in his prophetic office

He became, as his name implies, a great savior of God’s elect,

to take vengeance on the enemies that rose against them,

so that he might give Israel its inheritance.

2 How glorious he was when he lifted up his hands

and brandished his sword against the cities!

3 Who before him ever stood so firm?

He waged the war of the Lord.

4 It was though him that the sun stood still

and one day became as long as two.

5 He called upon the Most High, the Mighty One,

when enemies pressed him on every side,

and the great Lord answered him

with hail stones of mighty power.

6 He overwhelmed the nation in battle,

and on the pass (or, Beth Horon],

[through which they were fleeing,]

he destroyed his opponents;

so that the nations might know his armament,

that he was fighting in the sight of the Lord;

for he was a devoted follower of the Mighty One.

Caleb

7 In the days of Moses Joshua proved his loyalty,

he and Caleb son of Jephunneh restrained the people

from sin, and stilled their wicked grumbling.

8 These two alone were spared out of six hundred thousand infantry;

to lead the people into their inheritance;

the land flowing with milk and honey.

9 The Lord gave Caleb strength which remained with him in his old age,

so that he went up to the hill country,

and his children obtained it for an inheritance,

10 so that all the Israelites might see

how good it is to follow the Lord.

The Judges

11 The judges also, with their respective names,

whose hearts rejected idolatry,

and who did not turn away from the Lord –

may their memory be blessed!

12 May their bones send for the new life from where they lie,

and may the names of those who have been honored

live again in their children.

Samuel

13 Samuel was beloved by his Lord,

a prophet of the Lord, he established the monarchy

and anointed rulers over his people.

14 By the law of the Lord he dispensed

the judgment of the law to the congregation

and the Lord watched over Jacob.

15 By his faithfulness he was proved to be a prophet,

and by his words he became known as a trustworthy prophet.

16 He called upon the Lord, the Mighty One,

when his enemies pressed him on every side,

and he offered in sacrifice a suckling lamb.

17 Then the Lord thundered from heaven,

and made his voice heard with a mighty sound:

18 he subdued the leaders of the enemy, [344]

and all the rulers of the Philistines

19 Before the time of his eternal sleep,

Samuel [345] bore witness before the Lord and his anointed:

“No property, no so much as a pair of shoes,

have I taken from anyone.” [346]

No one accused him.

20 Even after he had fallen asleep, he prophesied

and made the king’s fate (or, his death) known to him,

and lifted up his voice from the ground

in prophecy, to blot out the wickedness of the people.

<CHAPTER 47>

Nathan

1 Nathan arose to prophesy during the reign of David.

David

2 As the fat is set apart [347] from the offering [348] of well-being

so David was chosen (or, set apart) from the Israelites.

3 He played with lions as though they were young goats,

and with bears as though they were lambs of the flock. [349]

4 In his youth did he not kill a giant,

and remove the people’s disgrace,

when he whirled the stone in the sling [with its stone,]

and struck [350] down the boasting Goliath?

5 He called on the Lord, the Most High,

who gave strength to his right arm,

to strike down a mighty warrior

[and proclaim the power [351] of his people.]

6 So they glorified him for the tens of thousands he conquered,

and praised him for the blessings bestowed by the Lord,

when the glorious diadem was given to him.

7 He subdued his enemies on every side,

and annihilated his adversaries the Philistines;

he crushed their power [352] to this day.

8 In all that he did he gave thanks to the Holy One,

the Most High, proclaiming his glory,

he sang hymns of praise with all his heart,

and he loved his Maker.

9 He appointed singers to sing before he altar,

to make sweet melody with their voices.

[and daily they sing his praise,]

10 He gave dignity to the festivals,

and arranged their times throughout the year, [353]

while the praised God’s holy name,

and the sanctuary resounded from early morning.

11 The Lord pardoned [354] his sins, and exalted his power forever;

giving him a covenant of kingship

and a glorious throne in Israel.

Solomon

12 After him a wise son, Solomon, rose up who

because of David lived in security: [355]

13 Solomon reigned in an age of peace, [356]

because God made all his borders tranquil,

so that he might build a house in his name

and provide a sanctuary to stand forever.

14 How wise you were when you were young!

Like the Nile, you overflowed with understanding.

15 Your influence spread throughout the earth,

and you filled it with proverbs having deep meaning.

16 Your fame reached distant islands,

and you were loved for your peaceful reign.

17 Your songs, proverbs, and parables,

and the answers you gave astounded the nations.

18 In the name of the Lord God, who is called the God of Israel,

you amassed gold like tin and stacked silver like lead. [357]

19 But due to your lust you brought in women to lie against your thigh,

and through your body you were brought into subjection.

20 You stained your honor, and defiled your family line,

so that you brought God’s wrath upon your children,

and they were grieved [358] at your folly,

21 because the sovereignty was divided

and a violent dynasty arose out of Ephraim.

22 But the Lord will never cease to be merciful,

or cause any of his works to perish.

He will never blot out the descendants of his chosen one,

or destroy the family line of him who loved him.

So he gave a remnant to Jacob, and to David a root from his own familly.

Rehoboam and Jeroboam

23 Solomon rested with his ancestors and a successor,

one of his sons, one of his sons, succeeded him,

who was exceedingly foolish [359] and lacking in sense: Rehoboam, whose policy drove the people to revolt. [360]

Then Jeroboam, son of Nebat led Israel into sin,

and started Ephraim on its sinful ways

24 Their sins increased more and more,

until they were both exiled from their land..

25 They sought out every kind of wickedness,

until vengeance overtook them.

<CHAPTER 48>

Elijah

1 Then Elijah arose, a prophet like fire,

and his words blazed like a torch.

2 He brought a famine upon the people,

and by his zeal he reduced their number.

[also disregarding their tribes.]

4 By the word of the Lord he shut up the heavens,

and also three times brought down fire.

5 How glorious you were, Elijah, in your wondrous deeds!

Whose glory is equal to yours?

5 You raised a corpse from death

and the grave, by the word of the Most High.

6 You sent kings down to destruction,

and famous men, from their sickbeds.

7 You heard rebuke a Sinai

and declaration of vengeance at Horeb.

8 You anointed kings to inflict retribution,

and prophets to succeed you. [361]

9 You were taken up by a whirlwind of fire,

in a chariot with horses of fire.

10 At the appointed time, it is written, you are destined [362]

to calm the wrath of God before it erupts in fury,

to turn the hearts of parents to their children,

and to restore the tribes of Jacob.

11 Happy are those who saw you and were adorned [363] with your love!

(We also will surely live.) [364]

Elisha

12 When Elijah was enveloped in the whirlwind,

Elisha was filled with his spirit.

He performed twice as many signs,

and marvels with every utterance of his mouth. [365]

Never in his lifetime did he tremble before any ruler,

nor could anyone intimidate him.

13 Nothing was too hard for him,

and when he was dead, his body prophesied.

14 In his life he did wonders,

and in death his deeds were marvelous.

15 Despite all this the people did not repent, nor did they forsake their sins,

until they were carried off as plunder from their land,

and were scattered over the entire earth.

Those people who remained were very few in number,

but had a ruler from the house of David.

16 Some of them did what was right, but others sinned more and more.

Hezekiah

17 Hezekiah fortified [366] the city, and brought water into its midst,

he tunneled the rock with iron tools, and built cisterns for the water.

18 During his reign Sennacherib invaded the country;

sending his commander [from Lachish] and departed,

he shook his fist against Zion, and made great boasts in his arrogance.

19 Then their hearts were shaken and their hands trembled,

and they were in anguish, like women in labor.

20 But they called upon the Lord who is merciful,

spreading out their hands in supplication before him.

‘the Holy One quickly heard them from heaven,

and delivered them through Isaiah.

21 The Lord struck down the camp of the Assyrians,

and his angel wiped them out.

22 Hezekiah did what was pleasing to the Lord,

and he kept firmly to the ways of his ancestor David,

as he was commanded by the prophet Isaiah,

who was great prophet whose vision could be trusted..

23 In Isaiah’s days the sun went backward,

and he prolonged the life of the king.

24 By his dauntless spirit he saw the future, [367]

and comforted the mourners in Zion.

25 He revealed what was to occur to the end of time,.

and the secret things before they happened.

<CHAPTER 49>

Josiah

1 The name [368] of Josiah is like fragrant [369] incense, [370]

expertly blended by the skill of a perfumer,

his memory is as sweet as honey to every palate,

and like music at a wine banquet.

2 He did what was right by reforming the nation,

and removing the wicked, abominable practices.

3 He kept his heart fixed on the Lord,

and a lawless age, he made godliness prevail.

Jeremiah

4 Except for David and Hezekiah and Josiah,

all of them were great sinners,

for they all abandoned the law of the Most High,

and the royalty of Judah came to an end.

5 They [371] gave heir power to others,

and their glory to a foreign nation,

6 who set fire to the chosen city, the city of the sanctuary,

and made its streets desolate,

as Jeremiah had foretold [372].

7 For they had mistreated him,

who even though he had been consecrated

as a prophet in the womb,

to uproot, ruin and destroy,

and likewise to build and to plant.

Ezekiel

8 It was Ezekiel who revealed the vision of glory,

which God showed him above the chariot of the cherubim,.

9 For God also revealed Job who held fast to all the ways of justice. [373].

[The Lord remembered his enemies and sent a storm,

but to those who kept to the right path he brought benefits.]

The Twelve Prophets

10 May the bones of the Twelve Prophets

send forth new life from their graves, [374],

for the comforted the people of Jacob,

and delivered confident hope to the people.

Zerubbabel and Joshua

11 How are we to to speak of the greatness of Zerubbabel?

He was like a signet ring on the right hand,

12 and so was Joshua [375] the son of Jozadak;

in the days they built the house

for they rebuilt the temple [376]<