December 09, 2002 Copyright © by United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
- 1 Desire not a brood of worthless children, nor rejoice in wicked offspring.
- Many though they be, exult not in them if they have not the fear of the LORD.
- Count not on their length of life, have no hope in their future. For one can be better than a thousand; rather die childless than have godless children!
- Through one wise man can a city be peopled; through a clan of rebels it becomes desolate.
- Many such things has my eye seen, even more than these has my ear heard.
- 2 Against a sinful band fire is enkindled, upon a godless people wrath flames out.
- 3 He forgave not the leaders of old who rebelled long ago in their might;
- 4 He spared not the neighbors of Lot whom he detested for their pride;
- 5 Nor did he spare the doomed people who were uprooted because of their sin;
- 6 Nor the six hundred thousand foot soldiers who perished for the impiety of their hearts.
- And had there been but one stiffnecked man, it were a wonder had he gone unpunished. For mercy and anger alike are with him who remits and forgives, though on the wicked alights his wrath.
- Great as his mercy is his punishment; he judges men, each according to his deeds.
- A criminal does not escape with his plunder; a just man's hope God does not leave unfulfilled.
- Whoever does good has his reward, which each receives according to his deeds.
- Say not: "I am hidden from God; in heaven who remembers me? Among so many people I cannot be known; what am I in the world of spirits?
- Behold, the heavens, the heaven of heavens, the earth and the abyss tremble at his visitation;
- The roots of the mountains, the earth's foundations, at his mere glance, quiver and quake.
- Of me, therefore, he will take no thought; with my ways who will concern himself?
- If I sin, no eye will see me; if all in secret I am disloyal, who is to know?
- Who tells him of just deeds and what could I expect for doing my duty?"
- Such are the thoughts of senseless men, which only the foolish knave will think.
- 7 Hearken to me, my son, take my advice, apply your mind to my words,
- While I propose measured wisdom, and impart accurate knowledge.
- When at the first God created his works and, as he made them, assigned their tasks,
- He ordered for all time what they were to do and their domains from generation to generation. They were not to hunger, nor grow weary, nor ever cease from their tasks.
- Not one should ever crowd its neighbor, nor should they ever disobey his word.
- Then the LORD looked upon the earth, and filled it with his blessings.
- Its surface he covered with all manner of life which must return into it again.
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1 [1-21] Sinful offspring are a great misfortune (16:1-4), for history and experience show how God punishes sin (Sirach 16:5-10). He judges everyone according to his deeds (Sirach 16:11-13); no one is hidden from him or escapes retribution at his hand (Sirach 16:15-21).
2  For Korah and his band (Sirach 16:6, 7), see Numbers 16:35; Psalm 106:18; for the disgruntled Israelites (Sirach 16:6b), Psalm 78:21-22.
3  The leaders of old: the "mighty men of old" who were destroyed by the flood: Genesis 6:4; Wisdom 14:6; Baruch 3:26-28.
4  The people of Sodom and Gomorrah: Genesis 19:24-25; Ezekiel 16:49- 50.
5  The Canaanites: Exodus 23:23-24, 27-31; 33:2; Deut 7:1; Wisdom 12:3.
6  The Israelites who murmured against Moses: Numbers 11:20; 14:12, 22-24.
7 [16:22-17:18] In harmony with Genesis 1-2, the author describes God's wisdom in creating the universe and all things in it (16:22-28), endowing man with a moral nature, with wisdom and knowledge and freedom of will according to his own image (17:1, 6), so that man may govern the earth (16:3-4), praise God's name (Sirach 16:8), obey his law (Sirach 16:9-12), and render to him an account of his deeds (Sirach 16:18). Cf Psalm 19; 104.
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