- 1 All wisdom 2 comes from the LORD and with him it remains forever.
- The sand of the seashore, the drops of rain, the days of eternity: who can number these?
- Heaven's height, earth's breadth, the depths of the abyss: who can explore these?
- Before all things else wisdom was created; and prudent understanding, from eternity.
- To whom has wisdom's root been revealed? Who knows her subtleties?
- There is but one, wise and truly awe-inspiring, seated upon his throne:
- It is the LORD; he created her, has seen her and taken note of her.
- He has poured her forth upon all his works, upon every living thing according to his bounty; he has lavished her upon his friends.
- 3 4 Fear of the LORD is glory and splendor, gladness and a festive crown.
- Fear of the LORD warms the heart, giving gladness and joy and length of days.
- He who fears the LORD will have a happy end; even on the day of his death he will be blessed.
- The beginning of wisdom is fear of the LORD, which is formed with the faithful in the womb.
- With devoted men was she created from of old, and with their children her beneficence abides.
- Fullness of wisdom is fear of the LORD; she inebriates men with her fruits.
- Her entire house she fills with choice foods, her granaries with her harvest.
- Wisdom's garland is fear of the LORD, with blossoms of peace and perfect health.
- Knowledge and full understanding she showers down; she heightens the glory of those who possess her.
- The root of wisdom is fear of the LORD; her branches are length of days.
- 5 One cannot justify unjust anger; anger plunges a man to his downfall.
- A patient man need stand firm but for a time, and then contentment comes back to him.
- For a while he holds back his words, then the lips of many herald his wisdom.
- Among wisdom's treasures is the paragon of prudence; but fear of the LORD is an abomination to the sinner.
- If you desire wisdom, keep the commandments, and the LORD will bestow her upon you;
- For fear of the LORD is wisdom and culture; loyal humility is his delight.
- 6 Be not faithless to the fear of the LORD, nor approach it with duplicity of heart.
- Play not the hypocrite before men; over your lips keep watch.
- Exalt not yourself lest you fall and bring upon you dishonor;
- For then the LORD will reveal your secrets and publicly cast you down,
- Because you approached the fear of the LORD with your heart full of guile.
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Footnotes1 [1-8] The Lord is the source and preserver of wisdom (Sirach 1:1); he created her from eternity, before all things else (Sirach 1:4-7); all his works reflect wisdom (Sirach 1:2,3,8). 2 Wisdom: here the author speaks of true wisdom, namely God's external revelation of himself. Throughout the book he describes in great detail just what wisdom is; sometimes it is divine; sometimes it is a synonym for God's law; sometimes it is human. But the author makes clear that even human wisdom, properly understood, comes from God.
3 [9-18] Here are described the spiritual and temporal blessings that come during the lifetime of him who fears the Lord, i.e., practices true religion. 4 Fear of the LORD: see note on Psalm 111:10.
5 [19-22] The disciple of wisdom shuns unjust anger which brings downfall. By patience and self-control he preserves calm, recovers contentment, and receives public praise. The sinner, on the contrary, despises the restraints which religion imposes.
6 [25-29] Infidelity to religion, or the use of it for any but the single purpose of serving God, is hypocrisy and self-exaltation, deserving of public disgrace.
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