Sirach 44-51

Chapter 44

1 Let us now praise famous men, and our fathers that begat us.

2 The Lord hath wrought great glory by them through his great power from the beginning.

3 Such as did bear rule in their kingdoms, men renowned for their power, giving counsel by their understanding, and declaring prophecies:

4 Leaders of the people by their counsels, and by their knowledge of learning meet for the people, wise and eloquent are their instructions:

5 Such as found out musical tunes, and recited verses in writing:

6 Rich men furnished with ability, living peaceably in their habitations:

7 All these were honoured in their generations, and were the glory of their times.

8 There be of them, that have left a name behind them, that their praises might be reported.

9 And some there be, which have no memorial; who are perished, as though they had never been; and are become as though they had never been born; and their children after them.

10 But these were merciful men, whose righteousness hath not been forgotten.

11 With their seed shall continually remain a good inheritance, and their children are within the covenant.

12 Their seed standeth fast, and their children for their sakes.

13 Their seed shall remain for ever, and their glory shall not be blotted out.

14 Their bodies are buried in peace; but their name liveth for evermore.

15 The people will tell of their wisdom, and the congregation will shew forth their praise.

16 Enoch pleased the Lord, and was translated, being an example of repentance to all generations.

17 Noah was found perfect and righteous; in the time of wrath he was taken in exchange [for the world;] therefore was he left as a remnant unto the earth, when the flood came.

18 An everlasting covenant was made with him, that all flesh should perish no more by the flood.

19 Abraham was a great father of many people: in glory was there none like unto him;

20 Who kept the law of the most High, and was in covenant with him: he established the covenant in his flesh; and when he was proved, he was found faithful.

21 Therefore he assured him by an oath, that he would bless the nations in his seed, and that he would multiply him as the dust of the earth, and exalt his seed as the stars, and cause them to inherit from sea to sea, and from the river unto the utmost part of the land.

22 With Isaac did he establish likewise [for Abraham his father’s sake] the blessing of all men, and the covenant, And made it rest upon the head of Jacob. He acknowledged him in his blessing, and gave him an heritage, and divided his portions; among the twelve tribes did he part them.

Chapter 45

1 And he brought out of him a merciful man, which found favour in the sight of all flesh, even Moses, beloved of God and men, whose memorial is blessed.

2 He made him like to the glorious saints, and magnified him, so that his enemies stood in fear of him.

3 By his words he caused the wonders to cease, and he made him glorious in the sight of kings, and gave him a commandment for his people, and shewed him part of his glory.

4 He sanctified him in his faithfuless and meekness, and chose him out of all men.

5 He made him to hear his voice, and brought him into the dark cloud, and gave him commandments before his face, even the law of life and knowledge, that he might teach Jacob his covenants, and Israel his judgments.

6 He exalted Aaron, an holy man like unto him, even his brother, of the tribe of Levi.

7 An everlasting covenant he made with him and gave him the priesthood among the people; he beautified him with comely ornaments, and clothed him with a robe of glory.

8 He put upon him perfect glory; and strengthened him with rich garments, with breeches, with a long robe, and the ephod.

9 And he compassed him with pomegranates, and with many golden bells round about, that as he went there might be a sound, and a noise made that might be heard in the temple, for a memorial to the children of his people;

10 With an holy garment, with gold, and blue silk, and purple, the work of the embroidere, with a breastplate of judgment, and with Urim and Thummim;

11 With twisted scarlet, the work of the cunning workman, with precious stones graven like seals, and set in gold, the work of the jeweller, with a writing engraved for a memorial, after the number of the tribes of Israel.

12 He set a crown of gold upon the mitre, wherein was engraved Holiness, an ornament of honour, a costly work, the desires of the eyes, goodly and beautiful.

13 Before him there were none such, neither did ever any stranger put them on, but only his children and his children’s children perpetually.

14 Their sacrifices shall be wholly consumed every day twice continually.

15 Moses consecrated him, and anointed him with holy oil: this was appointed unto him by an everlasting covenant, and to his seed, so long as the heavens should remain, that they should minister unto him, and execute the office of the priesthood, and bless the people in his name.

16 He chose him out of all men living to offer sacrifices to the Lord, incense, and a sweet savour, for a memorial, to make reconciliation for his people.

17 He gave unto him his commandments, and authority in the statutes of judgments, that he should teach Jacob the testimonies, and inform Israel in his laws.

18 Strangers conspired together against him, and maligned him in the wilderness, even the men that were of Dathan’s and Abiron’s side, and the congregation of Core, with fury and wrath.

19 This the Lord saw, and it displeased him, and in his wrathful indignation were they consumed: he did wonders upon them, to consume them with the fiery flame.

20 But he made Aaron more honourable, and gave him an heritage, and divided unto him the firstfruits of the increase; especially he prepared bread in abundance:

21 For they eat of the sacrifices of the Lord, which he gave unto him and his seed.

22 Howbeit in the land of the people he had no inheritance, neither had he any portion among the people: for the Lord himself is his portion and inheritance.

23 The third in glory is Phinees the son of Eleazar, because he had zeal in the fear of the Lord, and stood up with good courage of heart: when the people were turned back, and made reconciliation for Israel.

24 Therefore was there a covenant of peace made with him, that he should be the chief of the sanctuary and of his people, and that he and his posterity should have the dignity of the priesthood for ever:

25 According to the covenant made with David son of Jesse, of the tribe of Juda, that the inheritance of the king should be to his posterity alone: so the inheritance of Aaron should also be unto his seed.

26 God give you wisdom in your heart to judge his people in righteousness, that their good things be not abolished, and that their glory may endure for ever.

Chapter 46

1 Jesus the son a Nave was valiant in the wars, and was the successor of Moses in prophecies, who according to his name was made great for the saving of the elect of God, and taking vengeance of the enemies that rose up against them, that he might set Israel in their inheritance.

2 How great glory gat he, when he did lift up his hands, and stretched out his sword against the cities!

3 Who before him so stood to it? for the Lord himself brought his enemies unto him.

4 Did not the sun go back by his means? and was not one day as long as two?

5 He called upon the most high Lord, when the enemies pressed upon him on every side; and the great Lord heard him.

6 And with hailstones of mighty power he made the battle to fall violently upon the nations, and in the descent [of Beth-horon] he destroyed them that resisted, that the nations might know all their strength, because he fought in the sight of the Lord, and he followed the Mighty One.

7 In the time of Moses also he did a work of mercy, he and Caleb the son of Jephunne, in that they withstood the congregation, and withheld the people from sin, and appeased the wicked murmuring.

8 And of six hundred thousand people on foot, they two were preserved to bring them in to the heritage, even unto the land that floweth with milk and honey.

9 The Lord gave strength also unto Caleb, which remained with him unto his old age: so that he entered upon the high places of the land, and his seed obtained it for an heritage:

10 That all the children of Israel might see that it is good to follow the Lord.

11 And concerning the judges, every one by name, whose heart went not a whoring, nor departed from the Lord, let their memory be blessed.

12 Let their bones flourish out of their place, and let the name of them that were honoured be continued upon their children.

13 Samuel, the prophet of the Lord, beloved of his Lord, established a kingdom, and anointed princes over his people.

14 By the law of the Lord he judged the congregation, and the Lord had respect unto Jacob.

15 By his faithfulness he was found a true prophet, and by his word he was known to be faithful in vision.

16 He called upon the mighty Lord, when his enemies pressed upon him on every side, when he offered the sucking lamb.

17 And the Lord thundered from heaven, and with a great noise made his voice to be heard.

18 And he destroyed the rulers of the Tyrians, and all the princes cf the Philistines.

19 And before his long sleep he made protestations in the sight of the Lord and his anointed, I have not taken any man’s goods, so much as a shoe: and no man did accuse him.

20 And after his death he prophesied, and shewed the king his end, and lifted up his voice from the earth in prophecy, to blot out the wickedness of the people.

Chapter 47


1 And after him rose up Nathan to prophesy in the time of David.

2 As is the fat taken away from the peace offering, so was David chosen out of the children of Israel.

3 He played with lions as with kids, and with bears as with lambs.

4 Slew he not a giant, when he was yet but young? and did he not take away reproach from the people, when he lifted up his hand with the stone in the sling, and beat down the boasting of Goliath?

5 For he called upon the most high Lord; and he gave him strength in his right hand to slay that mighty warrior, and set up the horn of his people.

6 So the people honoured him with ten thousands, and praised him in the blessings of the Lord, in that he gave him a crown of glory.

7 For he destroyed the enemies on every side, and brought to nought the Philistines his adversaries, and brake their horn in sunder unto this day.

8 In all his works he praised the Holy One most high with words of glory; with his whole heart he sung songs, and loved him that made him.

9 He set singers also before the altar, that by their voices they might make sweet melody, and daily sing praises in their songs.

10 He beautified their feasts, and set in order the solemn times until the end, that they might praise his holy name, and that the temple might sound from morning.

11 The Lord took away his sins, and exalted his horn for ever: he gave him a covenant of kings, and a throne of glory in Israel.

12 After him rose up a wise son, and for his sake he dwelt at large.

13 Solomon reigned in a peaceable time, and was honoured; for God made all quiet round about him, that he might build an house in his name, and prepare his sanctuary for ever.

14 How wise wast thou in thy youth and, as a flood, filled with understanding!

15 Thy soul covered the whole earth, and thou filledst it with dark parables.

16 Thy name went far unto the islands; and for thy peace thou wast beloved.

17 The countries marvelled at thee for thy songs, and proverbs, and parables, and interpretations.

18 By the name of the Lord God, which is called the Lord God of Israel, thou didst gather gold as tin and didst multiply silver as lead.

19 Thou didst bow thy loins unto women, and by thy body thou wast brought into subjection.

20 Thou didst stain thy honour, and pollute thy seed: so that thou broughtest wrath upon thy children, and wast grieved for thy folly.

21 So the kingdom was divided, and out of Ephraim ruled a rebellious kingdom.

22 But the Lord will never leave off his mercy, neither shall any of his works perish, neither will he abolish the posterity of his elect, and the seed of him that loveth him he will not take away: wherefore he gave a remnant unto Jacob, and out of him a root unto David.

23 Thus rested Solomon with his fathers, and of his seed he left behind him Roboam, even the foolishness of the people, and one that had no understanding, who turned away the people through his counsel. There was also Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who caused Israel to sin, and shewed Ephraim the way of sin:

24 And their sins were multiplied exceedingly, that they were driven out of the land.

25 For they sought out all wickedness, till the vengeance came upon them.

Chapter 48

1 Then stood up Elias the prophet as fire, and his word burned like a lamp.

2 He brought a sore famine upon them, and by his zeal he diminished their number.

3 By the word of the Lord he shut up the heaven, and also three times brought down fire.

4 O Elias, how wast thou honoured in thy wondrous deeds! and who may glory like unto thee!

5 Who didst raise up a dead man from death, and his soul from the place of the dead, by the word of the most High:

6 Who broughtest kings to destruction, and honorable men from their bed:

7 Who heardest the rebuke of the Lord in Sinai, and in Horeb the judgment of vengeance:

8 Who annointedst kings to take revenge, and prophets to succeed after him:

9 Who was taken up in a whirlwind of fire, and in a chariot of fiery horses:

10 Who wast ordained for reproofs in their times, to pacify the wrath of the Lord’s judgment, before it brake forth into fury, and to turn the heart of the father unto the son, and to restore the tribes of Jacob.

11 Blessed are they that saw thee, and slept in love; for we shall surely live.

12 Elias it was, who was covered with a whirlwind: and Eliseus was filled with his spirit: whilst he lived, he was not moved with the presence of any prince, neither could any bring him into subjection.

13 No word could overcome him; and after his death his body prophesied.

14 He did wonders in his life, and at his death were his works marvellous.

15 For all this the people repented not, neither departed they from their sins, till they were spoiled and carried out of their land, and were scattered through all the earth: yet there remained a small people, and a ruler in the house of David:

16 Of whom some did that which was pleasing to God, and some multiplied sins.

17 Ezekias fortified his city, and brought in water into the midst thereof: he digged the hard rock with iron, and made wells for waters.

18 In his time Sennacherib came up, and sent Rabsaces, and lifted up his hand against Sion, and boasted proudly.

19 Then trembled their hearts and hands, and they were in pain, as women in travail.

20 But they called upon the Lord which is merciful, and stretched out their hands toward him: and immediately the Holy One heard them out of heaven, and delivered them by the ministry of Esay.

21 He smote the host of the Assyrians, and his angel destroyed them.

22 For Ezekias had done the thing that pleased the Lord, and was strong in the ways of David his father, as Esay the prophet, who was great and faithful in his vision, had commanded him.

23 In his time the sun went backward, and he lengthened the king’s life.

24 He saw by an excellent spirit what should come to pass at the last, and he comforted them that mourned in Sion.

25 He shewed what should come to pass for ever, and secret things or ever they came.

Chapter 49

1 The remembrance of Josias is like the composition of the perfume that is made by the art of the apothecary: it is sweet as honey in all mouths, and as musick at a banquet of wine.

2 He behaved himself uprightly in the conversion of the people, and took away the abominations of iniquity.

3 He directed his heart unto the Lord, and in the time of the ungodly he established the worship of God.

4 All, except David and Ezekias and Josias, were defective: for they forsook the law of the most High, even the kings of Juda failed.

5 Therefore he gave their power unto others, and their glory to a strange nation.

6 They burnt the chosen city of the sanctuary, and made the streets desolate, according to the prophecy of Jeremias.

7 For they entreated him evil, who nevertheless was a prophet, sanctified in his mother’s womb, that he might root out, and afflict, and destroy; and that he might build up also, and plant.

8 It was Ezekiel who saw the glorious vision, which was shewed him upon the chariot of the cherubims.

9 For he made mention of the enemies under the figure of the rain, and directed them that went right.

10 And of the twelve prophets let the memorial be blessed, and let their bones flourish again out of their place: for they comforted Jacob, and delivered them by assured hope.

11 How shall we magnify Zorobabel? even he was as a signet on the right hand:

12 So was Jesus the son of Josedec: who in their time builded the house, and set up an holy temple to the Lord, which was prepared for everlasting glory.

13 And among the elect was Neemias, whose renown is great, who raised up for us the walls that were fallen, and set up the gates and the bars, and raised up our ruins again.

14 But upon the earth was no man created like Enoch; for he was taken from the earth.

15 Neither was there a young man born like Joseph, a governor of his brethren, a stay of the people, whose bones were regarded of the Lord.

16 Sem and Seth were in great honour among men, and so was Adam above every living thing in creation.

Chapter 50

1 Simon the high priest, the son of Onias, who in his life repaired the house again, and in his days fortified the temple:

2 And by him was built from the foundation the double height, the high fortress of the wall about the temple:

3 In his days the cistern to receive water, being in compass as the sea, was covered with plates of brass:

4 He took care of the temple that it should not fall, and fortified the city against besieging:

5 How was he honoured in the midst of the people in his coming out of the sanctuary!

6 He was as the morning star in the midst of a cloud, and as the moon at the full:

7 As the sun shining upon the temple of the most High, and as the rainbow giving light in the bright clouds:

8 And as the flower of roses in the spring of the year, as lilies by the rivers of waters, and as the branches of the frankincense tree in the time of summer:

9 As fire and incense in the censer, and as a vessel of beaten gold set with all manner of precious stones:

10 And as a fair olive tree budding forth fruit, and as a cypress tree which groweth up to the clouds.

11 When he put on the robe of honour, and was clothed with the perfection of glory, when he went up to the holy altar, he made the garment of holiness honourable.

12 When he took the portions out of the priests’ hands, he himself stood by the hearth of the altar, compassed about, as a young cedar in Libanus; and as palm trees compassed they him round about.

13 So were all the sons of Aaron in their glory, and the oblations of the Lord in their hands, before all the congregation of Israel.

14 And finishing the service at the altar, that he might adorn the offering of the most high Almighty,

15 He stretched out his hand to the cup, and poured of the blood of the grape, he poured out at the foot of the altar a sweetsmelling savour unto the most high King of all.

16 Then shouted the sons of Aaron, and sounded the silver trumpets, and made a great noise to be heard, for a remembrance before the most High.

17 Then all the people together hasted, and fell down to the earth upon their faces to worship their Lord God Almighty, the most High.

18 The singers also sang praises with their voices, with great variety of sounds was there made sweet melody.

19 And the people besought the Lord, the most High, by prayer before him that is merciful, till the solemnity of the Lord was ended, and they had finished his service.

20 Then he went down, and lifted up his hands over the whole congregation of the children of Israel, to give the blessing of the Lord with his lips, and to rejoice in his name.

21 And they bowed themselves down to worship the second time, that they might receive a blessing from the most High.

22 Now therefore bless ye the God of all, which only doeth wondrous things every where, which exalteth our days from the womb, and dealeth with us according to his mercy.

23 He grant us joyfulness of heart, and that peace may be in our days in Israel for ever:

24 That he would confirm his mercy with us, and deliver us at his time!

25 There be two manner of nations which my heart abhorreth, and the third is no nation:

26 They that sit upon the mountain of Samaria, and they that dwell among the Philistines, and that foolish people that dwell in Sichem.

27 Jesus the son of Sirach of Jerusalem hath written in this book the instruction of understanding and knowledge, who out of his heart poured forth wisdom.

28 Blessed is he that shall be exercised in these things; and he that layeth them up in his heart shall become wise.

29 For if he do them, he shall be strong to all things: for the light of the Lord leadeth him, who giveth wisdom to the godly. Blessed be the name of the Lord for ever. Amen, Amen.

Chapter 51

1 [A Prayer of Jesus the son of Sirach.] I will thank thee, O Lord and King, and praise thee, O God my Saviour: I do give praise unto thy name:

2 For thou art my defender and helper, and has preserved my body from destruction, and from the snare of the slanderous tongue, and from the lips that forge lies, and has been mine helper against mine adversaries:

3 And hast delivered me, according to the multitude of they mercies and greatness of thy name, from the teeth of them that were ready to devour me, and out of the hands of such as sought after my life, and from the manifold afflictions which I had;

4 From the choking of fire on every side, and from the midst of the fire which I kindled not;

5 From the depth of the belly of hell, from an unclean tongue, and from lying words.

6 By an accusation to the king from an unrighteous tongue my soul drew near even unto death, my life was near to the hell beneath.

7 They compassed me on every side, and there was no man to help me: I looked for the succour of men, but there was none.

8 Then thought I upon thy mercy, O Lord, and upon thy acts of old, how thou deliverest such as wait for thee, and savest them out of the hands of the enemies.

9 Then lifted I up my supplications from the earth, and prayed for deliverance from death.

10 I called upon the Lord, the Father of my Lord, that he would not leave me in the days of my trouble, and in the time of the proud, when there was no help.

11 I will praise thy name continually, and will sing praises with thanksgiving; and so my prayer was heard:

12 For thou savedst me from destruction, and deliveredst me from the evil time: therefore will I give thanks, and praise thee, and bless they name, O Lord.

13 When I was yet young, or ever I went abroad, I desired wisdom openly in my prayer.

14 I prayed for her before the temple, and will seek her out even to the end.

15 Even from the flower till the grape was ripe hath my heart delighted in her: my foot went the right way, from my youth up sought I after her.

16 I bowed down mine ear a little, and received her, and gat much learning.

17 I profited therein, therefore will I ascribe glory unto him that giveth me wisdom.

18 For I purposed to do after her, and earnestly I followed that which is good; so shall I not be confounded.

19 My soul hath wrestled with her, and in my doings I was exact: I stretched forth my hands to the heaven above, and bewailed my ignorances of her.

20 I directed my soul unto her, and I found her in pureness: I have had my heart joined with her from the beginning, therefore shall I not be foresaken.

21 My heart was troubled in seeking her: therefore have I gotten a good possession.

22 The Lord hath given me a tongue for my reward, and I will praise him therewith.

23 Draw near unto me, ye unlearned, and dwell in the house of learning.

24 Wherefore are ye slow, and what say ye to these things, seeing your souls are very thirsty?

25 I opened my mouth, and said, Buy her for yourselves without money.

26 Put your neck under the yoke, and let your soul receive instruction: she is hard at hand to find.

27 Behold with your eyes, how that I have but little labour, and have gotten unto me much rest.

28 Get learning with a great sum of money, and get much gold by her.

29 Let your soul rejoice in his mercy, and be not ashamed of his praise.

30 Work your work betimes, and in his time he will give you your reward.

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