The misery of the human condition (Sir 40:1-40:5)

“Hard work

Was created for everyone.

A heavy yoke is laid

On the children of Adam.

This begins

From the day they come forth

From their mother’s womb,

Until the day

They return

To the mother of all the living.

They have perplexities.

They have fear of heart.

They have their anxious thoughts

About the day of their death.

Whether one sits on a splendid throne,

Whether one grovels in dust,

Whether one grovels in ashes,

Whether one who wears purple,

Whether one wears a crown,

Whether one is clothed in burlap,

There is anger.

There is envy.

There is trouble.

There is unrest.

There is fear of death.

There is fury.

There is strife.”

Sirach indicates that hard work is for everyone. The children of Adam must wear a heavy yoke on their necks from the day they are born until the day they die. Humans are perplexed, fearful, and anxious about the day of their death. It does not matter whether they sit on a throne with a crown and purple clothing or grovel in dust and ashes wearing burlap, they all have the same troubles of anger, envy, unrest, fury, strife, and of course the fear of death.

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