The law (Sir 33:1-33:3)

“No evil will befall

The person

Who fears the Lord.

But in trials,

They will be rescued

Again and again.

The wise

Will not hate the law.

But the hypocritical one

Is like a boat in a storm.

The sensible person

Will trust in the law.

For such a one

The law is as dependable

As a divine oracle.”

Sirach notes that if you fear the Lord, no evil will happen to you. If there are trials, you will be rescued any number of times. The wise people do not hate the law. However, the hypocritical ones are like a boat in a storm. You cannot tell what will happen. The sensible person trusts in the law because it is dependable like a divine oracle.

Sensible person (Sir 32:18-32:23)

“A sensible person

Will not overlook

A thoughtful suggestion.

An insolent proud person

Will not be deterred

By fear.

Do nothing

Without deliberation.

But when you have acted,

Do not regret it!

Do not go on a path

Full of hazards!

Do not stumble

On stony ground!

Do not stumble

At an obstacle twice!

Do not be overconfident

On an unexplored smooth way!

Give good heed

To your paths!

Guard yourself

In every act!

This is the keeping of the commandments.”

Sirach says that a sensible person will not overlook thoughtful suggestions. At the same time, the insolent and proud person is not deterred by fear, so that they do not fear the Lord. You should deliberate before you act. After your action, you should not regret it. Stay away from hazardous paths. Be careful on stony ground. Don’t stumble on the same obstacle twice. Don’t be overconfident on unexplored smooth paths. Be careful in all that you do. Then you will be keeping the commandments of the Lord.

The good wife (Sir 26:1-26:4)

“Happy is the husband

Of a good wife.

The number of his days

Will be doubled.

A loyal wife brings joy

To her husband.

He will complete

His years in peace.

A good wife is

A great blessing.

She will be granted

Among the blessings

Of the man who fears the Lord.

Whether rich or poor,

His heart is content.

At all times,

His face is cheerful.”

Now we see the opposite, the good wife.   Sirach says that a husband will be happy if he has a good loyal wife. She will bring joy to her husband. He will live twice as long, and complete his years in peace. This good wife is a great blessing, especially for those who fear the Lord. Whether rich or poor, he will be content at all times with the cheerful face of his good wife. It seems that the burden of any marriage falls on the wife rather than the husband.

Numerical blessings (Sir 25:7-25:12)

“I can think of nine

Whom I should call blessed.

My tongue proclaims a tenth.

A blessed man can rejoice

In his children.

A blessed man lives

To see the downfall of his foes.

Happy the man

Who lives With a sensible wife.

Happy is the one

Who does not plow

With an ox and donkey together.

Happy is the one

Who does not sin with his tongue.

Happy is the one

Who has not served an inferior.

Happy is the one

Who finds a friend.

Happy is the one

Who speaks to attentive listeners.

How great is the one

Who finds wisdom!

But none is superior to the one

Who fears the Lord.

Fear of the Lord

Surpasses everything.

To whom can we compare

To the one who has it?

The fear of the Lord

Is the beginning of love

For him.

Faith is the beginning

Of clinging to him.”

Once again, Sirach has a numerical proverb. There are 9 kinds of blessed people and a 10th that is even better. He would consider you a blessed happy person if you rejoiced in your children (1). You would be blessed happy if you see your foes fail (2). You are blessed happy, if you live with a sensible wife (3). You are blessed happy, if you plow your field without mixing up your ox and your donkey (4). You should be blessed happy, if you never sin with your tongue (5). You should be blessed happy, if you never have to serve an inferior (6). You are blessed happy, if you have found a friend (7) and people willing to listen to you (8). However, you the great ones are blessed happy when you find wisdom (9). You are the people who fear the Lord (10), since that surpasses everything. Nothing can compare to you, the ones who have the fear of the Lord that is the beginning of love for the Lord. It is the beginning of faith in the Lord.

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The wise ones (Sir 21:11-21:13)

“Whoever keeps the law

Controls his thoughts.

Wisdom is the fulfillment

Of the fear of the Lord.

The one who is not clever

Cannot be taught.

But there is cleverness

That increases bitterness.

The knowledge of the wise

Will increase like a flood.

Their counsel is

Like a life-giving spring.”

If you keep the law, you will control your thoughts. Wisdom completes those who fear the Lord. If you are not clever, you cannot be taught. Yet there is cleverness that increases bitterness. The knowledge of the wise people increases like a flood. Their counsel is like a refreshing spring of water that saves lives.

Sins of pride (Sir 21:4-21:7)

“Panic

Will waste away riches.

Insolence

Will also waste away riches.

Thus the house of the proud

Will be laid waste,

Will be uprooted.

The prayer of the poor

Goes from their lips

To God’s ears.

His judgment comes speedily.

Whoever hates reproof

Walks in the steps of sinners.

Whoever fears the Lord

Will repent in their heart.

The mighty in speech

Are widely known.

When they slip,

The sensible person knows it.”

Terror, violence, panic, and insolence waste riches. Thus the house of the proud will be destroyed. On the other hand, the prayers of the poor go directly from their lips to God’s ears. God’s judgment will come quickly. If you hate criticism, you are walking in the steps of sinners. If you fear the Lord, you will repent in your heart. The great speakers are known far and wide, but when they slip up, the sensible people know it right away.

Multiple bad kids (Sir 16:1-16:3)

“Do not desire

A multitude of worthless children!

Do not rejoice in ungodly offspring!

If they multiply,

Do not rejoice in them,

Unless the fear of the Lord is in them!

Do not trust in their survival!

Do not rely on their numbers!

One can be better than a thousand.

To die childless

Is better

Than to have ungodly children.”

You should not desire many children, if they are worthless. Therefore you should not rejoice just because you have many children. They will not survive if they do not fear the Lord. Do not think because they are so many, it does not matter. It is better to have one good child than 1,000 useless children. It is even better to die without children than to have many ungodly children. Having more children does not mean they are better children.