The one who lives forever
created everything
in a common fashion.
Only the Lord will be declared just.[a]
He has given no one the power
to proclaim his works.
Who can search out his majestic deeds?
Who will measure
the power of his greatness?
Who will continue to recount his mercy?
It’s impossible to diminish
or to increase these things,
and it’s impossible
to search out the wonders of the Lord.
When people finish,
then they are just beginning,
and when they pause,
then they are puzzled.
What are human beings,
and what use are they?
What’s good about them,
and what’s evil about them?
The length of a person’s life
is as much as one hundred years.[b]
10 Like a drop of water from the sea
or a grain of sand,
so are a few years in the span of eternity.
11 Therefore, the Lord was patient
with them,
and he poured out his mercy upon them.
12 He saw and knew that their end
was terrible;
therefore, his willingness to be reconciled increased.
13 Neighbors display mercy
toward each other,
but the mercy of the Lord is for all beings:
he corrects, instructs, teaches,
and turns them back,
as a shepherd does his flock.
14 He shows mercy to those
who accept discipline
and to those who passionately pursue
his judgments.

Speech and self-control

15 My child, let the good you do
be without blemish,
and don’t give harsh words
along with your gifts.
16 Doesn’t dew put an end
to scorching heat?
So a word is better than a gift.
17 Look! Doesn’t a word exceed a good gift?
And both come from a person
who is gracious.
18 A fool reproaches ungraciously,
and a gift from a begrudging giver
becomes an eyesore.[c]
19 Learn before you speak,
and attend to yourself
before you get sick.
20 Examine yourself before judgment,
and you will be reconciled
when you are examined.
21 Humble yourself before you get sick,
and when you commit sins
show a changed heart and mind.
22 Don’t be prevented from repaying
a solemn promise in a timely way,
and don’t wait until death
to be vindicated.
23 Prepare yourself before making
a solemn promise,
and don’t be like someone
who tests the Lord.
24 Be mindful of his wrath in times of death
and in times of vengeance
when he turns his face away.
25 Remember a time of hunger
in a time of plenty,
a time of poverty and want
in times of wealth.
26 From morning until evening
opportune times change,
and all things are fleeting
in the Lord’s presence.
27 Wise people exercise caution
in everything,
and in times of sin
they will take heed against error.
28 All intelligent people
have recognized Wisdom,
and they will acknowledge[d]
anyone who finds her.
29 Those who are intelligent with words
have become wise themselves,
and they have poured forth
fitting proverbs.[e]


30 Don’t go after your desires,
and restrain yourself
from your appetites.
31 If you cater to your desires,
you will become a laughingstock
to your enemies.
32 Don’t be glad for great luxury,
and don’t be made needy
by an encounter with it.
33 Don’t become poor
by feasting with borrowed money,
when you have nothing in your pocket.[g]


  1. Sirach 18:2 LXXb adds 18:2b-3 and there is no other besides him. He steers the world with the palm of his hand, and all things obey his will. By his power, he is the king of all things, dividing the holy things from the ordinary among them.
  2. Sirach 18:9 LXXb adds but the death of any one of them cannot be calculated by anyone.
  3. Sirach 18:18 LXX melts away eyes
  4. Sirach 18:28 Or she will acknowledge
  5. Sirach 18:29 LXXb adds Confidence in a single master is better than adhering with a dead heart to a dead one.
  6. Sirach 18:30 The title appears in Gk manuscripts.
  7. Sirach 18:33 LXXb adds because you will be plotting against your own life.