Those who fear the Lord
won’t encounter evil,
but when they are tested
they will be delivered again and again.
Wise people won’t hate the Law,
but those who are hypocrites about it
are like a boat in a storm.
Sensible people will trust the Lord’s word;[a]
for them, the Law is as trustworthy
as divine oracles.
Prepare your speech,
and then you will be heard;
draw upon your training,
and give an answer.
The emotions of the foolish
are like a wagon wheel,
and their arguments are like
a turning axle.
A friend who mocks is like a stallion
that whinnies underneath
anyone who rides him.
Why is one day more significant
than another,
when all the daylight in a year
is from the sun?
The Lord, in his knowledge,
classified them,
and he distinguished between
different seasons and festivals.
He lifted out some days
and made them holy,
and some he made regular days.
10 All people come from the ground,
and Adam[b] was created out of earth.
11 In the fullness of his knowledge
the Lord made distinctions
between them,
and he made their ways different.
12 Some of them he blessed and lifted up,
and some he made holy
and brought them near to himself;
some of them he cursed, brought low,
and expelled them from their place.
13 Like clay in the potter’s hand,
shaped according to the
potter’s pleasure,
so are human beings
in the hand of the one
who made them,
whom he repays according
to his judgment.
14 Good is the opposite of evil,
and life is the opposite of death;
so the sinner is the opposite
of the godly.
15 Observe, then,
all the works of the Most High,
two by two, one opposite the other.
16 I was the last to keep vigil,
as one who gathered the leftovers
after the grape pickers.
17 By the blessing of the Lord,
I was first on the scene,
and like the grape pickers,
I filled up a wine vat.
18 Understand that I haven’t labored
for myself alone,
but for all those who are seeking instruction.

On independence

19 Listen to me, you who are great
among the people;
pay attention,
you leaders in the congregation.
20 Don’t give son or wife, sibling or friend,
authority over you in your lifetime,
and don’t give your property
to someone else,
since you might change your mind
and ask for it back.
21 While you still live
and have breath in you,
don’t exchange places with anyone else.
22 It’s better for your children
to make requests of you
than that you should look to them
for generosity.
23 Excel in everything you do;
don’t bring a stain on your reputation.
24 On the last day of your life,
at the moment of death,
distribute your inheritance.

On slaves

25 Fodder, a rod, and burdens for donkeys;
bread, discipline,
and work for household slaves.
26 Set them to work with discipline,
and you will have leisure;
let their hands be idle,
and they will seek freedom.
27 A yoke and a strap will bend a neck,
and there are racks and tortures
for a wicked household slave.
28 Put them to work so that they aren’t idle,
29 because idleness teaches many evils.
30 Set them to work, as is proper for them,
and if they don’t obey,
make their shackles heavy.
Don’t overburden a person
made of flesh,
and don’t do anything
without exercising good judgment.
31 If you have household slaves,
treat them like yourself,
because you purchased them with blood.
If you have household slaves,
treat them like siblings,
because you will need them
as you go through life.
32 If you mistreat them,
and they leave and run away,
33 on which road will you search for them?


  1. Sirach 33:3 LXX lacks the Lord’s.
  2. Sirach 33:10 Heb humankind