How bitter, death,
is the thought of you
to those who are at peace
among their possessions,
to those who aren’t anxiously distracted, who prosper at everything
and still have the strength
to enjoy good food.
Your sentence looks good, death,
to a person who is needy
and lacks strength,
who is extremely old and anxious
about everything,
who is not compliant
and whose endurance has failed.
Don’t fear death’s judgment;
remember those who came before you
and those who will come after you.
This is the Lord’s judgment for all beings:
Why should you reject
the good pleasure of the Most High?
Whether ten or one hundred
or one thousand years,
there’s no arguing about life
in the grave.[a]
The children of sinners are detestable,
and they live together
in the neighborhoods of the ungodly.
The inheritance of sinners’ children
will be destroyed,
and their offspring
will always live in disgrace.
Children will blame an ungodly father,
because they will be disgraced
because of him.
How terrible it will be for you
who are ungodly,
who have abandoned the Law
of the Most High![b]
When you are born,
you are born to a curse,
and when you die,
you will leave a curse as your legacy.[c]
10 Everything that’s from the earth
will go back to the earth;
so the ungodly come from a curse
and go to destruction.
11 Human beings show their grief
in their bodies,
but the no-good name of sinners
will be erased.[d]
12 Guard your reputation,
for it will continue after you
longer than one thousand
great treasures of gold.
13 A good life has a limited number of days,
but a good name will continue forever.

On shame

14 Hold on to your education in peace,
my children.
Hidden wisdom
and an invisible treasure—
of what use is either?
15 People who hide their foolishness
are better than people
who hide their wisdom.
16 Therefore, respect my judgment,
because it isn’t good to guard
against every shame,
and not everyone, in good faith,
holds all the same things
in good repute.
17 Be ashamed:
of sexual immorality
before your father and mother,
of lying before a prince or leader,
18 of error before a judge and an official,
of lawlessness before the assembly
and the people,
of injustice before a partner and friend,
19 of theft in the neighborhood
where you are staying.
Be ashamed:
before the Lord’s truth and covenant,[e]
of leaning on your elbow at meals,
of showing contempt
when receiving or giving,
20 of silence when people greet you,
of looking at a female escort,
21 of turning away a relative,
of depriving someone of a share
or a gift,
of staring at another man’s wife,
22 of fooling around with his
female servant—
(and don’t get near her bed),
of reproachful words before friends
(and don’t criticize after you give),


  1. Sirach 41:4 LXX Hades; Heb Sheol
  2. Sirach 41:8 LXXb adds 41:9a If you multiply, it is only to be destroyed.
  3. Sirach 41:9 Heb If you have children, harm will be at hand, and if you become a parent, you will sigh. If you stumble, it will evoke lasting joy, and if you die, you will be allotted a curse.
  4. Sirach 41:11 Heb The bodies of human beings are vapor, but a virtuous name will never be cut off.
  5. Sirach 41:19 Heb of breaking a solemn pledge or an agreement