Sirach (Ecclesiasticus) 24

Sirach (Ecclesiasticus) 24

In Praise of Wisdom
1Listen to Wisdom! She proudly sings her own praises among the Israelites, her own people, 2in the assembly of the Most High, in the presence of his power.#24.2 power; or angels.
3“I am the word spoken by the Most High.
I covered the earth like a mist.
4 # Ex 33.9–10 I made my home in highest heaven,
my throne on a pillar of cloud.
5Alone I walked round the circle of the sky
and walked through the ocean beneath the earth.
6I ruled over#24.6 ruled over; some manuscripts have gained possession of. all the earth and the ocean waves,
over every nation, over every people.
7I looked everywhere for a place to settle,
some part of the world to make my home.
8Then my Creator, who created the universe,
told me where I was to live.
‘Make your home in Israel,’ he said.
‘The descendants of Jacob will be your people.’
9He created me in eternity, before time began,
and I will exist for all eternity to come.
10I served him in the sacred Tent
and then made my home on Mount Zion.
11He settled me in the Beloved City
and gave me authority over Jerusalem.
12I put down roots among an honoured people
whom the Lord had chosen as his own.
13I grew tall, like the cedars in Lebanon,
like the cypresses on Mount Hermon,
14like the palm-trees of Engedi,#24.14 of Engedi; some manuscripts have on the seashore.
like the roses of Jericho,
like beautiful olive-trees in the fields,
like plane-trees growing by the water.
15My breath was the spicy smell of cinnamon,
of sweet perfume and finest myrrh,
of stacte, onycha, and galbanum,
the fragrant incense in the sacred Tent.
16Like an oak I spread out my branches,
magnificent and graceful.
17Like a grapevine I put out lovely shoots;
my blossoms gave way to rich and glorious fruit.#24.17 Some manuscripts add verse 18: I am the mother of beautiful love, of fear, knowledge, and holy hope. Since I am eternal, I am given to all my children, who are named by him.
19Come to me, all you that want me,
and eat your fill of my fruit.
20You will remember me as sweeter than honey,
better than honey from the comb.
21Eat me, and you will hunger for more;
drink me, and you will thirst for more.
22Obey me, and you will never have cause for embarrassment;
do as I say, and you will be safe from sin.”
Wisdom and the Law
23Wisdom is the Law, the Law which Moses commanded us to keep, the covenant of God Most High, the inheritance of the synagogues of Israel.#24.23 Some manuscripts add verse 24: Always be strong in the Lord; stay with him, so that he may make you strong. There is no God but the Lord Almighty, and no saviour except him. 25The Law overflows with Wisdom like the River Pishon, like the Tigris at fruit-picking time. 26The Law brims over with understanding like the Euphrates, like the Jordan at harvest time. 27It sparkles with teachings like the Nile,#24.27 One ancient translation It sparkles… Nile; Greek It makes teachings shine like light. like the Gihon at grape-picking time.
28The first human being ever created never knew Wisdom completely, and the last person on earth will be no more successful. 29The possibilities of Wisdom are vaster than the ocean; her resources are more profound than the deepest waters beneath the earth.
30As for me, I thought of myself as an irrigation canal bringing water from a river into a garden. 31I only intended to water my orchard and flower beds, but the canal soon became a river, and the river became a sea. 32And so I present you with my learning; I hold it high, so that its light can be seen everywhere, like that of the rising sun. 33Like an inspired prophet, I pour out my teachings, so that future generations can benefit from them. 34Please realize that I have not done all this hard work for myself alone, but to help anyone who wants to be wise.

Good News Bible with Deuterocanonicals/Apocrypha. Scripture taken from the Good News Bible (r) (Today's English Version Second Edition, UK/British Edition). Copyright © 1992 British & Foreign Bible Society. Used by permission.

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