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Sirach 39

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Sirach 39

The Activity of the Scribe

1On the other hand he who devotes himself

to the study of the law of the Most High

will seek out the wisdom of all the ancients,

and will be concerned with prophecies;

2he will preserve the discourse of notable men

and penetrate the subtleties of parables;

3he will seek out the hidden meanings of proverbs

and be at home with the obscurities of parables.

4He will serve among great men

and appear before rulers;

he will travel through the lands of foreign nations,

for he tests the good and the evil among men.

5He will set his heart to rise early

to seek the Lord who made him,

and will make supplication before the Most High;

he will open his mouth in prayer

and make supplication for his sins.

6If the great Lord is willing,

he will be filled with the spirit of understanding;

he will pour forth wordsa of wisdom

and give thanks to the Lord in prayer.

7He will direct his counsel and knowledge aright,

and meditate on his secrets.

8He will reveal instruction in his teaching,

and will glory in the law of the Lord's covenant.

9Many will praise his understanding,

and it will never be blotted out;

his memory will not disappear,

and his name will live through all generations.

10Nations will declare his wisdom,

and the congregation will proclaim his praise;

11if he lives long, he will leave a name greater than a thousand,

and if he goes to rest, it is enoughb for him.

A Hymn of Praise to God

12I have yet more to say, which I have thought upon,

and I am filled, like the moon at the full.

13Listen to me, O you holy sons,

and bud like a rose growing by a stream of water;

14send forth fragrance like frankincense,

and put forth blossoms like a lily.

Scatter the fragrance, and sing a hymn of praise;

bless the Lord for all his works;

15ascribe majesty to his name

and give thanks to him with praise,

with songs on your lips, and with lyres;

and this you shall say in thanksgiving:

16"All things are the works of the Lord, for they are very good,

and whatever he commands will be done in his time."

17No one can say, "What is this?" "Why is that?"

for in God'sc time all things will be sought after.

At his word the waters stood in a heap,

and the reservoirs of water at the word of his mouth.

18At his command whatever pleases him is done,

and none can limit his saving power.

19The works of all flesh are before him,

and nothing can be hid from his eyes.

20From everlasting to everlasting he beholds them,

and nothing is marvelous to him.

21No one can say, "What is this?" "Why is that?"

for everything has been created for its use.

22His blessing covers the dry land like a river,

and drenches it like a flood.

23The nations will incur his wrath,

just as he turns fresh water into salt.

24To the holy his ways are straight,

just as they are obstacles to the wicked.

25From the beginning good things were created for good people,

just as evil things for sinners.

26Basic to all the needs of man's life

are water and fire and iron and salt

and wheat flour and milk and honey,

the blood of the grape, and oil and clothing.

27All these are for good to the godly,

just as they turn into evils for sinners.

28There are winds that have been created for vengeance,

and in their anger they scourge heavily;

in the time of consummation they will pour out their strength

and calm the anger of their Maker.

29Fire and hail and famine and pestilence,

all these have been created for vengeance;

30the teeth of wild beasts, and scorpions and vipers,

and the sword that punishes the ungodly with destruction;

31they will rejoice in his commands,

and be made ready on earth for their service,

and when their times come they will not transgress his word.

32Therefore from the beginning I have been convinced,

and have thought this out and left it in writing:

33The works of the Lord are all good,

and he will supply every need in its hour.

34And no one can say, "This is worse than that,"

for all things will prove good in their season.

35So now sing praise with all your heart and voice,

and bless the name of the Lord.