December 09, 2002 Copyright © by United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
- 1 I give you thanks, O God of my father; I praise you, O God my savior! I will make known your name, refuge of my life;
- you have been my helper against my adversaries. You have saved me from death, and kept back my body from the pit, From the clutches of the nether world you have snatched my feet;
- you have delivered me, in your great mercy From the scourge of a slanderous tongue, and from lips that went over to falsehood; From the snare of those who watched for my downfall, and from the power of those who sought my life; From many a danger you have saved me,
- from flames that hemmed me in on every side; From the midst of unremitting fire,
- From the deep belly of the nether world; From deceiving lips and painters of lies,
- from the arrows of dishonest tongues. I was at the point of death, my soul was nearing the depths of the nether world;
- I turned every way, but there was no one to help me, I looked for one to sustain me, but could find no one.
- But then I remembered the mercies of the LORD, his kindness through ages past; For he saves those who take refuge in him, and rescues them from every evil.
- So I raised my voice from the very earth, from the gates of the nether world, my cry.
- I called out: O Lord, you are my father, you are my champion and my savior; Do not abandon me in time of trouble, in the midst of storms and dangers.
- I will ever praise your name and be constant in my prayers to you. Thereupon the LORD heard my voice, he listened to my appeal;
- 2 He saved me from evil of every kind and preserved me in time of trouble. For this reason I thank him and I praise him; I bless the name of the LORD.
- 3 4 When I was young and innocent, I sought wisdom.
- She came to me in her beauty, and until the end I will cultivate her.
- As the blossoms yielded to ripening grapes, the heart's joy, My feet kept to the level path because from earliest youth I was familiar with her.
- In the short time I paid heed, I met with great instruction.
- Since in this way I have profited, I will give my teacher grateful praise.
- I became resolutely devoted to her-- the good I persistently strove for.
- I burned with desire for her, never turning back. I became preoccupied with her, never weary of extolling her. My hand opened her gate and I came to know her secrets.
- For her I purified my hands; in cleanness I attained to her. At first acquaintance with her, I gained understanding such that I will never forsake her.
- My whole being was stirred as I learned about her; therefore I have made her my prize possession.
- The LORD has granted me my lips as a reward, and my tongue will declare his praises.
- Come aside to me, you untutored, and take up lodging in the house of instruction;
- How long will you be deprived of wisdom's food, how long will you endure such bitter thirst?
- I open my mouth and speak of her: gain, at no cost, wisdom for yourselves.
- Submit your neck to her yoke, that your mind may accept her teaching. For she is close to those who seek her, and the one who is in earnest finds her.
- See for yourselves! I have labored only a little, but have found much.
- Acquire but a little instruction; you will win silver and gold through her.
- Let your spirits rejoice in the mercy of God, and be not ashamed to give him praise.
- Work at your tasks in due season, and in his own time God will give you your reward.
Table of Contents Previous Chapter The Prophetic Books
1 [1-12] A canticle of praise and thanks to God for delivering the author from slander, dangers, destruction, death, the nether world, and evil of every kind.
2  After this verse the Hebrew text gives the litany of praise contained below. It is similar to Psalm 136. Though not found in any versions, and therefore of doubtful authenticity, the litany seems from internal evidence to go back to the time of Sirach:Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his mercy endures forever; Give thanks to the God of glory, for his mercy endures forever; Give thanks to the guardian of Israel, for his mercy endures forever; Give thanks to the creator of the universe, for his mercy endures forever; Give thanks to the redeemer of Israel, for his mercy endures forever; Give thanks to him who gathers the dispersed of Israel, for his mercy endures forever; Give thanks to him who builds his city and his sanctuary, for his mercy endures forever; Give thanks to him who makes a horn to sprout forth for the house of David, for his mercy endures forever; Give thanks to him who has chosen for his priests the sons of Zadok, for his mercy endures forever; Give thanks to the shield of Abraham, for his mercy endures forever; Give thanks to the rock of Isaac, for his mercy endures forever; Give thanks to the mighty one of Jacob, for his mercy endures forever; Give thanks to him who has chosen Zion, for his mercy endures forever; Give thanks to the king over kings of kings, for his mercy endures forever. He has lifted up the horn of his people, be this his praise from all his faithful ones, From the children of Israel, the people close to him. Alleluia! (Cf Psalm 148:14.)
3 [13-30] An alphabetic canticle describing: a) the approach to wisdom through prayer, persistent study and instruction (Sirach 51:13-17), purification from sin, enlightenment and ardent desire; b) the possession of wisdom (Sirach 51:18-22). The author concludes with an urgent invitation to men to receive instruction in wisdom from him, and to live by it, because wisdom gives herself to those who seek her (Sirach 51:23-26); and for their labor, God will reward them in the end (Sirach 51:27-30). Cf Matthew 11:28; Eccl 12:14.
4  In the Greek of 13f there is an expansion introducing Solomon as the speaker. This deviates from the original author's intent. It reads: "Publicly, in my prayer, facing the temple, I asked for her."
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