The Holy Bible – Knox Translation
The Book of Ecclesiasticus
If a man fears the Lord, he will live an upright life. If a man holds fast to inno-cence, he will find wisdom✻ ready to his embrace,
welcoming him as a mother welcomes the son who cherishes her, greeting him like a maiden bride.
Long life and good discernment are the bread this mother will provide for him, truth the refreshing draught she will give him to drink. She will take firm hold of him, so that he never wavers,
restrain him, so that he is never disgraced. She will raise him to high repute among his neighbours;
she will move him to speak before the assembled people, filling him with the spirit of wisdom and discernment, clothing him in magnificent array.
Joy and triumph she has in store for him, and will enrich him with a name that shall never be forgotten.
Not for the fools her embrace, only apt pupils encounter her; how should the fools catch sight of her, that is so far removed from proud and treacherous ways?
Nay, she is beyond the deceiver’s ken; true hearts alone are her company, and these shall profit by it till they are fit for God’s scrutiny.
Praise is but praise deformed when it is uttered by the lips of a sinner;
wisdom comes from God only, and on wisdom the praise of God needs must wait. Praise on the lips of one who trusts God is rich in meaning; the Ruler of all inspires it.
This wisdom lackest thou?✻ Do not blame God for the want of it; learn to shun the deeds God hates.
Do not complain that it was he led thee into false paths; what need has God, thinkest thou, of rebels?
No foul misdeed there is but God hates it; there is no loving it and fearing him.
When men first came to be, it was God made them, and, making them, left them to the arbitrament of their own wills;
yet giving them commandments to be their rule.
Those commandments if thou wilt observe, they in their turn shall preserve thee, and give thee warrant of his favour.✻
It is as though he offered thee fire and water, bidding thee take which thou wouldst;
life and death, blessing and curse, man finds set before him, and the gift given thee shall be the choice thou makest;
so wise God is, so constraining his power, so incessant the watch he keeps over mankind.
The Lord’s eye is watching over the men who fear him, no act of ours passes unobserved;
upon none does he enjoin disobedience, none has leave from him to commit sin.
A brood of disloyal sons and worthless, how should this be the Lord’s desire?
The Holy Bible