The Holy Bible – Knox Translation
The Book of Ecclesiasticus
Out upon thee, death, how bitter is the thought of thee to a man that lives at ease in his own home,
a man untroubled by care, no difficulties in his path, that his food still relishes!
Hail, death! Welcome is thy doom to a man that is in need, and lacks vigour;
worn out with age and full of anxieties, that has no confidence left in him, no strength to endure.
Never fear death’s doom; bethink thee of the years that went before thee, and must come after thee. One sentence the Lord has for all living things.
What the will of the most High has in store for thee, none can tell; what matter, whether it be ten years, or a hundred, or a thousand?
Once thou art dead, thou wilt take no grudging count of the years.
The children wicked men beget are born under a curse, familiars of a godless home;
all they inherit is soon lost to them; reproach dogs the footsteps of their posterity.
How bitter their complaints against the father who is the author of their ill fame!
Woe to you, rebels, that have forsaken the law of the Lord, the most High,
born of an unholy birth, an unholy death your destiny!
All that is of earth, to earth must needs return; from ban to bale is the cycle of a life ill lived.
Man sighs over his body’s loss; what of his name? The wicked are lost to memory.
Of thy good name heed take thou; it shall remain thine longer than thousand heaps of rare treasure.
Life is good, but its days are numbered; a good name lasts for ever.
My sons, here is wholesome teaching.✻ Wisdom hidden, I told you, is wasted, is treasure that never sees the light of day;
silence is rightly used when it masks folly, not when it is the grave of wisdom.
Yet sometimes bashfulness is no fault, as I will now make known to you.
It is ill done to be abashed on every occasion; but yet neither is self-confidence for all and every use.
Of these things, then, be ashamed;✻ that thy parents should find thee a fornicator, ruler or prince a liar,
magistrate or judge a wrong-doer, assembly of the people a law-breaker,
partner or friend a knave, or thy neighbour a thief.
… concerning the faithfulness of God, and his covenant; concerning thy sitting over meat … Ashamed be thou of belittling the gift received,
of leaving the greeting unreturned, of letting thy eyes stray after harlots, of denying thyself to kinsman
that has a near claim on thy regard, of property fraudulently shared.
Let not thy eye fall on woman wed to another, nor ever exchange secrets with handmaid of hers, nor come between her sheets.
Be ashamed of uttering reproach against thy friends, nor insult the receiver of thy gift.
The Holy Bible