The Holy Bible – Knox Translation
The Book of Ecclesiasticus
Speak we now in honour of famous men that were our fathers, long ago.
What high achievements the Lord has made known in them, ever since time began!
Here were men that had power and bore rule, men that excelled in strength, or in the wisdom that dowered them; prophets that worthily upheld the name of prophecy,
issuing to the people the commands their times needed, uttering, through their foresight, a sacred charge to the nations.
Here were men that had skill to devise melodies, to make songs and set them down in writing.
Here were men rich in ability, noble of aim, that dwelt peacefully in their homes.
These were the glories of their race, the ornament of their times;
and the sons they begot have left a memory that adds to the recital of their praise.
Not like those others, who are forgotten in death as if they had never been; nameless, they and their children, as if they had never lived;
no, these were men of tender conscience;✻ their deeds of charity will never be forgotten.
Blessings abide with their posterity;
their descendants are a race set apart for God, the pledged heirs of his promises.
For their sakes this line of theirs will endure for all time; their stock, their name, will never be allowed to die out.
Their bodies lie in peace; their name lasts on, age after age.
Their wisdom is yet a legend among the people; wherever faithful men assemble, their story is told.
Enoch there was, that did God’s will, and was taken away to Paradise, repentance his gift to mankind.✻
Noe, too, blameless lived and faithful proved; when the day of retribution came, he made amends for all;✻
so it was that earth had a remnant left when the flood came;
with him God’s covenant was made, never again should all living things be drowned together.
What greatness was Abraham’s, to be the father of so many nations! Where shall we find another that can boast he kept the law of the most High as Abraham kept it? He, too, entered into a covenant with God,
and was bidden to bear on his own body the record of it. Once he had put him to the test and found him obedient,
God took an oath that this should be the father of a renowned posterity; their numbers should rival the dust on the ground,
should match the stars in heaven, stretching from southern to western sea, from Euphrates to the ends of earth.
Isaac, the son of such a father, fared no worse;
to him the Lord gave that blessing which should extend to all nations. In Jacob’s person, too, the covenant should be revived;
the blessings Jacob uttered should be ratified, and the lands promised him should be divided among twelve tribes of his own begetting.
Him a posterity of famous sons awaited,✻ men of tender conscience, that had the good word of all their fellows.
The Holy Bible