The Holy Bible – Knox Translation
The Book of Ecclesiasticus
Man, too, God created out of the earth, fashioning him after his own likeness,
and gave him, too, earth to be his burying-place, for all the divine power that clothed him;
man, too, should have his allotted toll of years, his season of maturity, and should have power over all else on earth;
no living thing, beast or bird, that should not live in awe of him and be subject to his rule.
To him and to that partner of his, created like himself and out of himself, God gave will and speech and sight and hearing; gave them a heart to reason with, and filled them with power of discernment;
spirit itself should be within their ken, their hearts should be all sagacity. What evil was, what good, he made plain to them;
gave them his own eyes to see with, so that they should keep his marvellous acts in view,
praise that holy name of his, boast of his wonders, tell the story of his renowned deeds.
Warnings, too, he gave them; the law that brings life should be a cherished heirloom;
and so he made a covenant with them which should last for ever; claim and award of his he would make known to them.
Their eyes should see him in visible majesty, their ears catch the echo of his majestic voice. Keep your hands clear, he told them, of all wrong-doing,
and gave each man a duty towards his neighbour.
Ever before his eyes their doings are; nothing is hidden from his scrutiny.
To every Gentile people he has given a ruler of its own;
Israel alone is exempt, marked down as God’s patrimony.
Clear as the sun their acts shew under his eye; over their lives, untiring his scrutiny.
Sin they as they will, his covenant is still on record; no misdeed of theirs but he is the witness of it.
Alms if thou givest, thou hast the sign-manual of his favour; treasured as the apple of his eye is the record of man’s deserving.✻
… A day will come when he rouses himself and requites them, one by one, for their misdoing, overwhelms them in the depths of earth.
Yet, to such as repent, he grants the means of acquittal, and makes their fainting hearts strong to endure; for them, too, he has a share in his promised reward.
Turn back to the Lord, and let thy sins be;
make thy prayer before him, and rid thyself of the peril in thy path.
Come back to the Lord, from wrong-doing turn away, and thy foul deeds hate;
in all his decrees and awards own God just, stand in thy appointed place to make intercession to him, the most High,
and take thy part with a race of men sanctified, living men that still give thanks to God.✻
Linger not in the false path of wickedness; give thanks while breath is in thee; the dead breathe no more, give thanks no more.
Thanks while yet thou livest, thanks while health and strength are still with thee, to praise God and to take pride in all his mercies!
The Lord’s mercy, that is so abundant, the pardon that is ever theirs who come back to him!
Think not man is the centre of all things;✻ no son of Adam is immortal, for all the delight men take in their sinful follies.
Nought brighter than the sun, and yet its brightness shall fail; nought darker than the secret designs of flesh and blood, yet all shall be brought to light.
God, that marshals the armies of high heaven, and man, all dust and ashes!
The Holy Bible