The Holy Bible – Knox Translation
The Book of Ecclesiasticus
He that will be avenged brings on himself the Lord’s vengeance; watch and ward shall be kept over his sins continually.
Forgive thy neighbour his fault, and for thy own sins thy prayer shall win pardon;
should man bear man a grudge, and yet look to the Lord for healing?
Should he refuse mercy to his fellow-man, yet ask forgiveness,
should he think to appease God, while he, a mortal man, is obdurate? Who shall plead for his acquittal?
Look to thy last end, and leave thy quarrelling;
with the grave’s corruption God’s commandments threaten thee.✻
Thy God fear, thy neighbour forgive;
the covenant of the most High remember, thy neighbour’s slip forget.
Keep clear of quarrelling, and sin shall less abound.
Quick temper sets feuds a-raging, and wicked men there are that will embroil fast friends, and stir up strife among folk that lived at peace.
More fuel, more fire; strong man will rage the more, rich man push his vengeance further.
Heat is gendered by the haste of rivalry, and bloodshed by hot blood; but it is tongue of witness that brings death.
Spark blown upon will blaze, spat upon will die out; see how of both the mouth is arbiter!
A curse on every tale-bearer and traducer that disturbs the world’s peace!
Tongue that comes between two friends, how many it has exiled, sent them to wander far away,
how many rich cities dismantled, great houses demolished,
what armies it has routed, what proud nations brought to ruin,
what noble women it has driven out from their homes, and left all their toil unrewarded!
Pay heed to it, and thou shalt never rest more, never find friend in whom thou canst trust.
Whip that lashes does but bruise the skin; tongue that lashes will break bones;
the sword has killed many, the tongue more.
Blessed is he that is preserved from the tongue’s wickedness, that has never felt its fury, never borne its yoke or worn its chains;
that yoke of iron, those chains of bronze!
Here is death worse than death itself, here is loss the grave cannot outvie.
Not for ever shall its reign persist, but where wicked men go it still follows; the just it cannot consume,
but if thou forsake God thou shalt encounter it, a fire that burns thee and will not be quenched, an assault more perilous than assault of lion or pard.
Fence thy ears about with thorns, and give the wicked tongue no hearing; make fast thy mouth with bolt and bar.
Melt down gold and silver of thine, and get thee a balance that shall weigh thy words, a bridle that shall be the rule of thy mouth;✻
do all that lies in thee to keep thy tongue from speaking amiss, lest lurking enemies triumph over thy ruin, the fatal and final ruin that shall be thine.
The Holy Bible