The Holy Bible – Knox Translation
The Book of Ecclesiasticus
If they will make thee master of the feast, do not give thyself airs; bear thyself as an equal.
Make good provision for the guests, and so take thy place among them; thy duty done, recline at ease,
and in their pleasure rejoice, accepting the crown that marks their favour, the honour bestowed by their gifts.
Speak first, as becomes thy seniority,
but with due choice of words; and do not break in when music is a-playing;
no need for thy words to flow when none is listening, for thy wisdom to be displayed unseasonably.
Music and wine, carbuncle set in gold,
music and wine, signet ring of gold and emerald, so the wine be good, and taken in due measure.
Keep silence, and give others a hearing; it shall win thee a name for modesty;
if thou art but a young man, be loth to speak even of what concerns thee,
and if thou art pressed for an answer, give it in brief.
For the most part keep thy knowledge concealed under a mask of silence and enquiry;
nor ever be familiar among great men, nor garrulous among the wise.
Sure as the lightning is sign of a storm, men’s good word is the sign of a modest nature; they will love thee all the better for thy bashfulness.
When the time comes for going, do not linger; get thee gone speedily to thy home, there to divert thyself, and take thy ease,
and follow the whim of thy own thoughts, yet innocently and with no word proudly said.
And for all this give thanks to God thy maker, that so contents thee with his gifts.
If thou fearest the Lord, thou wilt accept the schooling he gives thee, waiting early at his door to win his blessing.
In the law, the law’s follower finds deep content, the false heart nothing but a snare to catch it.
Those who fear the Lord will discover where right lies, the light of truth shall shine from their awards;✻
the sinner fears to have his life reproved, and will ever be finding precedents for gratifying his own whim.
A man of prudence will never throw caution to the winds; his proud enemy feels no dread
even upon rashly provoking him, but shall live to rue the assault.✻
Do nothing, my son, save with consideration, and thy deeds shall not bring thee repentance.
Take not some ruinous road that shall trip thee with its boulders; some road where all journeying is difficult✻ and thou mayst expose thy life to sudden dangers.
Of thy own children beware, be on thy watch against thy own household;
be it thine to trust with all thy soul’s confidence,✻ and thou hast kept the commandments.
Who trusts in God, keeps well God’s command; confidence in him was never disappointed.
The Holy Bible