The Holy Bible – Knox Translation
The Book of Ecclesiasticus
But the wise man will be learning the lore of former times; the prophets will be his study.
The tradition handed down by famous men will be in his keeping; his to con the niceties of every parable,
learn the hidden meaning of every proverb, make himself acquainted with sayings hard to understand.
To great men he will render good service, will be summoned to the prince’s own council;
will go upon his travels in foreign countries, to learn by experience what the world offers of good and of harm.
With dedicated heart, he will keep early vigil at the Lord’s gates, the Lord that made him, to win audience for his plea from the most High.
His lips will be eloquent in prayer, as he entreats pardon for his sins.
At the Lord’s sovereign pleasure, he will be filled with a spirit of discernment,
so that he pours out showers of wise utterance, giving thanks to the Lord in his prayer.
His plans and thoughts guided from above, he will have skill in the divine mysteries;
will make known to all the tradition of teaching he has received, and take pride in that law which is the Lord’s covenant with man.
This wisdom of his, extolled on every side, will never fall into oblivion;
the memory of him, the renown of him, will be held in honour from age to age.
His wise words will become a legend among the nations; where faithful men assemble, his praise will be told.
A life that shall leave such fame as one man wins in a thousand; a death not unrewarded.
And still I have thoughts worth the telling; madman as easily might contain himself.
A voice proclaims, Give heed to me, you that are scions of the divine stock; yours to burgeon like a rose-bush that is planted by running water;
yours to yield the fragrance of incense;
yours to blossom like the lily, and smell sweet, and put forth leaves for your adornment; yours to sing songs of praise, and bless the Lord for all things he has made.
His name extol; songs of praise let your lips utter, and let harp’s melody mingle with the song. And you shall praise him in these words following.
Good, wondrously good, is all the Lord has made.✻
Piled high the waters stand at his command, shut in by cisterns of his appointing.✻
All-sufficient is his will, unfailing his power to save;
open to his view are all deeds of mortal men, nothing can escape that scrutiny.
On every age of time his glance rests; marvel is none beyond his compass.
Not for man to ask what this or that may be, each shall be needed in its turn.
His blessings flow like a stream in full flood,
like rain pouring down to refresh the parched earth. But the nations that never look to find him, shall be the prey of his vengeance;
did he not turn the waters into firm ground, and dry up the floor of them, so that it made a path for the passage of his own people,✻ and yet a trap to punish the wicked?
From the first, good things were made for good men to enjoy; for sinners, they are good and evil at once.
What are the first needs of man’s life? Water, fire, iron, salt, milk, wheat-meal, honey, the grape-cluster, oil and clothing.
Thereby, for just men, nought but good is intended, yet for sinners they turn to evil.
Some powers✻ there be that are created for wreaking of vengeance, and sternly they wield the lash in their raging;
when the time for reckoning comes, they will put out all their force, until their Maker’s anger is appeased.
Fire, hail, hunger and death, all these were made for wreaking of vengeance;
ravening beasts, too, and scorpions, and serpents, and the sword that punishes the wicked till there are none left.
All these hold high revel as they perform his will; ready they stand till earth has need of them, and when the need comes, they will obey.
From the first, all my questioning and all my thought confirms me in what I have written,
all things God has made are good, and each of them serves its turn;
nor ever must we complain things have happened for the worse, since each has its own occasion to justify it.
With full hearts, then, and full voice, praise we and bless the Lord’s name.
The Holy Bible