The Holy Bible – Knox Translation
The Book of Ecclesiasticus
Harm if thou do none, harm shall none befall thee;
clear of wrong is clear of mishap.
What avails it, my son, to sow in the furrow of mischief, and reap a sevenfold harvest?
Never ask of God high station, or of the king preferment.
Never try to prove thy innocence before God, who knows all, nor thy subtlety before the king.
Do not sit in judgement, unless thou art able to crush the wrong; if thou favour the rich, what else is thy award but a snare for thy own virtue?
Hurt never the public weal; no need to embroil thyself with thy own neighbours.
Never tack sin to sin; for the first thou art in arrears.
Do not lose confidence
in thy praying, or leave almsgiving undone.
Do not flatter thyself that God will look favourably on thy many offerings, as if he, the most High, could not refuse thy gifts.
Taunt never the disconsolate; God, who sees all, casts men down and lifts them up.
Not against thy own brother trump up the charge; nor thy neighbour either.
Every breath of falsehood avoid in thy speech; so ill grows the habit of it.
Idle talk becomes thee not, when thou sittest with the elders in council, nor, when thou prayest, repetition of thy prayer.
At toil repine not; the farmer’s trade is of divine appointment.
When sinners abound, be not thou of their company;
bethink thee rather, how swiftly comes vengeance,
and so curb thy unruly spirits; for sinful flesh, fire and worm.
Thou hast a friend who is over-long in thy debt; use no cruelty with him; dear to thee as a brother, and shall gold count more?
Thou hast a good wife, a thrifty woman that has thrown in her lot, in the fear of the Lord, with thine; do not leave her; that modesty of hers is a grace gold cannot buy.
The slave that works for thee faithfully, the hireling that is pledged to thy service, injure not;
a thrifty slave thou shouldst love as thy own self, not baulking him of liberty or leaving him to starve.
Cattle thou hast; tend them well, nor part with them while they do thee good service.
Thou hast sons; train them to bear the yoke from their youth up.
Thou hast daughters; keep them chaste, and do not spoil them with thy smile;
a daughter wed is great good done, if a thrifty husband thou find her.
And thy own wife, if thou lovest her, never do thou forsake, nor trust thy happiness to one who is little to thy mind.
And oh, with thy whole heart
And oh, with thy whole heart
honour thy father, nor forget thy mother’s pangs;
bethink thee, that without them thou hadst had no being, and repay the service they have done thee.
With all thy soul fear God, and reverence his priests.
He made thee; wilt thou not devote all thy powers to his love? Wilt thou leave his ministers unbefriended?
Rather, with all thy soul fear God, and to his priests give their due; with gift of the consecrated shoulder clear thyself of what is owing.
The priests must have their share, by law prescribed, of first-fruits and of offering for transgression; even if thou hast committed a fault in ignorance, a little is claimed for thy cleansing.
The gift of the consecrated shoulder thou must make to the Lord, and the offering of all that is dedicated, and the holy first-fruits;
moreover, thou must open thy hand to the poor; so thy atonement shall be perfect, and perfect thy blessing.
No living man but is thankful for the gift given; and it is ill done to withhold thy favours even from the dead.
Fail not to comfort the distressed, let the mourner have thee for his escort.
Never tire of visiting the sick; no surer way of winning thy neighbour’s love.
Remember at all times what thou must come to at the last, and thou shalt never do amiss.
The Holy Bible