The Holy Bible – Knox Translation
The Book of Ecclesiasticus
A wise ruler, a folk well disciplined; firm sits prudence on the throne.
Like king, like court; like ruler, like subjects.
Royal folly is a people’s ruin; where prudence reigns, there cities thrive most.
God’s will it is, then, that rules a nation; when the time comes, he will give it the prince it needs,
granting prosperity where he will; no scribe bears office but has divine authority stamped on his brow.
Forget the wrong done, nor enrol thyself among the doers of it.
Before God and man alike pride is hateful, and the wrong the Gentiles do is foully done;
wrong and crime and outrage and treacherous shift, that he punishes by passing on the sceptre of empire into new hands;
but worse sin is none than avarice. See how man, for all his pride, is but dust and ashes!
This love of money is of all things the most perverse; what does the miser but sell his own soul? As well be bowelled alive!
Why be tyrannies short-lived? Why, it is a wearisome thing to the physician, a long illness,
so he is fain to cut it short, and the king that reigns to-day will be dead to-morrow.
And what is the new kingdom he inherits? Creeping things, and carrion beast, and worm.✻
Pride’s beginning is man’s revolt from God,
when the heart forgets its Maker; and of all sin pride is the root. Leave it, or curses thou shalt have in full measure, and be ruined at the last.
Such humiliation the Lord has in store; vanished utterly is yonder confederacy;
proud thrones cast down, to make room for the oppressed,
proud nations withered from the root, and humbler rivals planted instead!
Whole nations of the world the Lord has overthrown, rased them to the ground;
shrivelled and vanished away, they have left no trace of their passage.
The proud forgotten, the humble kept in memory; such was the Lord’s will.
Pride was never made for man’s estate; never child born of woman had anger’s mood for its birthright.
There are two breeds of men; one fears God and wins renown, the other passes his commandments by, and is forgotten.
Let clansmen honour a chieftain’s rank; it is humble fear wins the divine regard.
For riches and renown, as for the lowly born, there is one boast worth having, the fear of God.
Honest poverty never despise, nor flatter, for all his wealth, the evil-doer;
prince nor ruler nor nobleman can win any higher title than the fear of God.
Of his master’s sons a prudent servant shall yet be master. Only the fool, that is ill trained, takes punishment amiss; and a fool will never rise to greatness.
Do not boast of thy fine craftsmanship and then, in time of urgent need, stand idle;✻
better fall to work and have a full belly than keep thy pride and go fasting.
Abate thy pride, keep body and soul together; value thy life as it deserves.
There is no excusing the man who is his own enemy, no worth in the man who thinks his life worth nothing.
One man, that little wealth has, may boast of his skill and the fear of God, another man of his riches.
Grow he rich, the poor man shall boast indeed; that other, grow he poor, has good cause to fear his poverty.
The Holy Bible