The Holy Bible – Knox Translation
The Book of Ecclesiasticus
Live true to the law, and thou hast richly endowed the altar.
Let this be thy welcome-offering, to heed God’s word and keep clear of all wickedness;
this thy sacrifice of amends for wrong done, of atonement for fault, to shun wrong-doing.
Bloodless offering wouldst thou make, give thanks;✻ victim wouldst thou immolate, shew mercy.
Wickedness and wrong-doing to shun is to win God’s favour, and pardon for thy faults.
Yet do not appear in the Lord’s presence empty-handed;
due observance must be paid, because God has commanded it.
If thy heart is right, thy offering shall enrich the altar; its fragrance shall reach the presence of the most High;
a just man’s sacrifice the Lord accepts, and will not pass over his claim to be remembered.
Generously pay the Lord his due; do not grudge him the first-fruits of thy earnings;
all thou givest, give with a smiling face, gladly bring in the tithe.
In his own measure God’s gift repay; grudge thou must not what afford thou canst;
the Lord is a good master, and thou shalt have sevenfold in return.
But think not to bribe his justice; he will have none of thy bribery.
Never pin thy hopes on the power of wealth ill gotten; the Lord is a true judge, not swayed by partiality,
and thou canst not win him to take thy part against the friendless, turn him deaf to the plea of the wronged.
Prayer of the orphan, eloquent sigh of the widow, he will not disregard;
see the tears on yonder widow’s cheeks, that accuse the author of her misery!
From her cheeks they rise to heaven, where all prayers are heard, a grievous sight.
None but his true worshippers he makes welcome; for their supplication the clouds give passage.
Pierce those clouds if thou wouldst, thou must humble thyself, inconsolable till that prayer finds audience, unwearying till it wins redress.
And will the Lord keep us waiting long? Hearing and redress he will grant to the innocent; strong as of old, patient no longer, he will crush the backs of our oppressors.
The Gentiles punished, scattered the hordes of insolence, broken the sceptre of wrong!
Men called to account everywhere for their deeds, the harvest of their mortal pride,
and his own people vindicated at last, triumphing in his mercy at last!
God’s mercy, welcome to the afflicted as rain-clouds are welcome in time of drought!
The Holy Bible