The Holy Bible – Knox Translation
The Book of Ecclesiasticus
Wilt thou look round at ill-gotten gains, and tell thyself thou hast enough for all thy needs? Trust me, when vengeance finds thee out, all this shall nothing avail thee.
In manhood’s vigour, do not follow the whim of thy heart,
boasting of thy strength, and asking who will call thee to account for thy doings; God will find a way to punish thee.
Nor ever flatter thyself that thou hast sinned and come away scot-free; the eternal justice waits its time.
Ill it were that sin’s pardon should embolden thee to sin afresh.
Dost thou tell thyself God’s mercies are great, and he will pardon thy sins for all they are so many?
Bethink thee that his vengeance rides swift as his mercy; it is a jealous eye that watches the sinner.
Or wouldst thou make slow work of turning to the Lord, and put it off from day to day?
Swift falls his anger and perilous, when the time for vengeance is ripe.
And must thy thoughts still dwell on the ill-gotten gains, that shall nothing avail thee when vengeance finds thee out?
Turn not with every wind, nor walk in every way that offers; that sinners do, till their hypocrisy is found out.
Firm let thy feet be set on the path the Lord has chosen for thee; be true to thy own thought and to the knowledge thou hast, and ever let the counsels of peace and justice guide thee on thy way.
True answer and wise answer none can give but he who listens patiently, and learns all.
If discernment thou hast, give thy neighbour his answer; if none, tongue held is best, or some ill-advised word will shame thee;
speech uttered was ever the wise man’s passport to fame, the fool’s undoing.
Never win the name of back-biter, by thy own tongue entrapped into shame.
A thief must blush and do penance, a hypocrite men will mark and avoid; the back-biter earns indignation and enmity and disgrace all at once.
To all alike, high and low, give just award.
The Holy Bible