Eclesiástico (RSV) 48
48 1 Then the prophet Elijah arose like a fire, and his word burned like a torch.
2 He brought a famine upon them, and by his zeal he made them few in number.
3 By the word of the Lord he shut up the heavens, and also three times brought down fire.
4 How glorious you were, O Elijah, in your wondrous deeds! And who has the right to boast which you have?
5 You who raised a corpse from death and from Hades, by the word of the Most High;
6 who brought kings down to destruction, and famous men from their beds;
7 who heard rebuke at Sinai and judgments of vengeance at Horeb;
8 who anointed kings to inflict retribution, and prophets to succeed you.
9 You who were taken up by a whirlwind of fire, in a chariot with horses of fire;
10 you who are ready at the appointed time, it is written, to calm the wrath of God before it breaks out in fury, to turn the heart of the father to the son, and to restore the tribes of Jacob.
11 Blessed are those who saw you, and those who have been adorned in love; for we also shall surely live.
12 It was Elijah who was covered by the whirlwind, and Elisha was filled with his spirit; in all his days he did not tremble before any ruler, and no one brought him into subjection.
13 Nothing was too hard for him, and when he was dead his body prophesied.
14 As in his life he did wonders, so in death his deeds were marvelous.
15 For all this the people did not repent, and they did not forsake their sins, till they were carried away captive from their land and were scattered over all the earth; the people were left very few in number, but with rulers from the house of David.
16 Some of them did what was pleasing to God, but others multiplied sins.
17 Hezekiah fortified his city, and brought water into the midst of it; he tunneled the sheer rock with iron and built pools for water.
18 In his days Sennacherib came up, and sent the Rabshakeh; he lifted up his hand against Zion and made great boasts in his arrogance.
19 Then their hearts were shaken and their hands trembled, and they were in anguish, like women in travail.
20 But they called upon the Lord who is merciful, spreading forth their hands toward him; and the Holy One quickly heard them from heaven, and delivered them by the hand of Isaiah.
21 The Lord smote the camp of the Assyrians, and his angel wiped them out.
22 For Hezekiah did what was pleasing to the Lord, and he held strongly to the ways of David his father, which Isaiah the prophet commanded, who was great and faithful in his vision.
23 In his days the sun went backward, and he lengthened the life of the king.
24 By the spirit of might he saw the last things, and comforted those who mourned in Zion.
25 He revealed what was to occur to the end of time, and the hidden things before they came to pass.
49 1 The memory of Josiah is like a blending of incense prepared by the art of the perfumer; it is sweet as honey to every mouth, and like music at a banquet of wine.
2 He was led aright in converting the people, and took away the abominations of iniquity.
3 He set his heart upon the Lord; in the days of wicked men he strengthened godliness.
4 Except David and Hezekiah and Josiah they all sinned greatly, for they forsook the law of the Most High; the kings of Judah came to an end;
5 for they gave their power to others, and their glory to a foreign nation,
6 who set fire to the chosen city of the sanctuary, and made her streets desolate, according to the word of Jeremiah.
7 For they had afflicted him; yet he had been consecrated in the womb as prophet, to pluck up and afflict and destroy, and likewise to build and to plant.
8 It was Ezekiel who saw the vision of glory which God showed him above the chariot of the cherubim.
9 For God remembered his enemies with storm, and did good to those who directed their ways aright.
10 May the bones of the twelve prophets revive from where they lie, for they comforted the people of Jacob and delivered them with confident hope.
11 How shall we magnify Zerubbabel? He was like a signet on the right hand,
12 and so was Jeshua the son of Jozadak; in their days they built the house and raised a temple holy to the Lord, prepared for everlasting glory.
13 The memory of Nehemiah also is lasting; he raised for us the walls that had fallen, and set up the gates and bars and rebuilt our ruined houses.
14 No one like Enoch has been created on earth, for he was taken up from the earth.
15 And no man like Joseph has been born, and his bones are cared for.
16 Shem and Seth were honored among men, and Adam above every living being in the creation.
50 1 The leader of his brethren and the pride of his people was Simon the high priest, son of Onias, who in his life repaired the house, and in his time fortified the temple.
2 He laid the foundations for the high double walls, the high retaining walls for the temple enclosure.
3 In his days a cistern for water was quarried out, a reservoir like the sea in circumference.
4 He considered how to save his people from ruin, and fortified the city to withstand a seige.
5 How glorious he was when the people gathered round him as he came out of the inner sanctuary!
6 Like the morning star among the clouds, like the moon when it is full;
7 like the sun shining upon the temple of the Most High, and like the rainbow gleaming in glorious clouds;
8 like roses in the days of the first fruits, like lilies by a spring of water, like a green shoot on Lebanon on a summer day;
9 like fire and incense in the censer, like a vessel of hammered gold adorned with all kinds of precious stones;
10 like an olive tree putting forth its fruit, and like a cypress towering in the clouds.
11 When he put on his glorious robe and clothed himself with superb perfection and went up to the holy altar, he made the court of the sanctuary glorious.
12 And when he received the portions from the hands of the priests, as he stood by the hearth of the altar with a garland of brethren around him, he was like a young cedar on Lebanon; and they surrounded him like the trunks of palm trees,
13 all the sons of Aaron in their splendor with the Lord's offering in their hands, before the whole congregation of Israel.
14 Finishing the service at the altars, and arranging the offering to the Most High, the Almighty,
15 he reached out his hand to the cup and poured a libation of the blood of the grape; he poured it out at the foot of the altar, a pleasing odor to the Most High, the King of all.
16 Then the sons of Aaron shouted, they sounded the trumpets of hammered work, they made a great noise to be heard for remembrance before the Most High.
17 Then all the people together made haste and fell to the ground upon their faces to worship their Lord, the Almighty, God Most High.
18 And the singers praised him with their voices in sweet and full-toned melody.
19 And the people besought the Lord Most High in prayer before him who is merciful, till the order of worship of the Lord was ended; so they completed his service.
20 Then Simon came down, and lifted up his hands over the whole congregation of the sons of Israel, to pronounce the blessing of the Lord with his lips, and to glory in his name;
21 and they bowed down in worship a second time, to receive the blessing from the Most High.
22 And now bless the God of all, who in every way does great things; who exalts our days from birth, and deals with us according to his mercy.
23 May he give us gladness of heart, and grant that peace may be in our days in Israel, as in the days of old.
24 May he entrust to us his mercy! And let him deliver us in our days!
25 With two nations my soul is vexed, and the third is no nation:
26 Those who live on Mount Seir, and the Philistines, and the foolish people that dwell in Shechem.
27 Instruction in understanding and knowledge I have written in this book, Jesus the son of Sirach, son of Eleazar, of Jerusalem, who out of his heart poured forth wisdom.
28 Blessed is he who concerns himself with these things, and he who lays them to heart will become wise.
29 For if he does them, he will be strong for all things, for the light of the Lord is his path.
51 1 I will give thanks to thee, O Lord and King, and will praise thee as God my Savior. I give thanks to thy name,
2 for thou hast been my protector and helper and hast delivered my body from destruction and from the snare of a slanderous tongue, from lips that utter lies. Before those who stood by thou wast my helper,
3 and didst deliver me, in the greatness of thy mercy and of thy name, from the gnashings of teeth about to devour me, from the hand of those who sought my life, from the many afflictions that I endured,
4 from choking fire on every side and from the midst of fire which I did not kindle,
5 from the depths of the belly of Hades, from an unclean tongue and lying words --
6 the slander of an unrighteous tongue to the king. My soul drew near to death, and my life was very near to Hades beneath.
7 They surrounded me on every side, and there was no one to help me; I looked for the assistance of men, and there was none.
8 Then I remembered thy mercy, O Lord, and thy work from of old, that thou dost deliver those who wait for thee and dost save them from the hand of their enemies.
9 And I sent up my supplication from the earth, and prayed for deliverance from death.
10 I appealed to the Lord, the Father of my lord, not to forsake me in the days of affliction, at the time when there is no help against the proud.
11 I will praise thy name continually, and will sing praise with thanksgiving. My prayer was heard,
12 for thou didst save me from destruction and rescue me from an evil plight. Therefore I will give thanks to thee and praise thee, and I will bless the name of the Lord.
13 While I was still young, before I went on my travels, I sought wisdom openly in my prayer.
14 Before the temple I asked for her, and I will search for her to the last.
15 From blossom to ripening grape my heart delighted in her; my foot entered upon the straight path; from my youth I followed her steps.
16 I inclined my ear a little and received her, and I found for myself much instruction.
17 I made progress therein; to him who gives wisdom I will give glory.
18 For I resolved to live according to wisdom, and I was zealous for the good; and I shall never be put to shame.
19 My soul grappled with wisdom, and in my conduct I was strict; I spread out my hands to the heavens, and lamented my ignorance of her.
20 I directed my soul to her, and through purification I found her. I gained understanding with her from the first, therefore I will not be forsaken.
21 My heart was stirred to seek her, therefore I have gained a good possession.
22 The Lord gave me a tongue as my reward, and I will praise him with it.
23 Draw near to me, you who are untaught, and lodge in my school.
24 Why do you say you are lacking in these things, and why are your souls very thirsty?
25 I opened my mouth and said, Get these things for yourselves without money.
26 Put your neck under the yoke, and let your souls receive instruction; it is to be found close by.
27 See with your eyes that I have labored little and found myself much rest.
28 Get instruction with a large sum of silver, and you will gain by it much gold.
29 May your soul rejoice in his mercy, and may you not be put to shame when you praise him.
30 Do your work before the appointed time, and in God's time he will give you your reward.
Eclesiástico (RSV) 48