Sirach chapter 18

The mercy of the Lord surpasses human understanding. The author offers wisdom for specific situations. And like a Stoic, cautions us to not pursue pleasure.

 


 

The Book of Sirach is recognized as Deuterocanonical Scripture by the Greek Orthodox, Russian Orthodox, and Catholic Churches

 


 

GOD’S MERCY SURPASSES HUMAN UNDERSTANDING

 

VERSE 1. He that lives forever created all things in common.

created all things. The One God created all that is.

John 1:3. All things were made through him. Without him was not anything made that has been made.

 

VERSE 2. The Lord alone will be justified.

The remainder of this verse is omitted in the best manuscripts.

 

VERSE 3.

This verse is omitted in the best manuscripts.

 

VERSE 4. To none has he given power to declare his works: And who will trace out his mighty deeds?

 

VERSE 5. Who shall number the strength of his majesty? And who shall also tell out his mercies?

 

VERSE 6. As for the wondrous works of the Lord, it is not possible to take from them nor add to them, Neither is it possible to track them out.

the wondrous works of the Lord. God’s creation is prodigiously complex.

Neither is it possible to track them out. It takes centuries for our most brilliant scientists to achieve breakthroughs in their understanding.

 

VERSE 7. When a man has finished, then he is but at the beginning; And when he ceases, then he will be in perplexity.

 

VERSE 8. What is man, and what purpose do they serve? What is his good, and what is his evil?

 

VERSE 9. The number of man’s days at the most are a hundred years.

at the most are a hundred years. Our lives are brief.

 

VERSE 10. As a drop of water from the sea, and a pebble from the sand; So are a few years in the day of eternity.

 

VERSE 11. For this cause the Lord was patient over them, And poured out his mercy upon them.

poured out his mercy upon them. The patience and mercy of God shine.

Many people wrongly assume that God is cruel and impatient with his people. However, the Old Testament often praises God for his mercy. The Old Testament saints heroes of the faith were intoxicated with the mercy of God.

 

VERSE 12. He saw and perceived their end, that it is evil; Therefore he multiplied his forgiveness.

 

VERSE 13. The mercy of a man is upon his neighbor; But the mercy of the Lord is upon all flesh; Reproving, and chastening, and teaching, And bringing again, as a shepherd does his flock.

The mercy of a man is upon his neighbor. We humans are merciful to other humans. Sometimes.

the mercy of the Lord is upon all flesh. The Lord is merciful to all people.

 

VERSE 14. He has mercy on those who accept chastening, And that diligently seek after his judgments.

 

WISDOM FOR SPECIFIC SITUATIONS

 

VERSE 15. My son, to your good deeds add no blemish; And no grief of words in any of your giving.

no grief of words in any of your giving. When we give a gift, we can spoil the moment with harsh words. Don’t do that.

 

VERSE 16. Shall not the dew assuage the scorching heat? So is a word better than a gift.

a word better than a gift. The words we say make our gift even greater.

 

VERSE 17. Behold, is not a word better than a gift? And both are with a gracious man.

is not a word better than a gift? The words we say often mean more than the gift we give.

both are with a gracious man. A gracious person offers both a gift and gracious words.

 

VERSE 18. A fool will upbrade ungraciously; And the gift of an envious man consumes the eyes.

 

VERSE 19. Learn before you speak; And have a care of your health or ever you be sick.

 

VERSE 20. Before judgement examine yourself; And in the hour of visitation you will find forgiveness.

 

VERSE 21. Humble yourself before you be sick; And in the time of sins show repentance.

 

VERSE 22. Let nothing hinder you to pay your vow in due time; And wait not until death to be justified.

 

VERSE 23. Before you make a vow, prepare yourself; And be not as a man that tempts the Lord.

 

VERSE 24. Think upon the wrath that will be in the days of the end, And the time of vengeance, when he turns away his face.

 

VERSE 25. In the days of fullness remember the time of hunger, And poverty and lack in the days of wealth.

remember the time of hunger. People in wealthy nations are so accustomed to abundance that they forget what it means to suffer lack.

 

VERSE 26. From morning until evening the time changes; And all things are speedy before the Lord.

 

VERSE 27. A wise man will fear in everything; And in days of sinning he will beware of offence.

The remainder of this verse is omitted in the best manuscripts.

 

VERSE 28. Every man of understanding knows wisdom; And he will give thanks to him that found her.

 

VERSE 29. They that were of understanding in sayings became also wise themselves, And poured forth apt proverbs.

poured forth apt proverbs. If you are a student of wisdom, people will need you to dispense wise sayings. Let them gusher forth like a life-giving spring!

 

DON’T PURSUE PLEASURE

 

VERSE 30. Go not after your lusts; And refrain yourself from your appetites.

refrain yourself from your appetites. This verse reminds us of the Stoics.

In the early 3rd century BC, there was a school of philosophy in Athens called Stoicism. The Stoics are most famous for not showing their feelings or complaining.

 

VERSE 31. If you give fully to your soul the delight of her desire, She will make you the laughing stock of your enemies.

 

VERSE 32. Make not merry in much luxury; Neither be tied to the expense thereof.

 

VERSE 33. Be not made a beggar by banqueting upon borrowing, When you have nothing in your purse.

The remainder of this verse is omitted in the best manuscripts.

 


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Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.


 

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