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New American Bible

2002 11 11
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Chapter 16


1 Desire not a brood of worthless children, nor rejoice in wicked offspring.


Many though they be, exult not in them if they have not the fear of the LORD.


Count not on their length of life, have no hope in their future. For one can be better than a thousand; rather die childless than have godless children!


Through one wise man can a city be peopled; through a clan of rebels it becomes desolate.


Many such things has my eye seen, even more than these has my ear heard.


2 Against a sinful band fire is enkindled, upon a godless people wrath flames out.


3 He forgave not the leaders of old who rebelled long ago in their might;


4 He spared not the neighbors of Lot whom he detested for their pride;


5 Nor did he spare the doomed people who were uprooted because of their sin;


6 Nor the six hundred thousand foot soldiers who perished for the impiety of their hearts.


And had there been but one stiffnecked man, it were a wonder had he gone unpunished. For mercy and anger alike are with him who remits and forgives, though on the wicked alights his wrath.


Great as his mercy is his punishment; he judges men, each according to his deeds.


A criminal does not escape with his plunder; a just man's hope God does not leave unfulfilled.


Whoever does good has his reward, which each receives according to his deeds.


Say not: "I am hidden from God; in heaven who remembers me? Among so many people I cannot be known; what am I in the world of spirits?


Behold, the heavens, the heaven of heavens, the earth and the abyss tremble at his visitation;


The roots of the mountains, the earth's foundations, at his mere glance, quiver and quake.


Of me, therefore, he will take no thought; with my ways who will concern himself?


If I sin, no eye will see me; if all in secret I am disloyal, who is to know?


Who tells him of just deeds and what could I expect for doing my duty?"


Such are the thoughts of senseless men, which only the foolish knave will think.


7 Hearken to me, my son, take my advice, apply your mind to my words,


While I propose measured wisdom, and impart accurate knowledge.


When at the first God created his works and, as he made them, assigned their tasks,


He ordered for all time what they were to do and their domains from generation to generation. They were not to hunger, nor grow weary, nor ever cease from their tasks.


Not one should ever crowd its neighbor, nor should they ever disobey his word.


Then the LORD looked upon the earth, and filled it with his blessings.


Its surface he covered with all manner of life which must return into it again.



1 [1-21] Sinful offspring are a great misfortune ( 16:1-4), for history and experience show how God punishes sin ( Sirach 16:5-10). He judges everyone according to his deeds ( Sirach 16:11-13); no one is hidden from him or escapes retribution at his hand ( Sirach 16:15-21).

2 [6] For Korah and his band ( Sirach 16:6, 7), see Numbers 16:35; Psalm 106:18; for the disgruntled Israelites ( Sirach 16:6b), Psalm 78:21-22.

3 [7] The leaders of old: the "mighty men of old" who were destroyed by the flood: Genesis 6:4; Wisdom 14:6; Baruch 3:26-28.

4 [8] The people of Sodom and Gomorrah: Genesis 19:24-25; Ezekiel 16:49- 50.

5 [9] The Canaanites: Exodus 23:23-24, 27-31; 33:2; Deut 7:1; Wisdom 12:3.

6 [10] The Israelites who murmured against Moses: Numbers 11:20; 14:12, 22-24.

7 [ 16:22- 17:18] In harmony with Genesis 1-2, the author describes God's wisdom in creating the universe and all things in it ( 16:22-28), endowing man with a moral nature, with wisdom and knowledge and freedom of will according to his own image ( 17:1, 6), so that man may govern the earth ( 16:3-4), praise God's name ( Sirach 16:8), obey his law ( Sirach 16:9-12), and render to him an account of his deeds ( Sirach 16:18). Cf Psalm 19; 104.

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