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Sirach 23

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1 κύριε πάτερ καὶ δέσποτα ζωῆς μου μὴ ἐγκαταλίπῃς με ἐν βουλῇ αὐτῶν μὴ ἀφῇς με πεσεῖν ἐν αὐτοῖς 2 τίς ἐπιστήσει ἐπὶ τοῦ διανοήματός μου μάστιγας καὶ ἐπὶ τῆς καρδίας μου παιδείαν σοφίας ἵνα ἐπὶ τοῖς ἀγνοήμασίν μου μὴ φείσωνται καὶ οὐ μὴ παρῇ τὰ ἁμαρτήματα αὐτῶν 3 ὅπως μὴ πληθυνθῶσιν αἱ ἄγνοιαί μου καὶ αἱ ἁμαρτίαι μου πλεονάσωσιν καὶ πεσοῦμαι ἔναντι τῶν ὑπεναντίων καὶ ἐπιχαρεῖταί μοι ὁ ἐχθρός μου 4 κύριε πάτερ καὶ θεὲ ζωῆς μου 5 μετεωρισμὸν ὀφθαλμῶν μὴ δῷς μοι καὶ ἐπιθυμίαν ἀπόστρεψον ἀ{P'} ἐμοῦ 6 κοιλίας ὄρεξις καὶ συνουσιασμὸς μὴ καταλαβέτωσάν με καὶ ψυχῇ ἀναιδεῖ μὴ παραδῷς με 1 Lord, that gavest my life and art the ruler of it, never may these lips of mine have me at their mercy, never let them betray me into a fall! 2 Be my thoughts ever under the lash, my heart disciplined by true wisdom; let it never deal gently with their unwitting offences, or gloss over the wrong they do! 3 What if my transgressions should go, all unobserved, from bad to worse, if I should sin ever oftener, and add fault to fault? What humiliation were this, in full view of my enemies; how would my ill-wishers triumph at the sight! 4 Lord, that gavest my life and art the divine ruler of it, let them not have me at their mercy; 5 never let haughty looks be mine, never the assaults of passion come near me. 6 Let the itch of gluttony pass me by, nor ever carnal lust overtake me; do not leave me, Lord, at the mercy of a shameless, an unprofitable mind! 1

Domine, pater et dominator vitæ meæ,
ne derelinquas me in consilio eorum,
nec sinas me cadere in illis.
Quis superponet in cogitatu meo flagella,
et in corde meo doctrinam sapientiæ,
ut ignorationibus eorum non parcant mihi,
et non appareant delicta eorum,
et ne adincrescant ignorantiæ meæ,
et multiplicentur delicta mea,
et peccata mea abundent,
et incidam in conspectu adversariorum meorum,
et gaudeat super me inimicus meus?
Domine, pater et Deus vitæ meæ,
ne derelinquas me in cogitatu illorum.
Extollentiam oculorum meorum ne dederis mihi,
et omne desiderium averte a me.
Aufer a me ventris concupiscentias,
et concubitus concupiscentiæ ne apprehendant me,
et animæ irreverenti et infrunitæ ne tradas me.
7 παιδείαν στόματος ἀκούσατε τέκνα καὶ ὁ φυλάσσων οὐ μὴ ἁλῷ ἐν τοῖς χείλεσιν αὐτοῦ 8 καταληφθήσεται ἁμαρτωλός καὶ λοίδορος καὶ ὑπερήφανος σκανδαλισθήσονται ἐν αὐτοῖς 9 ὅρκῳ μὴ ἐθίσῃς τὸ στόμα σου 10 καὶ ὀνομασίᾳ τοῦ ἁγίου μὴ συνεθισθῇς 11 ὥσπερ γὰρ οἰκέτης ἐξεταζόμενος ἐνδελεχῶς ἀπὸ μώλωπος οὐκ ἐλαττωθήσεται οὕτως καὶ ὁ ὀμνύων καὶ ὀνομάζων διὰ παντὸς ἀπὸ ἁμαρτίας οὐ μὴ καθαρισθῇ 12 ἀνὴρ πολύορκος πλησθήσεται ἀνομίας καὶ οὐκ ἀποστήσεται ἀπὸ τοῦ οἴκου αὐτοῦ μάστιξ 13 ἐὰν πλημμελήσῃ ἁμαρτία αὐτοῦ ἐ{P'} αὐτῷ κἂν ὑπερίδῃ ἥμαρτεν δισσῶς 14 καὶ εἰ διὰ κενῆς ὤμοσεν οὐ δικαιωθήσεται πλησθήσεται γὰρ ἐπαγωγῶν ὁ οἶκος αὐτοῦ 7 Here is the lore, my sons, of the tongue’s use; hold fast by it, and thy own lips shall never be thy undoing, to ensnare thee in heinous wrong. 8 What is it but his lying that entraps the sinner, what snare but their own speech catches the proud, the slanderers? 9 That mouth of thine do not inure to oath-taking; therein lie many perils; 10 wilt thou take God’s name often on thy lips, and of holy titles make thy constant invocation, thy word is forfeit to them. 11 Slave that is evermore under the lash cannot escape without bruises a many; thy often swearing, thy often invoking, shall lead thee into guilt at last. 12 Oaths a many, sins a many; punishment shall be still at thy doors. 13 Forswear thyself, thou shalt be held to account for it; forget the oath, it is at thy double peril; 14 and though it were lightly taken, thou shalt find no excuse in that; plague shall light on all thou hast, in amends for it. 7

Doctrinam oris audite, filii:
et qui custodierit illam non periet labiis,
nec scandalizabitur in operibus nequissimis.
In vanitate sua apprehenditur peccator:
et superbus et maledicus scandalizabitur in illis.
Jurationi non assuescat os tuum:
multi enim casus in illa.
Nominatio vero Dei non sit assidua in ore tuo,
et nominibus sanctorum non admiscearis,
quoniam non erit immunis ab eis.
Sicut enim servus interrogatus assidue a livore non minuitur,
sic omnis jurans et nominans in toto a peccato non purgabitur.
Vir multum jurans implebitur iniquitate,
et non discedet a domo illius plaga.
Et si frustraverit, delictum illius super ipsum erit:
et si dissimulaverit, delinquit dupliciter:
et si in vacuum juraverit, non justificabitur:
replebitur enim retributione domus illius.
15 ἔστιν λέξις ἀντιπαραβεβλημένη θανάτῳ μὴ εὑρεθήτω ἐν κληρονομίᾳ Ιακωβ 16 ἀπὸ γὰρ εὐσεβῶν ταῦτα πάντα ἀποστήσεται καὶ ἐν ἁμαρτίαις οὐκ ἐγκυλισθήσονται 15 Sin of speech there is, too, that has death for its counterpart; God send it be not found in Jacob’s chosen race;[1] 16 from men of tender conscience every such thought is far away, not theirs to wallow in evil-doing. 15
Est et alia loquela contraria morti:
non inveniatur in hæreditate Jacob.
Etenim a misericordibus omnia hæc auferentur,
et in delictis non volutabuntur.
17 ἀπαιδευσίαν ἀσυρῆ μὴ συνεθίσῃς τὸ στόμα σου ἔστιν γὰρ ἐν αὐτῇ λόγος ἁμαρτίας 17 Beware of habituating thy tongue to lewd talk; therein is matter of offence. 17
Indisciplinatæ loquelæ non assuescat os tuum:
est enim in illa verbum peccati.
18 μνήσθητι πατρὸς καὶ μητρός σου ἀνὰ μέσον γὰρ μεγιστάνων συνεδρεύεις 19 μήποτε ἐπιλάθῃ ἐνώπιον αὐτῶν καὶ τῷ ἐθισμῷ σου μωρανθῇς καὶ θελήσεις εἰ μὴ ἐγεννήθης καὶ τὴν ἡμέραν τοῦ τοκετοῦ σου καταράσῃ 18 Not thine to bring shame on father and mother. There are great ones all around thee; 19 what if thyself God should disregard, when thou art in their company? Then shall this ill custom of thine strike thee dumb[2] and bring thee to great dishonour; thou wilt wish thou hadst never been, and rue the day of thy birth. 18
Memento patris et matris tuæ:
in medio enim magnatorum consistis:
ne forte obliviscatur te Deus in conspectu illorum,
et assiduitate tua infatuatus, improperium patiaris,
et maluisses non nasci,
et diem nativitatis tuæ maledicas.
20 ἄνθρωπος συνεθιζόμενος λόγοις ὀνειδισμοῦ ἐν πάσαις ταῖς ἡμέραις αὐτοῦ οὐ μὴ παιδευθῇ 20 Let a man grow into a habit of railing speech, all his days there is no amending him. 20
Homo assuetus in verbis improperii
in omnibus diebus suis non erudietur.
21 δύο εἴδη πληθύνουσιν ἁμαρτίας καὶ τὸ τρίτον ἐπάξει ὀργήν 22 ψυχὴ θερμὴ ὡς πῦρ καιόμενον οὐ μὴ σβεσθῇ ἕως ἂν καταποθῇ 23 ἄνθρωπος πόρνος ἐν σώματι σαρκὸς αὐτοῦ οὐ μὴ παύσηται ἕως ἂν ἐκκαύσῃ πῦρ 24 ἀνθρώπῳ πόρνῳ πᾶς ἄρτος ἡδύς οὐ μὴ κοπάσῃ ἕως ἂν τελευτήσῃ 25 ἄνθρωπος παραβαίνων ἀπὸ τῆς κλίνης αὐτοῦ λέγων ἐν τῇ ψυχῇ αὐτοῦ τίς με ὁρᾷ 26 σκότος κύκλῳ μου καὶ οἱ τοῖχοί με καλύπτουσιν καὶ οὐθείς με ὁρᾷ τί εὐλαβοῦμαι τῶν ἁμαρτιῶν μου οὐ μὴ μνησθήσεται ὁ ὕψιστος 27 καὶ ὀφθαλμοὶ ἀνθρώπων ὁ φόβος αὐτοῦ 28 καὶ οὐκ ἔγνω ὅτι ὀφθαλμοὶ κυρίου μυριοπλασίως ἡλίου φωτεινότεροι ἐπιβλέποντες πάσας ὁδοὺς ἀνθρώπων καὶ κατανοοῦντες εἰς ἀπόκρυφα μέρη 29 πρὶν ἢ κτισθῆναι τὰ πάντα ἔγνωσται αὐτῷ οὕτως καὶ μετὰ τὸ συντελεσθῆναι 21 Two sorts of men are sinners above measure, and a third I can name that calls down vengeance. 22 There is a hot temper, all fire and fury, that cannot die down till it has had its fill. 23 A man that is corrupted by the prompting of his own lust[3] will not be content until it bursts into flame. 24 To the fornicator, one pasture-ground is as good as another; there is no wearying him till he has tried all. 25 Out on the man that takes his life in his hands and comes between another’s sheets! There is none to witness it, thinks he; 26 darkness all about, and walls to shelter me, and none watching; what have I to fear? Sins like mine the most High will never mark. 27 Of that all-seeing eye no heed takes he; fear of a man has driven the fear of God from his thoughts; of human eyes only he shuns the regard.[4] 28 What, are not God’s eyes a thousand times more piercing than the sun’s rays? Do they not watch all the doings of men, the depths of earth, and man’s heart, every secret open to their scrutiny? 29 God, that knows all he means to make, does he not watch over all he has made? 21

Duo genera abundant in peccatis,
et tertium adducit iram et perditionem.
Anima calida quasi ignis ardens,
non extinguetur donec aliquid glutiat:
et homo nequam in ore carnis suæ
non desinet donec incendat ignem.
Homini fornicario omnis panis dulcis:
non fatigabitur transgrediens usque ad finem.
Omnis homo qui transgreditur lectum suum,
contemnens in animam suam, et dicens: Quis me videt?
Tenebræ circumdant me, et parietes cooperiunt me,
et nemo circumspicit me: quem vereor?
delictorum meorum non memorabitur Altissimus.
Et non intelligit quoniam omnia videt oculus illius,
quoniam expellit a se timorem Dei hujusmodi hominis timor,
et oculi hominum timentes illum:
et non cognovit quoniam oculi Domini
multo plus lucidiores sunt super solem,
circumspicientes omnes vias hominum,
et profundum abyssi, et hominum corda,
intuentes in absconditas partes.
Domino enim Deo antequam crearentur omnia sunt agnita:
sic et post perfectum respicit omnia.
30 οὗτος ἐν πλατείαις πόλεως ἐκδικηθήσεται καὶ οὗ οὐχ ὑπενόησεν πιασθήσεται 31 32 οὕτως καὶ γυνὴ καταλιποῦσα τὸν ἄνδρα καὶ παριστῶσα κληρονόμον ἐξ ἀλλοτρίου 33 πρῶτον μὲν γὰρ ἐν νόμῳ ὑψίστου ἠπείθησεν καὶ δεύτερον εἰς ἄνδρα αὐτῆς ἐπλημμέλησεν καὶ τὸ τρίτον ἐν πορνείᾳ ἐμοιχεύθη καὶ ἐξ ἀλλοτρίου ἀνδρὸς τέκνα παρέστησεν 34 αὕτη εἰς ἐκκλησίαν ἐξαχθήσεται καὶ ἐπὶ τὰ τέκνα αὐτῆς ἐπισκοπὴ ἔσται 35 οὐ διαδώσουσιν τὰ τέκνα αὐτῆς εἰς ῥίζαν καὶ οἱ κλάδοι αὐτῆς οὐκ οἴσουσιν καρπόν 36 καταλείψει εἰς κατάραν τὸ μνημόσυνον αὐτῆς καὶ τὸ ὄνειδος αὐτῆς οὐκ ἐξαλειφθήσεται 37 καὶ ἐπιγνώσονται οἱ καταλειφθέντες ὅτι οὐθὲν κρεῖττον φόβου κυρίου καὶ οὐθὲν γλυκύτερον τοῦ προσέχειν ἐντολαῖς κυρίου 38 30 In full view of the open street the adulterer shall pay the penalty; loud, as for a runaway horse, the hue and cry; where he thought to escape, justice outruns him. 31 All the world shall witness his shame, that left the fear of the Lord unregarded. 32 Nor less guilty is she who plays her husband false, giving him for heir a child that is no son of his. 33 Broken, the law of the most High; her plighted troth forsaken; sons borne to a paramour, has she not thrice played the wanton? 34 Needs must she confront the folk assembled, nor shall those sons of hers be spared; 35 such roots must not burgeon, such boughs never bear fruit; 36 she leaves but the memory of an accursed name, a name for ever dishonoured. 37 Warning she gives to after ages that God’s fear is best, nor sweeter lot is any than the divine law well observed. 38 Follow the Lord, and it shall be thy renown; a long life is the reward it shall bring thee. 30
Hic in plateis civitatis vindicabitur,
et quasi pullus equinus fugabitur,
et ubi non speravit apprehendetur.
Et erit dedecus omnibus,
eo quod non intellexerit timorem Domini.
Sic et mulier omnis relinquens virum suum,
et statuens hæreditatem ex alieno matrimonio:
primo enim in lege Altissimi incredibilis fuit:
secundo in virum suum deliquit:
tertio in adulterio fornicata est,
et ex alio viro filios statuit sibi.
Hæc in ecclesiam adducetur,
et in filios ejus respicietur:
non tradent filii ejus radices,
et rami ejus non dabunt fructum:
derelinquet in maledictum memoriam ejus,
et dedecus illius non delebitur.
Et agnoscent qui derelicti sunt,
quoniam nihil melius est quam timor Dei,
et nihil dulcius quam respicere in mandatis Domini.
Gloria magna est sequi Dominum:
longitudo enim dierum assumetur ab eo.
Copyright © 2020 by Kevin Knight. Dedicated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.