Ben Sira 51 (Revised Standard Version w/ Apocrypha)

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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.
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