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Ben Sira 41 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 41

O death! How bitter is the thought of you[a]
    for the one at peace in his home,
For the one who is serene and always successful,
    who can still enjoy life’s pleasures.
O death! How welcome is your sentence
    to the weak, failing in strength,
Stumbling and tripping on everything,
    with sight gone and hope lost.
Do not fear death’s decree for you;
    remember, it embraces those before you and those to come.
This decree for all flesh is from God;
    why then should you reject a law of the Most High?
Whether one has lived a thousand years, a hundred, or ten,
    in Sheol there are no arguments about life.

The children of sinners are a reprobate line,
    and witless offspring are in the homes of the wicked.
The inheritance of children of sinners will perish,
    and on their offspring will be perpetual disgrace.
Children curse their wicked father,
    for they suffer disgrace because of him.
Woe to you, O wicked people,
    who forsake the Law of the Most High.
If you have children, calamity will be theirs;
    and if you beget them, it will be only for groaning.
When you stumble, there is lasting joy;
    and when you die, you become a curse.
10 All that is nought returns to nought,
    so too the godless—from void to void.

11 The human body is a fleeting thing,
    but a virtuous name will never be annihilated.
12 Have respect for your name, for it will stand by you
    more than thousands of precious treasures.
13 The good things of life last a number of days,
    but a good name, for days without number.

True and False Shame[b]

14b Hidden wisdom and concealed treasure,
    of what value is either?
15 Better is the person who hides his folly
    than the one who hides his wisdom.
14a My children, listen to instruction about shame;
16a     judge of disgrace according to my rules,
16b Not every kind of shame is shameful,
    nor is every kind of disgrace to be recognized.
17 Before father and mother be ashamed of immorality,
    before prince and ruler, of falsehood;
18 Before master and mistress, of deceit;
    before the public assembly, of crime;
Before associate and friend, of disloyalty,
19     and in the place where you settle, of theft.
Be ashamed of breaking an oath or a covenant,
    and of stretching your elbow at dinner;
Of refusing to give when asked,
21     of rebuffing your own relatives;
Of defrauding another of his appointed share,
20a     of failing to return a greeting;
21c Of gazing at a man’s wife,
20b     of entertaining thoughts about another woman;
22 Of trifling with a servant girl you have,
    of violating her bed;
Of using harsh words with friends,
    of following up your gifts with insults;


  1. 41:1–13 Whether death seems bitter to one who enjoys peace, success, and pleasure, or welcome to one who is weak and in despair, it comes to all and must be accepted as the will of God (vv. 1–4). The human body passes away (v. 11). Sinners as well as their offspring pass away as if they had never been (vv. 5–10). Only the good name of the virtuous endures (vv. 11–13).
  2. 41:14–42:8 Ben Sira illustrates the subject of true and false shame with numerous and detailed examples of wrongdoing (41:14–22) and virtue (42:1–8), following the norm of the commandments.
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.


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