Randal Argall’s translations of select passages in Ben Sira

Ben Sira 3:21-28 (based on Hebrew manuscripts C and A)

21 Things too marvelous for you do not investigate,
and things too evil for you, do not research.

22 On what is authorized, give attention,
but you have no business with secret things.

23 And into what is beyond you, do not meddle,
for that which is too great for you was shown you

24 For many are the thoughts of the sons of men.
evil and erring imaginations.

26 A hard heart will be abhorred at its end,
and he who loves riches will be led on by them.

27 A hard heart has many sorrows,
he writhes in pain who adds sin to sin.

25 Without a pupil in the eye. light is missing,
and without knowledge, wisdom is missing.

28 Do not run to heal the wound of a scoffer
for there is no healing for him,
for from an evil planting is his planting.

Sirach 34:1-8 (based on LXX)

1 Empty and false are the hopes of stupid men,
and fools are sent winging by dreams.

2 Like one grasping at shadows and chasing the wind.
is the one who attends to dreams.

3 The dream-vision is “this thing” means “that thing,”
what compares to some person means that person.

4 From the unclean, what will be clean?
And from liars, what will be true?

5 Divinations and omens and dreams are foolish,
and like a woman in labor, the heart fantasizes.

6 Unless from the Most High it is sent as a visitation,
do not give your heart to them.

7 For dreams have led many astray,
and those who hoped in them perished.

8 Without deceit the Law will be fulfilled,
and perfect wisdom is in the mouth of the faithful.

Ben Sira 32:15-17 (based on Hebrew manuscript B)

15 He who researches Torah finds it,
but he who is a madman is ensnared by it.

16 He who fears the Lord understands judgment,
and brings forth guidance from darkness.

17 A man of violence turns aside reprimands,
and he drags the Torah off after his needs.

Sirach 39:1-5 (based on LXX)

1 He seeks out the wisdom of all the ancients,
and is busy with prophecies.

2 He listens to the discourse of famous men,
and enters together with them into the turns of proverbs.

3 He seeks out the hidden things of riddles,
and is busy with the enigmas of parables.

4 He will serve among the greatest men,
and he will appear before rulers.

He will pass through the land of other nations,
for he tests good and evil among men.

5 He will give his heart to rise early,
to <seek> the Lord who created him.
and before the Most High he will make supplication,

He will open his mouth in prayer,
and make supplication concerning his sins.