Ecclesiasticus 51

A Prayer of Jesus the son of Sirach.

1I will thank thee, O Lord and King, and praise thee, O God my Saviour: I do give praise unto thy name:

2For thou art my defender and helper, and has preserved my body from destruction, and from the snare of the slanderous tongue, and from the lips that forge lies, and has been mine helper against mine adversaries:

3And hast delivered me, according to the multitude of thy mercies and greatness of thy name, from the teeth of them that were ready to devour me, and out of the hands of such as sought after my life, and from the manifold afflictions which I had;

4From the choking of fire on every side, and from the midst of the fire which I kindled not;

5From the depth of the belly of hell, from an unclean tongue, and from lying words.

6By an accusation to the king from an unrighteous tongue my soul drew near even unto death, my life was near to the hell beneath.

7They compassed me on every side, and there was no man to help me: I looked for the succour of men, but there was none.

8Then thought I upon thy mercy, O Lord, and upon thy acts of old, how thou deliverest such as wait for thee, and savest them out of the hands of the enemies.

9Then lifted I up my supplications from the earth, and prayed for deliverance from death.

10I called upon the Lord, the Father of my Lord, that he would not leave me in the days of my trouble, and in the time of the proud, when there was no help.

11I will praise thy name continually, and will sing praises with thanksgiving; and so my prayer was heard:

12For thou savedst me from destruction, and deliveredst me from the evil time: therefore will I give thanks, and praise thee, and bless they name, O Lord.

13When I was yet young, or ever I went abroad, I desired wisdom openly in my prayer.

14I prayed for her before the temple, and will seek her out even to the end.

15Even from the flower till the grape was ripe hath my heart delighted in her: my foot went the right way, from my youth up sought I after her.

16I bowed down mine ear a little, and received her, and gat much learning.

17I profited therein, therefore will I ascribe glory unto him that giveth me wisdom.

18For I purposed to do after her, and earnestly I followed that which is good; so shall I not be confounded.

19My soul hath wrestled with her, and in my doings I was exact: I stretched forth my hands to the heaven above, and bewailed my ignorances of her.

20I directed my soul unto her, and I found her in pureness: I have had my heart joined with her from the beginning, therefore shall I not be foresaken.

21My heart was troubled in seeking her: therefore have I gotten a good possession.

22The Lord hath given me a tongue for my reward, and I will praise him therewith.

23Draw near unto me, ye unlearned, and dwell in the house of learning.

24Wherefore are ye slow, and what say ye to these things, seeing your souls are very thirsty?

25I opened my mouth, and said, Buy her for yourselves without money.

26Put your neck under the yoke, and let your soul receive instruction: she is hard at hand to find.

27Behold with your eyes, how that I have but little labour, and have gotten unto me much rest.

28Get learning with a great sum of money, and get much gold by her.

29Let your soul rejoice in his mercy, and be not ashamed of his praise.

30Work your work betimes, and in his time he will give you your reward.