Wisdom of Ben Sira 2

At the School of Wisdom

Chapter 2

When You Come To Serve the Lord, Be Prepared To Endure Trials[a]

1 My child, when you come to serve the Lord,
prepare yourself to endure trials.
2 Be sincere of heart and steadfast,
and do not be alarmed when confronted with adversity.
3 Cling to him and do not forsake him,
so that your final days will be blessed.
4 Accept whatever befalls you,
and be patient whenever you suffer humiliation.
5 For gold is tested in the fire,
and worthy men in the furnace of humiliation.
[In sickness and poverty, place your trust in him.][b]
6 Trust him, and he will help you;
follow a straight path and hope in him.[c]
7 You who fear the Lord, wait for his mercy;
do not stray, for otherwise you will fall.
8 You who fear the Lord, trust in him,
and you will not forfeit your reward.
9 You who fear the Lord, hope for good things,
for everlasting joy and mercy.
[For his reward is an everlasting gift of joy.][d]
10 Recall the former generations and reflect:
has anyone who trusted in the Lord ever been disappointed?
Has anyone who persevered in fear of the Lord ever been forsaken,
or has anyone who called upon him been ignored?
11 For the Lord is compassionate and merciful;
he forgives sins and saves in the time of distress.
12 Woe to faint hearts and unwilling hands,
and to the sinner who treads a double path.
13 Woe to those with timid hearts who have no faith
and who therefore will be unprotected.
14 Woe to you who have forsaken patience;
what will you do at the coming of the Lord?
15 Those who fear the Lord do not disobey his words,
and those who love him keep his ways.
16 Those who fear the Lord seek to please him,
and those who love him are steeped in his law.
17 Those who fear the Lord keep their heart prepared
and humble themselves before him.
18 Let us fall into the hands of the Lord
and not into the hands of men.
For equal to his majesty
is the mercy that he exhibits.
[And his works are in keeping with his name.][e]


  1. Wisdom of Ben Sira 2:1 For believers, nothing, including suffering, is futile about God’s plan, which guides all things with wisdom. Humans need courage to entrust themselves to him, for he never abandons those who remain faithful, as the past bears witness: “Though he hoped against hope, [Abraham] believed,” according to Paul (Rom 4:18).
  2. Wisdom of Ben Sira 2:5 Added by some early MSS.
  3. Wisdom of Ben Sira 2:6 Follow . . . hope in him: some early MSS read: “hope in him, and he will make straight your ways.”
  4. Wisdom of Ben Sira 2:9 Added by some early MSS.
  5. Wisdom of Ben Sira 2:18 Added by some early MSS.

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