Wisdom of Ben Sira 35

Chapter 35

1 The one who observes the law multiplies his offerings;
2 one who keeps the commandments sacrifices a peace offering.
3 The one who returns a kindness offers choice flour,[a]
4 and one who gives alms presents a sacrifice of praise.
5 If you wish to please the Lord, abandon wickedness;
to forsake wrongdoing is a sacrifice of atonement.
6 Do not appear before the Lord empty-handed,
7 for all that you offer is in fulfillment of the commandments.
8 The offering of the righteous enriches the altar,
and its pleasing odor rises before the Most High.
9 The sacrifice of the righteous is acceptable,
nor will it ever be forgotten.
10 Have a spirit of generosity when you honor the Lord;
do not begrudge the firstfruits of your labor.
11 With every gift show a cheerful countenance,
and dedicate your tithes in a spirit of joy.
12 Give to the Most High as he has given to you,
as generously as your means allow.
13 For the Lord never neglects to repay,
and he will reward you sevenfold.
[The man who gives to the poor makes God his debtor;
who will make recompense if not God?][b]

God Judges According to the Heart[c]

14 Do not offer God a bribe, for he will not accept it,
15 and do not place your hope in a dishonest sacrifice.
For the Lord is a judge,
and he is completely impartial.
16 He will not show favoritism to the detriment of the poor,
and he listens to the cries of the oppressed.
17 He does not ignore the supplication of the orphan,
or that of the widow when she pours out her complaint.
18 Do not the tears of the widow stream down her cheeks
19 as she cries out against the one who has been their cause?
20 The one who serves God wholeheartedly will be heard;
his petition will reach the heavens.
21 The prayer of the lowly pierces the clouds;
it does not rest until it reaches its goal.
Nor will it desist until the Most High responds,
22 relieves the sufferings of the righteous, and reestablishes equity.
Indeed God will not delay,
nor will he cease to act on their behalf,[d]
until he has crushed the bones of the merciless
23 and wreaked vengeance on the nations,
until he has destroyed the insolent multitude
and shattered the scepters of the wicked,
24 until he has requited each one according to his deeds
and repaid his works as his intentions deserve,
25 until he has rendered justice to his people
and disposed them to rejoice in his mercy.
26 His mercy is as welcome in a time of affliction
as rain clouds in a time of drought.


  1. Wisdom of Ben Sira 35:3 Choice flour: an offering to God prescribed by Lev 2:1ff.
  2. Wisdom of Ben Sira 35:13 Added by some early MSS.
  3. Wisdom of Ben Sira 35:14 God cannot be bought by offerings, but he hears the cry of the poor, those whom society despises and sacrifices. Is not this the situation of those who are oppressed and marginalized because of their religion? God’s mercy is for them.
  4. Wisdom of Ben Sira 35:22 Nor . . . behalf: Hebrew reads: “and like a warrior he will not be patient.”

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