Deuterocanonical books
of the Roman Catholic
and the Greek and Russian Orthodox


This page:

Ecclesiasticus [ben Sirach]
I Maccabees
2 Maccabees


the Bible

index pages:


Deuterocanonical Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox, and Russian Orthodox scripture
Date: The title character (narrating parts in first person) is set in the 7th century BCE.
Estimates of the date of writing run as late as 200 BCE.

For translation and copyright information, see version links in the left column.

NRSV 12:7-8 “It is good to conceal the secret of a king, but to acknowledge and reveal the works of God, and with fitting honor to acknowledge him. Do good and evil will not overtake you. Prayer with fasting is good, but better than both is almsgiving with righteousness. A little with righteousness is better than wealth with wrongdoing. It is better to give alms than to lay up gold.”

text checked (see note) Aug 2009

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Deuterocanonical Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox, and Russian Orthodox scripture
Possible date: middle of the second century BCE

For translation and copyright information, see version links in the left column.


8:12-14 ... 16-17

“Who are you to put God to the test today, and to set yourselves up in the place of God in human affairs? You are putting the Lord Almighty to the test, but you will never learn anything! You cannot plumb the depths of the human heart or understand the workings of the human mind; how do you expect to search out God, who made all these things, and find out his mind or comprehend his thought? No, my brothers, do not anger the Lord our God. [...] Do not try to bind the purposes of the Lord our God; for God is not like a human being, to be threatened, or like a mere mortal, to be won over by pleading. Therefore, while we wait for his deliverance, let us call upon him to help us, and he will hear our voice, if it pleases him.”

text checked (see note) Aug 2009

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the Book of
[of Solomon]

Date: probably 1st century BCE
[Solomon is the speaking character, rather than the author.]

For translation and copyright information, see version links in the left column.

NRSV 4:10-15

There were some who pleased God and were loved by him,

and while living among sinners were taken up.

They were caught up so that evil might not change their understanding

or guile deceive their souls.

For the fascination of wickedness obscures what is good,

and roving desire perverts the innocent mind.

Being perfected in a short time, they fulfilled long years;

for their souls were pleasing to the Lord,

therefore he took them quickly from the midst of wickedness.

Yet the peoples saw and did not understand,

or take such a thing to heart,

that God’s grace and mercy are with his elect,

and that he watches over his holy ones.

text checked (see note) Oct 2009

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The Wisdom of Jesus ben [Eleazar ben] Sirach

Date: probably around 200 BCE
The only full manuscript is a Greek translation done in 132 BCE by the author’s grandson.

For translation and copyright information, see version links in the left column.
Verse numbering varies; if different, Douay equivalents appear [in brackets].

NRSV 4:20-21

Watch for the opportune time, and beware of evil,

and do not be ashamed to be yourself.

For there is a shame that leads to sin,

and there is a shame that is glory and fame.


Let those who are friendly with you be many,

but let your advisers be one in a thousand.




Faithful friends are a sturdy shelter:

whoever finds one has found a treasure.

Faithful friends are beyond price;

no amount can balance their worth.

Faithful friends are life-saving medicine;

and those who fear the Lord will find them.




Do not sow in the furrows of injustice,

and you will not reap a sevenfold crop.


Call no one happy before his death;

by how he ends, a person becomes known.

Compare to:

Neil Gaiman


A rich person will exploit you if you can be of use to him,

but if you are in need he will abandon you.




It was he who created humankind in the beginning,

and he left them in the power of their own free choice.

If you choose, you can keep the commandments,

and to act faithfully is a matter of your own choice.

He has placed before you fire and water,

stretch out your hand for whichever you choose.

Before each person are life and death,

and whichever one chooses will be given.

For great is the wisdom of the Lord;

he is mighty in power and sees everything;

his eyes are on those who fear him,

and he knows every human action.

He has not commanded anyone to be wicked,

and he has not given anyone permission to sin.


Free will


My child, do not mix reproach with your good deeds,

or spoil your gift by harsh words.

Does not the dew give relief from the scorching heat?

So a word is better than a gift.

Indeed, does not the word surpass a good gift?

Both are to be found in a gracious person.

A fool is ungracious and abusive,

and the gift of a grudging giver makes the eyes dim.


Weep for the dead, for he has left the light behind;

and weep for the fool, for he has left intelligence behind.

Weep less bitterly for the dead, for he is at rest;

but the life of the fool is worse than death.

Mourning for the dead lasts seven days,

but for the foolish or the ungodly it lasts all the days of their lives.


Even if you draw your sword against a friend,

do not despair, for there is a way back.

If you open your mouth against your friend,

do not worry, for reconciliation is possible.

But as for reviling, arrogance, disclosure of secrets, or a treacherous blow —

in these cases any friend will take to flight.


A merchant can hardly keep from wrongdoing,

nor is a tradesman innocent of sin.

Many have committed sin for gain,

and those who seek to get rich will avert their eyes.

As a stake is driven firmly into a fissure between stones,

so sin is wedged in between selling and buying.


Whoever betrays secrets destroys confidence,

and will never find a congenial friend.

Love your friend and keep faith with him;

but if you betray his secrets, do not follow after him.

For as a person destroys his enemy,

so you have destroyed the friendship of your neighbor.

And as you allow a bird to escape from your hand,

so you have let your neighbor go, and will not catch him again.

Do not go after him, for he is too far off,

and has escaped like a gazelle from a snare.

For a wound may be bandaged,

and there is reconciliation after abuse,

but whoever has betrayed secrets is without hope.




If you blow on a spark, it will glow;

if you spit on it, it will be put out;

yet both come out of your mouth.

Curse the gossips and the double-tongued,

for they destroy the peace of many.

Slander has shaken many,

and scattered them from nation to nation;

it has destroyed strong cities,

and overturned the houses of the great.

NEB 28:24-25

As you enclose your garden with a thorn hedge,

and lock up your silver and gold,

so weigh your words and measure them,

and make a door and a bolt for your mouth.

NRSV 29:9-11

Help the poor for the commandment’s sake,

and in their need do not send them away empty-handed.

Lose your silver for the sake of a brother or a friend,

and do not let it rust under a stone and be lost.

Lay up your treasure according to the commandments of the Most High,

and it will profit you more than gold.


As one who catches at a shadow and pursues the wind,

so is anyone who believes in dreams.

What is seen in dreams is but a reflection,

the likeness of a face looking at itself.




O death, how bitter is the thought of you

to the one at peace among possessions,

who has nothing to worry about and is prosperous in everything,

and still is vigorous enough to enjoy food!

O death, how welcome is your sentence

to one who is needy and failing in strength,

worn down by age and anxious about everything;

to one who is contrary, and has lost all patience!

Do not fear death’s decree for you;

remember those who went before you and those who will come after.

This is the Lord’s decree for all flesh;

why then should you reject the will of the Most High?




Better is the wickedness of a man than a woman who does good;

it is woman who brings shame and disgrace.

Note (Hal’s):
Alas, misogyny and child-beating are occasional themes of this book.

— end note

text checked (see note) Oct 2009

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I Maccabees

Deuterocanonical Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox, and Russian Orthodox scripture
Date: end of the second century BCE

For translation and copyright information, see version links in the left column.

NRSV 3:18-21 Judas replied, “It is easy for many to be hemmed in by few, for in the sight of Heaven there is no difference between saving by many or by few. It is not on the size of the army that victory in battle depends, but strength comes from Heaven. They come against us in great insolence and lawlessness to destroy us and our wives and our children, and to despoil us; but we fight for our lives and our laws.”



text checked (see note) Oct 2009

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2 Maccabees

Deuterocanonical Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox, and Russian Orthodox scripture
Date: first half of the century BCE

For translation and copyright information, see version links in the left column.

NRSV 6:14-22

“Eleazar, why are you so irrationally destroying yourself through these evil things? We will set before you some cooked meat; save yourself by pretending to eat pork.”

But Eleazar, as though more bitterly tormented by this counsel, cried out: “Never may we, the children of Abraham, think so basely that out of cowardice we feign a role unbecoming to us! For it would be irrational if having lived in accordance with truth up to old age and having maintained in accordance with law the reputation of such a life, we should now change our course and ourselves become a pattern of impiety to the young by setting them an example in the eating of defiling food. It would be shameful if we should survive for a little while and during that time be a laughing-stock to all for our cowardice, and be despised by the tyrant as unmanly by not contending even to death for our divine law. Therefore, O children of Abraham, die nobly for your religion!”




12:42b-45 The noble Judas exhorted the people to keep themselves free from sin, for they had seen with their own eyes what had happened as the result of the sin of those who had fallen. He also took up a collection, man by man, to the amount of two thousand drachmas of silver, and sent it to Jerusalem to provide for a sin offering. In doing this he acted very well and honorably, taking account of the resurrection. For if he were not expecting that those who had fallen would rise again, it would have been superfluous and foolish to pray for the dead. But if he was looking to the splendid reward that is laid up for those who fall asleep in godliness, it was a holy and pious thought. Therefore he made atonement for the dead, so that they might be delivered from their sin.


the Resurrection

text checked (see note) Oct 2009

Note (Hal’s):
This book claims to be a condensed version of a five-volume history by Jason of Cyrene.

A major purpose of the author is to embed within the story a defense of the doctrine of the resurrection. In addition to the passage from chapter 12, above, people who are tortured to death are said to have endured it because of belief in the resurrection.

For yet another interpretation of this, see 4 Maccabees.

— end note

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