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1Empty and false are the hopes of the senseless,
and dreams give wings to fools.
2Like one grasping at shadows or chasing the wind,
so anyone who believes in dreams.
3What is seen in dreams is a reflection,
the likeness of a face looking at itself.
4How can the unclean produce what is clean?
How can the false produce what is true?a
5Divination, omens, and dreams are unreal;
what you already expect, the mind fantasizes.
6Unless they are specially sent by the Most High,
do not fix your heart on them.
7For dreams have led many astray,
and those who put their hope in them have perished.
8Without such deceptions the Law will be fulfilled,
and in the mouth of the faithful is complete wisdom.
9A much-traveled person knows many things;
and one with much experience speaks sense.
10An inexperienced person knows little,
11whereas with travel one adds to resourcefulness.
12I have seen much in my travels,
and learned more than I could ever say.
13Often I was in danger of death,
but by these experiences I was saved.
14Living is the spirit of those who fear the Lord,
15for their hope is in their savior.
16Whoever fear the Lord are afraid of nothing
and are never discouraged, for he is their hope.b
17Happy the soul that fears the Lord!
18In whom does he trust, and who is his support?
19The eyes of the Lord are upon those who love him;
he is their mighty shield and strong support,
A shelter from the heat, a shade from the noonday sun,
a guard against stumbling, a help against falling.c
20He lifts up spirits, brings a sparkle to the eyes,
gives health and life and blessing.
21Ill-gotten goods offered in sacrifice are tainted.
22Presents from the lawless do not win God’s favor.d
23The Most High is not pleased with the gifts of the godless,
nor for their many sacrifices does he forgive their sins.
24One who slays a son in his father’s presence—
whoever offers sacrifice from the holdings of the poor.
25The bread of charity is life itself for the needy;e
whoever withholds it is a murderer.
26To take away a neighbor’s living is to commit murder;
27to deny a laborer wages is to shed blood.
28If one builds up and another tears down,
what do they gain but trouble?
29If one prays and another curses,
whose voice will God hear?
30If one again touches a corpse after bathing,
what does he gain by the purification?f
31So one who fasts for sins,
but goes and commits them again:
Who will hear his prayer,
what is gained by mortification?
* [34:1–20] Confidence placed in dreams, divinations, and omens is false because these are devoid of reality (vv. 1–8). True confidence is founded on knowledge and experience (vv. 9–13), and above all on the fear of the Lord, with its accompanying blessings of divine assistance and protection (vv. 14–20).
* [34:21–31] To be acts of true religion, sacrifice and penance must be accompanied by the proper moral dispositions. To offer to God goods taken from the poor (vv. 21–27), or to practice penance without interior reform, is a mockery, worthless in the sight of God (vv. 28–31). Cf. Mt 15:4–7; Mk 7:9–13.
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