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Ecclesiasticus, or the Wisdom of Jesus, Son of Sirach: Chapter 1

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All wisdom is from the Lord, and with him it remains forever. 2 The sand of the sea, the drops of rain, and the days of eternity—who can count them? 3 The height of heaven, the breadth of the earth, the abyss, and wisdom b Other ancient authorities read of which —who can search them out? 4 Wisdom was created before all other things, and prudent understanding from eternity. c Gk but they 6 The root of wisdom—to whom has it been revealed? Her subtleties—who knows them? d Gk they 8 There is but one who is wise, greatly to be feared, seated upon his throne—the Lord. 9 It is he who created her; he saw her and took her measure; he poured her out upon all his works, 10 upon all the living according to his gift; he lavished her upon those who love him. e Gk loathed the necessary appetite


The fear of the Lord is glory and exultation, and gladness and a crown of rejoicing. 12 The fear of the Lord delights the heart, and gives gladness and joy and long life. f Gk they 13 Those who fear the Lord will have a happy end; on the day of their death they will be blessed.


To fear the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; she is created with the faithful in the womb. 15 She made g Gk them among human beings an eternal foundation, and among their descendants she will abide faithfully. 16 To fear the Lord is fullness of wisdom; she inebriates mortals with her fruits; 17 she fills their a Meaning of Gk uncertain whole house with desirable goods, and their a Meaning of Gk uncertain storehouses with her produce. 18 The fear of the Lord is the crown of wisdom, making peace and perfect health to flourish. b Gk and it, ministering 19 She rained down knowledge and discerning comprehension, and she heightened the glory of those who held her fast. 20 To fear the Lord is the root of wisdom, and her branches are long life. c Gk this


Unjust anger cannot be justified, for anger tips the scale to one's ruin. 23 Those who are patient stay calm until the right moment, and then cheerfulness comes back to them. 24 They hold back their words until the right moment; then the lips of many tell of their good sense.


In the treasuries of wisdom are wise sayings, but godliness is an abomination to a sinner. 26 If you desire wisdom, keep the commandments, and the Lord will lavish her upon you. 27 For the fear of the Lord is wisdom and discipline, fidelity and humility are his delight.


Do not disobey the fear of the Lord; do not approach him with a divided mind. 29 Do not be a hypocrite before others, and keep watch over your lips. 30 Do not exalt yourself, or you may fall and bring dishonor upon yourself. The Lord will reveal your secrets and overthrow you before the whole congregation, because you did not come in the fear of the Lord, and your heart was full of deceit.


a Other ancient authorities read of which

b Gk but they

c Gk they

a Gk loathed the necessary appetite

b Gk they

c Gk them

d Meaning of Gk uncertain

a Gk and it, ministering

b Gk this

Text Commentary view alone

1.1–10 : Wisdom, God's unfathomable gift

(cf. 24.1–12; Job 28; Prov 8.22–31 ). Wisdom is personified as a feminine figure, created by God and graciously bestowed upon humanity.

1 :

From the Lord, a divine origin ( 24.3; Prov 2.6; 8.22–23; Job 12.13; Wis 7.25–26 ).

2–3 :

Divine Wisdom is as incalculable as the limits of the cosmos (cf. 18.4–7 ).

4 :

Created before all other things, Prov 8.22–31 .

6–10 :

Wisdom belongs to God alone (Job 28 ); yet God has lavished her upon all the living, i.e., both Jews and Gentiles, and particularly upon those who love him: Israel ( 1.26; 24.7–12 ).

1.11–30 : Wisdom as fear of the Lord …

A programmatic statement of Sirach's central theme the inseparability of wisdom and piety.

12 :

Long life (Deut 6.2 ), a frequent wisdom topic (cf. v. 20; Prov 3.16 ).

13 :

On the day of their death, no afterlife is envisioned here, simply the blessed state of a pious life at its end (cf. 11.26–28 ).

14 :

The beginning of wisdom, cf. Prov 1.7; 9.10; Job 28.28; Ps 111.10 . With the faithful in the womb, a prophetic motif ( 49.7; Jer 1.5; Isa 44.2,24; 49.1,5; see also Ps 139.13 ).

15 :

Among human beings, cf. 24.8–12; Prov 8.31 .

20 :

Wisdom as a flourishing tree of life ( 24.13–14,16–17; Prov 3.18 ).

22 :

The danger of yielding to anger ( 27.30; 28.3–11; Prov 10.18; 12.16; 29.22 ).

26 :

Keep the command‐ments, wisdom is equated with the law of Moses ( 24.23 ).

30 :

Dishonor, an intense concern in Sirach ( 3.2–11; 4.21; 7.7; 10.19–11.6; 41.17–42.8 ). Congregation (Gk“synagoge”) refers chiefly to the community gathered in public assembly ( 4.7; 23.24; 41.18; cf. Prov 5.12–14 ).

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