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Ecclesiasticus, or the Wisdom of Jesus, Son of Sirach: Chapter 45

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1

and was beloved by God and people, Moses, whose memory is blessed. 2 He made him equal in glory to the holy ones, and made him great, to the terror of his enemies. 3 By his words he performed swift miracles; c Syr: Gk and people can neither live nor walk there the Lord a Cn: Gk renews his ear glorified him in the presence of kings. He gave him commandments for his people, and revealed to him his glory. 4 For his faithfulness and meekness he consecrated him, choosing him out of all humankind. 5 He allowed him to hear his voice, and led him into the dark cloud, and gave him the commandments face to face, the law of life and knowledge, so that he might teach Jacob the covenant, and Israel his decrees.

6

He exalted Aaron, a holy man like Moses d Most ancient authorities lack this line who was his brother, of the tribe of Levi. 7 He made an everlasting covenant with him, and gave him the priesthood of the people. He blessed him with stateliness, and put a glorious robe on him. 8 He clothed him in perfect splendor, and strengthened him with the symbols of authority, the linen undergarments, the long robe, and the ephod. 9 And he encircled him with pomegranates, with many golden bells all around, to send forth a sound as he walked, to make their ringing heard in the temple as a reminder to his people; 10 with the sacred vestment, of gold and violet and purple, the work of an embroiderer; with the oracle of judgment, Urim and Thummim; 11 with twisted crimson, the work of an artisan; with precious stones engraved like seals, in a setting of gold, the work of a jeweler, to commemorate in engraved letters each of the tribes of Israel; 12 with a gold crown upon his turban, inscribed like a seal with “Holiness,” a distinction to be prized, the work of an expert, a delight to the eyes, richly adorned. 13 Before him such beautiful things did not exist. No outsider ever put them on, but only his sons and his descendants in perpetuity. 14 His sacrifices shall be wholly burned twice every day continually. 15 Moses ordained him, and anointed him with holy oil; it was an everlasting covenant for him and for his descendants as long as the heavens endure, to minister to the Lord a Cn: Gk among parables and serve as priest and bless his people in his name. 16 He chose him out of all the living to offer sacrifice to the Lord, incense and a pleasing odor as a memorial portion, to make atonement for the b Syr: Gk prayer is in people. 17 In his commandments he gave him authority and statutes and c Gk He himself judgments, to teach Jacob the testimonies, and to enlighten Israel with his law. 18 Outsiders conspired against him, and envied him in the wilderness, Dathan and Abiram and their followers and the company of Korah, in wrath and anger. 19 The Lord saw it and was not pleased, and in the heat of his anger they were destroyed; he performed wonders against them to consume them in flaming fire. 20 He added glory to Aaron and gave him a heritage; he allotted to him the best of the first fruits, and prepared bread of first fruits in abundance; 21 for they eat the sacrifices of the Lord, which he gave to him and his descendants. 22 But in the land of the people he has no inheritance, and he has no portion among the people; for the Lord a Cn: Meaning of Gk uncertain himself is his b Heb Lat: Gk sinners bad things portion and inheritance.

23

Phinehas son of Eleazar ranks third in glory for being zealous in the fear of the Lord, and standing firm, when the people turned away, in the noble courage of his soul; and he made atonement for Israel. 24 Therefore a covenant of friendship was established with him, that he should be leader of the sanctuary and of his people, that he and his descendants should have the dignity of the priesthood forever. 25 Just as a covenant was established with David son of Jesse of the tribe of Judah, that the king's heritage passes only from son to son, so the heritage of Aaron is for his descendants alone.

26

And now bless the Lord who has crowned you with glory. c Heb Syr: Gk can scourge mightily May the Lord a Cn: Meaning of Gk uncertain grant you wisdom of mind to judge his people with justice, so that their prosperity may not vanish, and that their glory may endure through all their generations.

Notes:

d Cn: Gk renews his ear

a Syr: Gk and people can neither live nor walk there

b Most ancient authorities lack this line

c Cn: Gk among parables

d Syr: Gk prayer is in

e Gk He himself

f Cn: Meaning of Gk uncertain

a Heb Lat: Gk sinners bad things

b Heb Syr: Gk can scourge mightily

Text Commentary view alone
Commentary spanning earlier chapters

44.17–45.26 : Seven covenantal figures:Noah

( 44.17–18 ), Abraham ( 44.19–21 ), Isaac ( 44.22 ), Jacob/Israel ( 44.23a ), Moses ( 44.23b–45.5 ), Aaron ( 45.6–22 and Phinehas ( 45.23–24 ).

44.23b–45.5 : Moses.

45.3 :

Miracles, the plagues leading up to the Exodus (Ex 7.1–11.10; 12.29–32 ); commandments, the Decalogue (Ex 20.1–17; Deut 5.1–33 ); glory, Ex 33.18–23 .

4 :

On Moses’ meekness, see Num 12.3 .

5 :

Dark cloud, Ex 20.21; 24.18; face to face, Num 12.8; that he might teach, Deut 4.1 .

45.6–25 : Aaron and Phinehas.

The glorification of Aaron reflects the ascendancy of the high priesthood in Ben Sira's day. Much more space is given to him and Phinehas (and then to Simeon the high priest in ch 50 ) than to Moses.

6 :

His brother, of the tribe of Levi, Ex 4.14 .

7 :

Everlasting covenant, of priesthood (cf. vv. 13,15; Ex 28.1–4; 29.9; 40.15 ).

8 :

Perfect splendor, for the details of the priestly vestments, which are elaborated upon in vv. 8–13, see Ex 28–29; cf. Sir 50.5–11 .

10 :

Urim and Thummim, cf. Ex 28.30; Num 27.21; 1 Sam 14.41–42 .

14 :

See Lev 6.8–15 ; Num 28.3–4 .

15 :

Moses ordained … and anointed him, Ex 28.41; Lev 8.1–30 ; bless his people, cf. Num 6.22–27; everlasting covenant, see Lev 24.8–9; Num 18.19 .

17 :

For the priestly authority … to teach, see Lev 10.11; Deut 33.10; Mal 2.7 .

18 :

Dathancompany of Korah, Num 16.1–33 .

21 :

Eat the sacrifices, Num 18.8–19 .

22 :

See Num 18.20; Deut 12.12 .

23 :

Phinehas, Num 25.10–13; Ps 106.30; 1 Macc 2.54 .

24–25 :

The covenant with Phinehas, like the covenantwith David (2 Sam 7; Ps 89.19–37 ) was both dynastic and eternal.

45.26 : A prayer for high priests.

You refers to Simon, son of Onias (see 50.1n. ) and his successors.

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