THE BOOKS OF WISDOM –
Section A) The Book of Wisdom (The Wisdom of Solomon)
Section B) The Wisdom of the Son of Sirach, or Ecclesiasticus
Section C) Ode from Solomon ] are and were meant to be part of GOD’S
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THE BOOK OF WISDOM, or The Wisdom of Solomon or simply Wisdom is one of the deuterocanonical books of the Bible. It is one of the seven Sapiential orwisdom books of the Septuagint Old Testament, which includes Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon (Song of Songs), and Ecclesiasticus (Sirach).
The Book of Wisdom of Solomon
1 Love justice, you that are the judges of the earth. Think of the Lord in
goodness, and seek him in simplicity of heart.
2 For he is found by them that tempt him not: and he sheweth himself to
them that have faith in him.
3 For perverse thoughts seperate from God: and his power, when it is tried,
reproveth the unwise:
4 For wisdom will not enter into a malicious soul, nor dwell in a body
subject to sins.
5 For the Holy Spirit of discipline will flee from the deceitful, and will
withdraw himself from thoughts that are without understanding, and he
shall not abide when iniquity cometh in.
6 For the spirit of wisdom is benevolent, and will not acquit the evil speaker
from his lips: for God is witness of his reins, and he is a true searcher of
his heart, and a hearer of his tongue.
7 For the spirit of the Lord hath filled the whole world: and that, which
containeth all things, hath knowledge of the voice.
8 Therefore he that speaketh unjust things cannot be hid, neither shall the
chastising judgment pass him by.
9 For inquisition shall be made into the thoughts of the ungodly: and the
hearing of his words shall come to God, to the chastising of his iniquities.
10 For the ear of jealousy heareth all things, and the tumult of murmuring
shall not be hid.
11 Keep yourselves therefore from murmuring, which profiteth nothing, and
refrain your tongue from detraction, for an obscure speech shall not go for
nought: and the mouth that belieth, killeth the soul.
12 Seek not death in the error of your life, neither procure ye destruction by
the works of your hands.
13 For God made not death, neither hath he pleasure in the destruction of the
14 For he created all things that they might be: and he made the nations of the
earth for health: and there is no poison of destruction in them, nor
kingdom of hell upon the earth.
15 For justice is perpetual and immortal.
16 But the wicked with works and words have called it to them: and
esteeming it a friend have fallen away, and have made a covenant with it:
because they are worthy to be of the part thereof.
BOOK OF SIRACH
The book of Sirach is part of what is considered the Apocrypha/Deuterocanonical scripture and appears in the Old Testament of Catholic Bible. It is considered one of the “wisdom” books. Except for some Episcopal or Lutheran Bibles, Sirach and other books of the Apocrypha do not appear in Protestant Bibles. Apocrypha means “hidden,” and deuterocanonical means “second-listed.” Books of the Apocrypha were generally written in the roughly 400 years between the composition of the books in the Old and New Testaments, the intertestamental period. Sirach, also known as “Ecclesiasticus” or the “Wisdom of Sirach,” is one of 12–15 books generally recognized as comprising the Apocrypha.
Controversy surrounds the Apocrypha regarding whether these books are from God and divinely inspired. For example, some biblical scholars point out that Jesus never quoted any verses from the Apocrypha, although He quoted with great frequency from many Old Testament books. Many books of the Apocrypha contain historical or geographical inaccuracies and teach false doctrines (e.g., the book of Tobit claims good works lead to salvation). Plus, Jewish Scripture never included any of these documents as sacred writings.
Jesus, son of Eleazar, son of Sirach, is believed to have written this book between 200–175 BC. The book of Sirach possesses a wealth of varied expressions of wise and foolish behavior reminiscent of the book of Proverbs. Many of its verses have Old Testament antecedents, especially from the book of Proverbs (dozens of related verses) and the Pentateuch, which is comprised of the first five books of the Bible. Portions of Sirach are used today in Catholic Church liturgy.
While most of this book tracks with long-standing, sound biblical doctrine, there are several tenets that conflict significantly with Christian beliefs. In several places, Sirach implies our actions can bring favor upon ourselves, mitigate our sin in God’s eyes, and anticipate reciprocal responses from those we assist in their time of need (chapters 3, 7, 12, 17, and 22). This is in stark contrast to the Bible’s teaching to be a cheerful giver (2 Corinthians 9:7), salvation through faith and not by works (Galatians 2:15), and Jesus’ exhortation to give without expecting anything in return (Matthew 6:3).
Providing readers precise Sirach citations (chapter and verse, as with the Bible) is highly problematic, as a firm numbering construct apparently does not exist. For example, in the New American Bible (Catholic Bible Press, 1987) and the Apocrypha (God’s Word Translation, Baker Books, 2009), there are several instances where the numbering of verses as well as total number of chapter verses differ. As a result, only Sirach chapters are referenced above.
The book of Sirach is not part of the recognized canon of Scripture, and it is not the inspired Word of God. As such, although it may have some historical/cultural significance, it is not God-breathed and does not possess the qualities of divinely inspired Scripture (2 Timothy 3:16).
Sirach 1 Good News Translation (GNT)
The Law, the Prophets, and the later writers have left us a wealth of valuable teachings, and we should praise Israel for the instruction and wisdom they provide. But it is not enough that those who read them should gain understanding for themselves. Anyone who values learning should be able to help others by what he himself says and writes. That is why my grandfather Jesus devoted himself to reading the Law, the Prophets, and the other books of our ancestors. After he had mastered them, he was led to write a book of his own in order to share his wisdom and learning with others, so that anyone who shared his love for learning should have his book available as well, and be all the more able to live according to the Law.
Let me urge you, then, to read this book carefully and with an open mind. And please be patient in those places where, in spite of all my diligent efforts, I may not have translated some phrases vry well. What was originally written in Hebrew does not always have exactly the same sense when it is translated into another language.[a] That is true not only of this book, but even of the Law itself, the Prophets, and the other books. The translations differ quite a bit from the original.
I came to Egypt in the thirty-eighth year of King Euergetes’ reign and stayed for some time. While I was there, I had the opportunity for a good deal of study and felt the necessity of translating the following book. I wanted to use all my diligence and skill to complete it and make it available for all those living in foreign lands who wish to learn and who have the strength of character to live by the Law of Moses.
In Praise of Wisdom
1 All wisdom comes from the Lord,
and Wisdom is with him forever.
2 Who can count raindrops or the sand along the shore?
Who can count the days of eternity?
3 How high is the sky? How wide is the earth?
How deep is the ocean? How profound is Wisdom?
Can anyone find answers to these questions?
4 Wisdom was created before anything else;
understanding has always existed.[b]
6 Has anyone ever been shown where Wisdom originates?
Does anyone understand her subtle cleverness?[c]
8 There is only one who is wise,
and we must stand in awe before his throne.
9 The Lord himself created Wisdom;
he saw her and recognized her value,
and so he filled everything he made with Wisdom.
10 He gave some measure of Wisdom to everyone,
but poured her out on those who love him.
11 If you fear the Lord, honor and pride will be yours;
you will be crowned with happiness and joy.
12 To honor the Lord is a heartfelt delight;
it will give you a long and happy life,
13 and at the end of your days all will go well for you.
God will bless you on the day of your death.
14 To fear the Lord is the first step to Wisdom.
Wisdom is given to the faithful in their mothers’ wombs.
15 She has lived with us from ancient times,
and generations to come will rely on her.
16 To fear the Lord is Wisdom at her fullest;
she satisfies us completely with her gifts
17 and fills our homes and our barns
with all that our hearts can desire.
18 To fear the Lord is the flower of Wisdom
that blossoms with peace and good health.[d]
19 She sends knowledge and understanding like the rain,
and increases the honor of those who receive her.
20 To fear the Lord is the root of Wisdom;
her branches are long life.[e]
22 There is no excuse for unjustified anger; it can bring about your downfall. 23 Wait and be patient, and later you will be glad you did.24 Keep quiet until the right time to speak, and you will gain a reputation for good sense.
Wisdom and Reverence for God
25 Wisdom has a treasury of wise sayings, but sinners have nothing but contempt for godliness. 26 If you want to be wise, keep the Lord’s commands, and he will give you Wisdom in abundance. 27 Fearing the Lord is Wisdom and an education in itself. He is pleased by loyalty and humility. 28 Be faithful in the practice of your religion; when you worship the Lord, do it with all your heart. 29 Be careful about what you say, and don’t be a hypocrite. 30 Don’t be arrogant; you may suffer a fall and be disgraced. The Lord will reveal your secrets and humble you in front of everyone in the synagogue, because you did not come there with reverence for the Lord, but with a heart full of hypocrisy.
- Sirach 1:1 the book of Sirach was written in Hebrew, but the writer of this foreword translated it into Greek.
- Sirach 1:4 Some manuscripts add verse 5: The source of Wisdom is the word of God on high; her ways are eternal commands.
- Sirach 1:6 Some manuscripts add verse 7: To whom has the knowledge of Wisdom been revealed? Who has understood her great experience?
- Sirach 1:18 Some manuscripts add: He saw her and recognized her value (see 1.9).
- Sirach 1:20 Some manuscripts add verse 21: Honoring the Lord takes sin away; where the fear of the Lord is found, it turns away anger.