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v. 1 
top, 3 






I. Importance of the Book; its 
Author .... 

II. Date of the original Work 
and of its Translation 
into Greek 

iii. ecclesiasticus, the " wis- 
DOM" Writings of the Old 
Testament, and Jewish 
Hellenistic Literature . 

IV. The Writer and his Book: 
its Philosophy, Theology, 
and Ethics ; Comparison 
with the New Testament 
and with Philo 


V. Language, Title, and Ar- 
rangement OF THE ORI- 
GINAL Work . 

VI. References to the Book 
of Proverbs and in the 
Epistle of St. James 

VII. The Greek Version of 


VIII. The Syriac Version and 


IX. Other Ancient Versions . 
X. Authority of Ecclesiasti- 

cus in the Synagogue and 

in the Church 
XI. Literature of the Subject 









I. Contents and Division 

II. The reputed Author. 

III. The alleged Place and 
Time of Writing 

IV. Relation to the Canonical 
Books of the Old Testa- 



Original Language . 

. 248 



Probable Date 

. 250 



Text .... 
Place in Canon 



Appendix : The Titles of God in 







f I. Contents . . . . 287 V. Approximate Date . 290 

5 II. The supposed Author. 287 VI T 

111. The original Language . 288 

S IV. Object of the Epistle . 290 VII. Place in Canon. . . 291 







Introduction 305 






Introduction 323 






Introduction ... ,., 







Introduction 361 





I. Subject of the Book and V. Original Language and 

its Divisions . . -373 Author . . . .376 

II. Style and Diction . . 373 VI. Date of Composition . 378 

III. Authenticity of the Nar- VII. Sources of the Work . 378 

rative . . . . 374 vill. Religious Tone and Cha- 
IV. Unity of the Work . .376 racter . . . .380 





I. Plan of the Work, and its V. Treatment of his main 

Divisions . . . .539 Source by the Writer . 543 

II. Style and Diction . . 540 vi. Date of Composition, and 

III. Historical Value of the Author . . . .544 

BooK 540 vil. Religious Tone of the 

IV. Sources of the Book . . 542 Book .... 544 


Apoc Vol II. b 



I. Importance of the Book ; its 

Author i 

II. Date of the original Work 
and of its Translation into 
Greek 4 

111. ecclesiasticus, the " wlsdom " 
Writings of the Old Testa- 
ment, and Jewish Hellenis- 
tic Literature ... 9 

IV. The Writer and his Book : its 
Philosophy, Theology, and 
Ethics ; Comparison with 
the New Testament and 
with Thilo . . . .12 


V. Language, Title, and Ar- 
rangement OF THE ORIGINAL 

Work 18 

VI. References to the Book of 

Proverbs and in the Epistle 

of St. James . . . .20 
VII. The Greek Version of Eccle- 

siasticus 23 

VIII. The Syriac Version and the 

"Vetus Latina" . . 26 

IX. Other Ancient Versions . 32 
X. Authority of Ecclesiasticus 

in the Synagogue and in 

the Church . . . -33 
XI. Literature of the Subject . 35 

I. Importance of the Book ; its 

AMONG the Jewish sacred writings 
outside the Old Testament perhaps 
the most interesting, in many respects, 
is that commonly known as ' The Wis- 
dom of Jesus, the Son of Sirach,' or 
Ecclesiasticus} It cannot indeed be 
ranked, like the books of the Maccabees, 
among the sources of history, though 
here also it contains indications too 
often overlooked. But its chief import- 
ance lies in this, that it exhibits Jewish 
thought and religion at a period other- 
wise almost unknown ; that it connects 
the traditions of the past with questions 
of the future ; and that, while embodying 
both, it marks the transition from the 
one to the other. 

The permanent and almost universal 
interest of the book is to some extent 
indicated even by the circumstance that it 
has in a sense furnished the substratum 
as well as some of the verses for two of the 
>est known hymns of the Church. The 

1 On these designations, see more in the 

Apoc Vol. II. 

Jubilee-Rhythm of St. Bernard of Clair- 
vaux x is, even in its wording, the Chris- 
tian application to Personified Wisdom 
of part of Ecclus. xxiv. (see the notes). 
And the Te Deutn of Rinckart 2 (about 
1648), "Now thank we all our God," is 
taken from Ecclus. 1. 22-24. But, far 
beyond this, the special claims of Eccle- 
siasticus may be thus briefly summed up : 
It is the oldest known Apocryphon; 3 it 

1 Partially translated in ' Hymns Ancient and 
Modern,' Nos. 178 (also partly 177) : " Jesu, the 
very thought of Thee ; " and in its entirety by 
the present writer, in a small collection chiefly 
of Ancient Latin Hymns. 

2 The well-known German hymn, "Nun 
danket alle Gott," translated in ' Hymns Ancient 
and Modern,' No. 379. 

3 On the contention that Ecclesiasticus is 
older than our canonical Daniel, so confidently 
made by many Jewish and Christian writers 
(down to Schiirer, ' Gesch. d. Jiid. Volkes,' vol. ii. 
p. 615), this is not the place to enter. Perhaps 
the note on Ecclus. xxi. 27 may here be helpful. 
Comp. (besides the foreign writers in defence of 
the canonicity of Daniel) Pusey, ' Lect. on 
Daniel,' pp. 303, &c. ; and, for some aspects of 
the question, ' Prophecy and History' (the War- 
burton Lectures), pp. 291-296. But the date 
there assigned (p. 294) to the ' Book of Wis- 
dom ' is probably too early. 




unquestionably originated in Palestine, 
ami was written in Hebrew ; l and it 

(presents a new phase of Judaism. His- 
torically it may be regarded as a con- 
tinuation and development of those parts 
of the Old Testament which are known' 
as the " Wisdom-writings." And yet it 
represents a new stage. We miss the 
higher tone and the spiritual elements of 
the canonical " Wisdom-writings." On 
the other hand, we are in the presence of 
new questions originating from contact 
with a witler world ; and we find them 
answered in a manner which in one 
direction would lead up to Jewish Alex- 
andrian theology, while the book itself is 
still purely Palestinian. From one aspect 
therefore it may be described as Pales- 
tinian theosophy before Alexandrian Hel- 
lenism. From another aspect it represents 
an orthodox, but moderate and cold, Ju- 
daism before there were either Pharisees 
or Sadducees ; before these two directions 
assumed separate form under the com- 
bined influence of political circumstances 
and theological controversies. In short, 
it contains as yet undistinguished and 
mostly in germ all the elements developed 
in the later history of Jewish religious 
thinking. Put beyond all this, the book 
throws welcome light on the period in 
which it was written. If we would know 
what a cultured, liberal, and yet genuine 
Jew had thought and felt in view of the 
great questions of the day ; if we would 
gain insight into the state of public opinion, 
morals, society, and even of manners at 
that period we find the materials for 
it in the book Ecclesiasticus. Lastly, the 
unique position among the Apocrypha 
which this book has always occupied, 
alike in the Synagogue and the Church, 
constitutes yet another of its distinguish- 
ing claims. 

But for the critical student Ecclesi- 
asticus must always possess a peculiar 
interest and importance. This, in the 
first place, because the Greek translation 
in which it has come down is both histori- 
cally and in point of time connected with 

1 According to some (though erroneously), in 
Chaldee or Aramaic. We do not mean that this 
h the only apocryphal book which originated in 
(tine or was written in Hebrew, but that in 
regard to Ecclesiasticus this has never been 
called in question. 

the LXX. Version of the Old Testament, 
and hence necessarily reflects light upon 
it. Put, besides, the Greek is not the 
only direct translation of the work from 
its Hebrew original. As will be shewn in 
the sequel, the^jTiacJ^ersion of Eccle- 
siasticus, as well as the Greek, was made 
directly from the Hebrew. Thus we 

ssess two independent versions of the 
,vork, controlling each other, by com- 
parison of which the real text of the 
Hebrew original can often be ascertained. 
For in many passages in which the two 
versions differ, we have only to retranslate 
into Hebrew to perceive how these differ- 
ences arose by some simple and obvious 
misreading, or else misunderstanding of 
a Hebrew word by the one or the other 
translator. In such cases it is not difficult 
to judge which of them rightly appre- 
hended the meaning of the original. In 
other cases the comparison suggests that 
there must have been intentional altera- 
tions : in the Greek probably chiefly due 
to the Hellenising spirit of the translator, 
and in the Syriac to later redactors. Put 
the comparison also throws light on some 
points in regard to the letter of the text 
which are full of interest. Thus we con- 
clude that a Greek variant represents the 
better, if indeed not the corrected, reading, 
when it accords not only with the other 
version, but with what we judge to have 
been the underlying Hebrew original. 
And this in turn reflects light on the 
various Codices. Lastly, as regards the 
wider general question of the variations 
which a Hebrew text may be supposed 
to have undergone, the student has in 
Ecclesiasticus the opportunity of com- 
paring, so to speak, three different recen- 
sions of a Hebrew text, dating from 
widely different periods and coming from 
distant countries : in the Greek, the 
Syriac, and including the Talmudic 
quotations from Sirach the Aramaic 
versions of our book. 

Concerning the Author of the work 
just described, we possess unfortunately 
only very scanty biographical details. 
In Ecclus. 1. 27, when subscribing his 
name according to ancient custom, he 
designates himself as "Jesus the son of 
Sirach 1 [in the Vat., Seirach; in the Sin., 

1 So not only the Alex., but the import 
MS. 248 [Fritzsche]. The Syr. omits what e J 


Seirak' l ], the Jerusalemite " [from Jeru- 
salem!. The 'addition "Eleazar" [after 
" Sirach "] in the Alex., Vat., and Sin., and 
"of Eleazar" in some MSS., is spurious, 
and probably connected with the legend 
of his descent from the High-priest, to 
which reference will be immediately made. 
The Hebrew name of our writer was J/) 
(Jeshua abbreviated from Jehoshu*, 
KTD-J3 (or 13), " the son of Sira." It is 
by the latter designation (without the addi- 
tion of " Jesus ") that he is quoted in Tal- 
mudic writings. 2 In Walton's edition of 
the Syriac Version, the (evidently spu- 
rious) superscription to Ecclus. indeed 
runs : " The book of Jesus the son of 
Simeon Asiro : that book is called the 
Wisdom of the Son of Asiro." But the 
word " Asiro "which has been generally 
rendered vinctus, " bound " is probably 
only a corruption of Sira (the name of 
" Simeon " being introduced either as that 
of the High-priest of chapter 1., or from 
the legend that our writer had been a 
High-priest). The Arabic Version, which 
commonly follows the Syr., has only the 
name: "Jesus the son of Sirach "(we 
take not any note of other additions 
in the Arab, superscription). And in 
Lagarde's ' Libri Vet. Test. Apocr. 
Syriace' (1861) the Syriac title as cor- 
rected from Cod. 12,142 in the Brit. 
Mus. (6th cent.) reads : ' Wisdom of the 
Son of Sira.' The Hebrew Sira is repre- 

the Greek are clauses b and c of ch. 1. 27 (viz. : 
"Jesus the son of Sirach of Jerusalem . . . who 
out of his heart poured forth wisdom ") ; the Vet. 
Lat. has: Jesus filius Sirach Jcrosolyinita. 

1 Possibly to this may be due the later Rab- 
binic miswriting FITD or yYD (Wolfius, it. s., 
p. 255) and pTTD (Jost, ' Gesch. d. Judenth.' i. 

P- 3")- . 

2 Later Jewish notices about Ben Sira are 
entirely without value. For particulars most of 
them uncritical the reader may refer to Wolfius, 
' Bibl. Hebr.,' i. pp. 255-263. The story about 
Ben Sira being the son of Jeremiah occurs in the 
so-called ' Alphabet of Ben Sira 'of which 
more in the sequel. For the Constantinople edi- 
tion of it (1519), see Buxtorf, ' Bibl. Rabb.' p. 
324 ; other editions in Wolfius, ?/. s., and Zunz, 
' Gottesd. Vortr.' p. 105, note b. The reader 
who is curious to know the unsavoury story there 
related about the birth of Ben Sira will find it 
in Bartolocci, 'Biblioth. Rabb.' i. 684-687. 
But I cannot help suspecting that the writer of 
the story had somehow mixed up NVD p with 
fcHtpD |2, and that it is only another edition of 
the blasphemous references to the mother of 

sented by the Greek form Sirach or' 
Seirach, which corresponds (as to the x) 

with the reading a.KeX8a/xdx for NE^ ?i?n. 
The name itself (Sira) does not other- 
wise occur in Rabbinic literature. It is 
generally translated " a coat of mail " or 
" a cuirass." But it may have only a 
designative meaning, and in that case 
perhaps be best translated by " a thorn " 
or " hedge of thorns." l 

Of the outward circumstances of Ben 
Sira little is known. Omitting entirety 
groundless speculations, 2 he has been 
identified by some with Jesus, or (as he 
Grecianised his name) Jason, the son of 
the High-priest Simon II., who by bribery 
displaced his brother Onias III. from 
the pontifical office. But evidently one 
of such infamous memory in Jewish 
annals could not have been the writer 
of our book. The notion that he was 
by descent a priest (Linde, Zunz) finds 
already expression in Cod. Sin 1 . Ecclus. 
1. 27. Such passages in regard to the 
priesthood as in Ecclus. vii. 29-31, and 
the not unfrequent allusions to sacrificial 
worship throughout the book, do not 
indeed seem sufficient to warrant such 
an inference. On the other hand, the 
disproportionate length at which he di- 
lates in ch. xlv. on the high-priesthood of 
Aaron (and his descendants), while only 
a few verses are devoted to Moses, the 
great hero of Jewish tradition, seems of 
more significance in this respect than 
critics, from Eichhorn 3 downwards, have 
assigned to it. 4 Any definite conclusion 
on this point is, however, impossible. 
And the idea of the priestly descent of 
our author may have originated in the 
notions anciently entertained about the 
occupations and qualifications of the 
priesthood, and in ignorance of what 

1 Since the name does not otherwise occur, 
may it not be an allegorical designation rather 
than a proper name ? From that point of view 
comp. Eccles. xii. II a. 

- For some Jewish suggestions, see Herzfeld, 
' Gesch. d. Volkes Isr.' iii. p. 74. For the 
notion of the older writers (Corn. a. Lapide, 
Calmet, Goldhagen) that Ben Sira was one of 
the seventy-two translators (LXX.), see Welte, 
'Spez. Einl. in d. deuterokan. B.' p. 225. 

3 Eichhorn, 'Einl. in d. apokr. Schr. d. A. 

T.' pp. 31, 3 2 - . , 

4 It is surely a somewhat strong assertion by 
Schiirer (. s. p. 594) that this opinion is vollig 

B 2 


constituted the learned and thinking 
class in Israel. In any case the asser- 
tion of Syncellus (' Chronogr.' ed. Din- 
dorf, i. p. 525), that the Siracide suc- 
ceeded Simon II. (as thirteenth High- 
priest) and held the pontificate for six 
years, is historically untenable. It may 
have arisen from a misunderstanding of a 
passage in the ' Chronicon ' of Eusebius 
(Schiirer, u. s., p. 594)- Not less ground- 
less is the inference (by Grotius) from 
ch. xxxviii. 1-15, that Ben Sira was a 
physician (see special introd. to ch. 
xxxviii.). But whatever his occupation, 
it could not have been any handicraft 
nor yet agriculture (comp., for example, 
xxxviii. 25-30). On the other hand, it 
is certain that he was one of the Jewish 
sages of his time, and that his eminence 
and fame in this respect procured his 
advancement to the prominent public 
positions which he occupied (see, for 
^example, xxxviii. 24, 33 ; xxxix. 1-5). 
Another and a very remarkable feature 
in his history is that he not only tra- 
velled much, but regarded this as part 
of the necessary education of a " sage," 
and that, while his views were enlarged, 
his religious convictions were only 
strengthened by what he learned and 
observed in foreign countries (xxxiv. 1 1 ; 
xxxix. 1-4). We mark in passing that 
foreign travel would scarcely have been 
the advice of a pious or even patriotic 
Jew in, or immediately before, the time 
of Antiochus Epiphanes (that is, during 
the pontificate of the sons of Simon II.). 
In any case it would be in direct opposi- 
tion to the later exclusive views of the 
Pharisaic sages. All this seems to imply 
that our writer belonged to an earlier 
period in Jewish history. Indeed, we 
might almost doubt whether the younger 
Siracide would have reproduced these 
views if his translation had been made 
during the pontificate of the sons of 
Simon II. 

It only remains to add that during these 
journeys Ben Sira appears to have in- 
curred great personal danger (xxxiv. 12). 
It is probably to his deliverance from 
these perils that he refers in his hymn of 
praise (li. 1-12). In all likelihood his 
travels had extended both to Syria and 
to Egypt. In the latter country especi- 
ally he would see and learn much that 

would leave its impress upon his mind. 
And the political relations of the two 
countries in regard to Palestine would 
account for the calumnies, intrigues, and 
perils to which a prominent and influ- 
ential Jerusalemite might be exposed in 
those days. 1 

II. Date of the original Work 
and of its Translation into Greek. 

Although the general spirit of Eccle- 
siasticus and some of the special views 
expressed in it form important elements 
in regard to the question of its date, it 
seems better to consider it in the first 
place on independent historical grounds. 
There are few subjects on which directly 
contrary opinions have been asserted with 
more confidence; few also on which (as 
it seems to us) absolute assurance on 
either side is less warranted. 

The book itself furnishes two dates 
which might seem to fix the time both 
of its original composition and of its 
translation into Greek by the grandson 
of the author. The first of these is in 
Ecclus. 1. 1, where the writer describes 
apparently from personal observation- 
" Simon the high priest, the son of 
Onias;" leaving, however, the impres- 
sion (lines b and c) that at the time of 
his writing Simon was no longer alive. 
The, second date is in the Prologue to 
the translation by the younger Siracide, in 
which he states the time of his arrival 
in Egypt as " in the eight and thirtieth 
year under king Euergetes." But, as it 
happens, there were two High-priests, 
each of them " Simon, the son of Onias " 
viz. Simon I., surnamed the Just, the 
son of Onias I., who according to the 
common reckoning flourished about 310- 
291 B.C. ; and Simon II., son of Onias II., 
about 219-199 B.C. 2 And as there were 

1 See below, II. 

2 These are the generally accepted dates. But 
considerable uncertainty prevails (see Ewald, 
'Gesch. d. V. Isr.' iv. p. 351). Ewald's dates 
are : Onias I. died 310 B.C.; Simon I. died 291 ; 
Eleazardied 276 ; Manasseh died 250 ; Onias II. 
died 219; Simon II. died 199; Onias III. 
deposed in favour of his brother Jason, and 
he again in that of Menelaos. Herzfeld 
(. j. pp. 185-189) gives the following dates : 
Onias I. died 300 ; Simon I. died 287 ; Eleazar 
died 267 ; Manasseh died 240 ; Onias II. died 



two High-priests of the name " Simon, 
son of Onias," so there were two Ptolemies 
who bore the epithet Euergetes, viz. 
Ptolemy III. or Euergetes I. (247-222 
B.C.) and Ptolemy VII., Physkon, entitled 
Euergetes II. but surnamed by his sub- 
jects Kakergetes who, after having been 
co-regent with his brother for twenty-five 
years (from 170 to 145 B.C.), occupied 
the throne alone from 145 to 116 B.C. 
The question therefore is, which of these 
two Simons was the High-priest of 
Ecclus. 1., and which of the two Euergetes 
is referred to in the Prologue of the 
Greek translator ? l 

At the outset we have to dismiss a 
consideration which, either avowedly 2 or 
perhaps unconsciously, has influenced 
critics. In the Prologue of the younger 
Siracide the usual arrangement of the 
Old Testament into the Law, the Pro- 
phets, and the Hagiographa is supposed 
to be indicated in the expression " the 
Law, the Prophets, and the other books 
of the fathers." It is argued that this 
implies the closing of the O. T. Canon 
and the completion of the LXX. Version, 
which again, according to certain critics, 
could not have been so early as in the reign 
of Euergetes I. Even if these premisses 
were correct, it would be vicious reason- 
ing to determine an unknown quantity 
(who was the Euergetes of the Prologue ?) 
by another equally unknown (the close 
of the Canon or the completion of the 
LXX.). But in our view the passage in 
the Prologue, above referred to, so far 
from presupposing an arrangement of 
the O. T. into Law, Prophets, and Hagio- 

226 which makes the accession of Simon II. 
seven years earlier, or in 226. This is not the 
place to discuss these differences. Indeed, the 
exact chronology of the priestly succession offers 
no little difficulty. Happily it does not affect 
the present argument. 

1 We only note in passing the statement of 
Mr. Stanton ('The Jewish and the Christian 
Messiah,' p. ill), that Ecclesiasticus " may 
have been written any time between the High- 
priesthood of Simon son of Onias and the 
Maccabean rising." Is this really so ? and to 
which of the two High-priests of the name of 
Simon does Mr. Stanton refer in this brief dis- 
missal of a question of such importance ? 

2 So, on the one side, Winer ('Bibl. Real- 
Worterb.' i. p. 555) and others, even Fritzsche, 
p. xvi. ; and, on the other side we suspect 
writers such as Bohl ('Forsch. n. e. Volksb.' 
pp. 35, &c). 

grapha, really gave rise to this tripartition. 
Not only is there not any earlier indica- 
tion of it, but it is not supported by the 
arrangement in the LXX. Besides, the 
Prologue gives not any indication what 
these " other books of the fathers " were, 
nor yet whether or not they included all 
our present Hagiographa. And Ecclesi- 
asticus itself, while it makes reference to 
the Law and the Prophets (the historical 
books, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and the 
twelve minor Prophets), for reasons pre- 
sumably good and valid (whatever they 
were) contains no mention of Mordecai 
or Daniel, nor even of Ezra. This, 
although there are unquestionable refer- 
ences not only to Nehemiah, but also 
in the text (see the notes, passim) to 
the Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and 
probably Job. We dismiss therefore this 
preliminary a priori argument, and ask 
ourselves : 

1. Was the Euergetes of the Prologue 
the first or second of that name ? The 
arguments here turn on the meaning of 
the words used by the younger Siracide. 
Those who hold that Euergetes I. is 
referred to in the Prologue regard the 
Greek words iv r<2 oySow kcu TpiaKoaTu> 
cVet iirl rov Evepyerov as meaning " in the 
eight and thirtieth year " of the writer, not 
of the reign of Euergetes. This neces- 
sarily, since Euergetes I. did not reign 
thirty-eight years. On the other hand, 
those who contend for Euergetes II. main- 
tain that the expression can only mean 
the thirty-eighth year of the reign of 
Euergetes ; and although Euergetes II. 
was not sole occupant of the throne for 
such a period of time, yet his reign must 
(according to Porphyrius in Euseb. 
Chron.) be reckoned from the time 
of his co-regency with his brother. As 
regards the true meaning of the Greek 
words quoted, writers are hopelessly at 
issue. So great an authority as Professor 
Westcott maintains that the meaning of 
the words "can only be, that the translator 
' in his thirty-eighth year ' came to Egypt 
during the reign of Euergetes," and he 
stigmatises the other translation as " abso- 
lutely at variance with the grammatical 
structure of the sentence " (Smith's ' Diet, 
of the Bible,' i. p. 479, note). On the 
other hand, those who contend for Euer- 
getes II. equally strenuously maintain the 


other rendering. * But it must be admitted 
(Winer, v. s.) that the words mean in the 
first place something different from " in 
the thirty-eighth year of Euergetes." 
Similarly, Bohl (u. s,, p. 36) argues, 
adducing the testimony of Bernhardy 
(' Grundriss d. griech. Lit.' i. 502, 519) 
in favour of the structure of the sentences 
and generally of the style of the Pro- 
logue, that so able a writer would not 
have expressed such a meaning in so 
" ungreek " a manner. Winer holds that, 
according to common usage, he would 
have had to write : iv . . . era to rt t. E. 
The defenders of the other translation 
point, indeed, to certain parallel or similar 
expressions the latter in the Apocr. 
(1 Mace. xiii. 22; xiv. 27); the former 
in the LXX. (Hagg. i. 1, ii. 1 ; Zech. i. 7, 
vii. 1). But alike Winer and Bohl deny 
the conclusiveness even of the latter 
instances as at lea^t admitting of excep- 
tions. On the whole, therefore, the 
impartial student will probably judge that 
the argument i favour of either the one 
or the other translation cannot be con- 
sidered conclusive. 2 In any case the 
main question as to the date of the 
original work is left open. 

2. Of much greater importance than 
the other is the in< ]uiry whether the Simon 
son of Onias of Ecclus. 1. 1, and in the 
Syriac version also of 1. 23, was Simon I. 
or Simon II. The Syriac presents in this 
chapter several important variants. Thus 
in v. 25 which, however, we regard as a 
later interpolation instead of " moun- 
tain of Samaria " the Syr. rightly has bl), 

which, just as nbll in the Samarit. version 
of the Pent., is the rendering for Seir 
[Edom]. This the Vet. Lat. follows 
[against all the Greek MSS ] by trans- 
lating : in montc Scir. [For some other 
variants see the introd. to the ch. and the 

1 Schiirer (. s. p. 595) puts it thus absolutely: 
"Mit dem 38. Jahre meint er natiirlich nicht 
sein eigenes Lebensjahr." 

2 In view of this we have not thought it 
necessary to discuss at length the argument on 
which Bohl so strongly insists but which seems 
very doubtful- that the reiyn of Euergetes II., 
having been marked by persecution and exile 
of the learned, would net have been a suitable 
period for the publication of the translation of 
the younger Siracide. But there is absolute 
evidence nf literary activity among the Hellenists 
in that reign. 

notes.] Again, while in v. 28 the Greek 
reminds us of the sentiment in Rev. i. 3, 
the Syr. translates : " Happy the man who 
meditates on these things, learns, knoweth, 
and doeth them." Lastly, v. 29 [30] is 
rendered in the Syr. : " Exaltedness is of 
the religion of God : it is exalted above 
all things. Behold it, my son, and do 
not forsake it." In all these instances 
we believe the Syriac to represent the 
Hebrew original more accurately than 
does the Greek text. This disposes us 
to receive favourably the Syriac version of 
v. 23 : " And let there be peace among 
them, and let it be established with Simon 
the Just l and his seed, as the days of 
heaven." If this rendering be correct, 
it follows that the Hebrew original had 
expressly designated this High - priest 
Simon as the same who was surnamed 
" the Just." 

But apart from this, there cannot, we 
believe, be any reasonable doubt that the 
Simon whom both tradition 2 and Josephus 
designate " the Just " 3 was Simon I. 
Josephus indeed twice expressly tells us 
that Simon I. " was called 6 oYkck.09," and 
explains that this designation was given 
him " because both of his piety towards 
God and his kind disposition towards 
those of his own nation." And when 
Jewish tradition gives to a High-priest 
Simon exactly the same title P'TVC 
and is never weary of speaking of his 
piety, glory, and miraculous Divine attes- 
tation 4 it would seem a perversion of 
history not to identify the Simon I., the 
Just, of Josephus with the Simon, the 
Tsaddiq, of the Mishnah. 5 This con- 

1 Gr'atz (' Gesch. d. Juden,' ii. p. 235, note) 
ingeniously, and as I believe rightly, argues that 
the right reading in the Syr. must be ])]}D& 
rPDPl, Simon the Just, and not niDI"!. 

2 In Abh. i. 2 ; Par. iii. 5. 

3 ' Antiq.' xii. 2, 5 ; xii. 4, I. 

4 Ihe reader who is curious to know the 
Jewish traditions about Simon the Righteous is 
referred, among others, to Otto, ' Histor. doctor. 
Mishnic. ;' Derenbourg, 'Hist, de la Palest.' 
pp. 47, &c. ; and Gratz, it. s., ii. pp. 255, &c. 

5 It was surely an ill-considered statement on 
the part of Dean Stanley (' Hist, of the Jewish 
Church,' iii. p. 247) that M. Derenbourg has 
conclusively established "that Simon the Just 
was Simon II." Derenbourg asserts it, but does 
not make any attempt to "establish" what it 
would be beyond the power of any man to prove. 
A late writer on the subject (Hamburger, 
' Real-Encykl.' Abth. ii. p. 11 16) cuts the knot 


elusion is confirmed by the circumstance 
that the Mishnah describes this Simon 
as " of the remainders of the great syna- 
gogue," which had long passed away when 
Simon II. succeeded to the pontificate. 
In general, the terms in which tradition 
speaks of Simon the Just could not have 
been applied to Simon II., nor yet to 
the circumstances and relations of his 
time. They seem intended to convey 
that with Simon the Just one great period 
of Jewish history that of spiritual glory, 
peace, and Divine attestation had come 
to an end. All this could be said in 
regard to the pontificate of Simon I. ; 
it would have no meaning in regard to 
that of Simon II. 1 

In these circumstmces it would seem 
inexplicable that the writer of Ecclus. 1. 
should have omitted from his cata- 
logue of worthies Simon I. the last of 
the great synagogue, the great priest- 
hero of Jewish tradition, " the Just " one 
of Josephus and introduced in his stead 
such a figure as Simon II. Of the latter 
Jewish tradition does not say anything, 2 
nor yet have we any other record of him 
at least of a favourable character. For 
as the account in 3 iMacc. ii. is universally 
admitted to be fabulous, the only refer- 
ences to Simon II. which we possess 
are those in Jos. 'Antt.' xii. 4, 10 and n. 
These, as we shall immediately see, re- 
flect anything but favourably on his poli- 
tical administration. Such a man could 
not h ive been described as in Ecclus. 1. 
But this is not all. In Ecclus. 1. 2-4 we 
have mention of certain great undertak- 
ings by Simon, notably of his restoration 
of the fortifications of Jerusalem. But 
for this there was absolutely no occasion 
during the pontificate of Simon II., the 
circumstances of the time rather imply- 
ing the contrary. On the other hand, 
there was urgent need for it under the 

by the strange assertion that both Simon I. and 
Simon II. bore the designation "the Just." 
(See also the Jewish traditions about Simon the 
Just in Hamburger, ;/. s.) 

_ ' The Syr. Version has in 1. 1 : " Chief among 
his brethren and the crown of his people Simeon, 
the son of Nathanya." 

2 I am aware that those who plead for 
Simon II. invest him with a history, taken partly 
from Ecclus. 1. thereby begging the whole ques- 
tion and partly from what tradition ascribes to 
Simon the Just, who, as we have shewn, was 
Simon I. 

pontificate of Simon I., after the taking 
and dismantling by Ptolemy I. of the 
fortified cities of Palestine, inclusive no 
doubt of Jerusalem. 1 

It is indeed argued in favour of Simon 
II. that Ecclesiasticus contains not un- 
frequent allusions to sufferings and per- 
secutions of Israel, and that it displays 
in this respect, rather than religiously, 
a feeling of great bitterness towards 
the Gentiles and their rulers (comp. 
chaps, xxxv., xxxvi. see the special 
introductions to these chapters). And, 
since the time of Simon I. was one of 
peace to Israel although in view of the 
wars of Ptolemy I. this is doubtful while 
(which is also open to contention) the 
times were much more troubled during 
the administration of Simon II., it has 
been urged that these references point to 
the pontificate of the latter. But there is 
a twofold mistake here. The sufferings 
alluded to are apparently rather of the 
past and threatening the future, than 
in the present, which seems quiet and 
prosperous (comp. xlv. 26; 1. 22-24). 
Further, it is apparently forgotten that 
although Ecclus. 1. implies that the writer 
had himself seen Simon, it also conveys 
that he was no longer alive. Hence the 
references to the condition of Israel apply 
not to the time of Simon be it the first, 
or the second but to that of their suc- 
cessors. This opens a line of argument 
which has hitherto been overlooked. 
Before adverting to it, we must make a 
final reference to two points in Ecclus. 1. 
which seem strongly in favour of its 
application to Simon I. The first is the 
manner in which the Samaritans are 
spoken of (1. 25, 26). This can easily 
be accounted for by events in the time 
of Simon I., but not in that of Simon II. 
Secondly, in Ecclus. 1. 5, the High-priest 
is described in his " outgoing from the 
house of the Veil" [ mar g- A. V. iv 
i^68(o oIkov Kara7re7ao-jw.aTos' 2 ], unques- 
tionably, the most Holy Place. But as 
the High-priest entered it only on the 
day of atonement, this part of the de- 
scription must be of him on that most 
solemn festival. But it deserves special 
notice that the Jewish legends about 

1 See Gratz, 11. s., p. 230. 

2 The expression does not occur anywhere 
else, either in the LXX. or the Apocrypha. 


Simon L, the Just, are chiefly connected 
with the day of atonement. Thus we read 
that during the (forty) years of his ponti- 
ficate the lot which designated the goat 
for Jehovah (Lev. xvi. 8, 9) always fell 
to his right hand ; that during the same 
period the scarlet strip by which the goat 
for Azazel was designated always turned 
to white, indicating that Israel's sins were 
forgiven (Is. i. 18) [Jer. Yoma, 43^; Yom. 
39a]; and lastly, that during his whole 
pontificate, as he entered and left the 
most Holy Place he was accompanied by 
a venerable figure arrayed in white, but 
that in the last year that figure had entered 
indeed with him but not accompanied him 
as he left the sanctuary (Jer. Yoma, 42 c ; 
Yom. 39^). Nor was that apparition 
ever seen before or afterwards. 

Whatever value may be attached to 
this coincidence of Jewish legend con- 
cerning Simon I. with the description in 
Ecclus. of his appearance on the day of 
atonement, a historical line of argument, 
hitherto strangely overlooked, leads up to 
the same conclusion. As already stated, 
the exact date of the composition of Ec- 
clesiasticus was not during the pontificate 
of Simon whether I. or II. but in that 
of one of his successors. But in Ecclus. 
xlv. 25 we find this curious notice, that 
the pontifical succession, like the royal, 
was to be from father to son. The 
notice is so abruptly introduced, and so 
uncalled for, that we regard it as an 
allusion to some historical occurrence in 
the near past. Now we know that while 
Simon II. was succeeded by his son 
Onias III., Simon I. was not followed by 
his son Onias II., but by his two brothers, 
Eleazar and Manasseh, and only after 
them by the already aged Onias II. 
We believe that the allusion in Ecclus. 
xlv. 22 is to this : that the older Siracide 
wrote at the accession of Onias II., and 
that he addressed to him the words of 
congratulation and hope that follow in 
Ecclus. xlv. 26. If this be so, and the 
older Siracide was a friend of Onias II. 
and supporter of his policy, it would also 
account for the great dangers to which, 
according to ch. li., he had been exposed 
from the calumnies of enemies. For at 
that time Palestine was divided between 
allegiance to the king of Egypt the de 
facto suzerain and intrigues with the 

ruler of Syria. We know that Onias II. 
refused to pay the yearly tribute to the 
king of Egypt. Josephus ('Ant.' xii. 
4. 1) imputes this to avarice, but there 
can be little doubt that the High-priest 
was actuated by political motives. If 
the Siracide was an influential member 
of the same party, we can easily under- 
stand what dangers may have threatened 
him on his arrival in Egypt. 

To these some subsidiary arguments 
may be added. As it seems to us, such 
language as in Ecclus. xlv. 26 might in- 
deed be addressed to Onias II., the son 
of Simon I., who was the undisputed civil 
head of his people till the popular ap- 
pointment of Joseph, the son of Tobias, 
in 230 b.c. ('Ant.' xii. 4. 2, 3). 1 But 
it would not have been suitable in regard 
to Onias III., the son of Simon II. Nor 
could sentiments such as those in that 
verse have been expressed in the time 
of Onias III., while they might have deep 
significance in regard to the political 
position and aims of Onias II. Lastly, 
the whole tone of the book is quite dif- 
ferent from what we should have expected, 
if it had been written in the days of 
Onias III. For then the Grecian counter- 
Reformation had already made terrible 
progress in the land, assumed a hostile 
attitude, and led to the formation of the 
party of the Chasidim. In those cir- 
cumstances the writer of Ecclesiasticus, 
who displays a spirit of liberal tolerance 
which seems in sympathy with much in 
foreign thought, while yet remaining faith- 
ful to Judaism, must have taken a more 
decided part with the one side or the 
other. At any rate he could not have 
absolutely ignored their existence. Thus 
the spirit and tone of the book also point 
to the period preceding the great struggle 
between Grecianism and Judaism as that 
of the composition of Ecclesiasticus 
that is, to the time of Onias II., not that 
of Onias III. 

For these reasons the probability in 
favour of the identity of the Simon of 
Ecclus. 1. with Simon I., the Just, seems 

1 Although we found no argument upon it, it 
is significant that in Ecclus. xlv. 24 the High- 
priest is still described as irpo(n6.T7)s [in Sin. 2 we 
have Aaov instead of the common reading Aaw]. 
But in ' Ant.' xiv. 4. 3 this is the very designa- 
tion given to Joseph, the son of Tobias. Comp. 
the significant use of the term in 3 Esdras ii. II. 


to us so strong as almost to amount to a 
demonstration. In that case if, what 
is not by any means certain, the Greek 
translator was the grandson of the older 
Siracide it would follow that the Euer- 
getes of the Prologue was the first, not 
the second, of that name. From the 
extracts preserved by Eusebius (' Praep. 
Evang.' ix.) from the Jewish historian 
Demetrius, 1 who flourished at that time, 
we infer that this period was one of 
considerable Jewish literary activity. 
Here we have to note what is at least 
a remarkable coincidence. If in the 
Prologue to his Greek translation the 
younger Siracide seems to refer to the 
interest in such studies which he found 
awakened in Hellenist, if not in wider 
circles, we have in the work of Demetrius 
evidence of its existence in the reign of 
Euergetes I. 2 On the other hand, if in 
the same Prologue the Siracide speaks 
of the difficulties of reproducing in a 
translation what was originally written in 
Hebrew, Josephus in referring to this 
very work of Demetrius excuses the 
occurrence of " lesser mistakes " in it on 
the ground of want of knowledge of 
Hebrew (' c. Ap.' i. 23). This twofold 
coincidence seems to throw some fresh 
light on the Prologue to our Greek Eccle- 
siasticus, and so far to confirm the view 
which, on the whole, we regard as the 
most likely that the original work was 
translated into Greek in the reign of 
Euergetes I. 

At the same time it is quite open to 
argue that, while the elder Siracide referred 
in ch. 1. to Simon I., his younger descendant 
may have translated the work into Greek 
in the reign of Euergetes II. He speaks 
of the older Siracide as his TrairTros ; 
and although the term primarily means 
" grandfather," it is also used to denote 
a more remote ancestor (Arist. ' Pol.' in. 
2. 1 ; Dion. H. iv. tfapud Liddell 

1 Eusebius has preserved five fragments of his 
work, extracted from a work ' On the Jews ' by 
Alexander Polyhistor (a heathen). The longest 
of these excerpts is in ' Praep. Evang.' ix. 21, 
ed. Gaisford, ii. pp. 378, &c. Generally comp. 
Freurlenthal, ' Hellenist. Studien.' 

2 The date of the work of Demetrius has, in 
our view, been conclusively established by 
Freudenthal (11. s., pp. 57-63), and it is sur- 
prising that his arguments should have been 
ignored by Schiirer ('Gesch. d. Jtid. V.' 11. 
P- 73 1 )- 

and Scott). At any rate, some writers of 
authority have adopted this view. 1 


Writings of the Old Testament, 
and Jewish Hellenistic Litera- 

As previously stated, Ecclesiasticus 
affords glimpses of the intellectual history 
of a period over which otherwise pro- 
found darkness would rest. We might 
designate this as the formative stage in 
the history of a new period in Jewish 
religious thinking. The results of the 
past and the beginnings of a future 
development were still in juxtaposition 
not amalgamated, but as yet not sepa- 
rated, nor were their further sequences, 
in view. Alike the close of the old 
and the beginnings of the new are side 
by side in Ecclesiasticus. The former 
reaches back to the early times of Israel's 
glory; the latter points forward to that 
direction which was to find its home 
and centre, not in Palestine, but in 

In the reign of king David, the Hebrew 
state had attained its definite and final 
stage. But with it also its exclusive 
national character may be said to have 
ceased. The outcome of thepast period 
had been internal consolidation and ex- 
ternal isolation. But under the rule of 
king Solomon, Israel for the first time 
came into close friendly contactwith other 
nations, partly owing to the personal 
disposition of that monarch, partly from 
the new circumstances of the country, its 
growing wealth, and its commerce. But 
friendly intercourse between nations can- 
not be confined to the interchange of 
civilities or of wares : it means the inter- 
change of ideas. There is not any barrier 
that can effectually arrest the progress 
of thinking, nor any quarantine that can 
prevent the spread of ideas. To en- 
counter thought is to recognise it, and 
to recognise is at least partly to make it 

1 If we were asked to suggest a date for the 
composition of Ecclesiasticus, we might con- 
jecture that the original work was written about 
23=; B C., or earlier, but before the promotion of 
Joseph the son of Tobias in 230. If at that time 
the older Siracide was nearly 70 years old, his. 
srrandson, who translated it into Greek, might 
certainly have been in his thirty-eighth year 
under Euergetes I. 



our own. King Solomon completed in- 
deed the work of David and the religious 
institutions of Israel by the building of the 
Temple. Yet by the side of this he had 
not only to tolerate, but to give facilities for 
foreign rites. This, not merely owing to 
external circumstances, but so to speak 
from an inward necessity. With Solo- 
mon began a new phase in Jewish think- 
ing. It was still deeply religious but 
it was thinking, in this sense that men 
were no longer content, nor even able, 
to settle the great problems of thought 
by merely external authority, but felt that 
they must grapple with them individually 
nay, even with that fundamental ques- 
tion of all : that of external authority. 
'"This was the commencement of the so- 
called (C/iok/uita/i) 'Wisdom-literature of 
Israel. The wisest of kings began it ; he 
'was himself the first Jewish Chakham, or 
sage. The Hebrew sage differs from the 
Gentile philosopher l in that he does not 
search out for himself the highest pro- 
blems of thinking, nor yet seek to attain 
their solution by means of metaphysical 
speculation. These problems are already 
there, set before him; and they are solved 
in Divine Revelation. His object, there- 
fore, is to verify rather than to discover 
to conciliate the teachings of Divine 
Revelation, which he implicitly accepts, 
with the- difficulties suggested either by 
his experience of life (empirical difficulties) 
or by his own thinking (speculative diffi- 
culties). And the conciliation of these 
difficulties with Revelation constitutes 
Wisdom. Thus (subjective) Wisdom in 
man busies itself with (objective) Wisdom 
in, or rather with, God, which is the mode 
of God's manifestation of Himself per- 
haps, more correctly, the mode in which 
His self-manifestation presents itself to 
our thinking. That manifestation is two- 
fold. As regards man, it is exhibited in 
God's dealings with him ; and as regards 
the higher (abstract) problems, antecedent 
to and irrespective of man, it is con- 
nected with the ways of God. Thus the 
problems which engage Wisdom in man 
those of human life and the higher 
abstract questions correspond to the 
twofold aspect of Wisdom in God. Hence 
the topics which occupy Hebrew Wisdom- 

1 Compare also generally J. Fr. Bruch, ' Die 
Weisheits-Lehre der Hebrlier.' 

literature are both subjective and objec- 
tive in their character. From the first of 
these aspects they are practical, and con- 
nected with the ordinary questions of 
human life ; from the second of them, 
they are speculative, and consist in seek- 
ing to apprehend the ways of God. 
Thus the seeming confusion in the 
Wisdom-writings, due to the close juxta- 
position and apparent mixture of precepts 
for the conduct of life with higher 
speculative questions, is only outward, 
and resolves itself into a higher unity. 
The two are only the different aspects, 
or the different kinds, of the great pro- 
blem which Wisdom (in God) sets before 
us in His manifestations, and which 
Wisdom (in man) has to solve by faith 
and obedience. Closely connected with 
all this is the form and manner in which 
Hebrew Wisdom expresses itself. It 
speaks not in the language of meta- 
physical speculation, but in Proverbs, in 
Parables, and even by paradoxes. The 
latter, because absolute faith cares not 
to smooth away seeming contrarieties ; 
nay, would rather encounter them directly. 
The former, because the Eastern mind 
delights in such form of expression. But 
this is not all. For to the devout 
Hebrew, whose God rules on earth as 
in heaven, things on earth are ever the 
counterpart of things in heaven. Heaven 
and earth are part of one kingdom. He 
sees God reflected in Nature and in all 
things around, and he hears His voice in 
the streets and in the busy commerce of 
men. But there may be a still deeper 
reason for it. To the believing Hebrew 
the final solution of all difficulties (whether 
empirical or speculative) is in Revelation, 
and "Wisdom" consists, not in the dis- 
covery of truth, but only in its vindication : 
on the one hand, in the conciliation of 
seeming difficulties ; and, on the other, 
in the placing of man's life and thinking 
on a line with the Will and the Ways of 
God. In this view all is Parable and all 
Proverbs : the solution of every speculative 
difficulty is in a Parable ( i Cor. xiii. 12 a); 
while that of every practical difficulty 
becomes and ought to be a Proverb in 
the people's mouth. 

Solomon was, so far as we know, the 
originator of this parabolic, proverbial 
philosophy of religion among the Hebrews 



or, at any rate, it gathered around the 
name of the Wise King. Whatever por- 
tions of the Book of Proverbs may be 
of his personal authorship, even the fact 
that other or later sayings gathered around 
this nucleus and name is of deep signifi- 
cance. In this truest sense the whole 
book is Solomonic. The same may be 
said of Ecclesiastes a work thoroughly 
one in plan and contents. Assuming at 
the outset the standpoint of seeming 
indifferentism and epicurean self-enjoy- 
ment, the writer proceeds to discuss the 
great theological problem how to con- 
ciliate what seems either chance or fate 
with the personal Rule of God, till he 
gradually rises to the consciousness of 
a personal moral responsibility as the 
practical, if not speculative, solution of 
all. Although the book is undoubtedly 
much later than Solomon, it is (for the 
reasons above stated) not only truly 
Solomonic, but perhaps it may even have 
been intended to present in a concrete 
form the problems presented by the life 
as well as in the thinking of the wise 
king. Nay, its opening text (v. 2), 
"Vanity of vanities, all is vanity," may 
even be directly Solomonic, or else set 
forth a summary 
garded as the Solomonic problem 

It will readily be perceived how closely 
the book Ecclesiasticus is connected with 
this ancient C/io^/i;/ia/i-\itera.\.ure, not only 
in form but in substance. In truth, it is 
a continuation of it : for, that road once 
entered, standstill or abandonment would 
be no longer possible. By the side of 
the purely legal and even of the prophetic 
teaching of Scripture, this would now 
become a distinctive phase in Hebrew 
religious thinking. Nor should we for- 
get that alike the predictions of the final 
ingathering of all nations and the com- 
mencement of C/iok/ima/i-\ were 
historically connected with a closer con- 
tact with the empires of the world. Even 
the prophetic comments on sacrificial 
worship their protest against the merely 
ex opere operato view of it might here 
acquire a new significance and meaning. 
As an illustration of the manner in which 
the later Chakhamim understood or de- 
veloped such sayings, we would point to 
Ecclus. xxxiv. and xxxv., which gain in 
significance from their connexion with 

of what after-ages re- 

the reference in ch. xxxiv. 9-1 1 to what 
the writer had seen and learned in foreign 
countries. Similarly a special Chokhmah 
meaning might be attached not only to 
the numerous prophecies that foretold 
the conversion of the Gentiles, but even 
to the prophetic addresses to them and 
to the implied recognition that, despite 
the present state of rebellion, the earth 
and all nations were the Lord's. This 
may explain how, in the description of a 
sage (Ecclus. xxxix. 1-3), an understand- 
ing of prophecy is conjoined with know- 
ledge of the wisdom of the ancients, of 
parables, and of proverbs; while, on the 
other hand, in Ecclus. xxiv. Zion and 
Israel are indeed stated to be the special 
dwelling-place of "Wisdom," where she 
has her fixed abode, but her presence is 
also recognised among all nations (?'. 6). 

It scarcely needs to be stated that the 
full and final development of this must 
be sought, not in Palestine, but among 
the Greek-thinking and Greek-speaking 
" dispersion " of the West, of which Alex- 
dria was the intellectual capital. But in 
Ecclesiasticus we have, in a sense, a_pre- 
h ejlenistic Greciani sm. It is still strictly 
Palestinian, not Alexandrian, and it does 
not treat the simple language of Scrip- 
ture as if it consisted of allegories, 
representing so many formulae for ab- 
stract ideas. But for all this it is, if 
not Grecianised Judaism, yet a Judaism 
influenced by Grecian thought. Thus it 
appears that the first origin of what is 
called Jewish Hellenism has to be traced 
to Palestine, not to Alexandria, and was 
only fully developed there under favour- 
ing circumstances. And these circum- 
stances were analogous to those which 
first called forth Hebrew Chokhmah- 

Considering the condition of the small, 
intellectually almost contemptible, rem- 
nant which returned from the Babylonian 
exile, and the state of those who remained 
behind, it seems a strange historical as- 
sumption to regard this age as one of the 
most fruitful thinking or of great literary 
activity. The awakening and new pro- 
gress of thought are organi ally connected 
with the general life of a people : they 
are always in line with stirring event-, in 
the history of the world or of a nation. 
Such wakening came with the conquests 



of Alexander the Great and the founding 
of the Macedonian world-empire. It was 
not only that Israel was now brought into 
direct contact with Grecianism, nor yet 
that it felt the electric shock which passed 
through the ancient world, nor even that 
from its subjection to the Macedonian 
conqueror and his successors it con- 
stantly experienced Grecian influences. 
But there was a chain of purely Greek 
cities within the land of Palestine itself, 
as well as around its borders. The con- 
stant and close intercourse resulting from 
it, must have led to the gradual intro- 
duction of Grecian ideas. These would 
appear in the first instance, so to speak, 
in a friendly form and only afterwards 
become a hostile power with which war 
for life or death must be waged, in 
each case outward events must have 
corresponded with this state of feeling. 
The period of outward peace and of 
the friendly influence of Grecianism 
terminated soon after Simon I. who is 
accordingly designated as the last link 
An the " great synagogue." The period 
| of open and bitter hostility to Judaism, 
alike politically and religiously, began 
immediately after, if not under, Simon II. 
This brings us back to our former con- 

clusions about the date of Ecclesiasticus. 


As the last outrunner of Palestinian^ 
Cy^/Wv/w/z-literature, it belongs to the 
former, not to the latter, period. It marks 
a time of transition when by the side of 
the old, as then understood, we discover 
all the germs of a future development. 
In respect of the latter we might almost 
characterise it as alike Pharisaic before 
the Pharisees, Sadducean before the 
Sadducees, and Hellenistic before Hel- 
lenism. And yet it is not eclecti c only 
preparatory. It could not have belonged 
to a period when Grecianism had be- 
come a hostile power in Church and 
State, and evoked a reaction that led 
to the formation of the nationalist party 
and finally issued in the Maccabean 
rising. The nationalist party was known 
by the title Chasidim, " the pious " 
(i Mace. ii. 42, vii. 13 ; 2 Mace. xiv. 6). 
That name was undoubtedly derived 
from the description of the Chasidim, 
" the pious," in the Psalms (Ps. xxx. 4 ; 
xxxi. 23; xxxvii. 28). We conjecture 
that this movement included also a pro- 

test against and a separation from the 
whole Chohhmah-direcuon of the period 
immediately preceding, which might be 
regarded as having been fraught with 
terrible consequences to Israel. If the 
one party had spoken of Chokhmah and 
appealed to Solomon, the other party 
would now go a step further back and 
appeal to David and the Psalter, and to 
the Chasidim of which they wished and 
professed to be the representatives. 

We cannot here follow the further 
development of their history. But we 
submit that what has been stated suffi- 
ciently answers the question, often and 
learnedly discussed, as to the relation 
between Ecclesiasticus and distinctively 
Alexandrian views. Gfrorer (' Philo u. 
d. Alex. Theos.' ii. pp. 21-52) calls our 
author an Eclectic, and supposes that 
certain parts of his book (notably ch. 
xxiv.) were derived from an Alexandrian 
work. That there is a close relationship 
between Ecclesiasticus and Alexandrian- 
ism cannot indeed be doubted and this 
not only in ch. xxiv. but in some of the 
other instances adduced by Gfrorer 
(comp. the special introd. to ch. xliv.). 
But their relation is other than that 
scholar supposed. Ecclesiasticus is not 
dependent on Alexandrian teaching, but 
the latter had its roots in the direction 
represented by our book. On the other 
hand, Diihne (' Gesch. Darstell. d. jiid. 
Alex. Relig. Phil.' ii. pp. 144, &c.) rightly 
calls attention to the genuine Palestinian 
character of our book as a whole. But 
he is mistaken in attributing the Alex- 
andrian elements in it entirely to altera- 
tions introduced in the Greek Version by 
the younger Siracide, and to interpola- 
tions. Such undoubtedly there are, and 
of a very marked character. But they 
are not of such wide sweep as is sup- 
posed by Diihne, and the hypothesis 
as a whole is forbidden by the Syriac 
Version, which was made directly from 
the Hebrew original. 

IV. The Writer and his Book : its 
Philosophy, Theology, and Ethics; 
Comparison with the New Testa- 

Before making a closer survey of 
the book, it may be convenient to refer 



to some of its general characteristics. 
We have already seen that the circum- 
stances of the time and the religious 
standpoint occupied in Ecclesiasticus 
throw light on each other. The same 
may be said in regard to the social and 
moral relations reflected in Ecclesiasticus. 
If the allusions in it are sometimes coarse, 
if its tone is the reverse of high, and if the 
references to sexual and other excesses 
are both frequent and unpleasant, this 
is due to the state of matters at the time. 
Again, bearing in mind that the main sub- 
ject of the book is Wisdom, the treatment 
may seem fitful, from the frequent and 
sudden transitions to apparently wholly 
different and even trivial topics connected 
with the rules of daily life. This has 
already been partly accounted for by 
the view which the writer took of " Wis- 
dom." Besides, such transitions often 
abrupt from one subject to another 
are characteristic of Eastern writing. 
So to speak, they give emphasis to the 
discussion of the graver questions. Nor 
is the treatment of "Wisdom " so fitful as 
might seem at first sight. For "Wisdom" 
is the subject treated of in the beginning 
of the book (ch. i.), in the middle of it 
(ch. xxiv. ), and especially at the close 
(ch aps, xxxiii.-xliii. ). Indeed, this latter 
portion reads almost like a separate 
treatise on the great problems of Wisdom 
(see th e specia l introd uctions to these 
c hapte rs ). And even the abrupUieyiToT 
the transitions is more apparent than real. 
This also is characteristic of Eastern 
thinking, which moves in the succession 
of time, as one thing suggests another, 
rather than in that of logical order, where 
one topic is evolved from the other. 1 

That the writer of Ecclesiasticus was a 
man of high culture, fully acquainted 
with the sacred literature of Israel, is not 
only stated in the Prologue, but appears 
from almost every part of the book. 
Moreover, we infer even from such allu- 
sions as in xxiv. 28, xxxiii. 16, xxxix. 1, 2, 
that he was familiar with the thoughts 
perhaps the writings of others in Israel 
whose mental direction and studies were 
kindred to his own. And here we also 
recall that he had travelled abroad for 
the enlargement of his knowledge, and 

1 Yet although this is prevalently, it is not 
uniformly, the case in our book. 


profited by what he had seen and learned 
(xxxiv. 10, n; xxxix. 4). Again, al- 
though his dogmatic horizon was bounded, 
and his views defective, even erroneous, 
Ben Sira cannot be charged with scepticism. 
Thoroughly liberal in his conception of 
Judaism, he was yet an earnest believer 
in it. Deeply touching is the account 
which he gives (li . iq-22 ) of his inner 
experience. In early life he had in 
earnest prayer, both private and in the 
Temple, sought for that Wisdom which 
like Solomon of old, or, to quote a 
lower instance, like Philo he regarded 
as the highest aim of life. And he was 
resolved to pursue it to his last day. 
By the guidance of that Wisdom he had 
walked from his youth in the right way, 
ever following the good. In earnest 
moral observance of the Law he had 
stretched out his hands towards heaven, 
deeply mourning any aberrations due to 
ignorance, and ever aiming after purity. 
And even the success which had come 
to him in life he attributed to this pur- 
suit, and thanked God not only for it, 
but still more for the gift of that Wisdom 
through which he had attained it, in a 
life not untroubled by sorrow and beset 
by dangers. Best of all, he had inward 
peace and joy. Higher experience than 
this we cannot expect on the part of the 
writer of Ecclesiasticus. He was not an 
inspired man, and, personally, he stands 
as far below the prophets of old as his 
own ideal standard falls short of that of 
the New Testament. Still on every page 
of his book God is first and foremost : 
His fear, His Law, and the right and 
true. Sometimes his praise of the great 
Creator is almost sublime (as in ch. 
xxxix. H-2O , while his prayers are fer- 
vent and lofty in tone. In general, the 
one great aim which he sets before him- 
self in his book is t o vindicate the ways of 
God with man. As a believing Israelite, 
he throughout recognises the leadings of 
God with His people of old ; and he has 
unshaken faith in the fulfilment of the 
promises to Israel. Lastly, the main 
practical object of his work is to warn 
and instruct others (comp. the Prologue ; 
xxxix. 32 ; 1. 27, 28 ; li., closing stanza). 
From another point of view that of 
mental difficulties we have to emphasise 
that the speculations of Ben Sira never 





issue in doubt. He seeks to answer 
questions, rather than to solve doubts 
(xxxix. 1 6-21). In truth, such do not 
exist for him. For in God is all Wisdom : 
and he sees it exhibited equally in crea- 
tion, in Providence, in history, and in 
Revelation. Hence he severely con- 
demns, as afterwards PJiilp, those Jews 
who, in their spurious enlightenment, 
would neglect the observance of the 
Mosaic Law or the ancestral rites. For 
in his view the Law is the highest exhi- 
bition of Wisdom (xxiv.) ; and its obser- 
vance the first of duties (comp. i. 26- 


vi. 37 ; xiv. 11 ; xix. 20; xxxv. i- 


We proceed to give a brief summary 
of the philosophical and theological 
teaching in Ecclesiasticus. 

1. The theme of the book is, as pre- 
viously stated, Wisdom. For the fullest 
exposition of the writer's views, we here 
turn to chapters i., xxiv., and to the 
section beginning with chapter xxxiv. 
All wisdom comes from God, with Whom 
it ever is (see generally ch. i.). It 
transcends the comprehension of man. 
Wisdom is the firstborn of His creatures : 
rather, it is the mould and the archetype 
for all the works and ways of God. And 
yet in His goodness He has manifested 
His Wisdom and that to all men. 
Understanding of Wisdom and the fear 
of the Lord coincide the one is the 
speculative, the other the practical, 
aspect of Wisdom. Hence Wisdom is 
also true happiness. In ch. xxiv. Wisdom 
is represented as created "from the be- 
ginning," "before the world " as coming 
forth " from the mouth of the Most 
High," and as the creative, or at least 
formative, agent. This seems to mean 
that Wisdom, immanent in God, became 
outwardly manifest when God created all 
tilings : that it was alike the creative 
word and the creative thought. It need 
scarcely be said that in all this there was 
not any idea of a hyp ostatisatio n of 
Wisdom or presenting it as a Person. 
The writer did not even think of it as 
separate from God. Ecclesiasticus marks 
indeed an advance in this respect on the 
teaching of the Book of Proverbs ; but it 
still falls far short of that of Philp. The 
latter proceeded on the idea that God 
was an abstraction, and that He could 
not be in direct contact with anything 

concrete least of all with matter. 1 
Again, manifestly there is absolutely a 
gulf between such speculations whether 
in Ecclesiasticus or of Philo and the 
teaching of the New Testament. On 
another and kindred point we mark the 
same difference. According to Ecclesias- 
ticus, Wisdom, as the active principle in 
creation, was poured out upon the earth, 
and in measure imparted to all nations 
(i. 9, 10, 15; xxiv. 3-7). But it was 
concentrated in the revealed Law of 
God, and became permanently resident y^ 
in Israel. Here we have the second fun- 
damgn tal principl e afterwards developed "~" 
by Philo. In the New Testament all this 
is quite otherwise set forth. There the 
Logos is shewn to be a Person, Who be- 
came Incarnate ; and in the Logos God 
is the Father of all men, who are to attain 
to Him not through abstract Wisdom 
but through the mediation of the Personal 
Logos that is, by grace. Lastly, in the 
final section of Ecclus., Wisdom, as pre- 
viously presented, is vindicated against 
all speculative difficulties. Similarly, 
in the practical parts of the book, 
Wisdom is vindicated in its practical 
aspect, the object being to shew that the 
ordinances and directions of Wisdom are 
not only right, but good, and such as 
lead to prosperity. 

2. We have seen that Wisdom is 
immanent in God. It is the sum of all 
His qualities, and hence of all His mani- 
festations. It follows almost logically 
that in the strict sense God must be 
incomprehensible to man. In truth, this 
was a necessary position in the theology 
of Ecclesiasticus. P hilo arrived at the 
same conclusion, though), by a different 
process. In his system this was the out- 
come of philosophical ideas about the 
Being of God and His absolute separate- 
ness, as well as from his views concern- 
ing the material world. In Ecclesiasti- 
cus the incomprehensibleness of God is, 
more biblically, traced back to His su- 
premenessr The two ideas are presented 

1 See the article Philo in Smith and Wace's 
'Diet, of Chr. Biogr.' vol. iv. 

2 No doubt can attach to this that the Siracide 
firmly held the strict Personality of God. If in 
xliii. 27 God is thus described, " He is the All " 
(ml (TwreAeLa \6yo>v fh irciv iffriv avrus), we 
have no hesitation in regarding this as a bold 
later addition by the younger Siracide (see 



in Ecclus. in a whole series of passages, 
notably in xviii. 2-7, xlii. 17, &c. ; but 
especially in xxxix. 16-21, and in the last 
stanza of ch. xliii. 1 If God is incomprehen- 
sible and supreme, it also follows that 
He is omniscient, almighty, and irresistible. 
This brings us to the two great problems 
which our writer seeks to solve in the 
third section of his book. But the Son 
of Sirach only states the facts ; he does 
little to explain them. How are we to 
account for the difference in the outward 
lot which, apparently without any cause, 
befalls men : nay, more, for the moral 
difference in their dispositions, the di- 
verse shaping of their spiritual history, 
and their end? Ben Sira's answer is 
simply Predestinarianism . But in such 
case what may be distinguished as the 
natural and the moral qualities in the 
Deity are apparently in antagonism. The 
writer of Ecclesiastes had also faced this 
problem. But he turned from it, almost 
with a shrug of the shoulders, in view of 
the indifference and smallness of earthly 
things. But if he attempted not any 
solution of the difficulty from its objec- 
tive aspect rather admitted it he 
sought to transfer the whole question 
into the region of personal moral respon- 
sibility. The writer of Ecclesiasticus 
seems disposed to follow his predecessor, 
but he attempts a little philosophy of his 
own on the subject although with small 
success. St. Paul also had to face this 
great problem. He knew the awful 
facts, and perceived their " antinomies " 
of reason and theology. But he viewed 
them in the surrounding and transform- 
ing light of the infinite love of God in 
Christ. And in this solution the Christian 
heart can thankfully acquiesce (comp. 
Rom. xi. 32-36). 

But the older Siracide was simply a 
Predestinarian (comp. here such state- 
ments as xvi. 26 ; xxiii. 20 ; xxxiii. 
10-13; xxxix. 20, 21). The same may 
be said of Philo. 2 But Ben Sira labori- 

introd. to ch. xliii.). In the Syr. the whole 
section from v. 11 is wanting. The Vet. Lat. 
solves the difficulty by rendering : ipse est in 

1 Ch. xvi. 20, 21 refers to something very 
different. See the notes. As to ch. xliii., see 
also the previous note. 

2 See the article in Smith and Wace's ' Diet.' 
previously referred to. 

ously tries to make a way through the 
maze to this as his final conclusion (in 
ch. xxxix., last stanza, vv. 32, &c), that 
" all the works of the Lord are good." 
The reasoning by which this result is 
reached commences in ch. xxxiii., and is 
carried on to the end of chapter xliii., al- 
though with interruptions or rather inter- 
calations caused by things suggested by 
the way. We add that here we catch 
glimpses of Aristotelian philosophy, and, 
for that matter, of Zoroastrianism, 1 in the 
idea, broached by our writer, of an essen- 
tial Dualism of contraries : one thing 
being set against the other good against 
evil, life against death, and so on (see 
ch. xxxiii. 7-15). Yet with all this he 
escapes falling into fatalism by empha- 
sising (as in Ecclesiastes) the absolute 
freedom of the will and personal respon- 
sibility (comp. here especially xv. 14-20; 
and such sentences as xvii. 6). 

The Son of Sirach seems to feel more 
certain and satisfied when he shifts the 
ground of his argument to the moral 
properties of God : His justice and 
mercy. God is not only the Maker of 
all things : He is also the Ruler. Hence 
ultimately good will certainly follow upon 
right-doing. And although the righteous 
may suffer since suffering is the com- 
mon lot yet their sorrows are not like 
those of the wicked, and they have also 
both immediate and final consolation 
under them. We cannot here enter into 
further details, but we mark that our 
author traces this quality of Justice in 
God's dealings not only with indivi- 
duals, but with nations, and especially 
in God's ways with Israel. Alike the 
fulfilment of the promises to them and 
the destruction of the heathen ulti- 
mately resolve themselves into the exer- 
cise of Justice. By the side of this 
quality as its complement and, in a 
sense, its other aspect Ben Sira places 
that of Mercy? This mercy extends to 

1 Comp. Bruch, u. s. pp. 301, 302. 

Merguet [u. s. p. 11) notes the following 
terms for it : eAeos (this mostly), iherifioo-wri, 
f|iAa(T/u.o's. But there is not any mention of the 
free outgoing of Divine Love. The latter is 
only evoked in return for our love of Wisdom ; 
comp. iv. 14. The solitary reading x-P ls i n ' 
13, quoted by Merguet, is extremely doubtful, 
and in any case could only mean "favour." 
In xxiv. 16 it stands for "grace" or beauty. 



" all flesh," but is specially shewn to the 
poor, afflicted, and needy, and yet more 
particularly to the prayerful, the believ- 
ing, the penitent, and the merciful. 

3. Little need be said about the 
Cosmology, the Angelology, or even the 
Anthropology of our book. As regards 
the former, the world is not represented 
as an emanation from God, but as His 
creation. At the same time we find, 
as in ch. xvi. 26, 27, expressions about 
the order and rule in the /Cosmos, which 
afterwards acquired a special meaning 
in the system of Philo, although it is 
very doubtful whether anything of the 
kind was in the mind of Ben Sira (see 
notes). Belief in Angels seems implied 
in Ecclesiasticus (xvii. 17 see the note 
about the Jewish tradition on the subject; 
xlviii. 21; and possibly, though doubt- 
fully, xlv. 2). But it seems to be a sub- 
ject on which our author is reluctant to 
enlarge. Even this is indicative of Ben 
Sira's standpoint, since developed Angel - 
ology is characteristic of post-exilian the- 
ology. He is still more chary in his 
reference to Satan (xxi. 27). On the 
other hand, if in xxxix. 28, &c, he may 
seem to identify such " messengers of 
God" with punitive agencies in nature, 
we must bear in mind that, in later Jewish 
theology also, the Angels are sometimes 
represented (alike as regards their names 
and agency) as personifications of powers, 
or of Divine dispensations. There is not 
any ground for supposing that the Son of 
Sirach believed in the doctrine of the fall 
of man through the sin of our first parents 
or rather, in original sin in the New 
Testament sense. He traces, indeed, 
the beginning (a-pxv ayxaorias), but not the 
origin of our sin to Eve (xxv. 24: see 
specially the note on that verse), and 
he attributes to her the universal pre- 
valence of death. But this is very different 
from tracing to this source moral guilt or 
native depravity. On the " after death " 
the views of the Siracide are very unsatis- 
factory. As regards the body, so far 
from cherishing the hope of a Resurrec- 
tion we have such dreary pictures as in 

In this sense it occurs several times, as also in 
that of " favour," " thanks," "praise." In the 
sense of bountifulness, or the bestowal of gifts, 
it only occurs in xl. 17 and there as on the 
part of man, not of God. 

ch. x. n j xxxviii. 21-23; xl. 1, n; 
xli. 1-4. What becomes of the spirit 
in Hades, seems scarcely clear to our 
writer (xiv. 12). Probably he thought 
of it as in eternal sleep. There man is 
in dark, eternal rest, whence he can 
never return (xxii. 11; xxx. 17; xxxviii. 
23). Thither no pleasure enters (xiv. 16). 
Hence we should enjoy all that we may 
in this life (xiv. 14-17). Nay, not even 
the praise of God rises from this dark 
abode (xvii. 27, 28). Man is " no more " 
he lies in "eternal sleep" (xlvi. 19; 
comp. a somewhat similar mode of ex- 
pression in Jer. li. (in Sept. xxvni.) 39). 
The reward or punishment of a man after 
this life consists in the permanence, or 
else the loss, of his possessions, in his 
children, and in a good or evil reputation 
(for example, xi. 28 ; xxi. 4; xxiii. 24-27 ; 
xxxix. 9 ; xl. 15,16; xli. 5-13 ; xlvi. n, 
12). Forgiveness of sins may indeed be 
looked for from the mercy of God (ii. 18; 
xvi. n, (xrc. ; xvii. 24, 29); but this is 
chiefly dependent on almsgiving and 
prayer (iii. 30 ; xvii. 25 ; xxix. 12 ; xl. 17). 
Repentance is frequently enjoined (v. 7; 
xvii. 26: xviii. 21). Of free forgiveness 
and the love of God to sinners there is 
not a word. There are, indeed, passages 
which seem to imply that some at least 
of the dead are not for ever unconscious 
such as the references to Enoch, 
Samuel, and Elijah (xliv. 16; xlvi. 20; 
xlviii. 9-1 1 ; xiix. 14). But on closer 
study it will appear how little even these 
references to the great biblical heroes 
and events imply. 

4. Ethic s. The ethical teaching of 
''Ecclesiasticus is even more unsatisfac- 
tory and disappointing than its dogma- 
tics. If evidence were required of the 
need of the personal indwelling of 
the Holy Ghost or of His transforming 
power, we should find it in the code of 
morals laid down in this book by one 
of the most distinguished Chakhamim 
of the post-exilian period. Without en- 
tering into a detailed analysis, we may 
briefly indicate the favourable and the 
unfavourable aspect of Ecclesiasticus in 
this respect. In the former we include 
the constant and prominent references 
to God and the ever-recurring admoni- 
tions to fear and obedience of Him. 
Closely connected with this is the essen- 



tial distinction made throughout the book 
between the righteous and the sinner. 

fAs in the view of our author Wisdom 
in its o bje^ "^ ggp^t i s fully presented 

. in t he revealed Law of _G od, so in its 
s ubjective aspect it coincides with the 
f ear of the Lord . Hence also the pious 
is throughout represented as the wise, 
and the sinner as the fool (and vice versa 
also). 1 On the other hand, if Ben Sira 
so frequently and emphatically insists 
that God will certainly requite the right- 
eous and the sinner, we have to bear in 
mind that the requital which he expects 
is of and in this world. Similarly, if 
he enjoins observance of the rites and 
worship of Israel, it is too often rather 
because they are ancestral, than because 
of their absolute and intrinsic import- 
ance ; because they are Israel's rather 
than because they are God's. Of any 
deeper understanding of the spiritual or 
the typical import of sacrifices or the 
other institutions of the Old Testament 
we cannot discern a trace. On the con- 
trary, almsgiving and prayer and that 
as an opus operatum seem to constitute 
in the view of our author the substance of 
religion, although (as already explained) 
he insists on strict and even joyous 
observance of the ordinances of the 
sanctuary. Very characteristic and gene- 
rally instructive in all these respects is the 
first stanza of ch. xxxv. Most curious 
and interesting are the extensive, evidently 
Christian, alterations introduced in this 
chapter in the Syriac Version. 

Even a cursory perusal of the book 
shews that the ger ie ral moral ton e of the 
writer is not at any time lofty. Often 

1 Characteristic are the designations of Wisdom 
and the Wise, marking the different aspects of his 
conception. They are: ffo<pia.,Tra.ib'zia,Tra.vovpyia, 
crvvecns (and StdvoLa crwecrtws), litiaTr\pn], and 
Oeocre&eia. Corresponding to these are the terms 
in which he speaks of the aotpos, or the eupwv 
ffocpiav, as : ffvveros, emo~T7]iu,Q}i>, voy\p.wv, <pp6vifj.os, 
TrfTr\avrifji4vos, iroAinretpos ; he is avT)p fiovXris, 

IAO.Kp69viJ.OS, TTlffTOS, il)<T(:^7]S, (poffoV/J.ei'OS KVplOV, 

Qr)Tu>u vofiov, tokhvos, eAa.TTOvfji.ei'os KapSiq, even 
aya96s (Merguet, u. s.). The designations of 
the fool and sinner Merguet groups under four 
classes : (a) /xccp6s, &(ppa>v, ao-vveros, av6riros, 
airaiSiUTOs, aKapSios ; (b) ourefi-fis, KaraAnroov r. 
Kvp., napafSaivoov ivrohas, dvofxos, aSinos, e'x^p^s-, 
a\\6Tpios ; (c) aftapTcoKus, TrKavwixivos, kuko. ipya- 
(ofitvos, irovTipevofAtvos ; (d) ko.k6s, tyvxh irovripd, 
vTrepri<pavos, S6\ws, crnaraAds, AoiSopos, and 

Apoc Vol. II. 

it is decidedly low, and his allusions 
become coarsely realistic. But, apart 
from this, we feel throughout that moral 
questions are placed on a low level and 
viewed in a wrong light. Ben Sira seems 
to be always arguing that after all re- 
ligion is that which profits best : alike 
as regards man and God. And in the 
latter respect we have besides to bear 
in mind that even the return which he 
expects from God is mainly, if not ex- 
clusively, earthly, and consists of pros- 
perity, a good posterity, and an excellent 
reputation. The spiritual and the eternal 
arc not in his view. From another 
aspect also the book may be described as 
a most unpleasant mixture of selfishness 
and Eastern world-wisdom with religious- 
ness. And the religion which it com- 
mends is very jejune, while the wisdom j 
of which it boasts often resolves itself 
into high - sounding platitudes. The 
model-man of Ben Sira seems to be 
always thinking of himself what men 
will say of him or how a thing will 
affect him either in life or when he 
comes to die. When we come upon 
any expression of distinctively Jewish 
faith, it impresses us rather as a mixture 
of religious respectability with something 
very like superstition. Even the sublime 
idea of the absolute supremacy of God 
leads him, at the thought of sorrow, 
not to believing submission nor the re- 
cognition of what is higher, but if not 
to a species of fatalism yet to a kind y 
of indifferentis m. Lastly, although the 
wnteF as a keen observer of men, and 
having ample knowledge of the world, 
often gives utterance to shrewd sayings \ 
which^jdas_!_Jiave their application to I 
all ages, they are mostly of the kind best 
described by the term " wojldly^wise." 
On the whole, the ethics of Ecclesiasti^ 
cus are neither pleasant nor profitable^ 

5. Eschatology. On this subject little 
need be said in addition to our previous 
remarks. We have seen that the Siracide 
had apparently not any distinct faith in 
another and higher life after death. How 
he combined with this belief in the 
spiritual part of man or even in a per- 
sonal God, it is not for us to determine. 
To the doctrine of the resurrection of 
the body and the final judgment there 



is not any allusion in Ecclesiasticus. 
Nor yet do we find any trace of ex- 
pectancy of a personal Messiah. But 
apparently Ben Sira did look for what 
maybe called a (Messianic) " kingdom" 
although without a king. It is not 
easy, however, to form any clear concep- 
tion of what he associated with that 
happy period. He certainly regarded 
it as the fulfilment of the prophetic 
promises to Israel. He frequently re- 
fers to judgments that were to come 
upon the Gentile nations; and he antici- 
pates the gathering of all Israel, their 
liberation, and even their triumph the 
latter being preceded by the advent of 
Elijah. Yet, after all, these statements 
only give rise to questions to which there 
is no answer in our book. The following 
are important passages in regard to the 
eschatology of Ecclus. : xxxv. i8, 19; 
xxxvi. 1-17; xxxvii. 25 ; xliv. 21, 22; 
xlvii. 11 j xlviii. 10, 11, 24. Generally 
comp. the introduction to ch. xlviii. But 
we cannot close without calling atten- 
tion to xliv. 21, 22. The reference there 
is to the special (Messianic) blessing 
promised to Abraham (in Gen. xxii. 18) 
and afterwards continued to Isaac. It 
is the contention of most modern critics 
that the Hebrew of these verses should 
not be rendered (as in the LXX.) : " in 
thy seed shall all the nations of the earth 
be blessed," but that the correct trans- 
lation is : " with thy seed shall all the 
nations of the earth bless themselves." 
It is instructive to find that, in opposition 
to the confident assertions of these critics, 
the younger Siracide (who presumably 
knew Hebrew) adopted the first trans- 
lation, probably quoting from the LXX. 

V. Language, Title, and Arrange- 

The work of the Son of Sirach was 
originally written in Hebrew, and not, as 
some critics have supposed, in the later 
Aramaic dialect. Jerome had still seen a 
copy of the Hebrew original (Hebraicum 
reperi 1 ). The quotations from the work 
in Talmudic writings (see X.) are, 
with three exceptions, in Hebrew, 2 and 
they are chiefly made by Palestinian 

1 ' Praefat. in vers. libr. Salom.' 

2 Comp. Zunz, ' Gottesd. Vortr.' p. 104. 

authorities. But the Hebrew is that of 
a later age. 1 The work seems, how- 
ever, at an early period to have been 
translated into Aramaean probably in 
Babylon and to have been elaborated 
with additions, not always worthy of the 
original composition, into a book from 
which quotations are made by Baby- 
lonian Rabbis. 2 If any doubt could 
still be entertained that the work was 
originally written in Hebrew, it would be 
removed by a comparison with the Syriac 
translation (see. VIII. ). And we know 
that Hebrew was at that time, and long 
afterwards, the language used by the 
learned and in the schools. 

In Hebrew the book had borne the 

title D^irD, Proverbs (in Aram. p'priE). 
Jerome (u. s.) expressly states that it was 
entitled ' Parabolae ' (" non Ecclesiasti- 
cum, ut apud Latinos, sed Parabolas 
praenotatum "). Yet it would be a mis- 
take to suppose that the original Greek 
title in the MSS., 2o<^ta T^a-oS vlov 2t/3ax 
' The Wisdom of Jesus Son of Sirach,' 
originated in the Church. Even the 
Solomonic books (Prov. and Eccles.) were 
designated by the Jews as nEDn "nSD, 
the Books of Wisdom, 3 and we know 
that the Book of Sirach and apocryphal 
' Wisdom ' were ranked with them. The 
account of Melito of Sardis (Eusebius, 
' Hist. Eccl.' iv. 26), which adds to the 
title ' Proverbs of Solomon ' the words rj 
kcu 2o(ia, seems derived from a Jewish 
source. 4 Similarly, in MS. 12,142 (Brit. 
Mus.), the Syriac title of the book 
evidently taken from a Hebrew source 
is ' Wisdom of the Son of Sira.' 5 Even 
the designation of our book as f] Travd- 
peros ao^ia (or more briefly : 7) Travd- 
peros 6 ), which first appears in Eusebius, 7 

1 Comp. Zunz, 11. s., note b, and the instances 
given by Delitzsch, ' Gesch. d. jud. Poesie,' 
p. 205, note 2. 

2 For the evidence see Zunz, u. s., pp. 104, 

3 Tosephoth to Babh. B., 14 . 

4 Comp. Novvack, ' Spriiche Sal.' p. x. 

5 See Lagarde, ' Libri Vet. Test. Apocr. 

6 Jerome (1. s. 1.) : " Fertur et iravaperos Jesu 
filii Sirach liber." Cassiodorus ('Div. Lect.' i. 
5) explains : " propter excellentiam virtutum 
suarum Trapavtrov appellat, i.e. virtutum omnium 

7 Chron. (ed. Schoene) ii. 122; ' Demonstr. 
Evang.' (ed. Gaisford), viii. 2, 71. The designa- 



may have had a Hebrew equivalent, just 
as the same designation seems to have 
been given to the Solomonic Book of 
Proverbs. 1 The common Latin desig- 
nation (since Cyprian) ' Ecclesiasticus ' 
(or 'Ecclesiasticus Sirach') could scarcely 
have been introduced to distinguish our 
book from Ecclesiastes, but probably 
meant " Church - (ecclesiastical) book." 
It obtained that name from its frequent 
use by the early Church, especially in 
the instruction of catechumens. 2 

It is the opinion of many critics that 
our book contains much which is not 
the writer's own, and was derived from 
other " sages." But this view cannot 
be accepted without important qualifica- 
tions. Eichhorn, 3 who calls Ecclesiasticus 
" a rhapsody," supports the contention 
that Ben Sira had partly collected from 
previous writers, by referring to what he 
regards as repetitions in the book, or as 
contradictions in its different parts, and 
also to utterances which he considers un- 
worthy of the Siracide and belonging to 
an earlier and ruder age. But, in his 
view, our author had mostly not literally 
reproduced such sayings of others, but 
recast them in his own language. Bret- 
schneider 4 generally repeats and further 
develops the views of Eichhorn, though 
scarcely in a manner to command assent. 
For our own part, we have failed to dis- 
cover any repetitions in the strict sense 
of the term ; and still more any con- 
tradictions. For it must be remembered 
that the recurrence of the same idea in 
different connexions is not necessarily 
a mere repetition. Lastly, even such a 
statement as that in xxxiii. 16 does not 
necessarily imply that our author had 
incorporated the sayings of others. It 
might only have been intended to indi- 
cate (what we otherwise know) that there 
had been Chakhamim before Ben Sira, 
whose sentences and sayings had passed 
into popular parlance. But, when con- 
sidered in connexion with the general 
arrangement of the book, it acquires a 
more definite meaning than this. At 

tion does not yet occur in the quotations by 
Clement and Origen : comp. Schiirer, u. s. 
p. 596. 

1 Comp. Nowack, 11. s. 

2 Herbst-Welte, ' Einleit.' p. 204. 

3 u. s., pp. 42-55. 

4 ' Liber Siracidae, Graece,' pp. 25-32. 

the same time we must respectfully but 
entirely dissent from the ingenious hypo- 
thesis of Ewald, 1 that the work embodies 
two previous collections of Proverbs : 
the first (chaps, i.-xvi. 21) dating from 
the 4th century B.C. ; the second (xvi. 
22-xxxvi. 22) dating from the 3rd cent. 
B.C. ; and that only the third and last 
portion of Ecclesiasticus is the work of 
Ben Sira himself. 2 

With his usual perspicacity Eichhorn 
inferred that as ' Wisdom ' formed the 
subject-matter of the book, its division 
into parts would be indicated by a fresh 
introduction of that theme. 3 This canon 
is undoubtedly correct. But further than 
this we are not able to agree with that 
great critic. Although every attempt at 
arrangement can only be matter of 
suggestion, we venture to propose the 
following. The theme of the bo*ok is 
Wisdom, and its fresh introduction marks 
the beginning of every part. The work 
consists of five Parts like the Law and 
the Psalter. Part I. comprises chaps, 
i.-xxiii. ; Part II., chaps, xxiv.-xxxii. ; 
Part III., chaps, xxxiii.-xliii. ; Part IV., 
chaps, xliv.-l. 21; lastly, Part. V., 1. 

Part I., chaps, i.-xxiii. Wisdom is 
introduced, ch. i. 1-10. Throughout this 
Part Wisdom is presented in its practical 
aspect. The Part consists of four sec- 
tions, of which three admit of further 
subdivision. Section A (chaps, i.-vi.). 
Subdivisions: 1st, chaps, i.-iii.: Wisdom 
as the fear and service of God (in the 
widest sense), or practical Wisdom in 
its relation to God. 2nd subdivision : 
chaps, iv.-vi. : practical Wisdom in re- 
lation to ourselves the section closing 
with a eulogy of Wisdom (vi. 18-end). 
Section B (chaps, vii.-xiv.). Subdivi- 

1 * Gesch. d. V. Isr.' iv. pp. 342-347. Comp. 
' Jahrb. d. Bibl. Wiss.' iii. pp. 125, &c. 

2 Ewald thinks that the work had in its ori- 
ginal form been much larger, but suffered from 
abbreviations and transpositions. He even at- 
tempts to restore it to its original form. 

3 The objections of Bretschneider (. s., pp. 
20, &c.) are very superficial. Eichhorn arranges 
the work into three books: Book I., chaps, i.- 
xxiii. (in two sections: chaps, i.-ix. ; x.-xxiii.); 
Book II., chaps, xxiv.-xlii. 14; Book III., 
chaps, xlii. 15 1. 24; the whole being con- 
cluded by the subscription and a grand eulogy. 
Eichhorn supposes that it was composed (col- 
lected ?) at different periods of the author's life. 

C 2 



sions : ist, practical Wisdom as regards 
our relations to others : chaps, vii.-ix. 
2nd subdivision : practical Wisdom 
specially in relation to those in high 
places, in rule, and government chap. 
x. 3rd subdivision : in relation to the 
more lowly chap. xi. 4th subdivision : 
practical Wisdom in our mode of doing 
good chap. xii. 5th subdivision : 
practical Wisdom in intercourse with the 
world chap. xiii. 6th subdivision : 
with reference to property chap. xiv. 
7th subdivision : in regard to our moral 
bearing. Section C. The problems and 
difficulties of Wisdom in its practical 
aspect : chaps, xvi.-xviii. Section D 
might be entitled " Rules of life," viz. : 
ist, Man towards man, chaps, xix., xx. ; 
2ndly, in regard to sin, chaps, xxi., xxii. 
the whole Part closing with a grand 
prayer, chap, xxiii. 

Part II. opens again with the praise 
of Wisdom (chap. xxiv.). The Part 
comprises chaps, xxiv.-xxxii., including, 
however, parts of chap, xxxiii. But 
those chapters cannot well be arranged 
into groups, like those in Part I., although 
Ave can trace a distinct connexion be- 
tween them, as shewn in the special 
introductions. We regard this Part as 
embodying previous sayings of sages or 
popular Proverbs. But the whole has 
been put into orderly arrangement and 
connexion by the Son of Sirach. Its 
character, as chiefly if not wholly a com- 
pilation, appears from the somewhat 
loose manner in which various subjects 
are joined together ; from the peculiar 
often antithetic or else grouped ar- 
rangement of the sayings ; and, lastly, 
from chap, xxxiii. 16, which seems in- 
tended to indicate the nature of this 
Part as a whole. 

Part III., chap, xxxiii.-xliii. Chap, 
xxxiii., however, partly belongs to the 
previous Part and generally forms a tran- 
sition to what follows. It may be de- 
scribed as a discussion of the great 
speculative problems of Wisdom (see 
previous remarks and special intro- 

Part IV. historically illustrates Wisdom 
by the praise of the Wise (chaps, xliv.- 
1. 21), while Part V. contains the con- 
clusion of the book (chap. 1. 22-li.). 

We need scarcely add that these five 

Parts, although distinct, are welded by 
the writer into a continuous and con- 
secutive work. In form it is poetic and 
rhythmic; but its didactic portions are 
often extremely prosaic in tone. Here 
the writer generally speaks in the cha- 
racter of a "father" to his "son." In 
regard to the use of rhetorical figures, 
illustrations and the like, the book may, 
however, favourably compare with similar 
productions. The arrangement of the 
chapters in stanzas, the progression of 
thought, and the parallelism not only 
in the members of each verse but some- 
times between the stanzas, are generally 
indicated with sufficient clearness. We 
have also marked a numerical arrange- 
ment in the verses and stanzas which 
may have been a form of later Hebrew 
compositions of this kind. 

VI. References to the Book of 
Proverbs and in the Epistle of 
St. James. 

1. The Proverbs of Solomon. As 
might have been expected, the older 
Siracide had throughout taken the Pro- 
verbs of Solomon as the model for his 
work. And this, alike in respect of 
form and substance. As regards the 
former, whatever may be thought on the 
question whether or not Hebrew biblical 
poetry was metrical, 1 it is universally 
admitted that it was marked by a parallel- 
ism of members. The latter has been 
arranged 2 into antithetic parallelisms, in 
which the first and second members 
lines a and b are in antithesis ; synthetic, 
or rather progressive, in which the second 
member marks a progression, though in 
the same direction ; synonymic, or rather 
continuative, when the second member 
only continues the first ; parabolic, where 
one member illustrates the other; and 
lastly, consecutive, in which one member 
expresses the logical sequence of the 
other. These various kinds of parallelism 

1 Comp. Saalschitz, 'Form d. hebr. Poes.;' 
Delitzsch, u. s.; Ewald, 'Die poet. Biicher d. 
A. Test.;' but especially Bickell, ' Carmina Vet. 
Test.' (pp. 219-234 : " de re metr. Hebr."). 

2 Comp. here generally C. Seligmann, ' d. 
Buch d. Weish. J. Sir.' But we have not adopted 
his precise designation of the various kinds of 
parallelism in Hebrew poetry. 



may be illustrated by an example of 
each kind in Ecclesiasticus, to which is 
added in brackets a similar instance 
from the Book of Proverbs : {a) Antithetic 
Parallelisms : Ecclus. xiii. 3 [Prov. x. 5] ; 
{b) progressive: Ecclus. vi. 13 [Prov. 
xxii. 1] ; (c) continuative : Ecclus. vi. 33 
[Prov. xxii. 24] ; (// ) illustrative : Ecclus. 
xviii. 10 [Prov. x. 26]; (<?) consecutive: 
Ecclus. xxv. 3 [Prov. xxvi. 5 J. 1 The 
first of these five classes of parallelism 
-occurs the most rarely ; the last is the 
most frequent in Ecclesiasticus. To 
these remarks about the form of our 
book we have to add that, as regards the 
outward arrangement of the subject and 
the mostly well-marked structure of 
stanzas, we observe distinct progress in 
comparison with the Book of Proverbs. 

Passing from the form to the contents 
of the book, a similar correspondence 
exists between Ecclesiasticus and the 
Book of Proverbs. Thus Ecclus. i. 4 
may be compared with Prov. viii. 22 ; 
i. 14 with Prov. i. 7, and ix. 10; Ecclus. 
iii. 13 with Prov. xxiii. 22 ; iii. 26 
with Prov. xxviii. 14; iv. 5 with Prov. 
xxviii. 27 ; iv. 12, &c. with Prov. iv. 7, 
&c. ; vii. 1 1 with Prov. xvii. 5 ; ix. 6 with 
Prov. xxix. 3; x. 25 with Prov. xvii. 2; 
x. 27 with Prov. xii. g ; xi. 8 with Prov. 
xviii. 13 ; xii. 9 with Prov. xix. 4; xii. 16 
with Prov. xxvi. 24, &c. ; xiii. 25 with 
Prov. xv. 13; xiv. 13 with Prov. iii. 27, 
&c. ; xx. 1 with Prov. xxvii. 5 ; xxi. 10 
with Prov. xiv. 1 2 ; xxi. 1 7 with Prov. 
xxiii. 12 ; xxii. 3 with Prov. xvii. 21 ; 
xxii. 7 with Prov. xxvii. 22 ; xxii. 15 with 
Prov. xxvii. 3 ; xxiv. 1 with Prov. viii. 1 ; 
xxiv. 3 with Prov. ii. 6 ; xxiv. 5 with 
Prov. viii. 27 ; xxv. 16 with Prov. xxi. 19 ; 
xxvii. 5 with Prov. xxvii. 21; xxvii. 22 
with Prov. vi. 12, 13 ; xxvii. 25 with 
Prov. xxvi. 27 ; xxviii. 8 with Prov. 
xv. 18 : xxviii. 10 with Prov. xxvi. 20, 21 ; 
xxx. 1 with Prov. xiii. 24; xxxi. 23 
with Prov. xxii. 9 ; xxxiv. 2 1 with Prov. 
xxii. 2 2 ; xxxvii. 1 8 with Prov. xvii. 2 2 
and xviii. 21 ; xii. n with Prov. x. j. 2 

Other instances might be adduced. For 
these, as well as for parallelisms with the 
Psalter, the Book of Job, and especially 

1 Seligmann, u. s., p. 32 ; Bruch, u. s., p. 273 ; 
Delitzsch, art. Sprache in Herzog's ' Real- 

2 Comp. Seligmann, 11. s., pp. 21-29. 

with Ecclesiastes, 1 we must refer to the 
notes on the various chapters. 

2. The Epistle of St. James. In 
general, the critical student of the New 
Testament 2 will find in Ecclesiasticus 
much to interest him as regards the 
usage of words. At least one illustra- 
tive instance may here be adduced. 
The word Karavvcrcre.iv, which in classical 
Greek 3 is .not used for any painful affec- 
tion, occurs in the New Testament 
only in Acts ii. 37 ("pricked in their 
heart"). It is used in the same sense 
in the LXX. Psalms, where its unques- 
tionable meaning in Ps. cviii. (Heb. cix.) 
16 must rule its use in Ps. iv. 5 ; xxix. 
(xxx.) 13 ; xxxiv. (xxxv.) 15. The word 
evidently bears the same meaning in 
LXX. Gen. xxxiv. 7 and in 3 (1) Kings 
xx. 27. Theodotion uses it in the same 
sense in Prov. xvii. 22, where the LXX. 
have XvTTrjpos. [In LXX. Is. xlvii. 5 and 
Dan. x. 9, 15 it may be used in a sense 
derived from its primary meaning. Per- 
haps LXX. Lev. x. 3 indicates the con- 
nexion between the two.] But the 
meaning of the word Karavvcra-tiv is fully 
established by its uniform use in Ecclus. 
(xii. 12 ; xiv. 1 ; xx. 21 ; xlvii. 20). 

If the usage of the word Karavvacmiv 
seems to point to a special connexion 
between the LXX. Psalms and Ecclesi- 
asticus, this is still more evident in 
regard to a word of such frequent use in 
the New Testament as evSo/ua, but which 
only occurs in the LXX. Psalms, although 
frequently in Ecclesiasticus. Nor is this 
the only instance of correspondence be- 
tween these two books ; and the question 
may at least be suggested, whether it does 
not reflect on the date of the version of 
the Psalter (or part of it) relatively to our 
Greek Ecclesiasticus, since biblical terms 
of recent introduction would probably 
be in favour with a theological writer. 

1 Many of these have been collected by Dr. 
H. H. Wright in his 'Comment, on Eccles.' 
The objection of Seligmann that, in the pas- 
sages quoted, Ecclus. agrees with Eccles. only 
in such cases in which Eccles. itself agrees 
with Prov. does not always hold good. Selig- 
mann himself admits that there is not any other 
parallel to Ecclus. xviii. 22 than in Eccles. v. 3. 
Frequent references to Eccles. will be pointed 
out in the course of this commentary. 

2 As regards the LXX., see further on. 

3 Never in this exact form, and not in any 
form in pre-Christian Greek writers. 



We have little doubt that there are pas- 
sages in various parts of the New Testa- 
ment in which either the sentiment or 
its mode of expression carries us back to 
Ecclesiasticus. 1 The instances are more 
numerous than those mentioned by 
Eichhorn, 2 nor can they be wholly ex- 
plained either by unconscious identity of 
thinking or by popularly current sayings. 3 
Two facts should here be kept in view. 
The frequent references to Ben Sira in 
Talmudic writings shew how popular 
(for one reason or another) the work had 
become in Jewish circles. On the other 
hand, we have seen that many of its 
views appear afterwards in a developed 
form in Philo. On these and other 
grounds we naturally infer that the book 
enjoyed if not equal yet similar popu- 
larity in Alexandria, the birthplace of 
its translation, and among the Hellenists 
generally. We here instinctively turn, 
on the one hand, to the Epistle to the 
Hebrews as the portion of the New 
Testament specially Hellenistic in its 
mode of expression and form of reason- 
ing ; and, on the other, to the Epistle 
of St. James, which is so Judaic in its 
language, allusions, and mould of thought 
that we can in many places find exact 
Rabbinic parallels to it. Both these 
books contain perhaps not exactly refer- 
ences to Ecclesiasticus, but they indicate 
familiarity with it. This holds specially 
true in regard to the Epistle of St. James. 
An illustrative instance from each of 
these writings may here be adduced. 
In Ecclus. xxv. 23 the words " relaxed 
hands and palsied knees " (x W*s Trapet- 

/xivai Kai yoraTa 7rapaA.eA.ryU era) are taken 

from LXX. Is. xxxv. 3. But there the 
word is not Trapei/ievai but dvetjuecou, 
while in Heb. xii. 12 the wording is 
exactly that of Ecclus. 4 Much more 
remarkable is the parallelism offered by 
St. James v. 3. There the word Kartow 
is used, which does not occur in any 
other place in the N. T., nor yet in the 

1 But the list given by Bretschneider (u. s., 
pp. 709-722) is altogether fanciful. 
* Eichhorn, u. s., pp. 77, 78. 

3 Comp. an account of the literature of the 
subject especially of parallelisms in the Epistle 
of St. James in Boon, ' Dissert, exeg. theol. de 
Jac. Epist. cum Sirac. libr. conven.' pp. 2 II. 

4 For other instances as regards the Epistle to 
the Hebrews, we refer to the notes. 

LXX. But it does occur in Ecclus. 
xii. 11 and means not "to rust," but 
" to tarnish " (see note on xii. 11). Nor 
is this all. The word used for "rust" 
in St. James v. 3 is tos, which does not 
occur in that signification elsewhere in 
the N. T. But it does occur as a 
verb in Ecclus. xii. 10 (and again in 
xxix. 10 see the note there). Lastly, 
beyond any merely verbal correspond- 
ence, we have the remarkable fact that 
Ecclus. xii. 10 and xxix. 10, on the one 
hand, and, on the other, St. James v. 3, 
are the only biblical passages in which 
the figure of rust as affecting unused 
silver and gold occurs. In view of all 
this it cannot be doubted that both the 
simile and the expression of it in the 
Epistle of St. James were derived from 

We conclude by collating some from 
the many parallels between our book and 
the Epistle of St. James. 1 Thus St. Jas. i. 
2-4 may be compared with Ecclus. i. 23, 
and especially with Ecclus. ii. 1-5 ; St. 
Jas. i. 5 with Ecclus. Ii. 13 : and with 
regard to the expectation of the direct 
bestowal of wisdom by God, comp. Ecclus. 
i. 26; iv. 11; vi. 37; xliii. 33 (also the 
expression oreiSt^ovros in St. James with 
ovclSu! in Ecclus. xviii. 18: comp. also 
xx. 15; xxix. 28; xxxi. 31; xii. 22). 
Again, St. Jas. i. 6-8 should be compared 
with Ecclus. i. 28 ; ii. 16; vii. 10 ; xxxv. 
16-21. [Mark here the correspondence 
between Su/n^os in St. Jas. i. 8 and /jltj 
oAiyo^/ux^o-y]? in Ecclus. vii. 10 and 
still more the remarkable similarity of 
figure between St. Jas. i. 6 and Ecclus. 
xxxiii. 2b.~\ Again, St. Jas. i. 9-1 1 
should be compared (in the choice of 
the words also) with Ecclus. i. 30; iii. 18; 
xxxi. 5-9 noting specially the remark- 
able similarity of figure between St. Jas. 
i. 10, 11 and Ecclus. vi. 2, 3. Again, 
St. Jas. i. 12 may be compared with 
Ecclus. vi. 28-31; or St. Jas. i. 13, 14. 
with Ecclus. xv. 11, &c. It would not 
be difficult, were this the place for it, 
to continue this comparison almost from 
chapter to chapter in the Epistle of St. 
James. 2 But if the result is to prove 
beyond doubt the familiarity of St. James 
with a book which at the time was evi- 

1 The passages are selected from Boon, u. s. 

2 This has been done by Boon, 11. s. 



dently in wide circulation, it exhibits 
with even greater clearness the immense 
spiritual difference between the standpoint 
occupied in Ecclesiasticus and that in the 
Epistle of St. James. 

VII. The Greek Version of 

As unquestionably the oldest, the 
most important, and on the whole by 
far the most trustworthy rendering of 
the Hebrew original, the Greek version 
of Ben Sira deservedly holds the first 
place. The translator was, as he in- 
forms us in the Prologue, the grandson 
(or further descendant) of the author, 
and he executed his literary task in 
Egypt at a time, as we infer, propi- 
tious for such undertakings. Beyond 
these scanty particulars and an uncertain 
chronological notice, we possess not any 
information about the translator. He 
pleads that he had used all diligence in 
his work, but also modestly excuses him- 
self for any shortcomings or mistakes 
on the ground of the difficulty of exact 
translation from the Hebrew (see Pro- 
logue, and the notes on it). It must be 
admitted that he has ably performed his 
task, despite not unfrequent mistakes, 
due either to misreading or to misunder- 
standing of the original Hebrew. But 
besides these involuntary mistakes of 
ignorance, as we may term them, it 
cannot be doubted that the younger 
Siracide also allowed himself to make 
alterations of the original text. Such 
changes might be introduced (a) for 
apologetic reasons the translator wish- 
ing to meet or anticipate objections, or 
to conciliate prejudice; or (b) when he 
felt not in agreement with the views of 
his grandfather; (c) from a desire to 
express those views more clearly (as he 
thought), or else (d) more forcibly 
whether more realistically or more euphe- 
mistically ; (e) by way of glosses ; but 
chiefly (/) when he wished to introduce, 
instead of his grandfather's, his own 
Hellenistic views, thereby giving them 
the weight of the great Palestinian 
authority of the older Siracide. This 
charge may seem very serious, and in a 
sense it is so. But it must be remembered 
that the views of the ancients and their 

practice widely differed in this respect 
from ours, and we must extend to them 
a greatly enlarged measure of that 
literary licence which some seem to 
claim for themselves even in our own 
days. Indeed, while carefully guarding 
ourselves against the favourite but unwar- 
ranted general assumption of spurious- 
ness, we may venture the opinion that 
probably few ancient religious writings 
have entirely escaped "redactions " not 
to speak of interpolations. As regards 
Ecclesiasticus, the evidence of it comes 
to us from a comparison of the Greek 
with the Syriac text. Whenever we meet 
a distinctly Hellenistic sentiment in the 
Greek text, for which, on comparison, 
we find in the Syriac an ordinary Jewish 
sentiment, we suspect an alteration by 
the younger Siracide. Such modifica- 
tions chiefly occur in passages specially 
treating of "Wisdom," but we also find 
them in others. To enumerate all the 
instances would require more space than 
this paragraph, and we must refer the 
reader to the commentary itself. But 
one or two examples will, at least, illus- 
trate our meaning. In Ecclus. i. 3, 4, 
the Greek text has : " Who can trace 
out . . . and wisdom. Wisdom was 
created before all things, and intelli- 
gence of understanding from Aeon." 
This sounds distinctly Hellenistic. The 
Syr. omits "and wisdom" at the close 
of v. 3, and renders v. 4 : " More abun- 
dant than all these is wisdom, and 
stronger is faith." For our next illustra- 
tion we naturally turn to Ecclus. xxiv. 
Here the alterations, as compared with 
the Syr., are so numerous and so impor- 
tant that we must refer to the notes on 
that chapter. A specially interesting 
instance of this occurs in ^.31 (see the 
note on it). For our last illustration we 
select Ecclus. xliii. It requires but slight 
knowledge to recognise the pronounced 
Hellenism of such a verse as Ecclus. 
xliii. 27. But the whole stanza which 
begins with that verse contains Hellen- 
istic elements, nor would it be difficult 
to discern traces of them in the two pre- 
ceding stanzas. We are not surprised 
that v. 27 is not found in the Syriac 
Version. But it is certainly remarkable 
that in the Syriac the whole text after 
v. 12 is wanting, and it raises the sus- 



picion that it had somehow been tam- 
pered with, perhaps by a later hand. 

Apart from these objections, we are 
bound to say that the Greek of the text 
(especially in the Prologue) is fairly good, 
although the translation is slavishly literal 
and contains many Hebraisms. These 
might mislead the reader, and if literally 
rendered would seriously mar a transla- 
tion into English. 1 The latter occasion- 
ally offers considerable difficulties not 
only in the Prologue, but in other pas- 
sages. What might be termed our 
Authorized English Version follows the 
text of the Complutcnsian Polyglot 
(1514-1517). It has been retained in 
the body of this work. But in the 
notes the needed alterations have been 
made, both in accordance with the 
better readings and to reproduce the 
text with the utmost literality com- 
patible with the proper exhibition of its 
meaning. Where the Syriac Version 
seemed more accurately to represent 
the Hebrew original, this has generally 
been indicated, although it must be 
borne in mind that the present is a 
commentary on the Greek Version of the 
work of Ben Sira. The corrupt state of 
our present Greek text has long been 
subject of complaint. It appears even 
from a comparison of the various Codices. 
Some at least of the alterations seem to 
point to later Christian emendation. 

Of the various manuscripts the first 
and most important is the Codex Vati- 
ca?uts, 1209 {apud Holmes, II.). It forms 
the basis of the Sixtine (or common) 
edition ('Vet. Test, juxta Sept. ex auc- 
toritate Sixti V. Pont. Max.' ed. Romae, 
1587). The professedly correct edition 
of the Vatican text by Mai (5 vols. 
Romae, 1857) is unsatisfactory. Far 
more trustworthy in this respect is the 
recent edition by Vercellone and Cozza 
(6 vols. Rome, 1 868-1 881). On the 
basis of it Nestle has added, as an 
appendix to the 6th edition of Tischen- 
dorf's edition of the LXX., a collation 

1 So for example the rendering by \6yos of 
Ql in its common later meaning of "a thing" 
or "a matter," as in Eccles. Similarly jn in 
the sense of beauty is rendered by xP'$, as in 
Ecclus. xxiv. 16. Thus also in other instances, 
of which at least the more obvious have been 
pointed out by Eichhorn, Bretschneider, and 
other writers. 

of the Vatican and the Sinaitic Codd. 
[S 1 , S 2 ], which has also been separately 
published. The Vat. Cod. is regarded 
by Tischendorf as dating from the 4th 
century. (2) Codex Sinaiticus, discovered 
by Tischendorf in 1859, and dated by 
him as of the 4th century. The MS. is 
now in the St. Petersburg Library, and 
has been published in 4 vols., St. Peters- 
burg, 1S62. It is designated by X 
in Fritzsche's edition. (3) The Codex 
Alexandrinus (marked III. apud Holmes 
et Fritzsche), now in the British Museum, 
and supposed to date from the 5th cen- 
tury. It was edited (in 4 vols, fol., Ox. 
1 707-1 7 20) by J. E. Grabe, vols. i. 
(1707) andiv. (1709) during his lifetime; 
vols. ii. (1719) and iii. (1720) after his 
death, by Fr. Lee. Where the Alex, text 
was defective it is supplemented from the 
Sixtine edition or from other MSS., indi- 
cating this by smaller type, and similarly 
any conjectural emendations, marking in 
the latter case the Alex, reading in the 
margin in ordinary type. Unfortunately 
this is not uniformly done. (Other edition 
in 8 vols. 8vo, Oxon. ; and corrected by 
Fr. Field, Oxon. 1859.) The beautiful 
edition by J. J. Breitinger (Tig. 1730- 
1732, 4 torn. 4to) follows the text of 
Grabe, and gives at the bottom the Sixt. 
and other readings, adding critical dis- 
sertations. Lastly, it has been reprinted 
in a facsimile edition of the original by 
H. H. Baber (London, 181 6-1 821, 3 torn, 
folio, with Proleg. and notes, 1828); 
and finally reproduced in autotype fac- 
simile (vol. i., 1881 ; ii. and iii., 1883; 
iv., 1879). 1 

Next in order we have to mention the 
splendid edition by Holmes and Parsons 
(Ox. 1798-1827, 5 torn, folio), containing 
the Sixtine text, but adding what to the 
present time is the most complete col- 
lection of variants. (The Apocr. are in 
vol. v.) For these a number of Codd. 
of which several are, however, defective 
come into account for Ecclesiasticus. 
They are : Codd. 23 of the 9th cent., in the 
Libr. Ven. ; 55 of the 12th cent. being 
Cod. Vat. 1, once belonging to Queen 
Christina of Sweden; 68 (often defec- 
tive), from the library of St. Mark, Venice, 
of the age of other good Codd. ; 70, Cod. 

1 Comp. also the Introd. to the Cambridge 
edition of the Sept., by Dr. Swete, 1887. 



Bibl. Monast. S. Annae, Augustae Vin- 
delic. ; 106, Cod. Ferrariensis, e Codd. 
Bibl. Carmel. at Ferrara, 14th cent.; 
155 j 157 ; 248, Cod. Vat. 346, about 
the 14th cent., containing Prov., Eccles., 
Cant., Job, Wisd., Sir., Esdr.,Tob., Jud., 
and Esth. ; 253, Vat., 14th cent.; 254, 
Vat., 13th cent. ; 296 and 307, Cod. 
Bibl. Elect. Monach., olim 276, nunc 
129; 308, Cod. Palat. Vindob. the 
latter belonging to Lucian's recension of 
the Greek text (Field, ' Origen. Hexapl.' 
Prol., p. lxxxviii.). 

The Codices just enumerated were 
used by O. F. Fritzsche in his Com- 
mentary on Ecclus. (' Kurzgef. exeg. 
Handb. zu d. Apokr. d. A. Test.' 5 te 
Lief, i860), and in his critical edition of 
the f Libri Apocr. Vet. Test.' (Lips. 187 1). 
The latter work although very valuable 
is open to objection, not only in 
regard to the text, as proposed to be 
restored, but also because Fritzsche gives 
only a selection of the variants, and 
especially because he omits all reference 
to the Syriac Version, the importance 
of which he unaccountably fails to recog- 
nise. Besides these Codd., Fritzsche also 
made use of the fragments of the Cod. 
Ephraemi, which he marks by the letter 
C, and of the Cod. August., collated 
by D. Hoeschel, which he marks H. 
The palimpsest fragments of the books of 
Wisdom and Sirach, which Tischendorf 
brought from the East to St. Petersburg, 
and which he dates as from the 6th or 
7th cent., have not yet been collated. 

The first impression made by the 
great work of Holmes and Parsons is 
the wish that the collation of Codd. were 
made complete ; the next, that the vast 
mass of materials could be reduced to 
order by grouping Codd. into families, 
and, if possible, determining their rela- 
tion to the recensions of Origen, Lucian, 
and Hesychius. This has been already 
partly accomplished by the labours of 
F. Field, Cormll (' d. d. Buch T. Proph. 
Ezech.'), but especially those of Lagarde. 
But so far as Ecclesiasticus is con- 
cerned, the most interesting and im- 
portant of these Codices is that marked 
248, which is followed in the Com- 
plutensian Polyglot (Co.). It or, more 
accurately, its archetype may be de- 
scribed as chief of a class, to which 

2 3> 2 53> H, and partly 106 and 55, 
belong. It is apparently the work of 
one hand. A comparison with Clement 
of Alexandria shews that the text of 248 
was known and used by him, and hence 
that it must date not later than the 
beginning of the 2nd century. 1 Another 
interest of the text of 248 lies in its 
frequent agreement with the Veins Latina 
(see next ), but especially with the 
Syriac Version and therefore with the 
original Hebrew text, from which the 
latter was made. It deserves special 
notice that 248 does not contain the 
undoubtedly genuine Prologue by the 
younger Siracide, in place of which an 
evidently later redactor has added the 
spurious Prologue (also incorporated in 
Co. and thence in the English Version) 
found in the Synopsis, falsely ascribed to 
Athanasius (Op., ed. Bened.,ii. p. 173). 2 
We further mark that of all MSS. only 
248 (and after it Co.) preserves the right 
order of the chapters after ch. xxx. (see 
notes), which is inverted in all the 
other Codices. In this it agrees with 
the Syriac Version (which is followed by 
the Arab.) and with the Vet. Lat. the 
latter a noteworthy fact as regards that 
version. When from these two impor- 
tant preliminary points we proceed to 
an examination of" the text of 248, we 
are struck not only with the frequency 
but witli the remarkable character of its 
correspondence with the Syriac Version. 
Nor is it perhaps less instructive to find 
that in many instances 248 does not 
agree with the Syriac. As a curious in- 
stance of this we would point, among 
many others, to Ecclus. xxx. 25 (see the 
notes). A detailed comparison of the 
readings in 248 (which are given in full 
by Fritzsche) with the Syr. would be 
necessary fully to exhibit the state of the 
case. But some illustrative instances will 
be given when treating of the Syriac and 
the Latin versions. Three theories might 
here be suggested, of which at least 

1 We have examined 56 quotations by Clement 
from Ecclus. In by far the largest number of 
them he quotes freely, i.e. not exactly according 
to any known text. But in five instances his 
quotations markedly correspond with the text of 

3 The real author of this spurious Prologue is 
not known, but it probably dates from the 4th 
or 5th cent. 



two seem on examination wholly un- 
tenable. The first is that 248 may- 
represent an independent Greek transla- 
tion from the Hebrew. But in that case 
the differences from our other Greek MSS. 
would be much wider reaching and more 
complete; in fact. 248 would be essentially 
different from them. Nor yet would we 
expect to find in it any of the Hellenistic 
alterations of the younger Siracide. But 
as a matter of fact we find to choose a 
notorious example that in Ecclus. i. 4, 5, 
Cod. 248 (as well as the Latin Version) 
has a spurious addition, evidently from 
a later Christian redactor. And so in 
other characteristic instances. The se- 
cond theory would be that the text 
underlying 248 had been corrected from 
the Hebrew original. But this also we 
have to reject, partly on the grounds 
above stated, and for this additional 
reason, that 248 leaves the impression of 
corrections, not from a first but from a 
second source. The third explanation 
which may be offered is that the text of 
248 was corrected from the Syriac Ver- 
sion. In its present condition the MS. 
has undoubtedly been revised and re- 
dacted, apparently by a Christian hand. 
In evidence of this we find not only 
the spurious Preface, but also such spu- 
rious additions as that previously men- 
tioned at the end of i. 4, which from its 
insertion in Co. appears as v. 5 in our 
Authorized English Aversion, where the 
\6yos of God seems plainly to refer to 
Christ. [This addition in 248 (and Co.) 
occurs also in the dependent Codd. H, 
2 3> 55j 7 slightly different and evi- 
dently corrupt in 106 and 253.] The 
inference (for further support of which 
we must refer to the commentary) would 
seem to be, that 248 represents an old 
text which had originally been emended 
from the Syriac, and was afterwards 
revised, expurgated, and added to by a 
later, probably Christian, hand, and in 
accordance with the then textus receptus. 
Or does the text of 248 stand in any 
connexion with those that underlie the 
recension of Lucian? According to 
Hug, that text was emended from the 
Peshittho; but according to modern, 
although not unchallenged, opinion, from 
the Hebrew. 

Passing from the important question 

of the manuscripts, it only remains to 
add that the Greek text affords frequent 
evidence of the use of the LXX. ; and 
that not only as regards the Pentateuch, 
but the historical and prophetic books, 
the Psalms, Proverbs, and Ecclesiastes. 
In truth, the meaning of many expres- 
sions in Ecclus. can best be ascertained 
by a reference to the LXX. For detailed 
evidence we must once more refer to 
the body of the commentary. Occa- 
sional deviations from the wording of 
the LXX. should not be always set down 
to ignorance of its text. They may 
have been due either to quotation 
from memory, or they may be another 
reading, or else attempted improve- 
ments, such as it has been (and pro- 
bably still is) the fashion of making 
upon the A. V. 

On the other hand, it is very curious 
to find in LXX. Prov. xxvi. n an inter- 
polation from Ecclus. iv. 21. Conversely, 
we have in the Syriac version of Ecclus. 
xxvii. 20 (21) an interpolation from 
Prov. vi. 5. Possibly these may have 
been originally marginal glosses which 
afterwards crept into the text. The 
same may be said of the inscriptions (or 
summaries of contents) which occasion- 
ally appear in the Greek text. 

VIII. The Syriac Version and the 
"Vetus Latina." 

We approach now one of the most 
important questions for the proper under- 
standing of Ecclesiasticus. Till com- 
paratively lately the almost unanimous 
opinion of critics has been that the Syriac 
translation had been made from the 
Greek Version. So far as we know, the 
learned Bendtsen (' Spec, exercit. crit. in 
Vet. T. libr. Apocr.' pp. 16, 29) stood 
alone in the opinion that the Syriac was 
derived directly from the Hebrew original. 
And, if we credit the statement of Jerome 
that he had seen the Hebrew original, 
there is not anything a priori incredible 
or even improbable in such a supposition. 1 
But the decision of the question must 

1 The presumption in favour of a direct trans- 
lation from the Hebrew seems to us greatly 
strengthened by the very able although not 
on all points unassailable dissertation of J. 
Perles on the age and authorship of the Peshittho 
(' Meletemata Peshitthoniana,' 1S59). 



necessarily depend on a detailed exa- 
mination of the Syriac Version itself. 
Scholars in every way most competent 
for this task have of late pronounced 
unhesitatingly in favour of the view that 
the Syriac Version has been made from 
the Hebrew original. If the mere autho- 
rity of names were here to prevail, we 
might appeal to such writers as Geiger 
(in an article in the ' Z. D. M. G.' vol. xii. 
PP- 536-543), Horowitz ( f D. Buch Jesus 
Sirach/ 1865), Noldeke ("Alttest. Lit.' 
p. 168, though he regards the Hebrew 
MS. used as very corrupt), Seligmann 
('D. Buch d. Weish. Jes. Sir.' 1883), 
Professor Bickell ('Alphab. Lied Jes. 
Sir.'), and especially Lagarde (' Sym- 
micta,' p. 88; ' Mittheil.' 1884; and' his 
edition of the Apocr. in Syr v in which 
for this reason he gives the first place 
to Sirach). But hitherto the authority, 
or rather the contradiction, of Fritzsche 
(//. s., xxiv., xxv.) unsupported though 
it be by any detailed criticism seems 
to have prevailed with those who treated 
the questions against the deliberately 
expressed views of Syriac scholars. 
The latest writer on the subject has 
even ventured on the brief but categorical 
sentence, that "the book [Ecclus.] has 
been preserved to us only in the Greek 
translation." 1 On the other hand, it 
must be admitted that while those Syriac 
scholars who hold the opposite view have 
adduced certain passages in confirmation 
of it, they have not submitted the whole 
book to a detailed examination with a 
view to the final settlement of the con- 
troversy. This has been attempted in 
the present commentary, with the result, 
it is hoped, of not only proving the 
derivation of the Syriac Version from 
the original Hebrew text, but also of 
obtaining through the Syriac in many 
passages a more correct view of what 
the original text had really contained. 

As the argument here is not only direct 
from certain passages but cumulative, 
we must refer for the full evidence to 
the commentary itself, in which the com- 
parison of the two versions is carried on. 

1 Schlirer, ' Gesch. d. Jiid. Volkes' (the 2nd 
edition of his ' Neutest. Zeitg.'), ii. p. 595. He 
expresses himself even more strongly in the 
art. Apokrypha, in Herzog's ' Reai-Encykl.' 
(vol. i. pp. 493, 494). 

Within the compass of this section it 
is only possible to give a statement of 
some of the results arrived at, accom- 
panied by illustrative instances. 

Reference has already been made to 
the absence of the Prologue from the 
Syriac Version. Possibly this might be 
accounted for on the supposition that 
the writer had wished to give himself 
the appearance of having translated 
directly from the Hebrew. Not so the 
preservation of the right order of the 
text after ch. xxx. But these are only 
preliminary points. The evidence that 
the Syriac was translated from the He- 
brew lies in this, that in many passages 
in which the Syr. and the Greek versions 
strangely and otherwise unaccountably 
differ, these differences can be traced 
back, and are due to one or other of 
these three grounds : (1) that the two 
translators had attached a different mean- 
ing to a Hebrew word which was capable 
of being rendered both ways ; or (2) that 
they had vocalised (pointed) differently ; 
or (3) that by a not uncommon mistake 
of similar letters they had read a word 
differently. Each of these explanations 
of the differences between the Greek and 
the Syriac leads to the inevitable con- 
clusion that both translations had been 
made directly from the Hebrew original. 
As a well-known instance of the first 
kind, we may mention Ecclus. xxiv. 27, 
where the Greek has "as the light," 
and the Syriac "as the Nile." The 
Hebrew had no doubt ")&3, which the 
Greek understood " as the light," while 
the Syr., after the analogy of Am. viii. 8, 
rendered it as = "Kf?, "as the Nile." 
As instances of the second kind (that of 
different vocalisation), the following two 
may serve. In Ecclus. iv. 15 the Greek 
renders : " he who shall give ear to her 
[wisdom] shall judge nations;" the Syr., 
" shall judge truth " the Greek having 
pointed the Hebrew 1"1DK : H'SS (Gen. xxv. 
16), the Syr. (no doubt rightly) n>P& 
Similarly in Ecclus. x. 15, 16, the Greek 
has : " The Lord hath plucked up the 
roots of nations," and again : " Lands of 
nations the Lord overthrew," where in 
both cases the Syr. has, instead of " na- 
tions," " the proud " rightly (at least 
in v. 15), as the context shews. It 



has been suggested that the original had 
DJI, while the Greek pointed 0% But 
we would suggest as more likely, that 
the original had D"N3, which the Greek 
by an easy mistake in the ancient mode 
of making letters read D"J. It deserves 
attention that 24S corrects after the Syr. 
in v. 15, but not in v. 16 and the Vet. 
Lat. follows in both cases. [Was the Greek 
right in v. 16 or were 248 and Vet. 
Lat. influenced by a special (Christian ?) 
motive ?] As instances of the third kind 
(that of the confusion of similar letters 
or else the transposition of letters) we 
may quote Ecclus. xlviii. 23, where (as 
through a similar mistake in other places) 
the Greek translates : " In his days the 
sun went backward," while the Syr. has : 
"by his means (his hand) the sun went 
back" the one having read WO, the 
other v"P3 (a rendering which neither 
248 nor the Vet. Lat. adopts). Again, 
in Ecclus. xlix. 9 the Greek has, " He 
remembered the enemies in storm " [see 
for this the note on the passage], while 
the Syriac read " Job " instead of " ene- 
mies " no doubt wrongly and accord- 
ingly altered the whole verse, which this 
misreading had rendered unintelligible. 
Here the Syriac translator had evidently 
transposed the letters, reading 2i'X (Job) 
instead of ^1N (an enemy), as the Greek 
correctly read it. We mark that 248 
has not the mistake of the Syriac, thus 
furnishing another evidence that when 
the two agree, the Syr. has not borrowed 
from 248. 

These instances might suffice. But 
that they may not seem exceptional 
perhaps even accidental we select some 
others from among the large number 
indicated in the commentary, and adding 
the readings of 248 and the Vet. Lat. 

Ecclus. xiv. 9 b. The Greek has : 
" wicked injustice drieth up the soul;" 
the Syr., "he that usurps what is his 
neighbour 's " the latter having evidently 
wTongly vocalised T}. instead of T\ \ 248 
does not follow the reading of the Syr. 
The Vet. Lat. paraphrases. 

Ecclus. xiv. 10. Greek, "An evil eye 
is envious over bread;" Syr., "multi- 
plieth bread." There is here evidently 
some misreading of the Hebrew, although 
we do not venture on a definite sugges- 

tion : 248 does not follow the Syr., but 
the Vet. Lat., although paraphrastic, may 
preserve some trace of the Syr. rendering 
in its et non satiabittir pane (or does it 
attempt to mediate between the Greek 
and the Syr. ?). 

Ecclus. xiv. 27 b. Greek, " and he 
dwelleth in her glory;" Syr., "in her 
chambers," misreading Tin for "nn : 248 
and Vet. Lat. do not follow the Syriac. 
Or to pass over some chapters : 
Ecclus. xix. 5 (see the corrected trans- 
lation in the notes). Greek, " he that 
hateth babbling ;" Syr., " he that repeateth 
a thing" the Greek misread N:b for 

Ecclus. xix. 7. Greek, "and thou 
shalt fare never the worse ; " Syr., " and 
no one shall revile thee." The Greek 
took the root of the word to be ">pn, while 
the Syr. (as we believe, rightly) derived it 
from Hpn, in the Piel, " to revile" (as in 
Prov. xxv. 10) : 248 and Vet. Lat. do 
not follow the Syr. [For the suggested 
reading of the original, see the note on 
that verse.] 

Ecclus. xxi. 8 (see the notes). The 
Greek seems to have read *$n, " winter;" 
the Syr. rightly, 2in ? " desolation : " 248 
(also 106) follows the Syr., but not Vet. 

Ecclus. xxi. 18 (see notes). The Greek, 
nC ; C rva, "a house destroyed;" the 
Syr./-Of ; rV2, a prison:" 248 and 
the Vet. Lat. do not follow the Syr. 

It could not serve any purpose to con- 
tinue this comparison of the two versions. 
In the commentary it has been carried 
on from chapter to chapter. And we 
feel that the force of the evidence in 
favour of the direct translation of the 
Syriac text from the Hebrew cannot be 
fully appreciated by any number of iso- 
lated instances, while it becomes irresis- 
tible when the two versions are conti- 
nuously compared. 

Our further remarks must be brief. 
Although on a comparison of the differ- 
ences between the Greek and Syriac 
translations, where such differences depend 
on the different rendering of words, we 
are disposed so often to give the pre- 
ference to the Syriac, this is not by any 
means uniformly the case. Instances 
have already been given in which the 



Greek translation seems correct and the 
Syriac wrong. Again, we notice in the 
latter occasionally a displacement of lines, 
as in Ecclus. xxiv. 25, 26. Sometimes it 
might almost appear, although this is very 
doubtful, as if there were indication of a 
later revision of the Syriac by the Greek 
[as in Ecclus. xxiii. 27]. 1 That the Syriac 
had undergone some later redaction seems 
suggested even by the circumstance that 
in the Arabic Version, which was evidently 
made from the Syriac, there are differences 
and notably omissions as compared with 
the Syriac (comp., for example, those in 
chaps, xxvii. and xxviii.). Sometimes 
we meet in the Syriac what may be 
regarded as apologetic (or emendatory) 
alterations, as in Ecclus. xxv. 7 (see the 
notes). To say that the Syriac Version 
is, as compared with the Greek, often and 
largely paraphrastic, is only to express 
what might otherwise have been expected. 
For the Syriac bears the character of a 
Targum and was certainly intended in 
great measure as an ecclesiasticus, or 
Church-book, for homiletical and cate- 
chetical purposes. One very important 
point still remains to be added. If 
Perles (//. s.) has arrived on critical 
grounds at the conclusion that the 
Peshittho Version of the New Testament 
was made by Jewish Christians, our 
investigations have led us to the same 
inference as regards Ecclesiasticus. We 
infer the Jewish origin of the translation 
from the occasional occurrence of ex- 
pressions in Rabbinic usage. The evi- 
dence of the Christian character of the 
version although necessarily inferential 
is found throughout the whole book. 
But we may here specially refer to such 
passages as Ecclus. xxiv. 5, 9, xxvii. 17, 

1 Bretschneider [u. s., p. 701) adduces a few- 
instances from which he erroneously infers that 
the Syr. translation was made from the Greek. 
They consist of instances in which, in his view, 
the Syriac rendering is accounted for by a slight 
alteration in the Greek. Although of no interest 
or value, they may, for completeness' sake, here 
find a place : i. 8, 8-qaavpovs for dpouov ; vii. 23, 
yd.fX7\(Tov for Kajx^/ov ; xi. 30, dripevdeicra for 0r)pev- 
T7/s ; xii. II, KaKiobv avr6v for /ccm'cocre ; xxii. 23, 
Tron/crai for KTrjaat ; or again, v. 3, afiiKovfAtvos 
for k8lkcoi> ; ix. 2, iTriffrrtvai for iiri^uai ; 1. 5> 
AaoO for vaov. We only add that in all these 
cases 248 has the ordinary reading. The instances 
quoted by Bretschneider only prove the weakness 
of his case. 

and also to chaps, xxxv., xlvi., xlvii., 
xlviii. (see on these the commentary). 
Very significant also in this respect seems 
to us such an alteration as the substitu- 
tion in vii. 31 of panem oblationum et 
primitias manuum for lines c and d. 
[The additions in the Vet. Lat. are still 
more curious.] On the same ground we 
account for the omission in the Syriac of 
Ecclus. xlv. 9-14, containing descriptive 
details of the Aaronic priesthood. Besides 
these passages which might be con- 
siderably increased we would (here 
following Bretschneider) call attention to 
the remarkable substitution in the Syr. 
for the text in the Greek in Ecclus. i. 
after v. 20 to the end ; to xi. 12, xiv. 16 ; 
and to xvii. 27, 28. 

It only remains to add that our know- 
ledge of the Syriac text has been rectified 
since we possess it not only in Walton's 
Polyglot, but in the critical edition of 
Lagarde (1861), which has the corrections 
from MSS. in the British Museum. Jeh. 
Low Ben-Seebh has published a Syriac 
text in Hebrew letters, with a Hebrew and 
German translation and a brief Hebrew 
commentary (Breslau, 1798 ; in new and 
improved edition, Vienna, 1807; ib. 1818; 
ib. 1828 the Hebrew version metrically 
rendered into German by M. E. Stern, 
Vienna, 1844 *). But its usefulness is 
marred by the great liberties taken, not 
only in the Hebrew version, but with 
the Syriac text, in the way of omissions, 
transpositions, &c. 

The Vetus Latina. -This is reproduced 
in our ordinary editions of the Vulgate 
[most handy as a critical edition, with 
different readings, is that by Heyse and 
Tischendorf, Lips. 1873]. All the vari- 
ants from four MSS. are given by Sabatier 
(' Bibl. Sacr. Lat. versiones,' ii., Reimis, 
1743). Jerome tells us expressly that he 
had left the text of the Vetus Latina 
untouched (calamo tcmpcravi) in the 
(apocryphal) Wisdom of Solomon and in 
Ecclesiasticus (' Proefat. in edit. libr. 
Salom. juxta Sept. interpr.' [ed. Vallarsi,. 
x. 436]). 

If the Syriac Version may be described 
as a Targum or a paraphrastic " Church- 
book," this designation applies with even 
much greater force to the Latin translation 

1 See Fiirst, ' Biblioth. Jud.' i. p. 105. 



of Ecclesiasticus. Indeed, the student is 
bewildered amidst what seem redactions, 
interpolations, uncritical additions (some 
probably originally in the margin), altera- 
tions and paraphrases. In its present 
form the version leaves the impression 
that the main body of the text had been 
derived from the Greek. Yet this appear- 
ance may in some respects be deceptive. 
At any rate, we perceive a stratum which 
cannot be accounted for by any arbitrary 
alteration nor yet by derivation from any 
known Greek Codex. We have already 
observed that, like the Syriac and 248, 
the Latin preserves the right order of the 
chapters after ch. xxx. Likewise, it has 
been noticed that the Latin often has the 
same readings or emendations as 248. 
If these have been made from the Syriac 
[or else from the same sources], the sug- 
gestion would lie near that this stratu??i 
in the Vet. Lat. had been derived from 
the Syriac. It may indeed be suggested 
that it is traceable to other Codices or to 
sources which underlay the recension of 
Lucian. The latter view is supported by 
so great an authority as Ceriani (see the 
excellent Epilegomena to L. Van Ess's 
ed. of the LXX., 1887, p. 12). But here 
we may be said to be still partly on 
conjectural ground. And in any case 
the recension of Lucian brings us to 
Antioch. We can scarcely suppose that 
this stratum was taken from the text of 
248 [nor from that group], since the Vet. 
Lat. so often leaves aside 248. If the 
translation had been made from that text, 
we would have expected more constant 
conformity to it. Not so, if emendations 
were here and there selected from the 
Syriac, nor even if the still remanent 
stratum represents an original use of the 
Syriac by the translator. There is, how- 
ever, another supposition possible, viz. 
that this nucleus represents either a 
translation from the original Hebrew, or 
emendations from it. We confess that 
this does not seem likely to us among 
other reasons, for this, that we can scarcely 
bring ourselves to believe that a translator 
who had access to the original would 
have produced such a version. The case 
would be otherwise if the translator was 
indebted to a not unfrequently para- 
phrastic version from the original. There 
he might more readily make selections, 

or a later redactor might even have 
struck out some of these selections. But 
the whole question is one of peculiar 
difficulty, and complicated by our un- 
certainty about the country and circum- 
stances in which the Vetus Latina origi- 
nated, and its relation to one of the three 
recensions of the LXX. What therefore 
we offer must be considered in the form 
of modest suggestion. 

The conjecture that the Latin Version 
was derived from a Hebrew original 
although from a Codex different from 
that used by the Greek translator was 
first broached by Cornelius a Lapide 
(' Comment, in Ecclus.' p. 20). It was 
next mooted by the learned Sabatier (u. s. 
t. ii. p. 390), although without any attempt 
at proof. This deficiency was sought to be 
supplied by E. G. Bengel in the 7th vol. 
of Eichhorn's ' Allgem. Biblioth. d. bibl. 
Litter.,' 1796, pp. 832-864. The essay, 
as even its dimensions shew, is extremely 
slight, and the attempted investigation 
extends only over small portions at the 
beginning and in the middle of the book 
Ecclesiasticus. Bengel regards the Vetus 
Latina as dating " from the first centuries 
of Christianity." 1 He claims not cer- 
tainty but probability for his theory that 
the Latin translation had been made with 
the aid of a Jew, or else by a Jewish 
Christian (as we have suggested in re- 
gard to the Syriac). The translator had 
rendered from the Hebrew, with aid 
from the Greek Version the latter, 
either from special reasons, or this de- 
pendence was due to a glossator or to a 
later copyist. But, indeed, the use of 
the Greek in the rendering of the Vetus 
Latina seems beyond question. If detailed 
proof were required, even the passages 
adduced by Welte (' Einleit.' u. s., p. 215) 
would suffice for the purpose. As a 
Roman Catholic writer, he pleads for the 
great trustworthiness of the Vetus Lat. 

1 According to Cornill (' d. Buch d. Proph. 
Ez.' p. 26) the Vet. Lat. was used by Tertullian, 
indeed was in general use in Northern Africa. 
But so far as Ecclesiasticus is concerned, we 
cannot discover any trace of it in the seven 
passages in which, according to the Index in the 
ed. Oehler, Tertullian is supposed to refer to our 
book. Indeed, in only two of these passages 
('de exhort, castitatis,' ii., and ' de monogam.' 
xiv.) is there any reference to Ecclus. (xv. 18) 
and even there it seems to me doubtful, and cer- 
tainly is not literally taken from the Vet. Lat. 



But even he is obliged to admit that the 
translator had corrected his work by the 
Greek text. 

But to return. Bengel begins by 
criticising certain passages in the Latin 
Version which are supposed to afford 
evidence of having been derived from the 
Greek text, with the view of shewing that 
such is not always the case. But as in some 
of these the Vet. Lat. accords with the Syr. 
and presumably the Hebrew while in 
others it only displays a curious ignorance 
of Greek (and is this not also character- 
istic?), it seems needless here to discuss 
them. In direct proof of the connexion 
between the Vet. Lat. and the Hebrew 
Bengel adduces a number of passages 
from Ecclus. i. and xxxiv. Most of these 
are, however, beside the point, as will 
appear from the following examination of 
the first six : 

Ecclus. i. 1, "et cum illo fuit semper 
et est ante aevum." The words italicised 
are neither in the Syr. nor in 248. But 
they are apparently only a Christian 

Ecclus. i. 2, "profundum abyssi." 
The word italicised is not in 248, but is 
found in the Syr. 

Ecclus. i. 3 in Vet. Lat. This seems a 
Christian gloss perhaps it is an adapta- 
tion from the Syr. of i. 4. 

Ecclus. i. 6 a. Here also there seems 
a Christian gloss in the Vet. Lat. So 
also in 7 b. 

Ecclus. i. 7 a, b j i. 8. To both these 
passages in the Vet. Lat. the previous 
stricture applies. 

Welte (u. s., p. 216), who seems on the 
whole inclined to regard the Vet. Lat. 
as primarily derived from the Hebrew 
original, selects from the essay of Bengel 
the following four passages as presumably 
in his view the best instances adduced : 
Ecclus. i. 17 : Greek cTriflu/xTi/Aarwi/, Vet. 
Lat. a tJicsauris apparently a confusion 
between D^JJEO and D^OtDO [the latter 
word is actually used in the Talmud 
Sanh. \oob in a quotation of Ecclus. 
xlii. 9, 10]. But the Vet. Lat. has here 
only the same rendering as the Syriac. 
Ecclus. i. 26 : Greek eVroAas, Vet. Lat. 
justitiam, Hebrew (possibly) tDSU'D. But 
this instance does not really prove any- 
thing, and the slight alteration in the Vet. 
Lat. might even be due to anti-Judaistic 

motives. The next passage quoted is 
Ecclus. i. 29 a, where the Greek, mis- 
reading *B? for *?.??, translates h> o-To/xa- 
div avOpuiiroiv, while the Vet. Lat. has in 
conspectu hominum. This, however, only 
once more sends us back to the Syriac, 
where we find the right rendering. Be- 
sides, 253 actually corrects : ivurmov. The 
last instance adduced is Ecclus. i. 29 , 
where the Greek has irp6<rex^, " and in 

thy lips take heed," reading TS&fi (as in 

Prov. xvi. 23), while the Vetus Lat. has 

et non scandalizeris, reading X'3Fi ?K 

taking the ^x from the previous clause. 
But 248 has substantially the same 
emendation (/at; 7rpoo-exe). 

These and similar instances are mani- 
festly insufficient to establish the hypo- 
thesis of Bengel. We now proceed to 
select at least a few instances which in 
our view support the suggestion that the 
Vet. Lat. was somehow dependent on the 

Ecclus. xxv. 9. Greek, " he that has 
found prudence ;" the Syr. by a wrong 
reading and then wrong Syr. punctuation : 
that has obtained " mercy." Without 
that wrong punctuation the misreading 
would have been " a friend " (the original 
misreading being nyi for njn). The Vet. 
Lat. follows this misreading, but not the 
mispunctuation (which may be of later 
date) , and renders amicum verum. Neither 
248 nor any other MS. follows the Syr. 
and Vet. Lat., which here also differ from 
the Hebrew. 

Ecclus. xxv. 12 [A. V.] is a Christian 
interpolation. It was certainly not in the 
Hebrew original, and is only found in 
H, 248, and Co. But it occurs in the 
Syr. and in the Vetus Latina. 

Ecclus. xxvi. 3. This is very curious, 
as shewing the dependence of the Vet. 
Lat. alike on the Greek and on the Syriac. 
The Greek has : "it shall be given in 
the portion of them that fear the Lord." 
The Syr. rightly renders : "to the man 
who feareth the Lord." The Hebrew had 
pira, " into the bosom " = " to the man," 
as in the Syr., while the Greek misread 
phm, " in the portion." Then the Syr. 
adds the gloss evidently not from the 
Hebrew "in return for good works." 
The Vet. Lat. takes from the Greek 



the first part, " in parte timentium Deum 
dabitur viro" the latter word apparently 
from the Syr. ; and it also adds from the 
Syriac, pro factis bonis. 248 has not this 
gloss, nor any other MS., nor was it in 
the Hebrew. 

Mr. Margoliouth, although not agree- 
ing with our views on this subject, points 
to the following passage as a most 
remarkable instance of accord between 
the Vet. Lat. and the Syr. To exhibit 
its full force we give the passage in the 
three versions. 

Ecclus. xx. 14, Greek: "The gift of 
one [who is] senseless shall not profit 
thee, for in his view [literally, his eye] 
instead of one many " [see notes]. 

Syriac, v. 13: " Donum insipientis 
inestimabile est apud ipsum, quoniam 
oculi ejus ad compensationem septuplo 
majorem [seportandam] positi sunt." 
v. 14 : " Parum dat et multiim exprobrat, 
et aperiens os suuni male loquitur et 

Vet. Lat., v. 14: "Datus insipientis 
non erit utilis tibi oculi enim illius 
[so far the three versions agree] septem- 
plices sunt." ^.15: " Exigua dab it et 
multa improperabit et apertio oris illius 
inflammatio est." 

The agreement here between the Vet. 
Lat. and the Syriac [marked by italics] 
is not less striking than their difference 
from the Greek. 

There are also what appear to us other, 
perhaps minor, indications of a connec- 
tion between the Vet. Lat. and the Syr. 
Thus it seems to mark alike the Christian 
character of the Syriac Version and its 
relationship with the Vet. Lat., that in 
Ecclus. xxxvi. 2 both these versions omit 
the word "all" from the sentence : "Send 
thy fear upon all the nations." If that 
word had not been in the Hebrew original, 
it is scarcely likely that the Hellenising 
Greek translator would have inserted it. 
And the word occurs in 248 and in all 
other MSS. ; although 248 like the 
Vet. Lat. adds after . " nations " the 
Christian gloss, "who do not seek Thee" 
(Vet. Lat., exquisierunt), for which the 
Syr. has, " who have not known Thee." 
But, indeed, there are many traces of 
such Christian alterations in the Syr., 
but especially in the Vet. Lat., and their 
study is very interesting (compare, for 

example, the opening verses of chaps. 
xxiv. and xxxv., and the closing verses 
of the latter such as xxxv. 25 in the 
Vet. Lat.). One of the most curious 
instances in which the Vet. Lat. follows 
the Syr. [against all the Greek MSS.], 
and in which both these versions have 
a marked Christian alteration, is xxv. 15 
[see the note]. But the tracing of such 
indications is apt to become subjective, 
gaining force by their cumulation. It 
had therefore best be conjoined with a 
careful study of the text. This is not 
the place to continue the comparison 
of the two versions, but we may invite 
the consideration of such passages as, 
for example, Ecclus. xxv. 9, 12; xxvi. 
3, 18 ; xxvii. 3 ; xxviii. 24, 25 ; xxix. 7. 
We add as an instance of the corrupt 
state of the text of the Vetus Latina 
that in Ecclus. xxv. 17, where the Vat 
reading has " like sackcloth " and the 
Alex. " like a bear," the Vet. Lat. (v. 24) 
inserts both: " tamquam ursus, et quasi 
saccum ostendet " evidently trying to 
make sense out of the two (" ursus " and 
then " quasi saccum ostendet "). Pos- 
sibly one of these renderings may have 
crept in from the margin (see note on 
the verse). Similarly in xxv. 18 (Vet. 
Lat. 25) the Vet. Lat. combines the 
Greek with the Syriac reading, slightly 
altering the latter (see note on the verse). 
Instances of doublets and possibly triplets 
will be found in other places, especially 
in the earlier chapters. 

IX. Other Ancient Versions. 1 

The Armenian, ^Ethiopic, Syro-Hexa- 
plar, Coptic, and Palasoslavonic versions 
are all derived from the Greek. 

1. The Armenian Version is published 

1 The notice of the versions enumerated in 
this paragraph is from the pen of Mr. D. S~ 
Margoliouth, Fellow and Tutor of New College, 
Oxford. To the same scholar are also due the 
philological and critical parts of the notes from 
ch. xxxi. onwards ; the introductions to these 
latter chapters, and the exegetical notes on them, 
being by Dr. Edersheim, who however holds 
himself also responsible for every part. Besides, 
the aid and co-operation of Mr. Margoliouth 
throughout this commentary more particularly 
in the comparison of the Syriac text are also 
here gratefully acknowledged. Some of his 
special suggestions are indicated in the places 
where they occur. 



in the Venetian edition of the Armenian 
Bible, but in a fragmentary condition, 
having a lacuna from xxxv. 19-xxxviii. 
14 (inclusive), and breaking off at xlii. 24 ; 
besides omitting minor portions, such as 
the whole of ch. viii., and single verses, 
e.g. xx. 15, 24 & Like the rest of the 
Armenian version of the Bible, it is 
minutely faithful and exhibits occasionally 
a very unusual knowledge of the Greek 
language. The text followed resembles 
that of the Alexandrian MS. The most 
important variants which it affords will 
be found quoted in xl. 6 and xli. 17. 

2. The /Ethiopic Version exists only 
in MSS., of which eleven are in the 
British Museum, and several in the 
Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris. A 
short account of a copy at Tubingen 
was given by Ewald in the first volume 
of the ' Zeitschrift der Morgenlandischen 
Gesellschaft.' The translation is ignorant 
and paraphrastic ; in a few passages it 
shews signs of contamination with the 
Syriac (viii. 5, xxii. 15, xxxviii. 30, &c). 

3. The Syro-Hexaplaris is published 
in the magnificent seventh volume of 
Ceriani's ' Anecdota Sacra et Profana.' 
On this version generally, see the ' Bible 
Dictionary,' s. v. Versions. The text 
which it follows agrees minutely with 
that of MS. 253 in most places; but it 
also shews readings peculiar to 248. 
The translator would seem to have con- 
sulted the Peshittho in the interpretation 
of difficult words (e.g. iv. 30, cftavrao-io- 

K07TUJV, XXxiv. 21, xlv. 23). 

4. The Coptic Version (in the Sahidic 
dialect) exists in a unique MS. of the 
6th century at Turin, and has been pub- 
lished by Lagarde in his ' Aegyptiaca ' 
(Gottingen, 1884). The MS. (which has 
suffered by age) was previously used by 
Peyron for his Lexicon. The text 
which it follows resembles that of the 
Sin., with several omissions and a few 
additions : in a very few cases it offers 
certain corrections of the Greek. A 
fragment of a Memphitic Version (chap, 
ii. 1-9) was published by Lagarde in 
* Orientalia,' pt. i. (Gott., 1880). 

5. The Palseoslavonic Version (pub- 
lished in the Slavonic Bibles) follows a 
text similar to that of the Complutensian 
edition, but with only a portion of the 

Apoc Vol. II. 

A copy of the Arabic Version cor- 
rected from the Greek is preserved in 
the Medicean library at Florence. The 
reviser has added a translation of the 
Prologue, in which he curiously makes 
the grandson state that he has translated 
the book into Syriac. A compendium 
of the Arabic Version is preserved in the 
Bodleian Library, but in an imperfect 

The Scholia of Barhebraeus, to which 
reference is occasionally made, are taken 
from the Bodleian MS. 

X. Authority of Ecclesiasticus 
in the Synagogue and in the 

The high authority in which our book 
was held in the ancient Jewish synagogue 
whether on account of its age or 
its embodiment of universally received 
popular sayings appears even from the 
frequency with which it is quoted in 
Talmudic writings. Zunz (' Gottesd. 
Vortr.,' pp. 1 01-103) enumerates no less 
than forty such citations anonymous or 
expressly in the name of Sirach. Some 
of these cannot, however, be identified 
either in our present Greek or Syriac 
text, although some conjectural attempts 
have been made by Horowitz (u. s.). 1 
What seems the earliest Mishnic refer- 
ence to the words of the Siracide (Ecclus. 
ix. 9) reaches up to early Maccabean days 
(Jose', the son of Jochanan, Abh. i. 5). 2 

1 For these quotations (mostly given in the 
present Commentary) see, besides Zunz [ic. s.), 
Delitzsch (' Gesch. d. jiid. Poesie,' pp. 20, &c, 
204, &c.) ; Dukes ('Rabbin. Blumenl.' pp. 67, 
&c.) ; Schuhl ('Sent, du Talmud,' passim) ; 
Fritzsche {11. s., p. xxxvii., &c.) ; Joel ('Blicke 
in d. Relig. Gesch.' i. pp. 71, &c.) ; Strack in 
Herzog's ' Real-Encykl.' vii. pp. 430, 431 ; and 
others latest, Hamburger in the Supplemental 
Part to his ' Real-Encykl' pp. 77-86. 

2 It is certainly rather a reference, although 
a very close one, than a quotation. It is 
adduced as a saying of the sages. On the other 
hand, the saying of Jose, the son of Joezer, 
" Let thy house be the meeting-place for the 
sages" (Abh. i. 4), and this other saying of 
the son of Jochanan (Abh. i. 5), "Let the 
poor be the children of thy household," might 
be intended as a protest against the bacchanalian 
feasts alluded to in Ecclus (comp. also Ecclus. 
ix. 14-16). On Jose b. Jochanan comp. Frankel 
in his ' Monatsschr.' i. (1852), pp. 405-407; 
Gratz, ' Gesch.' ii. pp. 274, &c, iii. p. 7. 




Outward circumstances induced the 
Jewish teachers at different times to 
pronounce differently upon the book 
of Ben Sira. First, we have a series 
of quotations in which our book is 
adduced with the same formula as the 
hagiographa, and indeed is apparently 
classed with them. 1 Next, we are warned 
that, unlike the books of Holy Scripture, 
" the writings of Ben Sira ... do not 
defile the hands" ('Tos. Yad.' ii. 13, ed. 
Zuckerm. p. 683). This, however, only 
implies the emphatic exclusion of Ecclus. 
from the Canon. 2 But the J ewish Fathers 
went further. Rabbi Aqibha declared the 
book included in those 'outside" writings 
the perusal of which involved the loss of 
eternal life (Jer. Sanh. 28 #, near top); 
and the Midrash on Eccles. xii. 12, by a 
play on the words " and what is beyond 
(besides) these (viz. the words of the 
sages)," explains that " the rest," viz. the 
bringing into the house of uncanonical 
books such as Ben Sira, only brings con- 
fusion (reading instead of nnri'D "^ 
no-inp, confusion). We would suggest 
that the change of feeling was connected 
with the Christian controversy being 
due partly to apprehension of the danger 
of allowing the perusal of not strictly 
orthodox Rabbinical works, and partly to 
the wide use of Ecclus. in the early 
Christian Church. Be this as it may, 
the mood was only partial and transient. 
In consequence of a discussion on the 
saying of Aqibha, Rabbi Joseph, the 
head of the Babylonian Academy of 
Pumbadita, ultimately gave forth a state- 
ment which not only allowed the judicious 
use of the book, but leads us to infer that, 
as in the Church so in the synagogue, it 
was regarded as an ccclesiasticus, suited 
for catechetical and homiletic purposes 
(Sanh. \oob). The passages specially 
recommended for this are the following, 
although from the modifications, additions 

1 So often : see Zunz, u. s. Strack (' Proleg. 
Crit. in V. T.' pp. 64, 65) has certainly not 
succeeded in the attempt either to explain or 
disprove this. On the other hand, Joel's pro- 
posed emendations of the condemnatory terms 
used in the Talmud about Ben Sira are inge- 
nious, but neither satisfactory nor convincing 
(Joel, u. s. pp. 72-75). 

: For the meaning of the expression "defileth 
the hands," see 'Life and Times of Jesus,' 
c h. xxxi. (vol. ii.). 

or contractions, as compared with the 
Greek text, some of them are only hypo- 
thetically identified : Ecclus. xxvi. 3 ; 
xxv. 26; xxvi. 1; ix. 3, 8, 9 ; xxvi. 29; 
xi. 30 a, 32 a, 33 a ; xi. 29 a ; vi. 6 ; xxx. 
21 or else xl. 7 ; xxxi. 4 (?). (Sanh. 100 b.) 
Indeed, we find references to our book 
not only in the Talmud, but in the 
Midrashim. 1 And from the first half of 
the 14th century comes the explana- 
tion that the Talmud had only intended 
to prohibit such a study of Ben Sira as 
should be made of the Bible, but not 
occasional resort to it (Ritba 2 in the En- 
Iaqobh to Bab. B. 98 , a_pud]o'<t\ it. s., 
p. 76). 

We only add that, although the so- 
called Alphabet of Ben Sira contains in 
the first (or Aramaean) Alphabet four 
quotations from our book, and in the 
second (or Hebrew) Alphabet two such 
citations, it must not be confounded with 
our Ecclesiasticus, 3 and is of very much 
later date. 

Use in the early Christian Church. 
Leaving aside the general question of 
the use of the Apocrypha in the Church 
(on which the view of the Church of 
England is sufficiently expressed in Art. 
VI.), we briefly note some points of 
historical interest. Reference has already 
been made to the evident acquaintance 
with Ecclus. implied in the Epistle of 
St. James. There can be little doubt 
that in the Ep. of Barnabas xix. we have 
a quotation from Ecclus. iv. 31. Ter- 
tullian seems to refer to our book (Ecclus. 
xv. 18) with the formula: sicut scriptum 
est ('de Exhort. Cast.' c. 2, and ' de 
Monogam.' c. 14). Clement of Alexan- 
dria frequently quotes Ecclus. : thirteen 
times with the formula 7) ypa<j>r) Ae'ya, 

1 Four in Ber. R. (c. 8 ; 10 ; 73 ; 91) ; one in 
Shem. R. ; two in Vayyk. R. ; one in Bamidb. 
R. ; one in the Midr. on Prov. c. 22 (?) ; two in 
that on Eccles. ; three in the Midr. Tanchuma, 

" The name is an abbreviation from R. Am 
Tbbh b. Abraham Ishbili [from Seville]. 

3 For an English translation of the two Alpha- 
bets of Ben Sira, as well as for that of the 
Talmudic quotations from our book, I take leave 
to refer the reader to my ' History of the Jewish 
Nation,' pp. 559-563. Comp. also Dukes (u. s.), 
Delitzsch (u. s.), and the literature of the subject 
in Fiirst, ' Biblioth. Jud.' iii. p. 341 ; a new ed. 
by Steinschneider (' Alphab. Sirac. utr.' Berlin, 



<f>rja-iv and the like ; nine times with that 
of 7/ o-o0ia Ae'yet, (/jr/o-tV and the like ; 
thrice as the words of the 7raiSaycoyos. 
But as he also twice designates the book 
as >) o-o<t>La 'Irjaov, it can scarcely be argued 
that he placed it on the same level with 
the Solomonic writings (but see ' Strom.' 
ii. 5, 24). Similar in form are the quota- 
tions of Origen from Ecclus., although he 
expressly ascribed the work to Jesus the 
son of Sirach ('contra Cels.' vi. 7). 
Cyprian, who often quotes from it, seems 
to treat it as if belonging to the Canon. 1 
On the other hand, Jerome expressly 
declares it non-Solomonic and non- 
canonical (see the quotation in a former 
paragraph), and equally emphatically 
Athanasius (' Epist. fest.' 39), who ranks 
our book with the Didache, ' The Shep- 
herd,' &c. None the less was the book 
used and quoted by the Fathers in a 
manner similar to that of the Jewish 
Fathers. Lastly, St. Augustine ranks 
the book with the canonical writings on 
account of its authority in the Church, 
although he denies its Solomonic author- 
ship (' de doctr. Christ.' ii. 8). It is 
enumerated in the Hebrew Canon by 
the Synods of Hippo (393) and Carthage 
(397). The inclusion of the Apocrypha 
in the Canon by the Council of Trent (in 
the 4th Session, 8 April, 1546, 'Canon, 
et Deer.' ed. Tauchnitz, pp. 15, 16) is 
sufficiently known. (Comp. Herbst, 
' Einl.' i. pp. 24, &c. ; De Wette-Schrader, 
' Lehrb.' pp. 596-599 ; Keil, ' Einl.' pp. 
702, 703, 747 ; Schurer, u. s.) 

XL Literature of the Subject. 

The references in the preceding para- 
graphs sufficiently indicate the works 
which have been chiefly consulted in 
preparing the present commentary. 
The literature of the subject is, however, 
very large. For its complete enumera- 
tion we must refer to the various Ency- 
clopaedias (German and English) and to 
the books of ' Introduction ' to the Old 
Testament. The Greek text used has 
been that of Tischendorf ('Vetus Test. 
Graece,' &c, ed. vi ta , 1880), and gene- 
rally referred to as the Vatican, though 

1 Comp. Schurer in Herzog's ' Real-Encykl.' 
art. Apokr., 487 ; ' Gesch.' 597. 

it scarcely deserves that designation (see 
VIII.). The full Vat. and Sin. readings 
have been collated from Nestle's supple- 
ment to the ed. (Lips. 1887). Besides, 
the variants in the magnificent ed. of 
Holmes and Parsons have been referred 
to. The critical edition of the Apocrypha 
by Fritzsche (Lips. 187 1) has been 
already described. Of the various sepa- 
rate editions of the Greek text of Eccle- 
siasticus with notes that of Linde has 
no special value (' Sententiae Jesu Sira- 
cidae,' Gedani, 1795); that of Bret- 
schneider has been constantly compared 
(' Liber Jesu Sirac. Graece,' Ratisb. 1806). 
The Syriac text used has been generally 
that in Walton's Polyglot. For Hebrew 
translations we have had the render- 
ing by Ben Seebh (previously noticed). 
The Hebrew is elegant, but the trans- 
lation follows sometimes the Syriac, some- 
times the Greek sometimes scarcely 
either the one or the other. The Hebrew 
in the translation of the Apocrypha by 
S. J. Fraenkel (Lips. 1830) is not so 
elegant as that of Ben Seebh, nor yet 
much more faithful to the text. Trans- 
lations into Hebrew of portions of the 
text such as that of ch. xxiv. by Lowth, 
emended by Fritzsche, and of ch. Ii. by 
Professor Bickell are noted in their 
places in the commentary. The German 
translation of Gutmann (' Die Apokryphen 
d. A. Test' Altona, 1841) affords not any 
help. The English version by Dr. Bissell 
(in the vol. on the Apocr. supplemental 
to Dr. Schaff's American ed. of the 
English translation of Lange's Bible 
Comment.) resembles in character that 
of Fritzsche. The latter, which is not 
strictly literal, is appended to his Com- 
mentary on Ecclus. (' Kurzgef. Exeg. 
Handb.' 5 ,e Lief. i860). 

The general questions connected with 
the book (such as its authorship, date, 
arrangement, versions, &x.) are discussed 
in the corresponding articles in thevarious 
Encyclopaedias such as (in German) 
those of Winer, Schenkel (by Fritzsche), 
Herzog (by Schurer), Riehm, and Ham- 
burger although with little variety or 
progression. So far as the Apocrypha 
and especially Ecclesiasticus are con- 
cerned, the like sameness characterises 
the account of our book in the various 
Introductions to the Old Testament : 

D 2 



De Wette-Schrader, Keil, Reuss (' Gesch. 
d. h. Schr. A. T.' 1882). To these must 
be added, as containing by far the fullest 
treatment of the subject, the account of 
Ecclus. by Schiirer in the ' Gesch. des 
Jiid. Volkes' (1886), to which reference 
has already been made. A special place 
must, for various reasons, be assigned 
both to Welte's (R. C.) ' Einl. in d. 
deuterokan. B. d. A. T.' (in Herbst u. 
Welte's ' Einl.' Sect. II. part hi., Freiburg, 
1844) and to Eichhorn's 'Einl. in d. 
Apokr. Schr. d. A. T.' (Leipz. 1795 
being vol. iv. of his ' Krit. Schr.'). 
Besides these German works, the articles 
Ecclesiasticus and Jesus the Son of Sirach 
in Smith's ' Diet, of the Bible ' (vol. i.) 
have been consulted, as well as the able 
and learned summary by Dr. Davidson 
in vol. ii. of his ed. of Home's Introd. 
(1856, pp. 1024-1033). 

On the relation of our book to Philo 
and Jewish Hellenism, the works of 
Gfrorer and Dahne and the art. Philo by 
the present writer in Smith and Wace's 
' Diet, of Chr. Biogr.' have been referred 
to. For the relation of the Greek text 
to the Syriac and for other general ques- 
tions the articles by Geiger in the ' Z. D. 
M. G.' xii. 1858, and by Horowitz in 
Frankel's ' Monatsschrift,' vol. xiv. (since 
published as a separate brochure, 1865), 
have been perused. For the relation of 
Ecclus. to Proverbs we have referred to 
C. Seligmann (' D. B. d. Weish. J. Sir.' 
1883); for the references in the Epistle 
of St. James, to A. Boon (' Dissert. Exeg. 
Theol. de Jac. ep. cum Sir. libro con- 
venientia '). As regards the relation of 
the Vetus Latina to the Hebrew original, 
special notice has been taken of Bengel's 
art. in Eichhorn's ' Biblioth.' vol. vii., 
which is repeated in summary in Bert- 
holdt's ' Histor. Krit. Einleit.' pp. 2306- 
2309. On historical questions the works 
of Herzfeld, Ewald, and Gratz have 
been referred to. On the Wisdom- 
teaching and the Dogmatics and Ethics 
of Ecclus., the book of Dr. J. F. Bruch 

(' Weisheits-Lehre d. Hebr.' Strassburg, 
1 851) and the ' Schul-Programm ' by Dr. 
V. Merguet (Konigsberg, 1874) have 
been perused. 

Beyond the works just referred to, an 
exhaustive study of all the Commentaries 
on Ecclesiasticus has not been attempted 
the more so that it was wished to make 
a fresh study of the book. The Anno- 
tations in vol. v. of the ' Critici Sacri ' 
deserve constant attention, especially 
those by Drusius and Grotius. The 
latter are mostly the source of the classical 
parallels, not unfrequently noted by 
writers. For this reason, and because 
they are often rather coincidences than 
parallels, it has not been deemed neces- 
sary to repeat them. It needs scarcely 
be said that the Commentary of Fritzsche 
(in the ' Exeg. Handb.') has been con- 
stantly compared and used. It is by far 
the fullest work on Ecclesiasticus, and 
its learning and ability are beyond ques- 
tion. The (American) Commentary of 
Dr. Bissell in vol. xv. of Schaff's ed. of 
Lange's Comment, chiefly follows that 
of Fritzsche. Besides these, the Com- 
mentary of Bretschneider (' Liber Jesu 
Siracidae ') deserves and requires careful 
perusal, although the book bears marks 
of youth and haste. The brief annota- 
tions of Joach. Camerarius (' Sententiae 
Jesu Sirac.,' at the end of the Greek text, 
pp. 136-213) are chiefly interesting for 
the quotation of parallelisms from classical 
writers. The notes of J. G. Linde 
('Sent. J. S.' Gedani, 1785) are very 
brief, but occasionally really valuable ; 
the few Rabbinic annotations of M. 
Gutmann (' D. Apokr. d. A. Test.') are 
not only scanty, but also slight. 

Lastly, we have now to add to the 
literature on Ecclus. the discussion of the 
book in Professor Cheyne's ' Job and 
Solomon,' pp. 179-198, which came too 
late to be used in the preparation of the 
present commentary. It is characterised 
by the learning, clearness, and beauty of 
diction of that writer. 




Some refer 
his Pro- 
ogue to 
ius, be- 
ause it 
s found 
a his 

X.A Prologue made by an uncertain Author. 

THIS Jesus was the son of Sirach, and 
grandchild to Jesus of the same name 
with him: this man therefore lived in the 
latter times, after the people had been led 
away captive, and called home again, and 
almost after all the prophets. Now his 
grandfather Jesus, as he himself witnesseth, 
was a man of great diligence and wisdom 
among the Hebrews, who did not only 
gather the grave and short sentences of 
wise men, that had been before him, but 
himself also uttered some of his own, full 
of much understanding and wisdom. When 
as therefore the first Jesus died, leaving this 
book almost || perfected, Sirach his son re- 
ceiving it after him left it to his own son 
Jesus, who, having gotten it into his hands, 
compiled it all orderly into one volume, and 
called it Wisdom, intituling it both by his 
own name, his father's name, and his grand- 
father's ; alluring the hearer by the very 
name of Wisdom to have a greater love to 
the study of this book. It containeth there- 
fore wise sayings, dark sentences, and para- 
bles, and certain particular ancient godly 
stories of men that pleased God ; also his 

prayer and song; moreover, what benefits 
God had vouchsafed his people, and what 
plagues he had heaped upon their enemies. 
This Jesus did imitate Solomon, and was 
no less famous for wisdom and learning, 
both being indeed a man of great learning, 
and so reputed also.] 

The Prologue of the Wisdom of Jesus 
the Son of Sirach. 

WHEREAS many and great 
things have been delivered 
unto us by the law and the prophets, 
and by others that have followed 
their steps, for the which things Is- 
rael ought to be commended for 
learning and wisdom ; and whereof 
not only the readers must needs 
become skilful themselves, but also 
they that desire to learn be able to 
profit them which are "without, both 11 Or, of 

1 j . j another 

by speaking and writing : my grand- nation. 
father Jesus, when he had much 

Whereas many and great things have been 
delivered unto us.~\ " Great," in the sense of 
important ; " delivered," here deSo/xevcop, not 
7rapa8i8o(x6ai, as usually and more aptly ; "to 
us," viz. to the Jews. 

by the Law, the Prophets, and the others 
who followed upon them.] Viz. the writers 
(not the writings) that followed presumably, 
the authors of the Hagiographa. 

for which it is due to commend Israel 
for culture (jrai^eia, disciplina ; De Wette, 
" instruction ") and wisdom.] The two terms 
are again found immediately afterwards, and 
(though in inverse order) in Ecclus. i. 27. 
In the LXX. naidein is the equivalent of ten 
Hebrew words. Here it probably stands 
for the Hebrew ID-ID, which is so rendered 
twenty-one times in the LXX. rendering of 
Prow, while the two terms, as here, are four 
times combined (Prov. i. 2, 7, xv. 33, xxiii. 23; 
Theod., S.-H., 23, and ten other Godd.), and 
in only two instances (Prov. x. 17 b- xvii. 8 ?) 

two other Hebrew words are represented by 
Traideia in Prov. The Hellenistic tone of this 
commendation should be marked. It seems 
intended to strengthen the confidence of Israel 
in their position among the Greeks, and to 
conciliate the favour of the latter. 

and since it behoves those who read 
(or, readers) not only to become skilful {scientes, 
" einsichtsvoll") themselves (X, C, H, 55, 155 
read yevecrdai), but also that they who love 
learning (are eager after knowledge) should 
be able to be of use, both speaking and 
writing (by verbal instruction and written 
works), to them that are without] This 
is the common meaning of the expression. 
In that case the reference would seem to be 
to Grecian proselytes, or perhaps even to in- 
quiring heathens, and only secondarily to the 
Jews in the dispersion. But in the usage of 
Polybius the expression only means "out- 
siders "or " others." 

my grandfather Jesus.] Or, possibly : " my 



given himself to the reading of the 
law, 2nd the prophets, and other 
books of our fathers, and had gotten 
therein good judgment, was drawn 
on also himself to write something 
pertaining to learning and wisdom ; 
to the intent that those which are 
desirous to learn, and are addicted 
to these things, might profit much 
more in living according- to the law. 
Wherefore let me intreat you to 
read it with favour and attention, 

and to pardon us, wherein we may 
seem to come short of some words. 

which we have laboured to inter- 
he same things uttered 
and translated into an- 

pret. for i 
in Hebrew, 
other tongue, have not the same 
force in them : and not only these 
things, but the law itself, and the 
'prophets, and the rest of the books, "Gr. 
have no small 1! difference, when they of/" 
are spoken in their own language, ^^eiicncy. 
For in the eight and thirtieth year cir. i 33 . 

ancestor Jesus." On the meaning of this word 
and on the date of the work of the older 
Siracide, comp. Introd. 

having given (devoted) himself more 
[than others] (so in the usage of Polyb. am- 
plius ; but Wahl, "for longer") to the read- 
ing (study), <b'c.~\ The arrangement of the 
Old Testament into " Law, the Prophets, and 
the other books of the fathers" (comp. St. 
Luke xxiv. 27 ; Jos. c. Ap. i. 8), appears here 
for the first time. It is probable that this 
passage gave rise to the tripartite division of 
the Old Testament which was afterwards 
universally adopted. 

and having gotten therein sufficient 
(=much, sat mult us, quod satis est) profi- 
ciency.] So in the usage of Polyb. : "as the 
result of practice." InLXX. 1 Kings (1 Sam.) 
xvi. 7 the word stands for " height." 

that those who love (are eager for) 
learning.] The next clause is ambiguous. 
Most modern writers render it : " becoming 
also attached to these things," viz. to this new 
contribution of the Siracide. But the render- 
ing of the A. V., slightly modified, seems better: 
and are become attached to these 
things, viz. those things in which Ben Sira 
himself had gotten such skill the Law, the 
Prophets, and other writings of the fathers. 
This agrees better with the plural number 
(jovtwv evo%oi : comp. iv tovtois . . . e$iv), 
whereas the work of Ben Sira is referred to 
in the singular (n rwv k. t. A.). It also 
accords with the general context. The 
object of the elder Siracide was to further 
in religion those who, comparatively ignorant, 
were desirous to learn, and had become at- 
tached to these things. On the other hand, 
it would be difficult to attach any definite 
meaning to their becoming attached to his 
new work. 

might make all the more progress by 
a life (living) according to the Law.] 
The 81a is generally rendered " in," not " by," 
but the sense is nearly the same in both cases. 

Although the tone of this introductory 

statement is Grecian, it is Palestinian in spirit. 
For the Rabbis often urge the duty of those 
who had learned to teach others. Thus it was 
said that the promise Ps. cxii. 3 applied to 
those who, having learned, also taught the 
Law (Kethub. 50 a); and the expression " the 
law of kindness " (Pro v. xxxi. 26) is explained 
to mean study in order to teach (Sukk. 49 b). 
On the other hand, we are told that there is 
not greater vanity than to have learned the 
Law and not to instruct others (Deb. R. 2). 
Indeed, according to Rabbi Meir, such an 
one "despised the word of the Lord," ac- 
cording to Numb. xv. 31 (Siphre, ed. Fried- 
mann, p. 3 3 a). Similarly, in regard to the 
necessity of knowledge in order to attain purity 
of life, there was not any principle more gene- 
rally current than that an uncultivated person 
did not fear sin, and that the ignorant could 
not be pious (Ab. ii. 5). Indeed, Rabbinic 
study was based on this idea. 

In what follows the younger Siracide be- 
speaks " favour and attention " for the work 
of his ancestor, and as translator asks the 
readers to pardon (to have a lenient judg- 
ment) wherein (in those things where) we 
may appear, while having bestowed 
diligent labour on the translation {circa 
interpretationem laborando), to have failed 
in some of the words. It has, however, 
also been proposed to render the sentence: 
" Wheresoever we seem in our carefully 
elaborated translation in certain of our phrases 
to give no meaning." The next sentence 
translated in the A. V. with sufficient accuracy, 
though not quite literally explains as reason 
of such failure, that a translation could never 
quite convey the force of the original. "These 
things" refer to the present work. We 
note that the expression " Hebrew" (tongue) 
occurs here for the first time in Old Testa- 
ment literature. 

Lastly, the translator proceeds to give his 
reasons for undertaking the work. 

For in the eight and thirtieth year, under 
king Euergetes.] See Introd. Rather: "I 
found no small difference of oulture." 

V. I.] 



coming into Egypt, when Euergetes 
was king, and continuing there some 
Or, time, I found a book of no small 
elf "^, learning : therefore I thought it most 
necessary for me to bestow some 
diligence and travail to interpret it ; 
using great watchfulness and skill in 
that space to bring the book to an 
end, and set it forth for them also, 
which in a strange country are willing 

to learn, being prepared before in 
manners to live after the law. 


I All 'wisdom is from God. 10 He givcth it to 

them that love him. 12 The fear of God is 

full of many blessings. 28 To fear God 
without hypocrisy. P- C. 



LL a wisdom cometh from the 

Lord, and is with him 

a 1 Kings 
for 3. 9. 

James 1. 

The word which we have rendered "differ- 
ence " has been variously translated, and also 
means "made like unto." But our version 
suits the context best. Having during his 
residence in Egypt felt the difference of culture 
in modern parlance : of standpoint and 
development between the Palestinians and 
Grecians (whether Jews, proselytes, or Greek 
friends and inquirers), he was anxious to pre- 
sent the work of his ancestor in a Greek garb. 
It will be noticed that, strictly speaking, the 
text gives not any information on the contro- 
verted question, at what precise date the 
younger Siracide had begun his translation, 
still less when he finished and published it, 
but only states that he had arrived and settled 
in Egypt under the reign of Euergetes. 

Frit/.sche inserts after " most necessary " 
ovv (from X, C, H, 55, 105, a/., Old Latin); 
after " thought," kciL, " therefore I also thought" 
(from III. and the previously-quoted read- 
ings). "Diligence:" rather, zeal [speed, 
trouble] and laboriousness. "To inter- 
pret it:" rather, "on the translating of 
this book." "Using:" add "indeed." "In 
that space:" rather, "in the interval of 
the time," i.e. while he carried on his work, 
he robbed himself of sleep and employed all 
his knowledge and skill "in order, having 
Drought the book to an end (for fiyovra 
read ayayovra, C, H, Alex., 55, 106, 155, 253, 
254, 296), to give it forth (publish it) also 
for those abroad (in foreign lands, i.e. in 
"the dispersion") who are," Sec. The ex- 
pression is used of sojourn in a strange land, 
as in Acts xiii. 17, 1 Peter i. 17; and in the 
same sense the verb (St. Luke xxiv. 18 ; 
Heb. xi. 9) and the subst. adjective (Acts 
vii. 6, 29 ; Eph. ii. 19 ; 1 Pet. ii. 11 ; and also 
frequently in the LXX., in the Apocrypha, 
and by Philo). " And are prepared," Sec. : 
rather, "prepare themselves in manners 
(as to morals and customs) to live after 
the law." 


This chapter naturally forms the Introduc- 
tion to the whole work. It consists of two 
equal parts, each of fourteen (2 x 7) verses, 
viz. Part I., w. 1-15 (omitting the spurious 

v. 5); Part II., w. 16-30. The first part 
may be designated as the theoretical (or 
objective), the second as the practical (or 
subjective) aspect of the theme. 

Each part is again subdivided into equal 
stanzas. [In general we notice that the 
numerical arrangement of stanzas, and even 
verses, throughout this book is marked, and 
indeed characteristic] Part I. consists of two 
stanzas, each of seven verses (i"t>. 1-8, 9-15). 
The first stanza (yv. 1-8) opens with a 
statement of the general theme (v. 1) the 
other six verses being an enlargement of v. 1 b, 
which sets forth that Wisdom is for ever with 
God. Similarly, the second stanza (vv. 9-15) 
takes up the first clause of the initial proposi- 
tion (y. 1 a), that Wisdom cometh from the 
Lord. It is created, and bestowed by God 
as His gift to humanity (yv. 9, 10); it is 
moral and practical (" the fear of the Lord ") 
as well as speculative, and bestows the best 
gifts in life and death (yv. 11-13); and it is 
a permanent gift alike to the individual and to 
humanity (yv. 14, 15). In the last two verses 
(14, 15) the author returns to the subject of 
the first two verses in the stanza (yv. 9, 10). 

Part II. consists of three stanzas of five, 
five, and four verses the last being, however, 
a double verse (v. 30). It may be described 
as the practical aspect of the subject. Stanza i. 
Qvv. 16-20) sets forth what W isdom is, and 
what Wisdom does for the wise. Stanza ii. 
(yv. 21-26) might be briefly thus inscribed: 
" The fool (= ungodly) and the wise (= righ- 
teous) ;" and stanza iii. (yv. 27-30) con- 
versely : "The wise and the fool." 

[On the relation of the Greek text of this 
chapter to the Syriac Version, see the notes.] 

1. The manner in which Wisdom is set 
forth is extremely characteristic of the stand- 
point of Ecclesiasticus, as intermediate not 
only between the Old Testament and Jewish 
Hellenism, but between the latter and what 
afterwards was distinctively Palestinian teach- 
ing. Gomp. here on the one hand such descrip- 
tions of Wisdom as in Wisd. vii. 21-27, and 
chap. viii. or still further in the writings of 
Philo and on the other hand the teaching of 
the Rabbis, which identified Wisdom with the 
Torah, or Law. Even the opening sentence 



[V- 25- 

B. C. 
cir. 200. 

2 Who can number the sand of 4 Wisdom hath been created be- 
the sea, and the drops of rain, and fore all things, and the understanding 

of prudence from everlasting. 

5 The word of God most high is 
the fountain of wisdom ; and her 

cir. 200. 

the days of eternity ? 

3 Who can find out the height of 
heaven, and the breadth of the earth, 
and the deep, and wisdom ? 

ways are everlasting commandments. 

of Ecclus. (v. 1) is both Grecian and Hebrew 
the former element appearing in the word 
all, the latter in the derivation of" all wisdom " 
from God. And this "wisdom" is "for 
ever" with God (comp. Job xii. 13). The 
okl Lat. Version has: "and was with Him 
ever, and is before the Age " (et cum illo fult 
semper, et est ante dcvum). 

2. The proposition in the second clause of 
t. 1 is farther carried out, both negatively 
and positively, in the following verses. That 
Wisdom is 'really with the Lord for ever, 
appears from the inscrutable mysteries by 
which we are s irronnded (w. 2, 3). The 
whole passage reminds us of Prov. xxx. 4. 
"The days" of eternity "lit. "of -Eon." 
The reasoning may be thus paraphrased : 
Who can compute either the numberless 
grains which make up the sand of the sea, or 
the drops in the rainfall, or the series of days 
which constitute jon ? To us it is all in- 
scrutable. The term "./Eon" occurs very 
frequently in the LXX. almost exclusively 
for the Hebrew Olam. The expression 
" days of /ton," or of " the ,on," is found in 
the LXX. rendering of Deut. xxxii. 7 ; Is. 
lxiii. 9; Am. ix. 11 ; Mic. v. 2, vii. 14; Mai. 
iii. 4. Similarly, the expression " sand of the 
sea" is frequent in the LXX., and in the Bible 
is employed to denote an innumerable quan- 
tity. The reference to the rain-drops recalls 
Job xxxvi. 27, where the LXX. use the same 
words. It has, however, been also suggested 
that v. 2 may not be intended to mark the 
inscrutable character of what is there men- 
tioned, but rather to indicate topics of com- 
parison with the inscrutable character of 
Divine wisdom. 

3. find out.'] Rather, trace out. 

the <!eep.~] Rather, the abyss. The 
Armenian Version has: "the abyss of wis- 
dom." The Syriac (as also Vet. Lat. and 70) 
omits " and wisdom." We regard the words 
as a Hellenising addition by the Greek trans- 
lator. The language recalls the cosmogony 
< f Philo ( 4 de Mundi opif.' ed. Mangey, i. 6, 
7 ; ed. Frcf., p. 6), in which first the " un- 
bodily " heaven and the " unseen " (invisible) 
earth and " the idea" of air and vacuity were 
made by God in the "intelligible" (ideal) 
world. It seems the more likely that the 
younger Siracide may have entertained views 
kindred to those afterwards developed by 
Philo, since the same ideas appear in the LXX. 

rendering of Gen. i. 2 : " And the earth was 
unseen (invisible) and unwrought " (unformed 
the word occurs only here in biblical litera- 
ture). Among the Rabbis we find similar 
speculations although under ban of the 
authorities about the pre-existence of matter 
and the formation, rather than the creation, 
of the world (comp. ' Life and Times of Jesus/ 
vol. i. pp. 50, 51). In these speculations water 
was mostly regarded as the original matter. 
One Rabbi (Ben Soma) thought that only 
two or three fingers' breadth intervened be- 
tween the upper and the lower waters (Ber. 
R. 1) ; and that these issued from the Thebom, 
or abyss. The Hellenistic character of the 
views of the younger Siracide accounts for 
the otherwise apparently incongruous juxta- 
position of "abyss" with " wisdom "here 
in the sense of creative, formative wisdom. 

4. understanding of prudence.'] Rather, 
intelligence of understanding [purpose? 
thoughtfulness ?]. The Armen. Vers, has the 
two words in apposition, as similarly Prov. i. 4 ; 
their conjunction in Prov. viii. 12, comp. i. 4. 
The verse seems another of the Hellenistic 
alterations by the Greek translator. The Syr. 
renders v. 4 : " More abundant than all these 
is wisdom, and stronger is faith." The latter 
words suggest a Christian hand. 
from everlasting.] Lit. fromlon. 
On the negative statement concerning 
" Wisdom " (in -w. 2, 3) follows now the 
positive. Alike the first and second clauses of 
<v. 4 seem parallel to, and are explained by the 
first and second clauses of v. 6. Verse 5 is 
found only in H, 23, 55, 70, 106, 248, Co. 
and in the Old Lat., and has been rightly 
omitted by Fritzsche. It is evidently an 
interpolation, intended to avert heterodox 
teaching or application. 

In regard to the term " create " in v. 4, it 
is true that in Ecclus. it is used in the sense 
of " forming " or preparing (so probably, 
though not certainly, in Ecclus. xxxix. 25, and 
in xl. 1, xliv. 2, and'more doubtfully, xlix. 14). 
But in these passages the word is evidently 
employed in a wider, almost figurative sense. 
Bretschneider is therefore not justified in con- 
tending that the word in our verse does not 
mean " to create." It might represent the 
Hebrew mp, which the LXX. render in Prov. 
viii. 22 by "create" (so also in Gen. xiv. 19, 
22, while generally they translate K~Q by 
ktico). Although this view of "Wisdom" 
as created before all things is here probably 




b. c. 6 h To whom hath the root of 
^' wisdom been revealed ? or who hath 
jsai. 40. j cnovvn h er w j se counsels ? 

7 [Unto whom hath the know- 
ledge of wisdom been made manifest ? 


Wisd. 9. 

Rom. 11. 


1 Cor. 2. 


and who hath understood her great 
experience ?] 

8 There is one wise and greatly to 
be feared, the Lord sitting upon his 

9 He created her, and saw her, b. c. 
and numbered her, and poured her C11 j_^ 
out upon all his works. 

10 She is with all flesh according 
to his gift, and he hath given her to 
them that love him. 

11 The fear of the Lord is honour, 
and glory, and gladness, and a crown 
of rejoicing. 

12 The fear of the Lord maketh a 

Grecian, it may also be referred to Prov. viii. 22. 
The Rabbis substituted for " Wisdom" the 
Tor ah (Law), which they represented as one 
of the six things created before the world 
(Ber. R. 1), or according to another passage, 
2000 years before it (Midr. on Song v. 11). 
They commented on Prov. viii. 22 to this 
effect, that God had looked into the Torah, 
as an architect into his plans, and so created 
the world (Ber. R. 1). The second clause of 
v. 4 may probably refer to the details of 
creation. The personification of " W isdom " 
in our verse is only figurative. It is interest- 
ing to mark that Philo also quotes Prov. viii. 
22, interpreting it in a manner similar to the 
Siracide (' de Temul.' [ebriet], ed. Mang. 
i. 362 ; Frcf. p. 244). 

6. Rather, was revealed, and who knew 
her subtle devices? "Subtle devices," 
with the additional meaning of secrecy Vet. 
Lat., astutias illius. The inscrutable character 
of " Wisdom " is farther shewn in regard to 
her root as being in God, and to her work- 
ing. The reference is not to "Wisdom as in 
God, but to Wisdom as manifesting herself. 
The second half of the verse is omitted in 
the Armenian Version. The Syr. begins the 

verse with ^OTlp!? \0 evidently the "from 
vt'on " of the close of v. 4 in the Greek 

7. This is another interpolation, found in 
the same Codd. as i<. 5. 

8. One is wise, and to be feared 
greatly, sitting upon His throne: the 
Lord.] "To be feared greatly," comp. Joel 
ii. 11, and Ecclus. xliii. 29. In Him Wisdom 
is joined to power, although the reference 
may also be to His moral properties : He is 
the Lord. The Syr. and Arab. Versions have : 
"ruleth over all her treasures." The Syr. 
Vers, and the Old Lat. omit the words " w'ise 
and," which probably were not in the Hebrew 

9. 10. Beginning of stanza ii. Qvv. 9-15). 
The writer proceeds to give an account of 
AVisdom as Divinely bestowed. " Numbered 
her" so literally. Although the words of 
the Hebrew original were probably taken from 

Job xxviii. 27 (see marg.), it does not follow 
that the younger Siracide mistranslated them 
because they differ from the rendering of the 
LXX. (f^r/yrja-aro). Some have translated: 
"He divided her," i.e. He bestowed on the 
things to be created, to each its part of 
wisdom. And this may be the meaning of 
the addition in the Syr. and Arab. Versions : 
"He numbered and gave it." We hesitate 
connecting the expression with the Sephiroth r 
or " enumerations " (emanations) of the Kab- 
balists, although to "enumerate" might be 
equivalent to creativelydetermining and setting 
it forth, and in that sense revealing it. 

There cannot be any doubt as to the 
meaning of the next clause, with which the 
first part of v. 10 must be logically connected 
(the words " she is " are not in the original) : 
" He poured her upon all (the Arm. omits 
"all") His works v. 10 a: [together] with 
all flesh, according to His good will 
(donation) ." That this latter is here the correct 
meaning rather than " gift " certainly not 
" appointed portion " appears not only from 
the Syr. and Arab. Versions, but from the 
whole context, and seems supported by Ecclus. 
xi. 17, where the word 860-19 in the first clause 
is parallel to " good pleasure " in the second. 
The expression "all flesh" means here "all 
mankind," as in Gen. vi. 12 ; Joel iii. 1. The 
word " with " seems at first sight to render 
the explanation difficult. But it may mean 
that wisdom has been bestowed on all God's 
works in connexion with man. It follows quite 
aptly (f. io) that "He supplied (bestowed) 
her abundantly to them that love Him." 
Teaching similar to this, only in more developed 
form, occurs frequently in Philo. Notably, 
he tells us (' de Profug.' ed. Frcf. p. 470) that 
God pours of His etherial wisdom upon all 
generous and inquiring minds. But while 
they rejoice in it, they know not the author 
and source of it. This is God, who has given 
His word as the bread from heaven. These 
Divine precepts bring to the Israelitish, i.e. 
the receptive soul, light and sweetness. And 
then Philo proceeds to shew the superior 
happiness (as compared with that of the mere 
philosopher) of obedience to the command- 
ments and the service of God. 



[v. 1315. 


cir. 200. 

P-C. merry heart, and giveth joy, and 14 ^To fear the Lord is the begin- 

cir^oD. gj^jjgg^ an( j a [ on g |jf e< n j n g f w i s dom : and it was created 

13 Whoso feareth the Lord, it with the faithful in the womb. [I s - 

shall go well with him at the last, and 15 She hath built an everlasting r 

n Or, s/in//he "shall find favour in the day of his foundation with men, and she shall 

be blessed, i .1 


ov. 1. 7. 
5 & 9. 10. 


continue (/ with their seed. 

2 Chron. 
20. si. 

11. From this account of Wisdom, as 
Divinely bestowed to which w. 14, 15 
correspond (see the introduction) the writer 
passes in v. 11 to Wisdom in its practical 
aspect, which is the fear of the Lord, telling 
us what it is, and what it bestows, alike in 
life and death. The " crown of rejoicing" is 
a figure easily understood, derived from the 
custom on festive occasions. 

12. gladdens (cheers) the heart.] The 
same expression occurs in LXX. Prov. xxvii. 9. 
The verbs, it should be noticed, are all in the 
future tense. For the last clause comp. Deut. 
iv. 40, vi. 2; Prov. iii. 1, 2, 16, x. 27; 
Ecclus. i. 20. The Rabbis also regard length 
of life as the reward of righteousness (Prov. 
x. 2): it delivered even from natural death 
(Shabb. 156/1), and death at sixtv was "by 
the hand of God" (Jer. Bikk. 64 c). Similar 
statements frequently occur in the Midrashim. 

13. In the margin, " shall be blessed," which 
marks the better meaning and reading of III., 
X, H, 23, 70, a/., Co., and the Old Lat. So 
also the Syr. and Arab. Versions. We should 
be glad to believe that the expression " it 
shall be well at the last" (fV eaxurav) 
was intended to bear reference to the after- 
death. But the term (in the plural), which 
occurs in at least live other passages of Ecclus. 
(four of them wrongly marked in Trommius, 
' Concord.'), refers in only one of these places 
(Ecclus. xlviii. 24) to what we would call 
"the last things," "the end of time." On 
the other hand, the dreary references to death 
by Hen Sira (as xviii. 12 ; xxxviii. 17-23 ; xli. 
1-4) indicate a poor philosophy and an almost 
worse than Sadducean theology, which enter- 
tains not any real hope for after death. The 
single passage in Ecclus. xlviii. 11, quoted on 
the other side, requires special consideration 
(see the comment. On the subject generally 
see the Introduction). Bretsehneider and 
irit/sche understand the clause to refer to a 
gentle death (Ecclus. xi. 26). This seems 
somewhat jejune. But the Rabbis also speak 
ot 903 different kinds of death [this bv gema - 
trta . of which that "bv the kiss" (of God) 
was the gentlest (Her. 8 a), like drawing a hair 
out of the milk (Moed. Q., 28 , i\ while a 
painful death was to be the fate of the wicked. 
Inferences as to the condition of the soul 
were also derived from the look and even the 
posture of the dying (Ab. de R. Nath. 25). 
Perhaps the expression in Ecclus. may refer 

to death when children are left behind, espe- 
cially sons. The Rabbis suppose that this is 
marked in Scripture by the expression "falling 
asleep," in contradistinction to dying (the 
former in the case of David, the latter in that 
of Joab). The second half of the verse, how- 
ever, seems to refer to public acknowledgment 
upon death : and this, even accepting the 
reading in the margin, which is that of A, C, 
and other Codd., as well as of the Syr. and 
Vet. Lat. We know what value the Rabbis 
attached to public lamentations of the dead 
and to encomium at funeral orations. 

14. This and v. 1 5 are extremely interest- 
ing from their connexion with w. 9, 10, and 
the light which they cast upon them. The 
additions in the Vet. Lat. (Latin Version) are 
very curious and characteristic of their source. 
For the first half of v. 14 comp. Prov. i. 7 ; 
ix. 10. The second half is quite in accordance 
with the later teaching of Philo, who regarded 
as the highest class of virtue that from an 
innate good disposition. (' Leg. Alleg.' iii., 
ed. Frcf. p. 76 ; 'de Congr.' u. s. p. 429, and 
specially ' de Prof.' p. 474 ; comp. generally 
Siegfried, 'Philo,' p. 269, &c, and the art. 
" Philo " in Wace and Smith's ' Diet.') The 
views of the Rabbis were similar (comp. St. 
John ix. 2 ; see ' Life and Times of Jesus,' ii. 
p. 178). "The faithful" are the neemanbn 
(2 Mace. i. 2) of the Jews. The same expres- 
sion occurs also in the LXX. and the N. T. 

15. The rendering of this verse is very 
difficult. Literally translated, the first half of 
it could scarcely mean anything else than : 
And with men, as an eternal foundation 
(the same word for the Heb. word " place " 
in LXX. Job xviii. 4; Is. xiii. 13), she has 
huilt her nest since the verb (voao-eva)) 
is not a transitive. But as this would pre- 
sent a strange mixture of figures, we can only 
suggest that there is here a misreading and 
misrendering of the original, as in LXX. 
Prov. xvi. 16 perhaps in imitation of it in 
which case the Hebrew original really meant : 
" And she has acquired an eternal foundation 
(place, habitation) with men." And it is 
probable that the substantive (voaaid) is used 
with the same application in Ecclus. xxxvi. 26c. 
The rendering of the second clause is scarcely 
less difficult. Fritzsche translates what he 
supposes the original (IP^FI) by " she shall 
be continuous," or " accredited, faithful (ap- 
proved)," but the better rendering seems to 

l6 22.] 



B. C 

cir. 200, 

1 6 To fear the Lord is fulness of 
wisdom, and filleth men with her 

17 She filleth all their house with 
things desirable, and the garners with 
her increase. 

18 The fear of the Lord is a crown 
of wisdom, making peace and perfect 
health to flourish ; both which are 
the gifts of God : and it enlargeth 
their rejoicing that love him. 

1 g Wisdom raineth down skill 

and knowledge of understanding, and . B - c. 
exalteth them to honour that hold ^' 
her fast. 

20 The root of wisdom is to fear 
the Lord, and the branches thereof 
are long life. 

21 The fear of the Lord driveth 
away sins : and where it is present, it 
turneth away wrath. 

22 A furious man cannot "be justi- " 0r > 
fied ; for the sway of his fury shall be punish- 
his destruction. menL 

be : she shall be credited {fide digna bahe- 
bitur. vel reperietuf). As regards the mean- 
ing of the verse, Ecclus. xxiv. 7, 8 seems to 
leave no doubt that the reference in the first 
clause is to the Mosaic Law, as wisdom that 
had obtained an eternal foundation in Israel, 
although it seems doubtful whether "their 
seed," among which the Law is to shew itself 
worthy of credence, or to be approved, refers 
to mankind generally, or to the descendants 
of Israel. 

16. The verse is not merely a repetition, 
but opens the second part of the chapter, and 
begins a new stanza (see introduction). The 
connexion with v. 14 should be marked. 
As " to fear the Lord is the beginning of 
wisdom " (v. 1 4), so " the fulness " or " abun- 
dance" "of wisdom" the determining sub- 
stantive being here used in the sense of a 
superlative is once more "to fear the Lord " 
wisdom begins and ends there; "and 
makes them drunk," i.e. fully satisfies them. 
See a similar use of the figure in Deut. xxxii. 
42, and a similar expression in LXX. Ps. xxii. 
5 (A. V. xxiii. 5). 

17. Comp. Prov. viii. 18, 19. "All their 
house:" rather, all her house. The Syr. 
has : " she filleth her treasuries with wisdom 
and her treasures" Sec. the Svr. reading 
WmVD for D'OyuO, or perhaps' nV2V\ for 
man. "With her fruits:" more literally, 
her products. We have little doubt that 
here the Greek rendering preserves the 
Hebrew original of the older Siracide. 

18. The relation between fear of the Lord 
as the beginning and the fulness of wisdom in 
w. 14 and 16 is inverted in w. 18 and 20. 
This is not the case in the Syr., which has 
once more " the beginning of wisdom," and 
also more correctly renders the second clause: 
"and increaseth peace, and life, and health." 
"Perfect health:" literally, health of heal- 
inghealth restored. The fear of the Lord 
is a crown of wisdom (perhaps in the sense 
of Wisdom being crowned when this fear shall 
universally prevail), making to nourish 

(here probably a Hebraism) peace (between 
man and man) and health of healing (the 
healing of all present breaches). The senti- 
ment, which in its Greek form is one of the 
modifications of the original by the younger 
Siracide, reappears in Philo. There we find 
the same anticipations fully, and in exact 
correspondence, expressed in the descriptions 
of Messianic times, specially in ' de Pram, et 
Pcen.' ed. Mangey, ii. 421, &c. ; ed. Frcf. 
pp. 923-925. The clauses in the A. V. after 
" to flourish " must be struck out. 

19. The A. V. omits (with 253, 248, Co.) 
the opening words of the verse: And He 
saw and numbered (or revealed) her. The 
clause, which is precisely parallel to v. 9 (see 
the note), once more points forward to Philo. 
But it cannot be omitted, if only because it 
supplies the subject God for what follows. 
The word "Wisdom" with which v. 19 
begins in the A. V. does not occur in the 
original, and the subject is God. The idea 
of presenting Him as "pouring down, like 
rain," " skill and knowledge of understanding," 
is thoroughly Hellenistic. Indeed, the first 
two clauses of this verse, which are quite 
different in the Syr., must be attributed to the 
younger Siracide. In the same manner Philo 
applied the expression "I will rain bread from 
heaven " (Ex. xvi. 4) to the showering down 
from above of Wisdom on all who are recep- 
tive (' de Prof.,' c. 25, ed. Frcf. p. 470). 
"And exalteth them to honour:" rather, 
heightens (increases) the honour of them, 
Sec. On the whole comp. Prov. iv. 8. 

21. This verse in our A. V. is not found in 
the best Codd., and must be omitted. From 
v. 20-27 the Syr. contains an entirely different 

22. The verse begins a new stanza. 

A furious man.~\ The better reading is 
unrighteous anger, although A. V. repre- 
sents a correct gloss: comp. Prov. xv. 18. 
Shall not be justified that is, before God; 
nor yet will it be vindicated or established 
before men. In general the expressions must 



[v. 2330. 

cir. 200. 

23 A patient man will bear for a 27 For the fear of the Lord is wis- B.C. 

dom and instruction : and faith and - ' 
meekness are his delight. 

28 " Distrust not the fear of the 11 Or, Be 
Lord when thou art poor ; and ZlldUnt 
come not unto him with a double t0 - 

29 Be not an hypocrite in the sight 
of men, and take good heed what 
thou speakest. 

30 Exalt not thyself, lest thou fall, 
and bring dishonour upon thy soul, 

time, and afterward joy shall spring 
up unto him. 

24 He will hide his words for a 
time, and the lips of many shall de- 
clare his wisdom. 

25 The parables of knowledge are 
in the treasures of wisdom : but god- 
liness is an abomination to a sinner. 

26 If thou desire wisdom, keep the 
commandments, and the Lord shall 
give her unto thee. 

be taken in their widest and most manifold 
application. " The sway of his anger," in 
the sense of momentum, impetus, "shall be his 
destruction" rather, to his fall it shall 
be the cause or occasion of it. The second 
clause of the verse does not give the reason, 
but rather explains the meaning of the state- 
ment in the first clause, and carries it further. 
The transition here from v. 20 b is abrupt, 
although v. 22 may possibly be intended as a 
demonstration and continuation of w. 19 e, 
20 b. 

23. In contrast to this "man of wrath" 
(Prov. xv. 18) is he who is patient, long suf- 
fering OaK/>o<9i7ior, D?BN SQX), as in Prov. 
xiv. 29; xv. 18. See also the similar rendering 
by Aquila of ^"2: T"!*?*?, Job vi. 1 1. Instead 
of " will bear," Fritzsche renders, after an- 
other reading (avtgerai) : " will hold out." But 
the alteration does not seem to be sufficiently 
supported, and the ordinary reading and 
rendering best accord with the context. He 
will bear till the time(<rt "foratime") 
ny-ny viz., of his vindication and deliver- 
ance by God. 

24. He will bide bis words till the time.] 
Till the right time, that appointed of God 
for his vindication and deliverance, he will 
keep back, restrain, his speech. Comp. 
Ps. xxxix. 1 ; Prov. x. 19. The second part 
of the verse shews how ample his public vin- 
dication shall be. Grotius aptly: " Silen- 
tium illius in tempore compensabitur mul- 
torum dc ipso sermonibus." The Wisdom 
here spoken of is not abstract (aotfna), but 
practical (o-vi/to-iy) intelligence, prudence. 

25. In [or among] the treasures of 
wisdom is a parable (or else in the collec- 
tive sense, -are parables ") of understand- 
ing- the latter indicating their qualitv or the 
kind ot parable. But quite the opposite are 
the views of life and the conversation of the 
sinner, v. 25 b. 

26. The theoretical and the practical are 
here combined : the way to acquire wisdom 

is obedience to the commandments. Yet this 
wisdom is not in any way the reward of 
obedience: and the Lord will abundantly 
furnish thee with it. This is not a dis- 
tinctively Judaic (Rabbinic) sentiment, but 
the writer occupies Old Testament we had 
almost said, New Testament ground. 

27. This verse, which opens the last stanza, 
continues the reasoning of v. 26. It also 
looks back on the beginning of the previous 
stanza in ot. 22, &c. Practical wisdom in 
the fear and service of the Lord is here re- 
presented as quiet, patient bearing in well- 
doing, in opposition to the wrathful self- 
assertion of the proud sinner. " Faith and 
meekness" gentleness " are His delight:" 
rather, good pleasure, that with which He 
is well pleased, which He approves and loves. 
The word evftoKia occurs in the LXX. only 
in the Psalms (there eight times) and in the 
Apocrypha only in Ecclus. giving another 
indication of the connexion in time between 
the version of the Psalms and our book. [In 
Cant. vi. 3 LXX. 4 the name Tirzab is so 

28. The clause "when thou art poor" 
must be omitted, as not supported by the best 
authorities. It is evidently an explanatory 
gloss. The rendering "distrust not," "dis- 
believe not " (which se;ms supported by LXX. 
Is. xxx. 12), appears to correspond better with 
the second part of the verse than the " be not 
disobedient " of the margin. " A double 
heart " (comp. Ps. xii. 2) one that alter- 
nates between faith and unbelief: comp. 
St. Jas. i. 8 ; iv. 8. 

29. To inward truth outward truthfulness 
must correspond. " What thou speakest:" 
lit. " in thy lips." With the exception of 250 
the Greek Codd. read, instead of "in the 
sight of men," " in the mouths [or mouth] of 
men." The Greek translator evidently mis- 
read B3 for MB3. The Syr. read it correctly, 
and the Vet. Lat. follows it. It seems needless 
to limit the verse to a spurious public profes- 
sion of religion. The wider view is fully 
borne out by the next verse. 

v. i 4.J 



ir. 2oo. 

and so God discover thy secrets, and 
cast thee down in the midst of the 
congregation, because thou earnest 
not in truth to the fear of the Lord, 
but thy heart is full of deceit. 


I God's servants must look for trouble, 7 an d 
be patient, and trust in him. 12 For tvoc to 
them that do not so. 1 5 But they that fear 
the Lord -will do so. 

MY son, if a thou come to serve B.C. 
the Lord, prepare thy soul CI !i^ ' 
for temptation. 4.^"' 

2 Set thy heart aright, and con- 2 Tun - 3- 
stantly endure, and "make not haste 1 Pet. 4 . 
in time of trouble. "' , 

a, . . . n Or, /taste 

eave unto him, and depart not not. 

away, that thou mayest be increased 

at thy last end. 

4 Whatsoever is brought upon 

30. Comp. St. Matt, xxiii. 12; St. Luke 
xviii. 14. " Discover : " in the sense of reveal, 
make publicly known that which had been 
hidden. On the first part comp. Prov. 
xxvi. 28 ; on the last clause, Acts xiii. 10. 
The Syr. has in the closing verses several 
other renderings, some of which probably 
depend on a different reading of the Hebrew. 
One very clear instance of this (pointed out 
by Mr. Margoliouth) is in v. 30 ; for " thou 
earnest not " the Syr. has " thou bearest the 
name" (omitting "not") evidently the one 
reading nnpJ, the other ITHpJ. 


The arrangement of this chapter into three 
unequal stanzas (1-6 ; 7-1 1; 12-18) is well 
marked. The first of them (w, 1-6) con- 
nects itself with the penultimate stanza of the 
previous chapter (i. 22-26). Similarly, stanzas 
ii. and iii. of chapter ii. (especially stanza ii.) 
look back on the last stanza of chap, i., and 
further develop the idea of " the fear of the 
Lord," referred to in the opening and closing 
verses of that stanza (i. 27 a, 30 e). 

Thus viewed, the first stanza of chapter ii. 
continues and carries out what had been set 
forth in the previous chapter especially as to 
faith, patience, and meekness. The second 
stanza {w. 7-1 1) is well marked by a three- 
fold " Ye that fear the Lord," to which an 
admonition or a promise is in each case 
attached. The two concluding verses of the 
stanza or perhaps three verses, since v. 10 
is double furnish the ground for each of the 
preceding admonitions. We mark that each 
-of the three verses of admonitions has its 
corresponding couplet of lines in the two (or 
three) following verses (to. 10, 11). 

In stanza iii. (w. 12-18) the three "Ye 
that fear the Lord " of the previous stanza 
have as their counterpart a threefold " Woe " 
Qw. 12-14) m which we also mark corre- 
spondence with the first stanza of the chapter. 
The threefold "Woe" is followed by a three- 
fold " They that fear the Lord" (iw. 15-17) 
but here of a descriptive, not (as in stanza ii.) 
of a hortatory character. The concluding 
verse (t.>. 18) furnishes the ground of what 

had immediately preceded, and thus corre- 
sponds with w. 10, 11 in stanza i. 

1. if thou come.'] "Come forward," "set 
out." Practical advice is now given to him 
who really wishes to serve the Lord, in 
opposition to those referred to in the closing 
verses of ch. i. The first thing to be re- 
membered is that temptation will meet us by 
the way. Such temptation may, as Drusius 
rightly remarks, come by adversity or by 
prosperity. But the reference here is to 
adversity, as the following verses shew. 

2. Guide thy heart straight, direct, 
govern it (so in LXX. Josh. xxiv. 23). This 
is the literal meaning of the word. "And 
he steadfast," which probably gives the 
meaning more fully, as the verb signifies both 
" to be staunch " and " to endure patiently." 
This in opposition to making haste in the 
time of trouble of distress or misery 
(Bissell, " visitation "). The verb is often used 
in Philonic writings of afflictions sent. In 
such seasons we are to be staunch not 
perturbed nor hasty in thought or deed. 
Comp. Ps. xxvii. 14. The verse is wanting 
in the Syr. 

3. depart not.} Viz. from God turn not 
aside (the Hebrew JO "WD). "Increased:" 
in the sense of compensating exaltation 
afterwards, at his end, or rather at a later 
time, when affliction and temptation well 
endured shall give place to happiness. But 
there is no reference here to the "after 
death." Comp. St. Jas. v. 1 1. For " mayest 
be increased at thy last end " the Syr. has : 
" mayest be wise in thy paths " (as has been 
noted) reading "pJTimK3, while the Greek 

read innnsa. 

4. brought upon tbee.~\ Viz. by God ; 
" take," viz. upon thyself accept it, submit 
to it. The word " cheerfully " should be 
omitted, as not properly authenticated. 
" When thou art changed to a low estate " 
gives the meaning correctly lit. " in the 
changes of thy humiliation," i.e. when changes 
come by which thou art brought into a low 
estate. But the reading of 248, aWuyfiari 
(in the singular), is supported by the Syr. and 



[v. 514. 

B.C. thee take cheerfully, and be patient 
"^' when thou art changed to a low- 

*Prov. c ''For <j;old is tried in the fire, and 

wisd. 3. 6. acceptable men in the furnace of 

c Ps. 37. 6 e Believe in him, and he will help 
thee ; order thy way aright, and 
trust in him. 

'Ps. 37-7- 7 Ye that fear the Lord, "'wait for 
his mercy ; and go net aside, lest ye 

8 Ye that fear the Lord, believe 
him ; and your reward shall not fail. 

9 Ye that fear the Lord, hope for 
good, and for everlasting joy and 

10 Look at the generations of old B.C. 

. ... . 1 cir. 20c 

and see ; r did ever any trust in the 
Lord, and was confounded? or did 2S Ps- 37- 
any abide in his fear, and was for- 
saken ? or whom did he ever despise, 
that called upon him ? 

11 -^ For the Lord is full ofcom-rps. 86. 
passion and mercy, longsuftering, and ?' ' M5 " 
very pitiful, and forgiveth sins, and 
saveth in time of affliction. 

12 Woe be to fearful hearts, and 
faint hands, and the sinner that goeth 
two ways ! 

13 Woe unto him that is faint- 
hearted ! for he believeth not ; there- 
fore shall he not be defended. 

14. Woe unto you that have lost 

5. The higher reason of the direction of 
t. 4 and the comfort in it are indicated. Such 
changes are divinely ordered to try and to 
purify us. "Adversity : " lit. humiliation. The 
figures employed frequently recur in Holy 
Scripture (Prow xvii. 3, xxvii. 21 ; Zech. 
xiii. 9 ; Mai. iii. 3 ; 1 Pet. i. 7). 

6. Help or "take part with thee." The 
idea of helping, as in St. Luke i. 54. " Order 
thy way aright " gives correctly the sense of 
the original lit. guide (make) thy ways 
straight (set, direct them) certainly not in 
the sense of " straightforwardness." " Trust : " 
rather, hope. For "hope in Him" the Syr. 
has: " and He will direct thy paths." 

7. This verse, which begins the second 
stanza (see the introd.), farther indicates the 
duty of waiting for the merciful deliverance 
of God, and the danger of attempts at sinful 
self-deliverance. In this and the following 
two verses the progression of thought is 
always in the second clauses. 

8. The promise that their " reward shall 
not fail," or be lost, must at least by us 
not be taken in a Judaic sense. 

9. The admonition passes now from the 
individual to the general, and hence must be 
considered as applicable to the pious at all 
times and in all circumstances. This should 
be kept in view in the interpretation of the 
expression "everlasting joy and mercy." The 
term " everlasting" can scarcely be regarded 
as equivalent to " lasting" or " long enduring." 
Nor yet does it seem to refer to what we 
understand by " everlasting." Rather does it 
seem to mean that they who fear the Lord 
may always look for joy and mercy from 
God. That this is the right interpretation 
appears from the review in -v. 10 of the 
experience of believers in the past. 

10. The last clause should be worded like 
the two which precede: "Or did any call 
upon Him, and He despised them;" rather, 
took not notice of them? 

11. And this, although we cannot plead 
freedom from sin and its ill desert. The 
words " longsuffering and very pitiful " 
should be omitted, as not supported by the 
best authorities. 

12. This verse opens the third stanza. 
The writer now turns to those who neglect 
his admonitions. The antithesis between 
vv. 12-14, and both that which had pre- 
ceded and that which follows, should be 
marked. The threefold " Woe" is not to be 
regarded as a denunciation of judgments, 
but rather as equivalent to "Alas for those." 
Each of them bears reference to want of that 
steadfast faith and unswerving trust previously 
recommended. In the first " woe " failure 
in a staunch and straight course is denounced; 
in the second, failure of courage and assur- 
ance ; in the third, that of patient endurance. 

faint hands, .] Rather, hands that hang 
down (Heb. xii. 12). The expression is 
parallel to that in Job iv. 3 and Is. xxxv. 3 
(the latter being rendered in the LXX. in 
nearly the same manner). " Fearful hearts " 
is no doubt the equivalent of the Heb. in 
Deut. xx. 8 (in the A. V. "faint-hearted"), 
where the LXX. employ exactly the same 
words. Similarly also in 2 Chron. xiii. 7, 
both in the Heb. and the LXX. To "go 
upon two ways" refers not to uncertainty, 
but to want of decision and the attempt to 
keep in with both sides. The classical reader 
will remember the " duabus sellis sedere " 
(with our proverbial sequence of " falling 
between two stools"); while the biblical 
student will recall, both as to expression and 

v. 15 4-] 



p. c. patience ! and what will ye do when 
ij2oo. ^^^ L or d shall visit you ? 

15 They that fear the Lord will 
John 14. not disobey his word; and S'they 

that love him will keep his ways. 

16 They that fear the Lord will 
seek that which is wellpleasing unto 
him ; and they that love him shall be 
filled with the law. 

17 They that fear the Lord will 
prepare their hearts, and humble their 
souls in his sight, 

>2Sam. 18 Saying, We will h fall into the 
hands of the Lord, and not into the 
hands of men : for as his majesty is, 
so is his mercy. 


cir. 200. 

2 Children must honour and help both their 

parents. 2 1 We may not desire to know all 
tilings. 26 The incorrigible must needs perish. 
30 Alms are rewarded. 

HEAR me your father, O chil- 
dren, and do thereafter, that 
ye may be safe. 

2 For the Lord hath given ^the^Exod. 
father honour over the children, and Dein's 
hath confirmed the "authority of the I 6 - 

, , J Matt. 15. 

mother over the sons. 4. 

3 Whoso honoureth his father ^ ark 7 ' 
maketh an atonement for his sins : Eph - 6 - 2 - 

4 And he that honoureth his mo j-J' eni 
ther is as one that layeth up treasure. 

meaning, Prov. xxviii. 6, 18. (Comp. also 
1 Kings xviii. 21.) The verse presents a 
climax : heart, hands, walk moral defect in 
either always leading to that in the other. 

14. " Patience : " in the sense of endurance 
rather than of hope (the latter, Fritzsche). 
For " bave lost patience " the Syr. has 
" polletis fiducia" perhaps a confusion of 

nas with nn'x. 

15. The opposite course is traced as that 
which characterises the " fear of the Lord." 
One of the most valuable parts of this chapter 
is the Old Testament view which it pre- 
sents of the "fear of the Lord." "Will 
not disobey " in the Syr. " will not hate " 
a different rendering of the word DX?0 in 
the original. "His word:" rather, words. 
Mark that as in w. 7-9 we have a threefold 
admonition to those who " fear the Lord," 
and in irv. 12-14 a threefold "woe" upon 
failure in this, so in w. 15-17 a threefold 
description of what may be expected of 
them who " fear the Lord " the expression 
"they that love Him" (v. 16 b) being almost 

parallel to it. 

16. that which is wellpleasing unto 6im.~\ 
This is misleading. The right rendering is, 
His good pleasure (evboiciav). "Filled 
with : " in the sense of satiating themselves 
with it, seeking, aiming, and living only after 
His Law. 

17. For " bumble their souls " the Syr. 
has: "he that forsaketh him shall ruin his 
soid" reading (as has been suggested) 

nrvj"' for nrc\ 

18. majesty.'] Rather, greatness. It is 
scarcely necessary to point out the reference 
to 2 Sam. xxiv. 14; only that in the present 
instance the reason of the choice is indicated 
in the preceding context, and also in the last 
clause of this verse, which is truly grand and 

Old Testament in its conception. It should 
be added that the Rabbis also noted that 
wherever God's greatness was spoken of in 
Scripture, there His condescension was also 
immediately indicated. So in Deut. x. 17, 
1 8 ; Is. lvii. 15 ; Ps. lxviii. 4, 5 (Meg. 31 a). 


This chapter seems to be arranged into four 
stanzas. After an introductory line, the first 
two stanzas consist each of fourteen lines, in 
commendation of filial duty Qw. 1^-9; 10-16). 
The third stanza (ot. i 7-24), also of fourteen 
lines, is in praise of humility ; while the fourth . 
of twelve lines (vv. 26-29; v. 25 must be 
omitted), seems chiefly directed against pride 
of heart and mind, and intended to inculcate 
an opposite frame. 

1. your father.] Rather, the father. 
This expression, and that of " children," must 
not be pressed literally, although the writer 
immediately proceeds to describe what is the 
proper filial relation. The " safety " here 
spoken ofut salvi sitis does not refer to 
that in the next world, as appears from what 
immediately follows. 

2. " Given honour " extolled. Fritzsche, 
however, renders " with, or in, the children," 
in the sense that according to Divine appoint- 
ment the honour of a father consists in this, 
that the children honour him. " The autho- 
rity of the mother over sons : " omit the 
article. The word "authority" probably 
expresses here the meaning better than any 
other. The Greek. Kpiais, no doubt corre- 
sponds to the Hebrew misbpat, for which it 
occurs in the LXX. not less than 132 times. 
But mislipat also means " a right" in the 
sense of that which is due (so in Deut. 
xviii. 3, both in the Hebrew and in the LXX.) 
and the " right " of the mother, that which 
is due to her, is equivalent to her authority. 



[v. 5M- 

r,. c. 5 Whoso honoureth his father 

cir^oo. s j la jj nave j y f jjj s QWn children ; 

and when he maketh his prayer, he 
shall be heard. 

6 He that honoureth his father 
shall have a long life ; and he that 
is obedient unto the Lord shall be a 
comfort to his mother. 

7 He that feareth the Lord will 
honour his father, and will do service 
unto his parents, as to his masters. 

f> vcr. 2. 8 h Honour thy father and mother 

both in word and deed, that a 
blessing may come upon thee from 2 them. 

27,28, 29. 9 For c the blessing of the father 

,3.1. establisheth the houses of children; 

but the curse of the mother rooteth B. c. 

r , . cir. 200. 

out foundations. 

10 Glory not in the dishonour of 
thy father ; for thy father's dishonour 
is no glory unto thee. 

1 1 For the glory of a man is from 
the honour, of his father ; and a 
mother in dishonour is a reproach to 
the children. 

12 My son, help thy father in his 
age, and grieve him not as long as he 

13 And if his understanding fail, 
have patience with him ; and despise 

him not when thou art "in thy full n Or, in 

.1 all thine 

strength. abUity . 

14 For the relieving of thy father 

It need scarcely be pointed out how needful 
this admonition is. 

3, 4. These verses carry the preceding 
into further detail. " Honoureth his father:" 
perhaps better reverences, which will also 
distinguish this verb from that applied in the 
next verse to one's mother. " Maketh an 
atonement " according to the better reading, 
in the future tense : shall make atonement, 
not in the Christian sense, but in that indi- 
cated in i'v. 14 and 15. "As one that layeth 
up treasure," providing for the' time of need, 
so is he that showeth due honour to his 
mother. The word dnodi](ravpio) occurs 
only in this passage (not in the LXX.) and 
in 1 Tim. vi. 19. 

5. shall be rejoiced made happy by 
children. Although the verb does not other- 
wise occur with vnd, there cannot be any 
doubt that this, rather than eV rexvois, is 
the better reading. In the day of his 
prayer: this rather than as in the A. V., 
especially as it seems to point to special 
prayer -primarily, prayer in time of calamity. 

6. " A comfort," in the sense of giving 
restfulness and refreshment. In the LXX. 
it mostly corresponds to the verb n-13, in its 
various forms: and 2 Sam. vii. 1, 11 ; 1 Kings 
v. 4; 1 Chron. xxii. 9, 18 ; Is. xiv. 3, but 
especially Prov. xxix. 17, may here be men- 
tioned as parallels. 

7. According to the weight of authorities, 
the first half of the verse should be omitted, 
but alike the preceding verse and the clause 
which follows seem to require it although, 
on the other hand, it may have owed its ori- 
gin to a feeling of abruptness in the text 
without it. The "service" spoken of is 
like that of a slave. The Rabbis also held 
that a child was bound to do a slave's service 

to his father, and likewise to his teacher. 
The construction with ev (SoiAeuo-ei iv) 
occurs only again in LXX. Jer. xxv. 11. 

8. In deed and word (comp. St. Luke 
xxiv. 19) reverence thy father, that a 
blessing; may come upon thee from him. Thus 
according to the better reading, and literally. 

9. Better the indefinite article : a father, 
a mother. The expression "houses" re- 
fers not only to the prosperity but to the 
permanence of a family. This appears still 
further from the second clause. But Ex. i. 2 1 , 
2 Sam. vii. n, are scarcely parallels. 

10. The verse begins the second stanza, 
which presents the negative aspect of what 
had formerly been inculcated. " Dishonour" 
as generally in reference to fathers, a deriva- 
tive of Ti/xdco is used. The verse accurately 
represents ancient Hebrew feeling, and re- 
bukes the spurious modern boasts of inde- 
pendence from ancestry. 

12b. For "grieve him not" the Syr. has 
" lea-ve not his glory " as has been suggested, 
a confusion of mvj?n with miyn. 

13. Make allowance "have indul- 
gence " with him. The Rabbis were wont to 
enforce this by an appeal to the beautiful 
legend according to which the broken tables 
of the Law were likewise preserved in the 
Ark (Ber. 8b; Baba B. i 4 ). "In thy full 
strength:" rather, in all thy strength. 
The Syr. has: "all the days of his life" 

reading YTl "'>'' ^O [or ^3], while the Greek 

read "fpTI. 

14. relieving^ Better, probably, the more 
general term " pity " or " mercy." " Instead 
of sins," that is in place of the evil and de- 
struction which thy sins would have brought, 
it shall be built up to thee again, viz. 

V. I 




b. c. shall not be forgotten : and instead 
cirjjoo. ^ ^.^^ - t s j i ^ ^ e ^fided to build 

thee up. 

15 In the day of thine affliction it 
shall be remembered ; thy sins also 
shall melt away, as the ice in the fair 
warm weather. 

16 He that forsaketh his father is 
as a blasphemer ; and he that anger- 
eth his mother is cursed of God. 

17 My son, go on with thy busi- 
ness in meekness ; so shalt thou be 
beloved of him that is approved. 

<* Phil. 

2. 3. 

18 ^The greater thou art, the B.C. 
more humble thyself, and thou shalt 
find favour before the Lord. 

19 Many are in high place, and of 
renown : but e mysteries are revealed * Ps. 25. 
unto the meek. 9 ' I4 ' 

20 For the power of the Lord is 
great, and he is honoured of the 

21 -^Seek not out the things that^Prov. 
are too hard for thee, neither search Rom!' 
the things that are above thy I2 - 3- 

thy house (or, perhaps : " it shall be added 
to thee for building up "). The verb, without 
7rp6s, occurs repeatedly in the LXX., notably 
in Deut. xiii. 16; Jer. xviii. 9 ; Zech. i. 16; 

Mai. iii. 15. 

15. He (Syr. "she") shall remember 
thee the Syr. adds to thee viz. for good, or 
for help and deliverance. The correctness of 
this rendering is attested by the Syr. Like 
fair weather upon ice, so thy sins 
shall be dissolved (melt away). The 
meaning is, that just as the warmth of fine 
weather dissolves the ice which is the result of 
cold, so would dutifulness towards parents 
remove the guilt and consequences of our sins. 
The moral and spiritual view here taken alike 
of sin and of duty towards parents is the 
opposite of elevated. In the Syriac, "as 
heat against ice, to the abolishing of thy 
sins ; " in the Arabic we have, instead of the 
last clause, "shall drive away evils from thee, as 
cold is driven away by the fierceness of heat " 
both explanatory rather than literal renderings. 

16. In the Greek the order of the sen- 
tences in each of the two members of the 
verse is inverted (as compared with the 
A. V.), and this makes the meaning much 
more emphatic. " Forsaketh :" that is, leaves 
unhelped. " Angereth : " probably, by refusing 
aid. The tone of at least the first part of this 
verse rises to a greater moral height. 

17. In the new stanza which here opens, 
the writer proceeds to admonish to modesty 
and humility ; and this, first, as regards out- 
ward conduct and bearing Qw. 17-20); then 
as regards the mind {yv. 21-24), ar) d, lastly, 
as regards the heart and feelings (ot. 25-28). 
The admonition to humility is supported by 
three arguments: 1st, it secures the good- 
will of pious men of such as are " approved," 
viz. of God (comp. ii. 5), v. 17; 2ndly, it 
gains the favour of God, v. 18 ; which, 3rdly, 
is the source of all success, v. 20. 

18. Humility should increase with out- 
ward success. It almost seems as if the 

Apoc Vol. II 

writer had in his mind that otherwise an 
envious fate would dispense calamity. A simi- 
lar admonition, but from a much higher point 
of view, is given in 1 Pet. v. 5. 

19. This verse is an interpolation. 

20. " The power of the Lord," Syr. " the 
mercy of the Lord " -perhaps a confusion 
between TDn and pTI"l. "Honoured of:" 
rather, glorified by. Instead of the last 
clause the Syr. has: "and to the meek His 
secrets are revealed " probably repeated 
from v. 1 9 . 

21. In the admonitions to humility which 
now follow, the reasoning is as follows : Ab- 
stain from useless speculations and attempts 
to comprehend that which is above human 
reason {y. 21). Practical obedience is re- 
quired, not speculative knowledge, which is 
barren (y. 22). The latter.employs our powers 
to no purpose, whereas all that is really 
necessary has been quite clearly told us 
(y. 23). Lastly, such speculations have led 
many fatally astray (v. 24). The argument 
is deeply interesting, not only as shewing that 
a spirit of inquiry and speculation was abroad, 
but as containing one of the passages quoted in 
Rabbinic writings as from ' The Book of Ben 
Sira.' The fullest recension of it is in Ber. 
R. 8 (ed. Warsh. 1 7 a), where v. 2 1 and the 
substance of v. 22 are quoted as follows: 
" Rabbi Elazar said in the name of Ben Sira 
(so also in Jer. Chag. 77 c), What is too 
great for thee, seek not out; into what is 
too strong (powerful) for thee, search not ; 
what is too high for thee seek not to know ; 
into what is hidden from thee, inquire not ; 
what is within thy power (that which is 
within thy reach, that which is practically 
before thee), consider, and busy not thyself 
with secret things." The same saying is 
quoted, with slightly different wording, in the 
Jer. Talmud (Chag. 771:), and in the Bab. 
Talmud (Chag. 13a there, as from 'The 
Book of Sira'), but without the first two 
clauses given in Ber. R. 8. There can be 
little doubt that the recension in the Talmud, 




[v. 2 2 3c 


cir. 200. 

22 But what is commanded thee, evil at the last ; and he that loveth 
think thereupon with reverence ; for danger shall perish therein. 

it is not needful for thee to see with 27 An obstinate heart shall be 
thine eyes the things that are in laden with sorrows ; and the wicked 
secret. man shall heap sin upon sin. 

23 Be not curious in unnecessary 28 "In the punishment of the 
matters: for more things are shewed proud there is no remedy; for the 

plant of wickedness hath taken root 
in him. 


cir. 200. 

unto thee than men understand 

24 For many are deceived by 
their own vain opinion ; and an evil 
suspicion hath overthrown their judg- 

25 Without eyes thou shalt want man. 

light : profess not the knowledge there- 30 & Water will quench a flaming 
fore that thou hast not. fire ; and alms maketh an atonement 

26 A stubborn heart shall fare for sins. 

I! Or, The 
man is not 
healed by 
his pun- 

29 The heart of the prudent will 
understand a parable ; and an at- 
tentive ear is the desire of a wise 

? Ps. 41. 
I, &c. 
Dan. 4. 27 

Matt. 5. 7 

with its four members in exact parallelism, is 
the correct one, nor yet that it rather than 
the Greek represents what had originally 
been written by the older Siracide. 

22. The words "with reverence" and 
"to see with thine eyes" must be omitted. 
The last clause should read: for thou hast 
no use (or else, no necessity) for (jwn 
pertinent ad te) the things that are 
hidden they are not required for any prac- 
tical purpose. 

23. Rather, In the things which go 
beyond (surpass, exceed both in quantity 
and quality) thy works (the requirements of 
practice, referred to in the previous verse) be 
not a busybody the same word as in 
2 Thess. iii. 11 : here probably in the sense 
of meddling with what does not concern one, 
wasting one's labour. For what exceeds 
(is beyond) the intelligence of man (i.e. 
is more than enough for his comprehension, 
his practical capacity) has been shewn to 
thee (marked out before thee). 

24. The admonition to humility in ab- 
staining from searching into what is beyond 
our ken concludes with a warning: 'For 
many has their notion (a notion on their 
part, or else, an assumption) led astray 
(misled;, and a wrong (noxious) supposi- 
tion made their judgment to slip (slide, 
tall on a slippery place). Others, however, 
have applied the substantives "notion" and 
- supposition " to excessive opinion of oneself 
-conceit, which led to entering on dangerous 
and misleading speculations. 

25. This verse must be omitted, as not 
supported by the best authorities. In the 
Syr. and Arab. Versions it follows after v. 27, 
and in the Arab, rather as a paraphrase. 

26. Here begins with the last stanza the 
commendation of heart-humility. The re- 

ference seems to wilful and proud neglect 
of the warnings previously given, leading a 
person to rush into the fatal dangers above 
indicated. Practically the same expression 
for a " stubborn heart " occurs in the LXX. 
Deut. x. 16 ; Prov. xvii. 20, xxviii. 14; Ezek. 
iii. 7. In 1 Kings (1 Sam.) xxv. 3 we have 
this about Nabal : 6 avdpwrros aKXrjpos nal 
TTovrjpos iv eVtrr/Seiz/xacri. [The Syr. render- 
ing of 26 b, "he that loveth good things 
shall attain them," is contrary to the whole 
structure of this stanza, in which the clauses 
of each verse are not in antithesis.] 

27. Sorrows, or labours, cares, troubles. 
"The wicked man:" rather, the sinner. 
We mark as parallel to the second clause 
this saying of Ben Azai in Ab. iv. 2 : " One 
transgression draws another after it." 

28. Probably best rendered: By (in) the 
calamity (eVaycoyj/ H, 248, Co. prefix ip 
that which is brought to him in trial or 
punishment) of the proud there is not 
healing: it does not lead to his spiritual 
healing. The connexion of thought is as 
follows : Pride of heart will lead to danger 
and ruin (y. 26); sin will prove progressive 
(v. 27), and even trials will not act as cor- 
rective (jv. 2 7). 

29-31. The last three verses read like a 
practical application of the parabolic teaching 
of this whole chapter. In opposition to the 
stubbornness and conceit which had been 
condemned, we have here on the part of the 
prudent understanding of the parabolic or 
proverbial teaching just given him his earnest 
desire being to learn and obey (v. 29). The 
expression "heart" is used in its wider 
Hebraic sense for the mind, or what we 
might designate the inner man. 

30. This practical lesson comes to us 
parabolically, that the moral effect of alms 

3i 5-] 



B.C. 31 And he that requiteth good 

ci^joo. tunis j s m indful f that which may 

come hereafter ; and when he falleth, 

he shall find a stay. 


I IVe may not despise the poor or fatherless, 1 1 
but seek for wisdom, 20 and not be ashamed 
of some things, nor gainsay the truth, 30 nor 
be as lions in our houses. 

MY son, defraud not the poor of 
his living, and make not the 
needy eyes to wait long. 

2 Make not an hungry soul sor- b. c. 
rowful ; neither provoke a man in cn jj^" 
his distress. 

3 Add not more trouble to an 
heart that is vexed; and " defer not' T Prov. 3 . 
to give to him that is in need. 

4 Reject not the supplication of 

the afflicted ; neither turn away thy b Tobit 
face from a poor man. 4- 7- 

, l , . r Matt. 5. 

5*1 urn not away thine eye from 42. 
"the needy, and give him none occa- "Or, 

-" , to hint tluit 

sion to curse tnee : asketk. 

upon sins is like that of water upon fire 
it puts an end to their destructive effect. 
Low as is the spiritual tone of such a senti- 
ment, it is even more painfully and realisti- 
cally expressed in the Book of Tobit (comp. 
iv. 8-11 ; xii. 9 ; xiv. 11). 

31. The word " and " must be omitted ; and 
instead of " that which may come hereafter," 
better: the things whioh are after 
these (ra fxera raiira) that is, after that 
which is now going on, our present condi- 
tion, which may change to one of need. 
The Syr. has: " beneficus expeditus est in 
via sua" reading flimX for finnN. Dif- 
ference of opinion prevails whether the 
subject of the first clause is God or man. 
The former view has probably led to the 
insertion of the words "the Lord" in 106, 
248, Co., H, Vet. Lat. But the reading is 
not trustworthy ; and as man is the subject 
in the second clause, it seems natural to 
supplement also the same word in the first 
clause. Thus viewed, v. 31 forms the final 
link in the teaching of this chapter. The 
man who requiteth benefits viz. those which 
he had received from his parents is re- 
membered in such changes and events as 
may come upon him hereafter, and in the 
time of his falling shall find support 
(stay, succour). Comp. iii. 1-16. 


From the consideration of duty towards 
parents the writer proceeds to what is re- 
quired of us in regard to our neighbour. 
As in the previous chapter, duty is here 
primarily viewed under the aspect of bene- 
ficence. Hence the relations indicated are 
mainly those towards the poor. Here also 
the writer shews that true religion, which in 
his mind consists in the practice of good 
works, is true wisdom. This explains the 
transition to the praise of wisdom (w. n 
19). Wisdom is practical religion in well 
doing; on the other hand, sin is evil doing 
and the loss of wisdom. This appears also 
in the third stanza, which, like the conclud- 

ing stanza of ch. iii., is chiefly of a warning 
character (yv. 20-28). As ch. iii., so ch. iv. 
closes with three verses of practical applica- 
tion. Thus the chapter consists of three 
stanzas respectively of ten, of nine, and 
again of nine verses (jw. 1-10; 11-19; 
20-28) of which the three concluding verses 
form the application. 

1. This verse may be only introductory 
and general, in which case each of the stanzas 
of which the chapter is composed would 
consist of nine verses. "Defraud," or pos- 
sibly in the more general sense specially 
applicable in regard to benevolence : " With- 
hold not from the poor." The verb is used 
in reference to the wages of the poor in the 
LXX. Deut. xxiv. 16 (Cod. Alex.; the Vat. 
has d-rraSLKTio-eis) and in Mai. iii. 5. Here 
it is probably used with wider application 
than to wages. For " deprive not," Sec, the 
Syr. has : "deride not the life of the poor " 
according to Mr. Margoliouth, the one deriv- 
ing the word from the root TD, the other 
from i~l]2. " His living : " in the sense of all 
that is necessary to sustain life, or for one's 
life. The same meaning attaches to the 
term in St. Luke xii. 15. Generally comp. 
Prov. iii. 28. Both Latin and Greek parallels 
might also be here adduced. 

2. Few sayings more wise, kind, and suit- 
able than this. It is too often the manner of 
men to moralise to those who are in sorrow, 
and to provoke to anger those who are in 
difficulty, embarrassment, or distress. And 
even when words are not spoken, our bearing 
may effect this. The Syr. has here " forget 

3. The direction not to add further distress 
to a heart already vexed goes beyond the 
previous verse. It has for its counterpart the 
admonition not to defer giving (a gift) to one 
in need. 

4-6. [The Syr. omits 4 b and 5 .] From 
spontaneous compassion the writer next turns 
to that which should follow on the appeal of 
distress: Refuse not a suppliant who is 

E 2 

5 2 


[v. 6 14. 

B.C. 6 ^For if he curse thee in the bit- 

lrjzoo. temess Q f ^jg SOL1 ] 5 his prayer shall be 

j D g Ut- heard of him that made him. 

7 Get thyself the love of the con- 
gregation, and bow thy head to a 
great man. 

8 Let it not grieve thee to bow 
down thine ear to the poor, and 
give him a friendly answer with 

rfisaL 1. 9 d Deliver him that suffereth 
k'r 22.3. wrong from the hand of the op- 
pressor ; and be not fainthearted 
'job 29. w i ien thou sittest in judgment. 

ID. S 31. JO 

10 'Be as a father unto the father- 
jam'. 1'. 27.' less, and instead of an husband unto 

their mother : so shalt thou be as b. c. 
the son of the most High, and he CI L!2* 
shall love thee more than thy mother 

1 1 Wisdom exalteth her children, 
and layeth hold of them that seek 

12 /He that loveth her loveth life ; f Prov - 3. 

T Q 

and they that seek to her early shall 
be filled with joy. 

13 He that holdeth her fast shall 
inherit glory ; and wheresoever she 
entereth, the Lord will bless. 

14 They that serve her shall mi- 
nister "to the Holy One : and them r0r . in 
that love her the Lord doth love. tuary. 

afflicted. In v. \b and v. 5 this is farther 
carried out by shewing the consequences of 
embittering the soul of the distressed by a 
refusal of his entreaty. The admonition goes 
indeed further than what we read in Ex. xxii. 
22, 23, and Deut. xv. 9, but scarcely beyond 
Prov. xxviii. 27. The closing words of 
Ecclus. iv. 6 indicate alike the ground on 
which our obligation to the poor rests and 
the reason why his curse shall not be in vain, 
viz. that the God to whom he appeals is his 
Maker, and also the Maker of us all. The 
teaching of Prov. xiv. 31 and xvii. 5, although 
parallel, is higher in character. It need 
scarcely be added that the Gospel has pointed 
far beyond this. 

7. This verse has been regarded by some 
critics as inserted in the wrong place, being 
apparently unconnected with the previous 
argument. The Latin Version has sought to 
remove this objection by inserting after " con- 
gregation " the words " of the poor." But 
the difficulty referred to is rather apparent 
than real. There is twofold progression in 
w. 7-10 as compared with those which 
preceded : first, from the negative to the 
positive ; and, secondly, from response to 
direct appeals chiefly for charity to spon- 
taneous action under certain circumstances. 
At the same time the advice of -v. 7 is rather 
Eastern in character than religious, and 
reflects unfavourably on what follows in the 
next verses. 

8. According to the better reading : In- 
cline to the poor thine ear. This and 
the next clause, and answer him peace- 
ful things (peace) in meekness, are truly 
Hebraic. The expression "incline the ear" 
occurs in Ps. xvii. 6, Jer. xi. 8 ; and this, " to 
answer peace," in Gen. xli. 16 and in Deut. 
xx. 11. In fact the LXX. render the latter 
passage by exactly the same terms. 

9. The first clause perhaps misses the anti- 
thetic force of the original: the oppressed 
from the hand of the oppressor. " Not 
fainthearted : " that is, not afraid to decide in 
favour of the poor as against the proud 

10. The final admonitions recall Deut. 
xxiv. 17-21 ; Job xxix. 15-17, xxxi. 16, &c. ; 
and Isa. i. 17. The expression "He shall 
love thee more than thy mother doth," seems 
to bear reference to Isa. xlix. 15. 

11. With this verse commences, according 
to Fritzsche, a new section: on Wisdom 
(iv. n-vi. 16) consisting of five parts, the 
first containing 20 members (10 + 10) ; the 
second, 18 members (6 + 6 + 6) ; the third, 
24 (12 -(- 12) ; the fourth, 28 (7 + 14 + 7) ; 
and the last, 2 6 members (6 + 6 + 6 + 8). Thus 
arranged, Part I. would embrace iv. 11-15 
+ iv. 16-19; Part II., iv. 20-28; Part III., 
iv. 29-v. 3 + v. 4-7 ; Part IV., v. 8-10 + 11- 
15 + vi. 1-3; Part V., vi. 4-12 + 13-16. 

" AVisdom exalteth," viz. to greatness and 
happiness, her sons: see St. Matt. xi. 19; 
" layeth hold of them that seek her," in the 
sense of bringing them help. The word, 
which otherwise often occurs in the LXX. 
and the New Testament, is used in this 
signification only in Heb. ii. 16. 

12. that seek to her early that rise early 
after her to betake themselves to her : indi- 
cating zeal and earnestness in the search after 
Wisdom, as the main object engaging mind 
and heart. 

13. wheresoever she entereth.'] Viz.Wisdom, 
This seems more congruous to the whole 
argument than to render (with Fritzsche) 
" whither he entereth," in the sense that what- 
soever such a man undertaketh, God will 
bless him in it. 

14. The cultivation of true wisdom is 

V. 152 2.] 



15 Whoso giveth ear unto her 
shall judge the nations : and he 
that attendeth unto her shall dwell 

16 If a man commit himself unto 
her, he shall inherit her ; and his 
generation shall hold her in possession. 

17 For at the first she will walk 
with him by crooked ways, and bring 
fear and dread upon him, and tor- 
ment him with her discipline, until 
she may trust his soul, and try him 
by her laws. 

18 Then will she return the 

straight way unto him, and comfort b. c. 
him, and shew him her secrets. cir^oo 

19 But if he go wrong, she will 
forsake him, and give him over to 
his own ruin. 

20 Observe the opportunity, and 
beware of evil ; and be not ashamed 
when it concerneth thy soul. 

21 For there is a shame that bring;- 
eth sin ; and there is a shame which 
is glory and grace. 

22 Accept no person against thy 
soul, and let not the reverence of 
any man cause thee to fall. 

identical with true religion. Consequently 
the relation of God towards us will depend 
on our relation towards Wisdom. 

15. The first clause in the Greek seems to 
have the great Messianic hope in view, in the 
sense that just as at the last that true wisdom 
which Israel had received would lead to their 
rule over the nations, so in measure would 
its acceptance on the part of individuals 
secure for them a similar moral supremacy. 
But a comparison with the Syr. shews that 
the Greek here depends on a misreading of 
the Hebrew original. Instead of " shall judge 
nations," the Syr. has : " shall judge truth " 

T1DK, which the Greek misread JlbS, "nations" 
{see General Introduction, VIII.). In- 
stead of the correct reading 7rpocrexa>i> (Alex., 
other MSS., Old Lat., Syr., Ar.) the Vatican 
has 7rpocre'Kd(ov. The promise of the second 
clause, which repeatedly occurs in the Old 
Testament, also points to Messianic times for 
its final fulfilment. In this connexion the 
same expression occurs in LXX. Jer. xxiii. 6 ; 
.and with more general application, in LXX. 
Deut. xxxiii. 12, 28. 

16. If a man commit himself unto ker.~\ 
Probably better: If a man trust [rely], viz. 
in her, commit himself to be led and ruled by 
her, not only shall he inherit her, but his 
descendants also shall enjoy the benefits 
which her possession conveys. The Vat. 
has : " If thou trust . . . thou shalt inherit." 
But the other reading is the correct and best 
supported one. 

17. The verse looks back upon the previous 
:statement. A man must have "trust" in 
Wisdom, for at first her ways will seem to 
be neither straight nor happy, but crooked 
and trying it will seem as if they did not 
lead to the promised goal, nor yet brought 
-either security or happiness. This strange 
discipline until she (Wisdom) have trust 
in his soul [the same word as in v. 16] and 

have proved him by her statutes [ordi- 
nances]. Similarly in Ab. vi. 4 the way of 
the Law is described as contentment with the 
meanest outward provision and every priva- 
tion, combined nevertheless with unceasing 
occupation with the Law. If such be our 
bearing, we shall inherit the greatest blessing 
both in this and in the next world. 

18, 19. Then when Wisdom can put trust 
in a man, and he has approved himself by 
obeying her precepts through all difficulties 
will she again turn to him according 
to the straight way, and there will not 
any longer be either sorrow nor yet misunder- 
standing about her ways. He that has faith- 
fully walked in them amidst trials will be 
comforted, and also perceive the meaning of 
what to others are secrets. On the other hand, 
if a man cannot endure the ordeal, he will be 
given over to his own ruin {y. 1 9). 

20, 21. The writer proceeds in the next 
stanza to set forth the practical aspect of true 
wisdom as true religion, and this, first, in a 
negative manner. Here he warns us to be 
on our guard lest we fall into sin. The second 
clause of v. 20 is somewhat difficult. Its 
literal rendering, and about [concerning, as 
regards] thy soul be not ashamed, leaves 
it open to regard it either as an admonition 
for the present or as pointing to the future. 
The former seems most accordant with v. 21, 
which sets forth the difference between false 
and true shame. [Verse 21 is inserted in 
LXX. Prov. xxvi. 11, at the close of that 

22. False shame is further described in its 
various manifestations ; and first in regarding 
or accepting the face of a person that is, 
taking part for or against him against one's 
soul. To this applies the warning in the 
second clause, which should be rendered : 
and be not abashed [or ashamed, as in 
2 Thess. iii. 14 ; Tit. ii. 8] to thy fall. Such 
"shame" would lead to one's own fall. 



[v. 2 3 3 1 - 

cur. 200. 

II Gr. 
in time 
of saving, 

I Or, and 
strive not 


it ream. 

23 And refrain not to speak, "when 
there is occasion to do good, and 
hide not thy wisdom in her beauty. 

24 For by speech wisdom shall be 
known : and learning by the word of 
the tongue. 

25 In no wise speak against the 
truth ; but be abashed of the error 
of thine ignorance. 

26 Be not ashamed to confess thy 
sins ; "and force not the course of the 


cir. 200. 

27 Make not thyself an underling 
to a foolish man ; neither accept the 
person of the mighty. 

28 Strive for the truth unto death, 
and the Lord shall fight for thee. 

29 g Be not hasty in thy tongue, rj am . ,. 
and in thy deeds slack and remiss. I9 - 

30 Be not as a lion in thy house, 
nor frantick among thy servants. 

3 1 /: Let not thine hand be stretch- ; ' Acts 20. 
ed out to receive, and shut when 3 
thou shouldest "repay. 11 Or,.?*?. 

23. The verse marks a progress on the 
preceding one. The marginal rendering of 
the first clause is the more exact and expres- 
sive. The last words of the second clause 
(els KaWovTjv) are extremely difficult, nor has 
any alteration proposed in the words of the 
Greek text or any reference to the Hebrew 
original as yet rendered their explanation more 
easy. The most likely rendering would 
seem: hide not thy wisdom for beauty 
(for embellishment, viz. of self) ; that is, in 
order thereby to acquire glory. The clause 
which is omitted in the Vat., Alex., and Sin. 
is found in H, 106, 248, 253, Syr., and Vet. 
Lat., and seems almost necessary. 

24. This verse indicates the reason of the 
previous admonition. 

25. If silence may be unseasonable, so may 
speech be in certain circumstances. To 
speak against the truth, whether purposely 
or in ignorance, must be wrong ; to feel our 
want of knowledge, and to be abashed by, 
and thus to admit it, must be right. The 
words " In no wise speak," which depend 
on a reading not so well supported, must be 
altered to Speak not. For the same reason, 
the words " of the error " in the second 
clause must be omitted. 

26. To the admonition not to be restrained 
by false shame from confessing our errors and 
sins, the advice is aptly added not to " strive 
against the stream ;" that is, not only to give 
up seeking excuses for our wrong-doing, but 
also to realise that it is impossible to resist 
the consequences of our sins. To "strive" 
or " swim against the stream " (niti contra 
torrent,, m, dirigere brachia c. t.) is an expres- 
sion, common among all nations, for attempt- 
in- the impossible. For this latter clause the 
Syr. has: -and resist not a fool," perhaps 
reading the later word rlBB> for F|DtJ>. 

27. Make not thyself an underling.'] Lit. 
" spread not thyself under as a mat." There 
is not, iiowever, any other instance of this 
very forcible metaphorical use of the term. 

28. the Lord.] According to the better 
reading, the Lord God. 

29. hasty.] Syr. " boastful." The reading 
raxvs seems for various reasons preferable to 
that of rpaxvs, although the latter ("rough" 
or " harsh ") is adopted by modern inter- 
preters: for (1) it forms a good antithesis to 
the second clause ; (2) it corresponds to such 
passages as Ecclus. v. 11; Prov. xxix. 20; 
Eccl. v. 1, 2 (A. V. 2,3). Besides, it finds its 
exact counterpart in Rabbinic sayings. Thus 
Ab. i. 15 (the saying of Shammai): "Speak 
little and do much ; " the praise of silence in 
Ab. i. 17 and iii. 13, in Pes. 99 a, and in 
Meg. 18/7; and in such passages as Babh. 
Mets. 87 a: "The righteous say (promise) 
little and do much ; the wicked say much and 
do not even a little," the former being illus- 
trated by the conduct of Abraham (Gen. xviii. 
5 comp. with i'. 7) ; the latter by that of 
Ephron (Gen. xxiii. 15 comp. with v. 16). 
Comp. also Ab. deR. Nath. xiii. p. 18*/ (top). 

30. For " a lion " the Syr. Vers, has " a 

dog ; " evidently 272 for "Q^S (as a lion). 
" As a lion," wild, hasty, relentless, destruc- 
tive. The verb in the second clause rendered 
"be not frantick" really means to indulge in 
vain fancies, here probably not only fancies 
but suspicions, which would lead to fitful, 
moody, and tyrannical conduct towards one's 

31. Compare with this the far transcending 
words of Christ, treasured up by St. Paul 
(Acts xx. 35): "It is more blessed to give 
than to receive." The following sentence in 
the Epistle of Barnabas (ch. xix.) is so similar 
as naturally to suggest derivation from Ecclus., 
or at least connexion with it: "Do not be 
ready to stretch forth the hands to take, but 
contracting them in regard to giving." In 
general the whole chapter in the Epistle of 
Barnabas contains much to remind us of 
the Book of Ecclesiasticus. 


The subject is still the same as before: 
deed and speech. As often, the opening 
verse of this chapter is connected with the 

V. I- 




B. C 
cir. 200 


r. 200. 

I- We must not presume of our 'wealth and 

strength, 6 nor of the mercy of God, to sin. 9 

We must not be doubletongued, 1 2 nor answer 

without knowledge. 


ET not thy heart 
goods ; and say not, b I 

enough for my life. 
2 ^Follow not thine 

and thy strength, to walk in the B.C. 

r , 1 1 cir. 200.' 

ways or thy heart : 

3 And say not, Who shall controul 
me for my works ? for the Lord will 
surely revenge thy pride. ^Eccies. 

4 (/ Say not, i have sinned, and / "' 
what harm hath happened unto me ? 3. 9. 
''for the Lord is longsufFering, /he - /Exod - 

own mind will in no wise let thee go. ch'. 16. 13. 

upon thy 

closing verse of the previous one. And yet 
there is manifestly progression in the argu- 
ment. The chapter naturally divides itself 
into two parts : (.1) as to feeling and conduct, 
and (2) as to speech. Verse 1 must be re- 
garded as a general introduction : 1 a to the 
first part : while 1 b already indicates the 
subject of the second part of the chapter, which 
is speech. Part II. begins with v. 10, to 
which v. 9 a forms an introduction, while 
v. 9 b, c connect this new introduction with 
the previous part, thus forming a transition. 
The general arrangement of the chapter might 
be thus outlined : 

Part I. v. 1. General Introduction. 

Then follow four verses of two lines each, 
and two verses of four lines each. 

v. 8. Conclusion in two lines which precisely 
correspond to those of the introductory verse. 

v. 9 a, b. Transition connecting what 
follows with Part I., and exactly correspond- 
ing in its two lines to the two lines of i\ 2, 
which forms the opening verse of Part I. 

Part II. v. 9 c. Transition from i\ 9 a, b, 
and generally from Part I. to Part II. 

Then follow four verses of two lines each, 
and two verses of four lines, including in 
ch. v. the opening verse of ch. vi. (See below.) 

1. Set not thy heart.] The verb eVe'xfw 
occurs rarely (with different meanings) in the 
LXX., but repeatedly in the Apocr. (nine 
times in Ecclus. and twice in 2 Mace). As 

here with eiri and the dat. it is only met with 
in this verse, in v. 8, and in xxxvii. 11. In 
the latter passage the meaning seems to be 
"to depend," or "rely." But in Hebrew to 
" depend " or " rely " is often equivalent to 
setting one's heart upon a thing. So certainly 
in Ps. lxii. 10 b, of which Ecclus. v. 1 seems 
an echo. Thus there would also be a pro- 
gression of thought in the second line, which 
would on the other hand be only a repetition 
of the first clause, if we were to translate 
"rely." In the second line the words " for 
my life" (H, 248, 253, 308, Co., Vet. Lat. est 
mihi sufficiens vita) are a spurious and not 
very wise addition. The verse warns against 
satisfaction with and confidence in our posses- 
sions. Its parallels are Ps. lxii. and St. Luke 
xii. 15, 19. In ' Yoma,' 86 b, we read that 
the abundance of their silver and gold had 
led the Israelites to make themselves gods of 

2. thy mind.] ttj ^/vxri <rov = inclinations: 
the words are omitted in the Syr. Vers. 

strength.] Either physical strength or else 
power and ability noli facere quicquid potes 
ac libet (Bretschn.). 

the ways.] 248, Co., 68o7s ; according to> 
the correct reading, the desires, emdvpiais- 

3. for my works.] These words must be 
omitted, according to the better reading. In 
the second clause the words "thy pride" 
must equally be omitted. The reading 
generally accepted has ere, in which case we 
should have to translate, will surely punish 
thee. But it seems more in accordance with 
the Hebraism in the text {k8ikwv eKbiicrjcrei) 
to suppose that the original had Dp3* DpJ, 

in which case <re must be omitted (as by some 
authorities), and we should have to translate, 
" for the Lord will surely avenge." 

4. According to the better reading, the 
word " harm " must be omitted from the 
first clause, and from the second line the 
words " he will in no wise let thee go." 
The meaning is : Make not wrongful infer- 
ence from temporary impunity, nor yet from 
the mercy of God. On the contrary, the 
latter should lead to repentance and restitu- 
tion. This seems indicated in v. 5. 


[v. 5- 


cir. 200. 

ch . 2 1 . 1 . 

; ' ch. 16. 
11. 12. 

5 Concerning propitiation, " be not 
without fear to add sin unto sin : 

6 And say not, His mercy is great ; 
he will be pacified for the multitude 
of my sins: ''for mercy and wrath 
come from him, and his indignation 
resteth upon sinners. 

7 Make no tarrying to turn to 
the Lord, and put not off from day 
to day : for suddenly shall the wrath 
of the Lord come forth, and in thy 
security thou shalt be destroyed, and 

' Prov. 10. < . ' ' 

9. & xi. 4 . perish in the day or vengeance. 

I9 ZC 8 ' Set not thine heart upon goods 

unjustly gotten ; for they shall not B.C. 
profit thee in the day of calamity. -1^ 

9 Winnow not with every wind, 
and go not into every way : for so 
doth the sinner that hath a double 


10 Be stedfast in thy understand- 
ing ; and let thy word be the same. 

11 *Be swift to hear ; and let thy ^ Jam. t. 
life be sincere; 7 and with patience /lPet 
give answer. x s- 

12 If thou hast understanding, an- 
swer thy neighbour ; if not, lay thy 
hand upon thy mouth. 

5. The Syr. transposes w. 5 and 6. It 
need scarcely be said that the term " pro- 
pitiation " must not be taken in the Christian, 
but in the Jewish sense. In illustration of 
this saying, we quote the following from the 
Mishnah, "If a man says [thinks], I will sin 
and repent, I will sin and repent no further- 
ance is given to his repentance. (If he says) I 
will sin and the Day of Atonement shall make 
atonement (propitiate"), the day of Atonement 
will not propitiate [for him] " (' Yoma,' viii. 
9). The Mishnah adds that the Day of 
Atonement only brings pardon of sins 
against God ; as regards those against our 
neighbours, reconciliation is first required. 
The Talmud, however, explains that pardon 
is extended three times on the Day of Atone- 
ment (after confession), but not a fourth 
time. Yet if a man had sinned and sinned 
again, he would come to look upon it as 
Lawful (' Yom.' 86 b). In another passage we 
are told that forgiveness is procured by " re- 
pentance and good works" (k. s. 87 a). [But 
tlie Jerus. Talmud (in /or.) attributes pardon 
to the Day of Atonement, even without 
repentance.] To be without fear as regards 
propitiation might lead to adding sin unto 
sin (y. 5 b). 

6. pacified forI\ The same expression as 
in the previous verse, " propitiation." In the 
original the words used were probably ni23 
(1: 5), and here "i?3. This would bring the 
statement into still closer agreement with 
what we read in the Mishnah about the Day 
of Atonement (Tom hakkippurim). The 
reason for the warning is that not only mercy 
but also wrath cometh from God. The 
expression "resteth" probably corresponds 
to the Hebrew m:, which indicates perma- 
nence, continuance (so of the Spirit of God 
in Is. xi. 2). 

7. On the other hand, repentance should 
not be delayed. In the Jerus. Talmud we 
have a discussion as to the precise moment 

on the Day of Atonement when pardon is 
obtained. There also the various sins are 
grouped into four classes. Those consisting 
of the breach of an affirmative precept are 
said to be pardoned immediately on repent- 
ance, irrespective of the Day of Atonement 
(' Jer. Yoma,' 45 b, c). The expression for 
"from day to day" also occurs in 2 Pet. ii. 8 ; 
and in the LXX. Gen. xxxix. 10, Numb. xxx. 
15. According to the better reading, the 
following italicised words must be omitted 
from the last clause: in thy security, and 
be destroyed, and. 

8. Returns to v. 1 (see introd. remarks). 
The reading wcfr^rjo-eis, which Fritzsche 
prefers, does not alter the sense. Comp. 
Prov. x. 2. 

9. This verse forms a very apt transition 
to the next subject : the sins of the tongue. 
The meaning of the first clause seems to be : 
in order to get wealth it may be unjustly 
(v. 8) do not seize every possible oppor- 
tunity that may offer : this would necessitate 
sinful temporising and duplicity. 

10. On the contrary, inward and outward 
stedfast truthfulness is required of us. Sweo-is- 
is not exactly " understanding," but the re- 
sult of inward perception and conviction. 
The verse would therefore convey the ad- 
monition to adhere to that of which one 
was fully persuaded in one's own mind, and 
to be always truthful in the utterance of it. 

11. In order that such may be the case, 
be swift in thy listening, and with 
deliberateness (or forbearance, fiaKpo- 
0vp.ia) speak answer. Comp. St. Jas. i. 19. 
The words " and let thy life be sincere " are 

12. In strict accordance with w. 10, n, 
it is added: If thou hast knowledge 
[avvecris if thou hast arrived at a state of 
clear inward perception], answer thy neigh- 
bour: but if not, thy hand be upon thy 

13 2-] 




cir. 2do. 

m Matt. 
12. 37. 

I Rom. 1. 

13 '"Honour and shame is in talk : 
and the tongue of man is his fall. 

14 "Be not called a whisperer, 
and lie not in wait with thy tongue : 
for a foul shame is upon the thief, 
and an evil condemnation upon the 
double tongue. 

15 Be not ignorant of any thing 
in a great matter or a small. 


2 Do not extol thine own conceit, 7 but nialze 
choice of a friend. 18 Seek "wisdom betimes. 

20 It is grievous to some, 28 yet the fruits B. C 
thereof are pleasant. 35 Be ready to hear cir. 200. 
wise men. ' 

INSTEAD of a friend become not 
an enemy ; for [thereby] thou 
shalt inherit an ill name, shame, 
and reproach : even so shall a sinner 
that hath a double tongue. 

2 Extol not thyself in the counsel 
of thine own heart ; that thy soul 
be not torn in pieces as a bull [stray- 
ing alone]. 

mouth, the latter expression exactly as in 
Prov. xxx. 32, ilB? T; Job xxi. 5, nS"7j? T. 

13. Comp. Prov. xviii. 21. 

14. The word "foul" before "shame" is 
scarcely required ; and the last words had 
better be rendered the double-tongued. 
The verse is intended to point out that to 
steal entailed only disgrace, but to detract 
from the good name of another would bring 
evil condemnation upon him that was guilty 
of it. This saying of the Siracide may have 
been in the mind of Shakspeare when he 
wrote : " Who steals my purse steals trash," 
&c. (' Othello,' Act iii. sc. 3). 

15. Be not ignorant.'] Neither this render- 
ing nor yet " err not " seems to express the 
meaning of ayvoiu. The verb properly signifies 
"to be ignorant," and hence " to err," owing 
to want of knowledge. Thus it may corre- 
spond to the Hebrew J2&', although the latter 
term is rather used in contradistinction to 
sins " with a high hand," and may therefore 
apply to sins caused by weakness as well as 
to those that are due to want of knowledge 
(comp. Delitzsch, ' Comm. z. Br. an d. Hebr.' 
p. 175). In Heb. v. 2 the expression seems 
to refer exclusively to sins from want of 
knowledge. Similarly, in the passage before 
us (Ecclus. v. 15) we would confine the 
meaning of the word to a 'want of knowledge. 
In that case the verse would (in accordance 
with w. 11, 12) convey the admonition to 
have definite, right, and well-grounded views 
on all subjects, whether great or small. The 
verb does not again occur in Ecclus., but 
the use of the substantive (xxiii. 3 ; xxviii. 7) 
seems to bear out the meaning which we 
have assigned to it. We could scarcely 
translate the verb by " err," viz. with the 
tongue, since the term cannot be used of 
purposed sins, while on the other hand it 
would be impossible to characterise sins of 
the tongue as sins of ignorance. 

With this (first) line chap. v. ends in the 
LXX. and in the Syriac Version. But it 
seems highly probable, as Fritzsche suggests, 

that the first verse of chap. vi. should be 
added to the close of chap. v. Chap. vi. 1 
begins in all MSS. with the word " and." Its 
reasoning evidently forms part of chap, v., 
while it is wholly unconnected with the sub- 
ject of chap. vi. Accordingly we would join 
vi. 1 to v. 15, as follows: "and instead of a 
friend become not an enemy." To this we 
would add the rest of vi. 1, omitting with the 
Syr. the word ourcoy: For an evil name, 
shame, and reproach shall the sinner 
who is double-tongued inherit. 


The chapter (omitting v. 1) consists of 
five parts. Part I., which comprises four 
verses (to. 2-5), connects itself with the 
previous chapter, and sets forth a twofold 
danger that arising from want of proper 
knowledge and that due to intentional sin. 
The last verse in the stanza (v. 5) forms a 
transition to the admonition to make proper 
friendships. Part II., consisting often verses 
Qw. 6-15), contains this admonition. Part 
III., of two verses (16, 17), forms another 
transition, and connects the previous with the 
following parts. True friendship is the gift 
of God, and must be based on His fear ; 
for as the best friendship, so the truest 
counsel cometh from the Wisdom that is 
from above. In Parts IV. and V., each of 
ten verses (18-27; 28-37), this Divine in- 
struction is further set forth. The last four 
verses form a twofold conclusion, corre- 
sponding to that of Part III. (yv. 16, 17). 
The verses in this chapter are of two lines, 
except in the middle (y. 19) and at the close 
{%'. 37), where the verses are of four lines. 

2. Exalt not thyself in the counsel of thy 
soul] a common Hebraism ('5.5~nVV) for 
" inmost mind." Considerable difficulty 
attaches to the next clause, as in our present 
Greek text, partly because the verb diapndfciv 
does not admit the rendering " torn away," 
while it is difficult to attach any meaning to 
such a strange figure as " torn in pieces like a 



[v. 3- 


p. c. 

cir. 200. 

cli. 20. 

3 Thou shalt eat up thy leaves, 
and lose thy fruit, and leave thyself 
as a dry tree. 

4 A wicked soul shall destroy him 
that hath it, and shall make him to 
be laughed to scorn of his enemies. 

5 '"Sweet language will multiply 
friends : and a fairspeaking tongue 
will increase kind greetings. 

6 Be in peace with many : never- 
theless have but one counsellor of a 

7 If thou wouldest get a friend, 
11 prove him first, and be not hasty to 
credit him. 

8 For some man is a friend for his 
own occasion, and will not abide in 
the day of thy trouble. 

9 And there is a friend, who being 
turned to enmity and strife will dis- 
cover thy reproach. 

10 '''Again, some friend is a com- 
panion at the table, and will not 
continue in the day of thy affliction. 

cir. 200. 

II Or, get 
hint in the 

time of 

b ch. 37. 
4. 5- 

bull;" but chiefly because there is not any 
connexion between v. 2 and v. 3, where, 
however, not only the argument but even 
the figure must be continued. The Syriac, 
even if emended, does not seem to us to clear 
up or remove the difficulty. In these circum- 
stances we feel inclined to adopt the sugges- 
tion of Bottcher, that by one of the most 
frequent clerical errors in MSS. that by 
which when a word ends with the same letter 
as that with which the next begins, one of 
these letters is dropped out what had been 
&>s crravpik may have been miswritten <u? 
ravpns. In that case the meaning would be: 
' Set not up thyself in thine own mind and 
conceit (like a pole or stake) lest thy soul be 
robbed [here = stripped] like (as is) a pole." 
Possibly there may even have been in the 
Hebrew a word-play between the ilVy, the 
" counsel " of his soul, and )'V, or in later 
Hebrew HVy, "a pole." 

3. If this suggestion in regard to t\ 2 is 
correct, the figure would be beautifully con- 
tinued in v. 3. And the hypothesis is fur- 
ther supported by this, that for cos aravpi'ts 
of v. 2 we have in v. 3 the parallel cos 
uW, which is the word by which the LXX. 
render yjj in Gen. xl. 19; Deut. xxi. 22; 
and Josh. x. 26. Nor could any more apt 
description of self-conceit be given than that 
it eats up the leaves, destroys (.this probably 
better than " loses ") the fruits, and leaves a 
man as a dry tree a pole instead of a fresh 
tree, covered with leaves and fruit. 

4. We suppose that the comparison with 
a tree stripped of its leaves recalled to the 
writer the use of the same figure in Ps. i. in 
regard to the wicked. The second line of 
T. + had best be rendered : And shall make 
him the derision of enemies the word 
" derision " including the idea of the joy felt 
by his enemies, which is conveyed by iiri X apfia. 

5. In contrast to this self-conceit this 
folly and wickedness which will only lead 
to destruction, and raise up enemies who 
will rejoice at our fall and laugh at us, is the 

suggested advice to make friends, who shall 
be our counsellors (instead of following the 
conceit of our own soul). Only let them be 
good, wise friends. And v. 5 indicates how 
to make such friends. The first clause lite- 
rally rendered is : A sweet throat [larynx] 
will multiply his [one's] friends. 

6. Let them that are at peace with 
theehemany; but thy counsellors one 
out of a thousand.] The verse begins 
Part II. concerning friendship. It is quoted 
in 'Yebam.' 63 b (towards the end) : "Many 
they that seek [inquire for] thy peace : the 
secret reveal to one out of a thousand : " 
and again in Sanh. 100 b (lines 10, 9 from 
bottom) with very slight alterations, and the 
addition of the last clause of Mic. vii. 5. 

7. If thou art getting [acquiring] a 
friend, get him in trial that is, when 
his being a friend shall be tried. 

and trust not in him hastily.] Be 
not hasty in putting trust in a person. The 
last clause should logically stand first, but the 
positive is here advanced before the negative. 
The reference is to a real friend, whom one 
may trust at all times. If we are looking out 
for such, let us not be hasty in regarding 
acquaintances as friends, but let ours be a 
tried friend. 

8. For there is a friend in his (own) 
time i.e. as long as it suits him. 

9. And there is a friend [who will be] 
changed to enmity, and he will reveal 
[disclose, make known] the conflict of thy 
shame viz. that conflict through which thou 
hadst to pass, with all thy difficulties and 
weaknesses and failures, and this will tend 
to bring shame upon thee in the opinion of 

10. And there is a friend, &c.] Perhaps 
the words " companion at the table " do not 
fully express the meaning of the original, 
which is, that such an one is ready to accept 
our hospitality: but when we have not any 
longer an invitation to give, his friendship 
ceases. This kind of friendship is so frequent 

II 20.] 



B. C. 
cir. 200. 

11 But in thy prosperity he will 
be as thyself, and will be bold over 
thy servants. 

12 If thou be brought low, he will 
be against thee, and will hide him- 
self from thy face. 

13 Separate thyself from thine 
enemies, and take heed of thy friends. 

14 A faithful friend is a strong 
defence : and he that hath found such 
an one hath found a treasure. 

15 Nothing doth countervail a 
faithful friend, and his excellency is 

16 A faithful friend is the medi- 

cine of life; and they that fear the . B - C. 
Lord shall find him. - 

17 Whoso feareth the Lord shall 
direct his friendship aright : for as he 
is, so shall his neighbour be also. 

18 My son, gather instruction from 
thy youth up : so shalt thou find 
wisdom till thine old age. 

19 Come unto her as one that 
ploweth and soweth, and wait for her 
szood fruits : for thou shalt not toil 
much in labouring about her, but 
thou shalt eat of her fruits right 

20 She is very unpleasant to the 

that the writer adds some further details. 
Verses 9 and 10 are omitted in the Syriac. 

11. But.] Rather, And. 

and speak freely against (or else, 
"to") thy servants.] So intimate is he, 
as if he were thine alter ego. 

12. But when thy circumstances change, 
his bearing also changes. Instead of being 
" as thou," he is now " against thee ; " instead 
of making himself at home in thy house, he 
hides himself from thee, so that if thou seekest 
him he cannot be found. It is needless to 
quote (as in most Commentaries) similar say- 
ings from classical writers. The case described 
is onlv too common in all countries and in all 

13. These, then, are the three classes of 
friends to be avoided : a friend for his own 
advantage ; a changeable friend ; a time- 
serving friend. While therefore one should 
absolutely separate oneself from enemies, " of 
thy friends (of such friends) have a care : " 
take care in regard to them. 

14. To these three classes of spurious 
friends a threefold description of true friend- 
ship is now opposed. It affords protection, 
bestows a treasure, and brings healing in the 
troubles of life {yv. 14-16). 

15. Of [for] a faithful friend there is 
not any equivalent (by zv ay of exchange); 
and there is not any balance [by weight] 
of his excellence.] avrciWaypa is the 
LXX. rendering for "Vnp in 3 Kings xx. 2 
(God. Alex.) ; Job xxviii. 15 ; and Jer. xv. 13. 
But only in the first of those passages does 
it mean an equivalent in money by way of 
purchase, in the other two an equivalent by 
way of exchange ; and with this agrees the 
use of the word in St. Matt. xvi. 26, St. Mark 
yiii. 37. Thus v. 16 would carry out the 
idea of friendship as a "treasure," broached 
at the close of -v. 15. 

17. so also is his neighbour.] The 
meaning is not that a man so influences his 
neighbour that the latter becomes like him- 
self, but that a man chooses as his companion 
one who is of the same disposition with 
himself, so that we can judge of his character 
by that of his associate. A similar "common 
Proverb" is found in the Midrash Shochar 
Tobh on Ps. civ. 1. 

18. The two previous verses formed the 
transition to the new subject opened in v. 18. 
The connexion between them is as follows : 
true friendship must be wisely directed by the 
fear of the Lord and this fear is true wisdom. 
Son, from thy youth choose [= eltge ex 
aliis] instruction [the verb no doubt repre- 
sents the Hebrew inn], and unto grey 
hairs thou shalt find wisdom. This is 
one of the most thoughtful sentences in Ecclus. 
Mark the twofold distinction between choos- 
ing instruction, and finding wisdom the one 
being the early choice, the other the continual 
result to the end. 

19. The idea of v. 18 is now presented 
under a beautiful figure. The verse would 
gain in force if we arranged the words as in 
the original: As one that ploweth and 
that soweth, come unto her, . . . for in 
thy labour about her [the figure of the 
work of the husbandman being still continued] 
thou shalt [but] a little [time] have 
weariness [toilj, and speedily shalt thou 
eat of her fruits. The substantive to be 
supplied in both clauses is Wisdom. 

20. As one that is rough exceed- 
ingly [the figure is probably still that of 
the soil; or perhaps of the road] she is to 
the uninstructed {to the untutored, the 
cincudevTois, in opposition to those who from 
their youth choose naiSelav, v. 18).] But 
it has been suggested that a-cp68pa, " exceed- 
ingly," is a clerical error for trotyla, " Wis- 
dom," which both the Syr. and the Vet. Lat. 



[v. 21 30. 

B.C. unlearned: he that is without "un- 
orjzoo. ( j crstan( jj n g w ju not remain with 

1 0r> her 

heart. ncr 

21 She will lie upon him as a 
c Zech. 'mighty stone of trial ; and he will 

cast her from him ere it be long. 

22 For wisdom is according to her 
name, and she is not manifest unto 

23 Give ear, my son, receive my 
advice, and refuse not my counsel, 

24 And put thy feet into her fet- 
0r, ters, and thy neck into her "chain. 
^Mat 2 5 Bow "'down thy shoulder, and 
11. 29. bear her, and be not grieved with 

her bonds. 

26 Come unto her with thy whole B. c. 
heart, and keep her ways with all C1 - 
thy power. 

27 Search, and seek, and she shall 
be made known unto thee : and 
when thou hast got hold of her, let 
her not go. 

28 For at the last thou shalt find 
her rest, and that shall be turned to 
thy joy. 

29 Then shall her fetters be a 
strong defence for thee, and her 
chains a robe of glory. 

30 For there is a golden ornament ^nfo/^ 
upon her, and her bands are " purple h J" e v*. 

, r ' r r Numb. 15. 

lace. 38. 

have. The expression " without understand- 
ing," nVapSioy, is an exact rendering of the cor- 
responding Hebrew terms in Prov. xvii. 16 and 
in Jer. v. 2 1 ; comp. also the similar expression 
in Prov. x. 13. But in the Hebrew parallels 
the " understanding " is that aspect of it which 

is directed to what is higher the "2b. 

21. The figure is now changed. Not only 
does wisdom seem rough soil, and the 
uninstructed not persevere in his work; 
but as he approaches it, it proves a heavy 
weight which he speedily casts from him. 
" The stone of trial " seems to have been one 
for trying strength. St. Jerome notes on Zech. 
xii. 3 (A. V. and R. V. " a burdensome 
stone ") that it had been an ancient custom 
in Palestine, continued in his days, to have in 
towns and villages a round stone of very great 
weight, on which the young men made trial 
of their strength, how high they could lift, 
and hold it in their hands. For " lie upon 
him," rather be upon him, and he will 
not delay to cast her from him[BissellJ. 

22. It seems impossible by any critical 
ingenuity to explain the first clause of this 
verse, since there is not any Hebrew or Greek 
word which would admit of a play upon the 
word " wisdom." [On the suggested explana- 
tion of Hitzig, see Nowack on Eccles. iii. n 
in the ' Kurzgef. Exeg. Hdb.' p. 229.] We 
must therefore suppose the Hebrew text to 
have been corrupted or misread. We may 
here quote, without adopting it, the sugges- 
tion of Dr. Horowitz (Frankel's 'Monatsschr. 
f. Gesch. u. Wissensch. d. Judenth.,' vol. xiv. 
p. 197) that the Hebrew original had P10P3, 
"by name," which was misread rIDEb, "ac- 
cording to her name." He supposes the 
original to have been: N\"l n^L' : 3 pi nD3nn 
V " wisdom is his [he possesses it] only by 

name," or perhaps " it only exists nominally 
for him," = he only knows of it by name 

(The correction into ny/X', " by hearsay," 
need scarcely be discussed.) In that case the 
translator, unable from his misreading to 

account for the w, would have dropped it as 
a clerical error. But there are serious lin- 
guistic objections to the suggestion of Horo- 
witz. The Syr. has: " Her name is like her 
teaching [hidden ?], and she is not approved 
by fools." 

23. Having given such full warning, the 
writer resumes the subject of which he is 

ad-vice.] Perhaps "judgment," or"opinion." 

24. chain.'] Rather, "collar," as in the 
margin. The words of our Lord (St. Matt. 
xi. 29) will here readily occur to the reader. 

25. Bow down.] Rather, put under 

be not grieved.] Rather, be not weary, 
chafe not. The figure is here of an animal 
unaccustomed to the yoke. 

26. heart.] Literally, " soul." The figure 
is now dropped. Verses 24, 25 form an anti- 
thesis to v. 20, and verses 26, 27 to v. 21. 

28. that shall be turned^] From v. 29 we 
infer that the reference is to the previous 
trouble and labour (yv. 25, 26), not to 
" wisdom." We would therefore translate : 
it (thy previous labour) shall be turned 
to thee into joy. 

29. be to thee for a strong defence, 
and her collars [in the sense of "yoke"J 
for a robe of glory.] This marks the 
change indicated in 1: 28. 

30. The figure is now somewhat clumsily 
varied. The reference may be to the 
High-priest's mitre, which would explain the 

3i 4-] 



B.C. 21 Thou shalt put heron as a robe 

cirj2oo. ^ honour, and shalt put her about 
thee as a crown of joy. 

32 My son, if thou wilt, thou shalt 
be taught : and if thou wilt apply thy 
mind, thou shalt be prudent. 

33 If thou love to hear, thou shalt 
receive understanding : and if thou 
bow thine ear, thou shalt be wise. 

34 Stand in the multitude of the 
<ch. 8. 9. e e l3ers ; and cleave unto him that is 


35 Be willing to hear every godly 
discourse ; and let not the parables of 
understanding escape thee. 

36 And if thou seest a man of 
understanding, get thee betimes unto 
him, and let thy foot wear the steps 
of his door. 

37 Let thy mind be upon the or- 
>s. 1. 2. dinances of the Lord, and -^meditate 

continually in his 
he shall establish 

commandments: B.C. 
thine heart, and cn _^ a 

give thee wisdom at thine own desire. 

I We are exhorted from sin, 4 from ambition, 
8 presumption, 10 and fainting in prayer: 
12 from lying and backbiting, 18 and how to 
esteem a friend: 19 a good wife: 20 a ser- 
vant: 22 onr cattle: 23 our children and 
parents : 3 1 the Lord and his priests : 32 the 
poor, and those that mourn. 


O no evil, a so shall no harm " 1 Pet. 3. 


come unto thee. 
Depart from the 

unjust, and 

iniquity shall turn away from thee 

3 My son, ^sow not upon the fur- 
rows of unrighteousness, and thou 
shalt not reap them sevenfold. 

4 Seek not of the Lord preemi- 
nence, neither of the king the seat of 

omission of w. 29 b and 30 in the Syr. But, 
on the other hand, comp. the expressions in 
Jer. iv. 30. 

31. a robe of glory . . . upon thee.] Not 
" about thee." 

32. thou shalt be instructed.] This, 
with reference to v. 18. 

33. The word " understanding " (a-vvea-iv), 
not found in the better MSS., is only a dis- 
turbing addition. 

34. the multitude.'] Probably ?Hp. Who 
is wise (= if any is wise) to him cleave. 

35. Here also the order of the sentence 
had best be inverted. " Be willing " is 
probably not strong enough ; and if the word 
corresponded (as Fritzsche supposes) to H3X 
or pan, it would imply " desire after," and 
" pleasure in." And let not the proverbs 

of understanding (TW1 vtiO) escape 
from thee. Although the common usage 
would suggest the rendering " escape thee," 
viz. from thy memory, yet the other transla- 
tion seems better suited to the context. 

36. get thee betimes.'] Rather, at early 

37. Last line: And thy desire for wis- 
dom shall be granted thee [Bissell]. 


This chapter might be generally inscribed : 
Rules for the Wise. It consists of two parts : 

I. Rules regarding oneself (vv. 1-17); 

II. Rules regarding others (yv. 18-36). 

To be more detailed: Part I. has (1) a Prooe- 
mium in three verses, warning the wise against 
sin ; (2) then follow two stanzas of four, and 
two stanzas of three verses (= 2 x 7), giving 
warning in regard to mind (ambition, w. 
4-7); to heart (presumption, w. 8-1 1) ; to 
speech (w. 12-14); and, lastly, in regard to 
life (w. 15-17). Part II., which gives Rules 
in reference to others, consists, like Part I., of 
four stanzas (respectively of four, seven, three, 
and four verses), with a conclusion (v. 36) 
which takes the place of the Proem of Part I. 
In Part II. the first stanza gives rules as 
regards friends and dependants (yv. 18-21); 
the second, in regard to property and family 
(yv. 22-28) ; the third, in regard to the Lord 
and His priests (w. 29-31); the fourth, in 
regard to our neighbour (the poor, mourners, 
the sick, i<i>. 32-35). Lastly, v. 36 forms 
an apt conclusion to what had preceded. 

1. Do not evil, and harm [evil] shall 
not befall thee.] Drusius : kokci, mala 
culpae ; kcucop, malum poenae. 

2. This verse marks an advance in thought - 
depart from what is unjust, and it shall 
turn away from thee [Bissell] ; i.e. thou 
shalt not experience its evil consequences. 
The figure of v. 3 repeatedly occurs in the 
Old Testament, as in Job iv. 8, Prov. xxii. 8, 
Hos. x. 12, and in Gal. vi. 8. 

4. With this verse begins the enumeration 
of the various occasions to sin, against the 
consequences of which the previous verses 
had warned. 

preeminence.] Rather, leadership (a place 
of command), "the seat," better, a seat. 



[v. 5- 


cir. 200. 

5 '"Justify not thyself before the 
Lord ; and boast not of thy wisdom 
fJobfrM before the kin si. 

rs. 143. 2. o 

Eccies. 7 . 6 Seek not to be judge, being not 
Luke 18. able to take away iniquity; lest at 
"" any time "'thou fear the person of 

i S . C the mighty, and lay a stumbling- 
block in the way of thy upright- 

7 Offend not against the multi- 
tude of a city, and then thou shalt 
not cast thyself down among the 

8 Bind not one sin upon another; B.C. 

r . . , 1 . cir. 200. 

for in one thou shalt not be un- 

9 'Say not, God will look upon ' Pro v. 21. 
the multitude of my oblations, and 2 
when I offer to the most high God, 
he will accept it. 

10 Be not fainthearted when thou 
makest thy prayer, and neglect not to 
give alms. 

1 1 Laugh no man to scorn in the 
bitterness of his soul : for -^there is / 1 Sam. 
one which humbleth and exalteth. 

5. 6. The warning of v. 4 was against 
ambition, whether before God or man, but 
the arguments by which this advice is now 
supported are only of a prudential and worldly 
character. The connexion between verses 5 
and 6 seems somewhat difficult. We would 
propose to arrange them as follows. The 
advice in 5 a, make not thyself just 
before the Lord (profess not to be righteous 
and perfect), is supported by 6 b, lest thou 
be not able to put away iniquities; the 
advice in 5 b, make not thyself wise 
before the king (profess not and pretend 
not to be a wise man), is supported by 6 c, 
lest haply thou shouldst fear (be timid) 
before the face of the ruler (lord) ; and, 
lastly, 6 a by 6 d, seek not to become a 
judge and [lestj thou shouldest put 
[set up] a stumbling-block in [in reference 
to] thy righteousness. But commentators 
generally regard clauses b, c, d as connected 
with clause a of v. 6, and as indicating the 
dangers of becoming a judge. In that case 
the two clauses of v. 5 would correspond to 
the two clauses of v. 4. But such a parallel- 
ism of verses is not common. Further, -v. 6 
would begin a new subject, and clause a be 
supported by not less than three distinct 

7. This verse opens another subject, and 
indicates those causes of evil which have 
their root in the heart, as the others (pride 
and ambition) had theirs in the mind. 

Sin not.'] The Hebrew Xnn the same 
construction with els in LXX. Gen. xx. 6, 9, 
xliii. 9, xliv. 32; 1 Kings ii. 27, xix. 4, 5, 
xxiv. 12 ; Prow viii. 36, xx. 2. Here it is 
used in the sense of "offend not." On the 
other hand, the words: and cast not thy- 
self down among the people, bear the 
same meaning as our English "throw not 
thyself away " (te ipse atjiciet et prosternes, 
Cicero), or the German, sicb ivegiverfen. 

8. The order is now inverted. In the 
previous stanza it was pride, first before God 

and then before man ; here it is presumption 
first before man (v. 7), then before God 
this being, in each case, the more natural 
order. Bind not twice sin; for in the 
one thou shalt not be unpunished. Re- 
peat not sin ; even its first commission shall 
not go unpunished. Bretschneider explains 
the words, " bind not up (as a wound) sin ;" 
De Wette, "palliate not:" Fritzsche, "atone 
not twice." But these renderings seem 
forced. In reference to this and the following 
verse, we once more recall the saying in the 
Mishnah: " If a man says [thinks], I will 
sin and repent, I will sin and repent, no 
furtherance is given to his repentance ; I will 
sin, and the Dav of Atonement shall make 
atonement the Day of Atonement will 
[does] not propitiate [make atonement] [for 
him] " (' Yoma,' viii. 9). And although the 
Talmud rather weakens this saying of the 
Mishnah, yet we mark in connexion with 
the warning of the Son of Sirach that the 
Rabbis also insist that, if a man commits a 
sin and repeats it, it appears to him as if it 
were lawful (' Yoma,' 86 b, 87 a). 

10. Fritzsche supposes that this verse is 
intended to indicate " the right means for 
pleasing God." But in that case it would 
scarcely fit in with the previous verse. We 
regard the words as meant to correct any 
possible misunderstanding. If the pre- 
sumptuous sinner may not hope for acceptance 
by sacrifices or the like, others need not, and 
must not be faint-hearted in their prayers, and 
our best sacrifices are alms. In the Talmud 
(' Erubh.' 65 a) the first half of the verse is 
adduced, without mentioning its source, 
but in the same manner in which ordinarily 

Scripture is quoted (TTW ^X "1^*2 nD6UB>). 
Comp. St. Jas. i. 6. 

11. This verse seems naturally to connect 
itself with the last clause of v. 10. Comp. 
Prov. xvii. 5. 

12. The verse begins another stanza, refer- 
ring to sins of the tongue. Characteris- 

V. 12 18.] 



B. C. 
cir. 200. 

12 "Devise not a lie against thy 
brother ; neither do the like to thy 

IS: Plow friend - 

13 Use not to make any manner 
of lie : for the custom thereof is not 

14 Use not many words 

^Eccks. multitude of 
Man. 6. 7 . not " much 

elders, z and 
babbling when 

in a 



11 Or, vain pray est. 

retention. ^ Hat nQt laborious wor ^ nei . 

ther husbandry, A which the most B.C. 
High hath "ordained. cir ^!' 

16 Number not thyself among the * g ^ n ; 3 * 
multitude of sinners, but remember nc-r. 
that wrath will not tarry long. created, 

17 Humble thy soul greatly : for 
the vengeance of the ungodly is fire 
and worms. 

18 Change not a friend for any 
good by no means ; neither a faith- 
ful brother for the gold of Ophir. 

tically, duty is here once more presented 
from a negative aspect, the writer indicating 
in this and the following verses the various 
causes of offence which are to be avoided. 

Devise not.~] Rather, plough, not or 
" till not." There cannot be question that 
the expression was the same as in Prov. iii. 
29, but even there the word Hn seems to 
mean " plough " rather than " devise " (the 
latter most comment, and Nowack ad /oc). 
From the whole context we gather that the 
reference is to sins of the tongue, not to the 
purpose of sinning. The speech of a man 
may be like ploughing and tilling the soil to 
bring forth a crop of lies against one's 
" brother ; " the term being here equivalent 
to " neighbour." Nor need we in that case 
feel surprise at the addition in the second 
clause, since unfortunately the practice of 
" ploughing and tilling lies " is quite as com- 
mon, if not more so, in regard to " friends," 
as to one's neighbour generally. 

13. The A. V., though not literal, correctly 
expresses the meaning of the verse. For the 
continuance thereof (is) not unto good, 
such a habit leads, or comes, to no good ; 
it has a bad end. A rather low, but pru- 
dential, motive for abstaining from partici- 
pation in raising a crop of lies. 

14. The writer had probably in view some 
person of importance whether really such, 
or only in his own opinion to whom (in his 
intense self-consciousness) he addresses coun- 
sels. If in the previous verse he had advised 
to avoid lying talk about others, which would 
lead to no good end, he now warns against 
"idle talk." Prate not in the multitude 
of elders talk not idly, babble not. In the 
LXX. the verb dSoXeo-^eti/ is always used 
sensu bono, except in the solitary instance Ps. 
lxviii. (lxix.) 12 and make not repetition 
xn thy prayer: fir/ SevTepaxrrjs \6yov pro- 
bably somewhat different from the ^arrokoytiv 
of St. Matt. vi. 7, which was iroKvXoyla 
rather than hevripuxris. The verb /3ottoA. 
does not otherwise occur either in the LXX., 
the Apocr., or the N. T. Such silly, idle 

talk before man or God proves a man to be a 
fool, if not a liar. 

15. This verse begins the enumeration of 
that which in our life may lead to evil conse- 
quences. The following are here specially 
mentioned: (1) idleness, or unwillingness to 
do hard work, especially to engage in hus- 
bandry, which was appointed of God, -v. 15 ; 
(2) evil companions, v. 16; (3) proud self- 
seeking and self-sufficiency, v. 17. In the 
latter verse the writer rises from the negative 
to the positive. The expression used ("to 
humble one's soul ") is in the LXX. indeed 
applied to fasting (LXX. Lev. xvi. 29, 31; 
xxiii. 29, 32; Is. lviii. 3, 5). But here it 
obviously refers to submission to God in a 
sense parallel to Mic. vi. 8. At first sight it 
seems difficult to refer "the fire and the 
worm " (sing., not plural), which are to be 
"the punishment [this rather than "ven- 
geance"] of the ungodly," to other than 
the punishment after death. But in Judith 
xvi. 1 7 the same expressions are used in regard 
to the presumably temporal judgments on 
the heathen in the Messianic day. With this 
the descriptions in the Book of Henoch xlvi. 
and xlviii. also accord. (Comp. Fritzsche on 
Jud. xvi. 17 in the ' Kurzgef. Exeg. Handb.' 
2 Lief., p. 208.) These parallelisms and the 
general absence in Ecclus. of any reference 
to the rewards or punishments of another 
life, lead to the inference that such are not 
alluded to in our verse. The admonition to 
humility (17 a) may have called up byway 
of contrast the typical " proud " the foes 
of Israel and their doom in the Messianic 
day (y. 17 b). 

18. With this begins Part II., which details 
the rules to be observed towards others ; and, 
first, in regard to friends and dependants (yv. 
18-21). There cannot be any doubt that 
the right reading and rendering of -v. 1 8 a is : 
Exchange not a friend for [what is] in- 
different, d8id<popov. The latter is the tech- 
nical term of Stoic philosophy for the media, 
the indifferentia, such as "riches, strength, 
appearance, honours, rule," &c. (Seneca, 
< EpistV Ixxxii. 12). The meaning is, for the 



[v. 19 28. 

cir. 200. 

i Prov. 31 

* Lev. 19. 


ch. 33. 30. 

& 34. 22. 

I Deut. 
25. 4. 
Prov. 27. 
23, &c. 

m Prov. 
22. 6. 

ig Forego not a wise and good 
woman : ' for her grace is above gold. 

20 k Whereas thy servant worketh 
truly, entreat him not evil, nor the 
hireling that bestoweth himself wholly 
for thee. 

21 Let thy soul love a good ser- 
vant, and defraud him not of liberty. 

22 'Hast thou cattle ? have an eye 
to them : and if they be for thy profit, 
keep them with thee. 

23 Hast thou children ? "'instruct 
them, and bow down their neck from 
their youth. 


cir. 200. 

24 Hast thou daughters ? have a 
care of their body, and shew not 
thyself cheerful toward them. 

25 Marry thy daughter, and so 
shalt thou have performed a weighty 
matter : but give her to a man of 

26 Hast thou a wife after thy 
mind ? forsake her not : but give not 
thyself over to a "light woman. //V/ 

27 "Honour thy father with thy Tobit " 
whole heart, and forget not the sor- M 3- 

ch. 3. 

rows of thv mother. 2, &c. 

28 Remember that thou wast be- 

sake of what is ddidcfropov, do not part with a 
friend neither with a true [yvija-ios here 
certainly in that sense ; comp. 2 Mace. xiv. 8 ; 
3 Mace. iii. 23] brother for the gold of 
Ophir [Sovfaip, as in the LXX.]. 

19. Turn not away from a wise and 
good wife.] We have rendered ao-ro^f Ii> by 
"turn away," as being a more comprehensive 
term than " forego not." But we have no 
doubt that the meaning is, as given by Wahl : 
noli separari ab uxore sapiente. This aptly 
follows on i'. 18. Grace = gracefulness. 

20. After the wife comes the servant : A 
[domestic] servant who worketh truly 
[really, honestly] illtreat not, nor a hire- 
ling who devoteth his soul [life], who 
gives himself wholly to it. The expression 

is probably taken from Deut. xxiv. 15 : Nb'J 

21. an intelligent servant . . . defraud 
him not of release.] Comp. Jerem. xxxiv. 

22. Rules in regard to property and family 
(tt. 22-28); and, first, as to kindness to- 
wards animals, yet this tempered by pru- 
dential considerations. 

23. instruct.'] Rather, train in the sense 
of discipline. In the Syriac Version the second 
clause is rendered : " and give them wives in 
their youth." This might seem only a 
sarcastic paraphrase of what we read in the 
Greek. But when in Quid. 30 a (comp. 29 b) 
we read the advice to marry one's son, and 
in connexion with it find the expression, 
while "thy hand is upon" his "neck" 

("pm nlV bv -p\X), U. while he is 
young, we conclude that this was an old 
Jewish saying, and that the Syriac Version, 
winch throughout this section is very apt, 
accurately represents the Hebrew original, of 
which the younger Siracide only retained 
so much in his translation as seemed to him 

suitable. And we are confirmed in this view 
by the circumstance that Prov. xxii. 6, to 
which evidently there is reference in Ecclus, 
vii. 23, is expressly quoted in QJdd. 30 a, in 
connexion with the advice just mentioned. 

24. care of their body.] That it be preserved 
pure and chaste. 

and make not thy face cheerful to- 
wards them.] Let not thy bearing be 
jocular, but rather austere and severe. In 
what is known as the ' First Alphabet of Ben 
Sira' (4) we find the following, which may be 
a parallel to v. 23 : "Gold requires beating 
and a young man chastising." Similarly, the 
Talmud offers a somewhat coarse parallel to 
v. 24, and even more so to Ecclus. xlii. 9, 
in what it says of a daughter as a doubtful 
boon to her father (Sanh. 100 b). In general, 
all such sayings seem the outcome of the 
Rabbinic maxim that " Women are of a light 
mind " (for example, Qidd. 80 b). 

25. Marry."] Lit., give away, viz. out of 
the house; a common mode of expression. 

thou wilt have performed [completed, 
accomplished] a great work: and to s 
man of understanding give her.] The 
Talmud goes much farther than this, and 
advises a father, if his daughter have attained 
marriageable age, even to set his slave at 
liberty and to marry him to her (Pes. 113 a). 

26. do not cast her out [in the sense 
of divorce]. H, 248, Syr., Vet. Lat. add the 
following clause, as in the A. V. : but give not 
thyself to one that is hateful. This, either in 
the sense that it would be dangerous to trust 
such an one, or else with the meaning attach- 
ing to it in the Syr. or in the Arab. Version. 
The Syr. has, quod si sit improba ne te con- 
credas il/i ; the Arab., nee fdem adhibeas illi 
si fuerit impudica. The current views on 
divorce are sufficiently known, and receive 
further illustration in this verse. 

27. sorrows.] I.e. birth-pangs. 

v. 2936.] 



9 Lev. 2. 

gotten of them ; and how canst thou 
recompense them the things that they 
have done for thee ? 

29 Fear the Lord with all thy soul, 
and reverence his priests. 

30 "Love him that made thee with 
all thy strength, ^and forsake not his 

31 Fear the Lord, and honour the 
priest ; and give him his portion, 
? as it is commanded thee; the first- 
fruits, and the trespass offering, and 
the gift of the shoulders, and the 
sacrifice of sanctification, and the 
firstfruits of the holy things. 

32 r And stretch thine hand unto 


cir. 200. 

the poor, that "thy blessing may be 

33 A gift hath grace in the sight Jg^. 
of every man living ; and for the dead 
detain it not. 

34 s Fail not to be with them that * Rom. 12 
weep, and mourn with them that ? 5 

35 t Be not slow to visit the sick : ' Matt - 2 s 
for that shall make thee to be beloved. 36 ' 39 ' 43 ' 

36 Whatsoever thou takest in 
hand, remember the end, and thou 
shalt never do amiss. 


I Whom we may not strive with, 8 nor despise, 
10 nor provoke, 15 nor have to do with. 

28. the things that they have done for thee.] 
Lit, "just as they to thee." 

29. Directions as to our duty towards the 
Lord and His priests (vv. 29-31). See the 
marginal references. In the Syr. Version all 
the clauses in v. 31 after " as it is com- 
manded thee" are omitted. In their place 
the following words are added : " the bread 
of oblations and the firstfruits of the hands." 
This is undoubtedly a Christian alteration, 
and otherwise interesting as probably mark- 
ing early Christian practice. 

32. Our duties towards our neighbour; 
especially the poor, the sick, and the mourners 
(vv. 32-35). The injunctions are in entire 
accordance with Rabbinic teaching, which 
points to God as giving the example of 
clothing the naked (Gen. iii. 21), visiting the 
sick (Gen. xviii. 1), burying the dead (Deut. 
xxxiv. 6), and comforting the mourners (Gen. 
xxxv. 9). [So often ; see, for example, Ber. 
R. 8.] The "blessing," elXoyla, no doubt 
represents the Hebrew i"D"Q, in the sense 
of blessing received. 

33. This verse seems to present real diffi- 
culty. We propose translating, supposing 
the text not to be corrupted: Bestowal 
[boon, shewing of favour, display of kind- 
ness] of gift [of giving] towards every 
one alive, and from the dead withdraw 
not bestowal. We believe that the Hebrew 

original for x<*pis 86fiaros was DHpn T\r?^i, 
and we adduce the following as an illus- 
trative parallel from Sukk. 49 b (lines 13, 
12, n from bottom) : " In three things does 
the benefiting [boon, favour] of acts of kind- 
ness excel almsgiving. Almsgiving is by 
money, gemiluth chasadim alike by money 
and personally; almsgiving is to the poor 

(mark the prepos. V), gem. chas. is alike to 
the poor and to the rich; almsgiving is to 
Apoc. Vol. II. 

the living, gem. chas. is alike to the living and 
to the dead " (by attending to their bodies, 
burial, &c). And the parallelism is the 
more marked, that in v. 32 there is express 
reference to almsgiving. 

34. Comp. the following in ' Der. er. Zuta,' 
v. p. 34 d (at the close of vol. ix. in the 
Talmud) : " A man should not be weeping 
among those who laugh, nor laughing among 
those who weep." The same sentiment is 
expressed in Rom. xii. 15, but there more truly 
and beautifully. A somewhat similar admoni- 
tion to take part in mourning for the dead 
occurs in Moed. Q., iZb, with special refer- 
ence to Ecciesiastes vii. 2. 

35. for through these (things) thou 
shalt be beloved. 

36. In all thy things (\6yoi = Dnm 
acts, undertakings).] A similar saying occurs 
in Ab. iii. 1 in the name of Aqabhya the son of 
Mahalalel : " Consider three things (D*T31), 
and thou shalt not come into transgression 
from whence thou comest, and whither thou 
goest, and before whom thou shalt have to 
give a judicial account." Thus we are on 
thoroughly Jewish ground in these verses. 

thou shalt not ever sin.] The els tov 
alcbva has evidently here a temporal meaning. 


From ch. vii. the transition is easy to practical 
rules of life in ch. viii. These are once more 
divided into two parts : Part I. details those 
regarding oneself (vv. 1-7) ; Part II. those 
which bear reference to others (vv. 8-19). 
Part I. consists of three stanzas, sufficiently 
indicated by the initial words : " Strive not," 
v. 1 ; "Jest not," v. 4; "Neglect not," v. 8. 
The first stanza is of three verses (2 + 4 + 2), 
the second of four verses (4x2), the third 
of two verses (2x4). Part II. consists of 






b. c. Q* TRI VE not with a mighty man, 
-^' w3 l est thou fall into his hands. 
' Matt. 5- 2 a Be not at variance with a rich 
man, lest he overweigh thee : for 
*ch. 3 i. 6. gold ^hath destroyed many, and per- 
verted the hearts of kings. 

3 Strive not with a man that is 
a P r > .. full of tongue, and heap not wood 

of an evil o J r 

tongue, upon his fire. 

4 Jest not with a rude man, lest 
thy ancestors be disgraced. 

^2 Cor. ^ ^Reproach not a man that turn- 

Gai. 6. 2. eth from sin, but remember that we 

are all worthy of punishment. 

'Lev. i 9 . ^ ^Dishonour not a man in his 


old age : for even some of us wax 

7 Rejoice not over thy greatest 
enemy being dead, but remember that 
we die all. 

8 Despise not the discourse of the b. c. 
wise, but acquaint thyself with their xx ^f- 
proverbs : for of them thou shalt 
learn instruction, and how to serve 
great men with ease. 

9 ''Miss not the discourse of the ' ch - 6 - 34- 
elders : for they also learned of their 
fathers, and of them thou shalt learn 
understanding, and to give answer as 
need requireth. 

10 Kindle not the coals of a sin- 
ner, lest thou be burnt with the 
flame of his fire. 

11 Rise not up [in anger] at the 
presence of an injurious person, lest 
he lie in wait " to entrap thee in thy "Or, 

12 Lend not unto him that is 
mightier than thyself; for if thou 
lendest him, count it but lost. 

for thy 

four stanzas. It warns against foolish confi- 
dence in our private dealings (first stanza, 
vv. 10, 11), in business transactions (second 
stanza, w. 12-14), in public association (third 
stanza, vv. 15, 16), and in private association 
(fourth stanza, vv. 17-19). Thus the arrange- 
ment would be : Part I., three stanzas 
respectively, 2 + 4 + 2 ; 4X2; 2x4. Part II., 
four stanzas respectively, 2x2; 3x2; 2x4; 

1. Strive not.] Viz. in words. 

2. Be not at variance [rather, contend 
n 1 J . . . lest be over-weigh thee [rather, lest he 
put against thee weight] that is, bring 
down the opposite scale by the weight of his 

destroyed.'] Rather, corrupted. The 
reference may be not to actual bribery, but 
to the influence of greater riches on the mind 
and in the esteem of others. 

3. full of tongue.] Rather, glib of tongue. 
Vet. Lat., linguutus. 

4. a rude man.] Rather, one uncultured. 
Our ancestors might be "disgraced" by 
possible reflections upon them. 

5. Omit "but" in the second line. The 
reasoning is, that as we have all sinned, so 
we all deserve punishment. Seneca : Bet ille 
veniam facile, cui venia est opus. 

6. Dishonour not [although this is perhaps 
rather too strong an expression for want of 
respect] a man in his old age, for even some of 
us are waxing old. 

7. Rejoice not over the dead.] H, 248, 
Co., add: "thy greatest enemy being dead," 

correctly as to sense, but not according to 
the best reading. 

8. This verse opens the third series of 

Despise not.] Rather, neglect not. 
acquaint thyself] Rather, be oonversant, 
busy thyself. 

and to serve great men.] Omit "how" 
and "with ease" in all probability in the same 
sense as Horace's: Quo tandem pacto deceat 
majoribus uti = versari cum magnatibus. (Ep. 
I. xvii. 67.) 

9. elders.] Rather, old men. Last clause : 
and in time of need (viz. when it is re- 
quired) to give an answer. 

10. Here begins Part II. 

ivith the flame.] Rather, "in the flame." 

11. Rise not up [in anger or altercation] b e- 
fore an insolent pers on.] To judge from 
the Greek text {ano irpoo-unvov), the Hebrew 

original must have been ""JSD, not ""JD? (perhaps 
in a causal sense). The rendering "insolent" 
scarcely fully expresses the meaning of the 
Greek word, for which the German ubermu- 
thig, with the additional idea of godlessness, 
seems the appropriate equivalent. In the 
LXX. vppio-TTjs occurs five times for JO or 
I"1N3. This was probably the word used in 
the original work of Ben Sira probably in the 
same form as in theTargum, i"IN|np. Grotius 
supposes the scene to be an assembly. Lest 
he seat [or set] himself as an ambush [as 
lying in wait] to thy mouth to what thou 

12. The meaning of the second clause 

V. I 




B. C. 
cir. 200. 

II Or, 

f Gen. 4. 

1'rov. 22. 

1 3 Be not surety above thy power : 
for if thou be surety, take care to 
pay it. 

14 Go not to law with a judge ; 
for they will judge for him accord- 
ing to his i; honour. 

15 -^Travel not by the way with 
a bold fellow, lest he become grievous 
unto thee : for he will do according 
to his own will, and thou shalt perish 
with him through his folly. 

16 -^Strive not with an angry man, 
and go not with him into a solitary 
place : for blood is as nothing in his 
sight ; and where there is no help, he 
will overthrow thee. 

17 Consult not with a fool ; for 
he cannot keep counsel. 

18 Do no secret thing before a 
stranger ; for thou knowest not what 
he will bring forth. 

19 Open not thine heart to every 
man, lest he requite thee with a 
shrewd turn. 


I We are advised how to use our wives. 3 What 
women to avoid. 10 And 7iot to change an 
old friend. 13 Not to be familiar with men 
in authority, 14 but to know our neighbours, 
15 and to converse with wise men. 

BE not jealous over the wife of 
thy bosom, and teach her not 
an evil lesson against thyself. 

2 Give not thy soul unto a woman 
to set her foot upon thy substance. 

cir. 200. 

would be probably better represented by 
translating, instead of " count it but lost," 
make as if (thou hadst) lost, whether in 
the sense of pretending or of considering that 
it was lost. Instead of " for " translate and. 

13. and . . . consider [have thought, have 
a care] that thou shalt [have to] pay.] Be 
prepared for it. 

14. a judge.] Bretschneider, however, 
regards Kpirov as the gen. not of Kpir^s-, " a 
judge," but of KpiTos, electus, egregius, prae- 
stans, nobilis. A6a, " honour," " estimation." 

15. bold.'] Rather, venturous or daring. 

lest he become a burden [burdensome] 
to thee . . . and thou shalt perish 
through [together with] his folly.] Vet. 
Lat. : Ne forte gravet ?nala sua in te . . . et 
simul cum stuhitia illius peries. 

16. with a furious [perhaps irritable] 
man make not strife.] Comp. Prov. xv. 
18, xxii. 24, xxix. 22, where in the LXX. also 
the word 6vp.o)8t]s is used. 

into a solitary place.] Rather, through 
the desert. 

overthrow thee.] In the sense of killing. 

17. for he cannot keep a matter 
secret.] \6yov are^ai undoubtedly in the 
original, "QT HDD. 

18. a stranger.] Probably, although perhaps 
not exclusively, a non-Israelite. 

bring forth engender, beget, bring into 
the world : what kind of child he will bring 
into the world as representing what hast thou 

19. lest he requite thee, <b'c] Rather, lest 
he return thee ill thanks [Bissell: and 

so get an ill return]. Syr. : ne te beneficio 


The prudential rules for social intercourse 
are here continued: and, first, in regard to 
women Qvv. 1-9), the admonitions being 
arranged under four particulars (vv. 1, 2 ; 
3,4; 5,6; 7-9) ; secondly, with reference to 
what is to be sought or else avoided in inter- 
course with acquaintances. The arrangement 
is as follows : first, what is to be desired in 
regard to friends (v. 10); secondly, what is 
not to be sought nor wished for (vv. 11, 12) ; 
thirdly, what is to be actually avoided (y. 13); 
lastly, again, what is to be desired (w. 14-16). 
The two closing verses, which at first sight 
seem difficult to arrange, form a very apt 
conclusion : v. 17 referring to stanza w. 
14-16, and v. 18 to the stanza of six lines in 
v. 13. 

1. Bretschneider designates this egregium 
monitum. The Rabbis also often warn against 
groundless jealousy. The reason here given 
is that it might direct the mind of a wife to 
the very thing feared. Bretschneider quotes 
from Tibullus: Ipse miser docui, quo possit 
ludere pacto. 

2. On the other hand, the opposite ex- 
treme is to be avoided. 

Give not up thy soul to a woman, 
that she set not her feet [step not, 
trample not] upon thy power [authority].] 
The Talmud has it : " Of three the life is not 
a life : of him who hopes [looks] for the table 
of his neighbour, of him over whom his wife 
holds rule, and of him who is affected with 
disease in his body. [To these some add, as 
a fourth, him who has only one shirt.] (Bets. 
32 b, and otherwise.) In ' Babh. Mets.' 75 b, 

F 2 



[v. 3 1< 

B. C. 
cir. 200. 

a Prov. 7, 
5. &C. 

II Or, 

3 "Meet not with an harlot, lest 
thou fall into her snares. 

4 Use not much the company of 
a woman that " is a singer, lest thou 
be taken with her attempts. 

5 *Gaze not on a maid, that thou 
Mobii 1 ^ not ty those things that are 

precious in her. 

6 Give not thy soul unto harlots, 
that thou lose not thine inheritance. 

7 Look not round about thee in 
the streets of the city, neither wander 
thou in the solitary places thereof. 

10. 19. 
& 12. 16. 

8 'Turn away thine eye from a B.C. 
beautiful woman, and look not upon ' 
another's beauty ; for many have ?**' 
been deceived by the beauty of a 2 Sam - 
woman ; for herewith love is kindled Judith 
as a fire. 

9 Sit not at all with another man's ^g att- 5- 
wife, nor sit down with her in thine 
arms, and spend not thy money with 

her at the wine ; lest thine heart 
incline unto her, and so through thy 
desire thou fall into destruction. 

10 Forsake not an old friend ; for 

three are enumerated who cry in vain : he 
who lends money without witnesses ; he who 
gets himself a lord over him, and he who is 
under the rule of his wife. 

4. Use not much the company of] Rather, 
Be not long with. 

5. We would prefer translating the second 
clause : " lest thou be made to offend through 
the honours paid to her;" if this meaning 
of tv toI? eniTifiiois avrf/s could be established. 
But it will be safer to render it: lest thou 
he offended (annoyed) hy the penalties 
for her, the money or other penalties on 
her account, possibly with reference to Deut. 
xxii. 29. This seems also to accord with the 
Syriac Version. The moral code of the 
Rabbis went much beyond this, and forbade 
even to look at the finger of a woman, or at 
her shoe, as well as to exchange any needless 
words with her. Two Rabbis, shoemakers 
by trade, are mentioned as extraordinary 
instances of forbearing any such forbidden 
gaze, even under the daily temptation of their 
trade (Pes. 1 1 3 a). 

7 b. For " neither wander thou in the soli- 
tary places thereof" the Vet. Lat. has : " nee 
oberraveris in plateis illius "perhaps after 
the Syr., and reading nVOm for iTDmrt. 

8. beautiful."] Rather, handsome, comely, 
as referring more to form. 

another's beauty.] The beauty of one who 
13 another's. 

deceived.] Rather, led astray. 

for herewith.] Rather, and therefrom. 
This and v. 9 are among the passages quoted 
in the Talmud as from Ben Sira (Sanh. 100 , 
Yebam. 63 b). As bearing on the mode of 
quotation in the New Testament, it is instruc- 
tive to find that these Talmudic citations from 
Ben Sira are not literal, but probably made 
from memory. They are as follows : "Avert 
thine eye lest thou be caught in her snare. 
Do not resort to her husband to drink with 
him wine and strong drink. For bv the 

fairness of a beautiful woman manv have been 


destroyed, ' and mighty [either in the sense 
of numerous, or of strength] are all her slain' 
(Prov. vii. 26)." " Many are the wounds 
caused by the pedlar [who sells articles de luxe 
to women], which lead to the committing of 
sin, as the spark kindles the coal. ' As a 
cage is full of birds, so are their houses full 
of deceit' (Jer. v. 27)." The Syr. places 
v. 8 after v. 9. 

9. A warning against familiarity which may 
lead to sin. A similar, if not the same, saying 
is adduced in the Mishnah in the name of 
Jose b. Jochanan (Abh. i. 5). 

another man's ivife.] A married woman. 
The next clause in the A. V., " nor sit down," 
&c, must be omitted. It is evidently a 
paraphrastic gloss. 

and be not feasting with her at 
wine.] The expression (avufioXuKoirclv) pro- 
bably means frequent indulgence in feasts or 
entertainments where wine is drunk. We 
are not to give in her honour nor to take part 
in merry wine-parties with her (not necessarily 
in the absence of her husband probably 
rather the contrary). Fritzsche applies it to 
what he calls " Pikenike," but we have not 
been able to discover any trace of picnics 
amongst the ancient Jews. The verb is used 

for the Hebrew ^'lT in the LXX. Deut. xxi. 
20, and also by Aq. ; and either as verb or 
substant. for the same Hebrew word by 
Theod. in Prov. xxiii. 30; by Aq., Sym., 
and Theod. in Prov. xxiii. 21, and by Aq. 
and Theod. in Prov. xxviii. 7 (see the note 
on the latter passage in Field's ' Hexapla '). 
Schleusner {ad i'oc.) attaches to the word the 
somewhat strange meaning of contending in 
jokes, bandying jests. 

through thy desire.] Or passion, inclina- 
tion Tvvevfxari (nvevjjia here = n-1"l). For 
TrvevfMiTi Clemens Alex., the Syr., Arab., and 
Vet. Lat. have = aifxaTi. Comp. Lev. xx. 10; 
Deut. xxii. 22 ; Prov. vii. 26, 27. 

10. The verse begins a new section. The 

v. ii 1 8.] 




cir. 200. 

rfPs. 37. 1 
&c. & 73. 
3. >7- 

the new is not comparable to him : 
a new friend is as new wine ; when 
it is old, thou shalt drink it with 

11 (/ Envy not the glory of a sin- 
ner: for thou knowest not what shall 
be his end. 

12 Delight not in the thing that 
the ungodly have pleasure in ; but 
remember they shall not go un- 
punished unto their grave. 

13 Keep thee far from the man 
that hath power to kill ; so shalt 
thou not doubt the fear of death : 
and if thou come unto him, make no 
fault, lest he take away thy life 
presently : remember that thou goest 
in the midst of snares, and that thou 
walkest upon the battlements of the 

14 As near as thou canst, guess 

at thy neighbour, and consult with B. c. 

.1 cir. 200. 

the wise. 

15 Let thy talk be with the wise, 

^and all thy communication in the 'Ps. 1.2. 
law of the most High. 

16 And let just men eat and drink 
with thee ; and let thy glorying be 
in the fear of the Lord. 

17 For the hand of the artificer 
the work shall be commended : and 
the wise ruler of the people for his 

18 A man of an ill tongue is dan- 
gerous in his city ; and he that is rash 
in his talk shall be hated. 


I The commodities of a wise ruler. 4 God setteth 
him up. 7 The inconveniences of pride, in- 
justice, and covetousness. 14 What God hath 
done to the proud. 19 Who shall be ho- 
noured, 29 and who not. 

second clause would be more adequately 
rendered: for the fresh one he who is 
newly made (TvptHTfyaros; comp. Delitzsch on 
Heb. x. 20) is not equal to him. The 
third line gains in force by omitting (as in 
the original) the words " is as." The 
so-called 'First Alphabet of Ben Sira' has 
the same or a similar admonition : " An old 
friend deny not." 

11. the glory .] In the sense of " prosperity." 

12. Have not pleasure in [what is] the 
pleasure of the ungodly: remember that 
they will not be justified (i.e. escape 
punishment as the sentence of iheir condem- 
nation) unto the grave (Hades) ; that is, 
punishment will surely overtake them before 
their end. 

13. If w, 11, 12 had indicated what a 
man should not seek for nor wish, v. 13 con 
tinues the same reasoning and shews what he 
should actually avoid. " The man that hath 
power to kill " is presumably " the sinner " of 
v. 11 and "the ungodly" of v. 12, and his 
" power to kill " consists in his evil example, 
and in the danger accruing from his com- 
panionship and from fellowship with his deeds, 
which will entail such punishment on the 
doer. Keep far from him, "and thou 
shalt not be in the anguish of fear of 
death ; and if thou approach for come to] 
him, do not go wrong [err not, in the moral 
sense], lest he take away [rob] thy life: 
know [recognise] that thou goest in the 
midst of snares, and that thou walkest on 
the battlements of a city;" that is, thou art 
like one who walketh on the battlements of 

a city besieged such and so great is thy 
danger, and so watchful must thou be. 

14. The advice that follows is closely con- 
nected with what had preceded: According 
to thy power [to the utmost of thy power, 
so far as thou canst] seek to make out 
[search out] thy neighbour (to know what 
he really is). " Consult " in the sense of 
taking counsel. 

15. Let thy conference (5iaXo-yta-/xos') be 
with those of understanding. 

16. Omit "and." "Let just [righteous] 
men be thy table-companions" (who dine 
and sup with thee). 

17. In the hand o/"artificers is the work 
commended.'] The skilful artificer produces 
work that brings its own commendation : the 
German, das Werk soil den Meister loben. 
"And the ruler" perhaps, rather, the 
leader "of the people is wise in speech." 

18. Dreaded [a matter of fear] in his city 
(is) a man glib of tongue \linguatus\ and he 
that is rash [reckless, perhaps violent] in his 
speech shall be hated.] Thus the two last 
verses form an apt conclusion of the preceding 


The second line of chap. ix. 17 evidently 
leads up to chap, x., which treats of rulers, 
both good and evil. From this subject the 
transition to that of pride is easy and almost 
natural. Rulership and pride form the theme 
of the whole chapter. Its division into two 
parts is clearly marked. In Part I. Qw. 1-17) 



[v. 17. 

B. C. 

cir. 200. 

" Prov.25 


A WISE judge will instruct his 
people ; and the government 
of a prudent man is well ordered. 

2 "As the judge of the people is 
himself, so are his officers ; and what 
manner of man the ruler of the 
city is, such are all they that dwell 

3 An unwise king destroyeth his 
people ; but through the prudence 
of them which are in authority the 
city shall be inhabited. 

4 The power of the earth is in the 

b. c. 

cir. 200. 

hand of the Lord, and in due time 
he will set over it one that is profit- 

5 In the hand of God is the 
prosperity of man : and upon the 

1 person of the scribe shall he lay his lOr./ace, 

6 ^Bear not hatred to thy neighbour * L <= v - 19 
for every wrong ; and do nothing at 
all by injurious practices. 

7 Pride is hateful before God and 
man : and by both doth one com- 
mit iniquity. 


Matt. 18. 

rulership and pride are viewed in relation to 
God. The argument turns, so to speak, on 
the alternate formula : " from God " and " be- 
fore God." The first stanza, vv. 1-3 (3 x 2), 
shews how a people is bound up with its 
rulers. This is followed by a moral reflection, 
intended to shew that this is of God's appoint- 
ment, vv. 4, 5 (2 x 2). The next stanza, 
i"v. 6-8 (3 x 2), reverses the reasoning, and 
points out that the fate of rulers is connected 
with the state of the people, and winds up 
with a moral reflection on the folly of pride 
and the transient character of everything 
earthly, vv. 9-1 1 (3 x 2). The Part concludes 
with a stanza of six verses (vv. 12-17) on the 
pride of nations shewing that the origin and 
the essence of pride are departure from God, 
and that the issue of such pride are the Divine 
judgments (2 + 4 and 4 x 2). In Part II. pride 
is treated in a parenetic manner. The follow- 
ing are the principal points : (1) To the 
question, wherein true honour consists and 
how is it to be sought, the answer is twofold : 
first, positive, vv. 18-22 (2+4; 2x2); 
secondly, negative: in two stanzas, vv. 23-25 
and vv. 26, 27 (3x2; 2x2). (2) This is 
followed by the usual caution against the 
opposite extreme, vv. 28, 29 (2 x 2). (3) The 
chapter concludes in a somewhat flat manner 
in a stanza of two verses (vv. 30, 31 ; 2 x 2), 
of which v. 30 may specially refer to theme 1, 
and v. 3 1 to theme 2 of Part II. 

1. A general introduction to this part of 
the subject. - Judge " is used in the sense of 
supreme magistrate, ruler, BBSS'; "instruct," 
ill the sense of moral guidance, discipline. 

The general proposition is set forth in the 
second clause of the verse: "And the 
government of one of understanding 
shall be well ordered." 

2. As in 1-. 1. the governor is presented in 
his twofold capacity, as judge and as ruler. Lit. 
According to the judge of his people, 
so also his officers [ministrants], and 
according to the ruler of the city all 
they that inhabit it. 

3. unwise.] Rather, uninstructed : here 
also in the moral sense, as in v. 1. The verb 
answers to the Hebrew "ID 11 , and the common 
rendering of "1D , and "1D1E> in the LXX. is 
7ratSeva) and iraibeia. But a city shall be 
upbuilt [in the sense of "flourishing"] 
through the (good) understanding of 
those in authority. 

4. in the hand of the Lord (is) the do- 
minion of the (whole) earth.] In the LXX. 

(tjnvaia is the word used for nX'OQ and the 

Chakl. i'J^L". Hence it must here be ren- 
dered by "dominion" or "rule." "And 
him who is serviceable [profitable, useful 
for fulfilling God's purpose] will he raise 
up in due time upon it" (upon the earth). 

5. In the hand o/"the Lord is the prosperity 
of a man.] I.e. his success here probably 
the promotion of an individual to power. 
And not only does God so promote him, but 
He afterwards sustains and invests him with 
His own authority. Instead of "scribe," 
rather officer or ruler; the word ypafipciTevs 
here being not the scribe in the ordinary- 
Jewish sense, but the equivalent for "^', 
" officer " (as in Ex. v. and otherwise), which 
word is in the LXX. of the Pentateuch 
always rendered by ypap/xarevs, or (in Deut.) 
by a compound of it. 

6. Transition to the next subject. The 
fate of rulers and kingdoms is connected with 
the state of the people. 

every wrong.] Rather, any wrong. 

and do not anything at all in works 
of violence.] Probably in the sense: when 
violence is wrought against thee. This rather 
than that a person should not resent wrong 
by violence. 

7. Hate fid before God and before men is 
pride.] The next line is difficult, and we 
render it with some hesitation: and accord- 
ing to both (i.e. in the judgment both of 
God and man, e| dfKporepwu') it (pride) 

v. 8I4-] 


7 1 


cir. 200. 

8 Because of unrighteous dealings, 
injuries, and riches got by deceit, 
the kingdom is translated from one 
people to another. 

9 Why is earth and ashes proud ? 
There is not a more wicked thing 
than a covetous man : for such an 
one setteth his own soul to sale ; 
because while he liveth he casteth 
away his bowels. 

10 The physician cutteth off a 
long disease ; and he that is to day 
a king to morrow shall die. 

11 For when a man is dead, he 

cir. 200. 

shall inherit ^creeping things, beasts, 
and worms. 

12 The beginning of pride is when jj Isau I4 
one departeth from God, and his 
heart is turned away from his 

13 For pride is the beginning of 
sin, and he that hath it shall pour out 
abomination : and therefore the Lord 
brought upon them strange calamities, 
and overthrew them utterly. 

14 ^The Lord hath cast down the d '1 Sam. 
thrones of proud princes, and set up Luke r. 
the meek in their stead. 


shall commit wrong [offend wrong]. 
Bretschneider regards the it- as = evavri. 
Grotius would read els dpfpore povs ; but this 
is to cut rather than unravel the knot. 
Pride is not only hateful before God and 
men, but it issues in what is wrong accord- 
ing to God and man. 

8. This idea is now further developed : 
"Because of unrighteousness, violence, 
and wrongly gotten wealth" (greed of 
wealth ?). Such are the moral reasons which 
by the judgment of God and through the 
instrumentality of men lead to national 

9. All the calamities mentioned in v. 8 are 
really the consequences of that pride to which 
v. 7 refers. But for such pride there is 
assuredly no reason. " Why is earth and 
ashes proud?'' what is it proud of? The 
next two clauses in the A. V. (" There is not 
. . . soul to sale ") must be omitted. Their 
place is, if anywhere, at the close of v. 8. 
The last line is, if we rightly understand it, 
not only realistic, but coarse. The question 
what man has to be proud of is answered by 
this ironical suggestion: for in life [while 
he liveth] he casts out [or according to 
the other reading : I cast out?] his bowels. 
Lindius, " eppi\f/a pro eppL^e ut in pluribus 
codicibus." Alex., 157, 248, Co., eppi^rav ; 
Vetus Lat., Orig., projecit ; but most modern 
critics adopt the Vat. reading eppiyj/a, " I cast 
out." The rendering of Fritzsche seems far- 
fetched : " For in life [while he liveth] I have 
cast down [upset, shaken] his inward or- 
ganism." Syr. : cujus latera, dum vivit, vermes 
perrepunt. Arab. : e quo vermes scaturiunt 
dum vivlt. These variations shew at least 
the difficulty of the passage. It is not im- 
possible that, as has been suggested, the 
Greek depends on a misreading of the original 
Hebrew: HDI, jacere , dejicere, for DO"), tabes- 
cere. Yet, on the whole, the rendering pro- 
posed (which refers to the ordinary fluxus 
corporis) seems to us the most likely. 

10. a long disease, the physician jokes.] 
This either in the sense that he ironically 
refers to it as such, or else that he speaks of 
it lightly, as a long disease or weakness ; while 
in truth he who to-day is a king will even 
to-morrow be dead. This would give good 
sense. But the Syr. clearly shews us not 
only what the original bore, but how the 
error in the Greek version arose. The Syr. 
has in the first clause : " To-day he walks," 
instead of the Greek : " to-day a king." As 
pointed out by Mr. Margoliouth, the Hebrew 

was ^n or IJ^D, "he walketh," which the 

Greek misread ">Q12, " a king." The correct 
rendering of v. 10 b is therefore: Yea, he 
walketh to-day, and to-morrow he shall 

11. Such shall be his portion. This and 
v. 10 b has been erroneously regarded as 
referring to Antiochus Epiphanes (1 Mace, 
vi. 8,9; 2 Mace. ix. 9), and hence as a later, 
spurious addition. But the restoration of 
10 b from the Syr. leaves no room for such a 

12. The verse opens the stanza (yv. 12- 
17), which treats specially of pride, and more 
particularly of national pride, as appears from 
vv. 14-17. Indeed, pride had all along been 
the subject of moralising. Comp. v. 7. In 
v. 12 the source of pride is pointed out. 

13. The better reading is: For the be- 
ginning of pride is sin. The reading of 
the A. V. is that of 248, Co., Syr., Chrysost. 

strange calamities. ~\ Rather, unexpected, 
unwonted, marvellous. The verb (jrapa- 
So|d^od) stands in LXX. Deut. xxviii. 59 

for NvDH, and the word generally bears this 
meaning in the LXX., whether sensu bono or 

14. The verse points out the final issue, 
and at the same time accounts for the extra- 
ordinary calamities referred to in v. 13. Omit 
" proud," and in the second clause " up." 



[v. 1525. 

r.. c. 

cir. 200. 

II Or, 

15 The Lord hath plucked up the 
roots of the proud nations, and planted 
the lowly in their place. 

16 The Lord overthrew countries 
of the heathen, and destroyed them 
to the foundations of the earth. 

17 He took some of them away, 
and destroyed them, and hath made 
their memorial to cease from the 

18 Pride was not made for men, 
nor furious anger for them that are 
born of a woman. 

19 They that fear the Lord are a 
sure seed, and they that love him an 
honourable plant : they that re- 
gard not the law are a dishonour- 
able seed ; they that transgress the 
commandments are a " deceivable 

20 Among brethren he that is B. c. 
chief is honourable ; so are they that - ' 
fear the Lord in his eyes. 

21 The fear of the Lord goeth 
before 'the obtaining of authority : i Or, prin- 
but roughness and pride is the losing' ' 

22 Whether he be rich, noble, or 
poor, their glory is the fear of the 

23 It is not meet to despise the 
poor man that hath understanding ; 
neither is it convenient to magnify a 
sinful man. 

24 Great men, and judges, and 
potentates, shall be honoured ; yet 
is there none of them greater than 
he that feareth the Lord. 

25 ''Unto the servant that is wise e Prov. 
shall they that are free do service : 1? ' " 

16. countries of the heathen.] Rather, lands 
of nations. But the Syr. here offers a 
more correct translation, at least in i\ 15. 
It reads in v. 15, instead of "nations," and 
in v. 16, instead of "the heathen," "the 
proud," which suits the context better. The 
Syr. may have vocalised W 1 ^ and the Greek 
D'3 or more probably the one read D*N3, 
the other D'13. The Syr. rendering is sup- 
ported by 248 and the Vet. Lat. in v. 15, 
but not in -v. 16. 

17. He took some of them away.] Thus, if 
we read with A.C.S., when we may either 
read with the Compl. e' uvtwv or correct 
avrovs (as A.S. 2 and six other Codd. C. has 
aiirui). The Vat. has ti]pavev e' uvtuiv, "he 
made waste," dry, "some of them" = 3 v inn, 
^'2* (Fritzsche). In that case the reference 
in the next clause, he destroyed them 
aiTovs), would be to the inhabitants. On 
the whole, this gives the better meaning. 

18. This verse begins Part II., with mani- 
fest, though somewhat loose, reference to 
what had before been said of nations. 

not made.] Lit., " not created "pride is 
personified. The outcome of it is : " furious 
anger " (passionate anger). 

of a woman.] Rather, of women. 

19. The A. V. here follows the Compl. 
and 248, probably representing what origin- 
ally had been a marginal gloss. In its place 
must be substituted from the Alex, and Vat. 
(also in part quoted by Orig. ' c. Cels.' viii. 
50): What generation [lit. " seed," jni] 
is honoured? The generation of man. 
What generation is honoured? They 

that fear the Lord. What generation 
is unhonoured? The generation of 
man. What generation is unhonoured? 
They that transgress the command- 
ments. Thus man may either attain to high 
dignity or the opposite, according to his 
relation towards God. 

20. In the midst of [among] brethren, 
he that is chief among them [their chief] 
is honoured. 

in his eyes.] i.e. in the eyes of God. 

21. This verse (found in 106, 248, Co., at 
the end of v. 20) must be omitted. 

22. Whatever the outward condition of a 
man, that which alone constitutes glory is 
the fear of God. This is shewn in detail in 
the following verses (23-25). Indeed, the 
connexion of v. 22 with the next stanza is 
so close that it is not easy to separate them. 

23. This verse follows as a corollary from 
v. 22. " Meet " = right, righteous. 

a sinful man.] Lit. a man, a sinner. 
Drusius thinks the use of the word " man " 
(avSpa) indicates a rich man [so also the 
Syr.], since people generally hold a rich man 
in honour, though he be a sinner. But 
perhaps we should not conline the idea to 
wealth, but extend it to all those outward 
distinctions to which men pay regard, irre- 
spective of character and conduct. He is 
but a man, and as such must be judged 
according to v. 22. "Understanding," in 
the true sense, as opposed to " sin." 

25. wise.] In the same sense as " under- 
standing " in i\ 23: "Will not grudge:" 
rather, will not murmur (the verb occurs 

2 6 2.] 



B. C. 
cir. 200. 

f 2 Sam. 

12. 13. 

Prov. 13. 

12. g. 


and he that hath knowledge -^will 
not grudge when he is reformed. 

26 Be not overwise in doing thy 
business ; and boast not thyself in the 
time of thy distress. 

27 -^Better is he that laboureth, 
and aboundeth in all things, than he 
that boasteth himself, and wanteth 

28 My son, glorify thy soul in 
meekness, and give it honour accord- 
ing to the dignity thereof. 

29 Who will justify him that sin- 
neth against his own soul ? and who 
will honour him that dishonoureth 
his own life ? 

30 The poor man is honoured for 

his skill, and the rich man is honoured b. c. 

r , . . , cir. 200. 

for his riches. 

31 He that is honoured in poverty, 
how much more in riches ? and he 
that is dishonourable in riches, how 
much more in poverty ? 


4 We may not vaunt or set forth ourselves, 8 
nor answer rashly, 10 nor meddle with many 
matters. 14 Wealth and all things else 
are from God. 24 Brag not of thy wealth, 

29 nor bring every man into thy house. 

ISDOM lifteth up the head 

11 of him that is of low de- *Ox,o/the 
gree, and' T maketh him to sit among owy ' 

fa ' O " Gen. 41. 

great men. 4 o. 

2 Commend not a man for his Ddn ' 6 ' 3 " 


seven times in the N. T.). The words 
" when he is reformed," although occurring 
in the Syr. and Vet. Lat., should be omitted. 
Comp. Prov. xvii. 2. 

26. Another species of pride. It probably 
refers to a man who imagines himself superior 
to doing his own plain work too wise or 
clever for it and afterwards claims merit 
and piety when failure and distress supervene. 
For " be not overwise " the Syr. has " be not 
slow," which the Vet. Lat. reproduces, al- 
though in the second clause [for " beast net 
thyself," which it transfers into the first 

28. honour thy soul.'] Honour thyself 
proper self-esteem. 

dignity.'] Rather, worth. 

29. The sinning here referred to springs 
from want of proper self-esteem, from undue 

30. 31. See introductory remarks to the 


The previous chapter had suggested the 
contrast between the seeming and the real 
appearance and fact. This is the subject of 
ch. xi., the moral being to avoid rashness and 
inconsiderate judgment in regard to what we 
see (vv. 2-6), what we hear (vv. 7-9), and 
what we do (vv. 10-13). This concludes 
Part I. In it the writer had already by im- 
plication pointed to the Lord as the only 
Source of all good He whose giving alone 
bestows what is real. This forms now the 
theme of Part II. (beginning with v. 14). 
The argument may be thus summarised: 
Not the appearance of outward possessions, 
but the judgment of the Lord (vv. 14-21); 
not the present and immediate sequences 

that which appears but the final arbitrament 
as determined by God (vv. 22-24), when 
there shall be a final adjustment of things 
(vv. 25-28), and that which before God was 
all along the real shall also outwardly be ex- 
perienced and become apparent. The last 
stanza, beginning with v. 29, seems more 
naturally to belong to ch. xii., unless indeed 
we were to consider it as another species of 
that which presents itself to us in outward 
lite, and in regard to which we require to be 
warned. Thus the chapter would consist of 
two parts, each of thirteen verses (as vv. 1 5 
and 16 in Part II. must be omitted). Part I. 
would comprise three stanzas (vv. i-6 r 
3x2+4 + 2x2 lines; vv. 7-9, 3x2 lines; 
vv. 10-13, alternately 4, 2 and 4, 2 lines). 
Part II. would be similar in its arrangement, 
having also three stanzas (vv. 14-21, omitting 
vv. 15, 16 in the A. V., or 3x2 + 4 + 2 + 4 
lines; vv. 22-24, 3x2 lines; vv. 25-28, 
4X 2 lines). The last stanza in the chapter 
(vv. 29-34) we prefer regarding as part of 
chap. xii. 

1. This verse seems really to belong to the 
previous chapter, but it may have been placed 
at the beginning of chap. xi. as an apt intro- 
duction. The better reading of the first clause 
is no doubt the Alex, [also C.S. (X), 248, 
and seven other Codd.], which has avrov after 
KctpaXi'iv. Translate: The wisdom of the 
humble [modest] shall lift up his head, 
and make him to sit among great men. 
There are so many Rabbinic sayings to the 
tame effect that this sentiment may be almost 
regarded as a Jewish axiom. 

2. Commend not.] Praise not, make not 
much of him. The writer had probably 
1 Sam. xvi. 7 in view, for the Vat. reading 
atVeVfi? we must certainly adopt the Alex, 
(supported by many others) alpearjs. " His 





B. C. 
cir. 200. 

* Acts 12. 

c Ps. 139. 


<f 1 Sam. 
IS- 28. 
Ksther 7. 

' Dcut. T J. 

14. & 17. 


beauty ; neither abhor a man for his 
outward appearance. 

3 The bee is little among such as 
fly ; but her fruit is the chief of 
sweet things. 

4 b Boast not of thy clothing and 
raiment, and exalt not thyself in the 
day of honour : for 'the works of the 
Lord are wonderful, and his works 
among men are hidden. 

5 Many kings have sat down upon 
the ground ; and one that was never 
thought of hath worn the crown. 

6 '''Many mighty men have been 
greatly disgraced ; and the honour- 
able delivered into other men's 

7 ''Blame not before thou hast 

examined the truth : understand first, p. C. 

I , , , Cir. 200 

and then rebuke. 

8 -^Answer not before thou hast -^ Prov. 
heard the cause : neither interrupt x 
men in the midst of their talk. 

9 Strive not in a matter that con- 
cerneth thee not; and ^sit not 'in *Ps. i. ri 
judgment with sinners. iOr,** 

i\ it 111 -i judgment 

10 My son, meddle not with many of sinners. 
matters : for if thou meddle much, 
thou shalt not be innocent ; and if 
thou follow after, thou shalt not 
obtain, neither shalt thou "escape by n Or, 


eeing. hurt. 

11 h There is one that laboureth, ' Prov. 

10. 3. 

Matt. 19. 

and taketh pains, and maketh haste, -' 

and is so much the more behind. 



12 Again, there is another that is - 9- 

outward appearance;" i.e. because of its 
unattractive character. 

3. Before /xeXtcro-a the article should be 
inserted, with C, H, and many authorities. 
(Gomp. Chrysost, ' Horn. 20 in Eph. v.') 

4. Boast not in the putting on of 
clothes.] Or else, as in the A.V., " of thy 
clothing and raiment." The reference is to 
outward prosperity. The Syr. very curiously 
renders the first two lines: "deride not him 
who is dressed in rags, nor despise him whose 
throat is bitter." If the latter sentiment 
seems Hebraic, the former is scarcely in 
accordance with Jewish thought. Indeed a 
Rabbinic work (comp. Zunz, ' Gottesd. Vortr.' 
p. 104) quotes as from Ben Sira the following 
sentence (found also in ' Der. er. Z.' towards 
the end of the last ch.) : " The adornment 
(splendour) of God is man ; the adornment 
of man is his dress." And this agrees with 
many Rabbinic sayings in which attention 
to dress is enjoined on the sages. Lines 
c and d give the reason for the warning in 
lines a and b. God may send sudden re- 
versal in punishment of our pride, or else the 
prosperity of which we boasted may be only 
apparent and temporary. Verses 5 and 6 
carry out this idea. 

7, 8. Before thou blamest, examine 
[omit "the truth"]: consider first.'] This 
perhaps rather than "understand first." In 
Babha B. 98 b, we find the following as a 
quotation from the book of Ben Sira [the 
last clause in it we italicise to mark the 
quotation from Ecclus. xi. 8 b] : " Everything 
have I weighed in the balances, and I have 
not found anything lighter than bran (^3-lD 
the husks which fall off from the flour in the 
mill), yet lighter than bran the bridegroom 

who lives in the house of his father-in-law; 
and lighter than such bridegroom a guest 
who brings a guest ; and lighter than such 
guest he who returns answer before he has 
heard, and interrupt not in the middle of a 
discourse"' [speech]. Comp. Prov. xviii. 13. 

9. of sinners.'] That is, where sinners sit 
in judgment. 

10. From rashness as to what we see and 
hear the writer proceeds to rashness in what 
we undertake and do. 

Son, let not thy deeds [undertakings, 
aims] he about many things.] TheA.V. 
gives the sense correctly. 

for if thou completest.] That is, if thou 
art successful. This seems to suit the sense 
and context better than " if thou multiply ; " 
viz. if thou engage in many pursuits. The 
alternative would be : success and failure are 
here to be equally deprecated. Success will 
involve what is morally blameworthy ; failure 
will be disastrous. 

if thou pursuest [seekest after, folio west 
after, viz.. these various objects], thou shalt 
not overtake [seize, catch]; and if thou 
runnest away, thou shalt not escape.] 
Viz., blame, or else damage. Success involves 
guilt, the pursuit will lead to failure, and even 
if abandoned it will involve damage. 

11. This verse further illustrates the latter 
part of v. 10, while w. 12, 13 refer to the 
first two lines in v. 10, shewing, in oppo- 
sition to that haste after many things which 
involves guilt, that the blessing of God en- 
richeth and exalteth those who are apparently 
not prosperous but pious and content to wait 
upon God. Verse 1 1 reads better by omit- 
ting the word " one." It tells us that speed 
is not success. 




B. C. 
cir. 200. 

' Job 42. 

1 Sam. 

fob I. 21. 
Czek. 2S. 

slow, and hath need of help, wanting 
ability, and full of poverty; 'yet the 
eye of the Lord looked upon him for 
good, and set him up from his low 

13 And lifted up his head from 
misery ; so that many that saw it 
marvelled at him. 

14 ^Prosperity and adversity, life 
and death, poverty and riches, come 
of the Lord. 

15 Wisdom, knowledge, and un- 
derstanding of the law, are of the 
Lord : love, and the way of good 
works, are from him. 

16 Error and darkness had their 
beginning; together with sinners : and 

to to to 

evil shall wax old with them that 
glory therein. 

17 The gift of the Lord remain- 

eth with the godly, and his favour b. c. 
bringeth prosperity for ever. cir^oo. 

18 There is that waxeth rich by 
his wariness and pinching, and this is 
the portion of his reward : 

19 Whereas he saith, T have found ! Luke 12. 
rest, and now will eat continually of " 

my goods ; and yet he knoweth not 
what time shall 'come upon him, and 11 Or, pass. 
that m he must leave those things to > n p 5 . 49 . 
others, and die. I4 4 

20 "Be stedfast in thy covenant, Matt, 
and be conversant therein, and wax IO ' 22 " 
old in thy work. 

21 Marvel not at the works of 
sinners ; but trust in the Lord, and 
abide in thy labour : for it is an 
easy thing in the sight of the Lord 
on the sudden to make a poor man 

12. On the other hand, "There is that 
is slow and hath need of help, is inferior 
in strength and aboundeth in poverty," 
&c. It seems a mistake to regard (with 
Fritzsche) the person here described as one 
who is idle or wanting in energy. Such an 
one could not be represented as receiving 
Divine help the argument is not in support 
of fatalism, but intended to shew the supe- 
riority of moral worth. 

yet.~] Rather, and. 

13. Omit " from misery," and again, 
" that saw it ; " translate the last clause : 
and many marvelled at him. 

14. 17. Here begins Part II., which 
presents the other aspect : so to speak, the 
Divine view-point. In v. 14 the general 
principle is laid down; in v. 17 it is added 
that what God so giveth [or else His " good 
will " and " good pleasure;" see i. 10] to the 
godly is not merely seeming and transient, as 
is the prosperity of the wicked, but abiding. 
(Verses 15 and 16, which are wanting in all 
the best MSS., and disturbing, must be omitted, 
although occurring in the Syr. and the Vet. Lat.) 

18-21. These verses contain an antithesis 
two verses (18, 19: 2 + 4 lines) concern- 
ing the rich fool being opposed to two other 
verses concerning the poor who is pious 
(20, 21 : 2 + 4 lines). 

19. The A. V. and commentators close v. 1 8 
with a colon, and regard v. 19 as indicating 
what is "the portion of his reward." But 
we would suggest that i<. 18 closes with a 
full stop, and that t\ 1 9 constitutes a separate 
sentence, complete in itself. Probably the 

Hebrew original, as has been suggested, bore : 
VT 161 . . . nS3 a well-known Hebrew 

t : : T : 

construction (for the instances of this use of 
2 see ' Noldii Concord. Partic.'). The trans- 
lator rendered the Hebrew N 1 ?! . . . 112X2 
literallv, iv ra el-nelv . . . kci\ ovk. The 
Hebraism iv ra with infinitive is of frequent 
occurrence in 'the N. T. (see Vorstius, ' de 
Hebraism. N. TV c. xxxii.). It is also met 
with in our book (Ecclus. iv. 9, vii. 9, x. 11, 
xlvi. 5). The meaning is: While [or al- 
though] he saith (viz. in his heart) . . . 
and now will eat of my good things, and 
knoweth not [or yet knoweth not Kaiior 
8i] what time shall pass. Comp. our 
Lord's parable of the rich fool (St. Luke xii. 
16, Sec). Similar sentiments are expressed 
in Rabbinic writings. Thus in the Midr. on 
Eccles. i. 4 : "In this world one man builds 
a house and another inhabits it, one planteth a 
garden and another eateth the fruit thereof." 
Comp. also the Midr. on Eccles. ii. 1. 

20. thy covenant^ Viz. with the Lord. 
Grotius "here rightly reminds us of Neh. ix. 

and have thy conversation in it 

(6/xiAeu/, Schleusner = *f?nnn ; for the use 
of the word, see LXX. Pro v. xxiii. 31).] 
Do thy work quietly and godly to old age. 

21. Marvel not, fo-'c.'] Either in the sense 
of marvelling at what a sinner doeth, so as 
to be disturbed in the quiet pursuit of duty 
or in the stedfastness of faith ; or else : 
marvel not at the success of his works. 
According to the better reading, the last 



[V. 2 2 2 8. 

Mai. 3. 

B.C. 22 The blessing of the Lord is in 

- ' the reward of the godly, and sud- 
^ew/rj. a denly he maketh his blessing to 

23 Say not, "What profit is there 
of my service ? and what good things 
shall I have hereafter ? 

24 Again, say not, I have enough, 
and possess many things, and what 
evil can come to me hereafter ? 

25 In the day of prosperity there 
is a forgetfulness of affliction : and 

in the day of affliction there is no 
more remembrance of prosperity. 

26 For it is an easy thing unto the 
Lord in the day of death to reward a 
man according to his ways. 

27 The affliction of an hour 
maketh a man forget pleasure : 
and in his end his deeds shall be 

28 Judge none blessed before his 
death : for a man shall be known in 
his children. 

c. c. 

cir. 200. 

clause must be rendered: "quickly of a 
sudden to make a poor man rich." The 
moral of this verse can scarcely be considered 

22. The blessing of the Lord is for reward.] 
Or more simply, is the reward. The 
Hebrew had here no doubt 3, which was 
literally translated by iv. for this use of 3, 
see Ewald, ' Lehrb.' 2 17/ and 299 b. 

suddenly.'] Literally, in a swift hour. It 
has been suggested (by Mr. Margoliouth) 
that the Hebrew original had in both lines 
the word }\f?n, " the blessing of the Lord 
.... his blessing ; " but that there was a 
mistake in translating the second }'Sn bv 
etXoyia, and referring it to God. In that 
case the word would have been used in the 
sense of " business," " undertaking," " en- 
deavour." In fact there would be a play on 
the word }'Qn, and the meaning of the Hebrew 
original would have been: The blessing of 
the Lord for reward (in reward) of the 
godly, and rapidly He maketh his (the 
man's) business (undertaking) to nourish. 
This seems to accord with the previous verse. 
On the arrangement of this (yv. 22-24) 
and the following stanza {yv. 25-28), see 
the introductory remarks. The Syr. omits 
w. 22-27 b. 

23. Say not, What need have I?] The 
tempting suggestion that the Hebrew original 
rendered by ri's 1<tt'i finv xp( ' rnay have been 
pen HO, is forbidden by the circumstance 
that although the LXX! twice render }'3n, 
" pleasure," desiderium, by xP eia (J er - xx ''- 
28, xlviii. 38), yet the uniform use in the 
Book of Sirach is different. It occurs in it 
nineteen times seventeen times in the sense 
of "need," only once fxxxii. 2, or rather 
xxxv. 2) in the sense of " business " (work), 
and once doubtfully so (iii. 22). We there- 
tore feel constrained to adopt the common 
usage of the word. The words in the A. V. 
" in my service" must be omitted. 

and what good things shall I have from 
now ?] I.e. in the immediate present. 

24. Similarly the opposite extreme must 
be avoided. "Say not, I have what is suffi- 
cient: and what evil shall befall me from 
now]" in the immediate present. Omit the 
words in the A. V., " and possess many things." 

25. If in the previous verses the author 
displayed a considerable knowledge of human 
nature, his philosophy is weak and his the- 
ology poor in the last stanza (yv. 25-28), 
which gives a kind of general summary and 
application of the teachings of this chapter. 
Past sufferings will be forgotten by the 
righteous when prosperity cometh, and the 
opposite will be the case with the wicked. In 
his displeasure at not being invited to a feast, 
a Rabbi is said to have written to his colleague 
on the day of his son's marriage: " After all 
thy joy, death ; and what advantage hast 
thou then of thy joy ? " (Midr. on Ecc'.es. i. 
3.) And it was a common saying that a man 
did not depart out of this world till he had 
had at least half of his wishes (a. s. i. 13). 
Some retribution wouid come in the end to 
the wicked. None therefore was to be pro- 
nounced blessed before his death. 

28. and in his children shall a man be 
known.] That is, either generally his punish- 
ment would overtake him in the fate of his 
children, or else, even if he should die un- 
punished, yet his character will appear in his 
children and his punishment in their punish- 
ment. The Rabbis express similar notions 
as to sins of the parents leading to physical 
and moral consequences in their children ; 
while, on the other hand, it was a common 
saying that before the sun of one righteous 
person set that of another rose. This was 
said with reference to the birth of pious sons 
on the day that a pious father died (Midr. on 
Eccles. i. 5). The curious idea also prevailed 
that a son is commonly like his maternal 
uncle (Baba B. no a. In general, as to 
children being morally either like or unlike 
their parents, see Midr. Shir Hash. 1 a, b). 
But, apart from all this, what most painfully 
impresses us in w. 25-28 is the marked 
absence of anv reference to another life. 

2 9 I.] 






29 Bring not every man into thine 
house : for the deceitful man hath 
many trains. 

30 Like as a partridge taken [and 
kept] in a cage, so is the heart of the 
proud ; and like as a spy, watcheth 
he for thy fall : 

31 For he lieth in wait, and turneth 
good into evil, and in things worthy 
praise will lay blame upon thee. 

32 Of a spark of lire a heap of 
coals is kindled : and a sinful man 
layeth wait for blood. 

33 Take heed of a mischievous 
man, for he worketh wickedness ; 
lest he bring upon thee a perpetual 

34 Receive a stranger into thine 
house, and he will disturb thee, and 
turn thee out of thine own. 


2 Be not liberal to the ungodly. 10 Trust not 
thine enemy, nor the zvickcd. 



cir. 200. 


HEN thou wilt do good, a 
"know to whom thou doest 7 .V'' 

29. With this verse chap. xii. manifestly 
begins. The first line is quoted in the 
Talmud (Yeb. 63 ; Sanh. \oo b) as from 
the book of the Son of Sira : " Exclude 
many from within thy house, and bring not 
every one to thy house." With this may be 
compared this other saying : " Never let a 
man multiply (let him not have many) inti- 
mate friends in his house" (Ber. 63/7; Sanh. 
1 00 b). The second clause should be rendered : 
for many are the wiles (insidia?) of the 
deceitful. For SoXi'ou, 106, 248, Co. read 
8ia[36\ov a strange gloss. 

30. The mention of tricks and wiles leads 
up to what seems in its present form an 
un-Jewish simile, since, although Aristotle 
speaks of it ('Hist. An.' ix. 8), we cannot 
recall any Jewish reference to the training of 
partridges as decoys. The first clause should 
be rendered: A decoy-partridge in a 
basket. KtipraWos occurs in four passages 
in the LXX., each time representing a different 
Hebrew word, but all meaning " basket." 
The word has also passed into Rabbinic 

writings as ^915 and Xn^B*lj2 (Babha 
Mets. 42 a; Babha B., 74^7 ; T and'in Ber. R. 
60, Vayy. R. 25). [Bochart ' Hieroz.' Part 
II., b. i., ch. 13 has a whole chapter on this 
verse in Ecclus.] 

so the heart of the proud [ynepfjcjiavos, in 
the O. T. sense of proud = wicked (just as 
" meek " = pious) answering to the Hebrew 
IT or nSJ ; indeed our verse seems based on 
Ps. cxl. (LXX. cxxxix.) 5, where the LXX. 
so render D'KJ]; and as the spy that 
watcheth [looketh out] with a view to 
(for) the fall (eVijSXeVei).] As already 
stated, the illustration is based on Ps. cxl. 

31. And on things worthy of praise choice 
[excellent] things will he put a blemish.] 
He will affix to them, find in them a blemish, 
P-upos, the DIE) of the Levitical law (and 
otherwise in the O. T.), maeulam. If even in 
the O. T. the word was used to indicate a 

moral spot or blemish (Job xi. 15 ; xxxi. 7), 
it is frequently so applied by the Rabbis, as 
in the following appropriate saying : " he that 

is proud is one who has a blemish " (DIE b]}2 
Nin), Meg. 29 a. The Syr. has instead of 
this a different verse. 

33. Take heed of an evildoer, for he work- 
eth ^wickedness.'] In the sense of struo or 
machinor ; not so much as regards his own 
conduct, but what he deviseth and prepareth. 

34. Receive a stranger [rather: take a 
stranger, viz. to live with thee] : . . . and he 
ivill distract thee with disturbances 
and estrange [alienate] thee from thine 
oavn from thine own family. This con- 
struction rather than "turn thee out of 
thine own," viz. property accords with the 
context, and is established by its occurrence 
in Jos. 'Ant.' iv. 1, 1 (about the middle). 
There is evidently here a word-play between 
the dWorpios, " the stranger," whom we are 
not to take into our house, and its conse- 
quence, that he will make us a stranger to 
our family : oVaXXoT/jiaxrei o~e tup idicov cov. 


The chapter with which, as previously 
stated, the concluding stanza of ch. xi. should 
have been joined, treats of our dealings with 
others. Ch. xii., as in our A. V., consists of 
three stanzas, each of six verses, which mav 
be roughly headed as follows : To whom to 
do good, and to whom not to do it (stanza 1, 
w. 1-6); the reasons for this advice (stanza 
2, wu. 7-12); the consequences of neglect- 
ing such advice (stanza 3, -w. 13-18). Each 
of the first two stanzas might be headed, 
Give unto the good; and stanza 3, If thou 
doest otherwise, thou wilt have thyself only 
to blame. Lastly, each of the three stanzas 
may be subdivided into two shorter stanzas, 
each of three verses, which respectively mark 
progression in thought. 

1. This verse forms a general introductory 




[v. 2 8. 

B.C. it; so shalt thou be thanked for thy 

r. 200. 1 r 


2 Do good to the godly man, and 
thou shalt find a recompence ; and 
if not from him, vet from the most 

3 There can no good come to him 
that is always occupied in evil, nor to 
him that giveth no alms. 

4 Give to the godly man, and 
help not a sinner. 

5 Do well unto him that is lowly, 
but give not to the ungodly : hold 

back thy bread, and give it not unto 
him, lest he overmaster thee thereby : 
for [else] thou shalt receive twice as 
much evil for all the good thou shalt 
have done unto him. 

6 For the most High hateth sin- 
ners, and will repay vengeance 
unto the ungodly, and keepeth them 
against the mighty day of their 

7 Give unto the good, and help 
not the sinner. 

8 A friend cannot be known in 

B. C. 

cir. 200. 

statement as it were, the text. Instead of 
the first clause, " When thou wilt do good, 
kno-v" &c, the Syr. has: "If thou doest 
good to one who is evil, thou doest nothing " 
evidently a confusion of JH and JH. And 
there will be thanks for thy benefits 
beneficia, "good doings." 

3. The meaning of this verse is extremely 
difficult, and we may conjecture that either 
the Greek translator did not properly under- 
stand the Hebrew original, or that by an 
attempted literalism he clumsily rendered it 
into Greek. In either case our commenta- 
tion must be somewhat conjectural. 

There are not benefits [perhaps DvlDJ 
D*31D, or else DHDP1 in the sense that there 
is not room for them, they are not in place, 
hence they should not be shewn] (in regard) 
to him who is continuous in evil [per- 
haps JTO 1*DnD, or else JTQ ^OnDS, in the 
later usage of that word], nor [in regard] to 
him who (himself) bestoweth not alms.'] 

The original may have had D^tJ'O, which 
bears the twofold meaning of bestowing and 
retributing (the older Siracide viewing it in 
the latter, the younger Siracide taking it in 

the former sense) ; or it may have been T'OJ 

K?pn, or even blOJ xfoffQ for all these ex- 
pressions occur, while in Rabbinic thought 

HDH m?*E>:n npYi are always most closely 

4. This verse presents a sad contrast to the 
words of our Lord, St. Matt. v. 42-48. But 
the saying of the Son of Sirach is entirely in 
accordance with Rabbinic views. It occurs 
in the so-called ' First Alphabet of Ben Sira' 
in the following form : " Do not good to the 
evil, and evil shall not befall thee " (comp. 
Paul Fagius, ' Sent. mor. Ben Syrae,' c. com- 
ment, ix.). It is also found as a proverb in 
several of the Midrashim (Ber. R. 22; Vayy. 
R. 22 ; Midr. on Eccles. v. 9) in the form 
just cited, and also in the following : " If thou 

doest good to the evil, thou hast done evil." 
In the Midr. on Eccles. v. 9 it occurs (among 
a number of legendary illustrations) in con- 
nexion with the story of a man who, having 
seen a bird restoring another to life by means 
of a certain herb, took it with the view of 
raising the dead in Palestine. By the way 
he saw a dead fox, on whom he made success- 
ful experiment of his herb. But when he 
afterwards applied the same cure to a dead 
lion, the latter straightway rent him in pieces. 
In the Syr. vv. 4 and 5 are inverted. 

5. Do iveli] Rather, do good. 

loavly.] In the moral sense = pious. 

hold back.] Probably the Hebrew JWO, as 
Fritzsche suggests. 

thy bread.] Rather, his bread, but in 
the sense of "the bread which thou givest 
him." " Bread " is here used in the sense of 

sustenance or support, like the Heb. DIT>. 
The meaning of v. 5 c seems to be : lest by 
giving him assistance thou furnish him only 
with the means of injuring thee ; and then the 
consequences will be as described in clauses// 
and e. Bretschneider regards vv. 5-7 as a 
later addition, chiefly because v. 7 repeats 
v. 4. But each of these verses begins a new 
stanza and serves as text to it, and the repe- 
tition in v. 7 only renders the advice more 

6. For.] Rather, For also; a vindica- 
tion of the sentiment expressed in v. 5, very 
different in spirit from Rom. xii. 19-21. 
The last part of the verse in the A. V. 
(beginning with " and keepeth," &c.) must 
be omitted. 

7. Another stanza begins with the same 
heading as the former (v. 4). 

8. A friend cannot be tested.] The A. V. 
adopts the rendering of the Vet. Lat. agnos- 
cetur, the reading being emyvcoo-Orjo-eTai, with 
106, 253 ; the Alex, has eft/dX^crerai. But 
there is no occasion for departing from the 

9 14-] 



cir, 200. 

prosperity : and an enemy cannot be 
hidden in adversity. 

9 In the prosperity of a man 
enemies will be grieved : but in 
his adversity even a friend will 

io Never trust thine enemy: for 
like as "iron rusteth, so is his wicked- 

1 1 Though he humble himself, and 
go crouching, yet take good heed and 
beware of him, and thou shalt be 
unto him as if thou hadst wiped a 
lookingglass, and thou shalt know 

that his rust hath not been altogether 
wiped awav. 

12 Set him not by thee, lest, when 
he hath overthrown thee, he stand up 
in thy place; neither let him sit at thv 
right hand, lest he seek to take thy 
seat, and thou at the last remember 
my words, and be pricked therewith. 

13 Who will pity a charmer that 
is bitten with a serpent, or any such 
as come nigh wild beasts ? 

14 So one that goeth to a sinner, 
and is "defiled with him in his sins 
who will pity ? 

b. c. 

cir. 200. 


Vat. reading, (KiKi]di]<reTai. We feel con- 
vinced that the Hebrew word so rendered 
was KTT, which the LXX. render by e/cSiKt'w 
in Deut. xviii. 19. In our passage the Heb. 
word would be used in the sense of " search 
out," " test," " prove." Comp. the similar 
use of SiKaicodeis in Aesch. ' Ag.' 393. For 
"cannot" in both clauses, rather shall 

9. enemies ivi/l be grieved. ~\ Rather, his 
enemies are in sorrow. For the second 
clause comp. Prov. xix. 4, 7. 

nvill depart^] Rather, will separate 
himself. There seems little doubt that the 
original had "112'' "injTlO, as in Prov. xix. 4, 
which must be rendered: "but the poor 
his friend separateth himself." (The R. V. 
misses the meaning alike in text and margin ; 
comp. Nowack ad loc.) 

10. Rather, for as the bronze is covered 
with rust [= contracteth rust; Vet. Lat. 
aeruginat], so his wickedness, viz. con- 
tracteth evil. Wahl (after Bretschneider) : 
sic malitia ejus semper nova mala park. 

11. The construction and meaning, espe- 
cially of the last clause, are somewhat difficult. 
In any case the Greek cannot be rendered as 
in the A. V., " and thou shalt know that his 
rust hath not been altogether wiped away." 
We propose translating the verse: And 
though he humble himself and go 
crouching, take heed to thyself [the 

Greek expression = 27 JVB>] and beware of 
him [Bissell], and be in regard to him as 
one that hath wiped a mirror, and thou 
shalt know that it is not always tar- 
nished KaTiaxre or KarioTai, as in St. Jas. 
v. 3, which we would also render "is 
tarnished." The meaning is: if thou take 
heed, and wipe the mirror, thou wilt get a 
true reflexion, and thus experience that it 
does not always give a false image and repre- 
sentation. The Hebrew original probably 

had ?li6n nVJ 1 ? &6 D. The word *6n 
occurs as a substantive i"tX?n in Ezek. xxiv. 
6, 1 1 ; and although it is commonly rendered 
"rust," its primary meaning is " tarnishing," 
" dirt " (comp. ' Castelli Lexic' i. 1133, and 
especially Pagninus, ' Thes.' 704, 705). Ac- 
cordingly the Targum renders the word in 

Ezek. by NfiC-inn (=nDinn, norm) from 

DHT, "to be dirty," "to defile," "to dirty" 
(one of the derivat. is used of the manuring 
of plants ; comp. generally Levy ad voc). 

In later Hebrew " to be rusty " is wfl, and 

mi?n, "rust." Without prolonging this 
discussion, we venture to think that the simile 
of the Son of Sirach gives an apt meaning 
according to our rendering of it, whereas it 
would be well-nigh unintelligible if we were 
to adopt the common interpretation : that it 
[the mirror] does not cover itself to the 
last with rust. We scarcely require to add 
that the mirror was of polished metal. [The 
Syr. has here some strange variants.] 

12. Set him not up beside thyself, lest 
iv ben he hath overthrown thee he set him- 
self up in thy position.] tottos, here 
condition in society, dignity. 

seat him not at thy right hand [Bissell] 
[give him not the place of honour], lest 
he seek thy chair [ica0e8pa, the seat of 
honour], and at the last thou come to 
recognise [know the truth of] my sayings, 
and thou be afflicted [Wahl, acri dolore 
afficior, either 3Vynn, as in LXX. Gen. 
xxxiv. 7, or nfcWJ, as in Ps. cix. (cviii.) 16] 
over my words.] That is, because thou 
hast neglected them. 

14. With this verse begins the third double 
stanza (see introd. to the chapter). The 
verb is continued in v. 14, which reads: "So 
(who will pity) him that goeth unto a 
sinner, and is mingled up (with him) 
in his sins." As in the case mentioned in 
v. 13, so here: a man has himself to blame 



[v. 152. 

cir. 200. 

* Jer. 

41, C'. 

I Or, 

15 For awhile he will abide with 
thee, but if thou begin to fall, he will 
not tarry. 

16 An enemy speaketh sweetly 
with his lips, but in his heart he 
imagineth how to throw thee into a 
pit : he will '''weep with his eyes, but 
if he find opportunity, he will not be 
satisfied with blood. 

17 If adversity come upon thee, 
thou shalt find him there first ; and 
though he pretend to help thee, yet 
shall he undermine thee. 

18 He will shake his head, and 
clap his hands, and whisper much, 
and change his countenance. 

CHAPTER XIII. c .b.c. o 

I Keep not company with the proud, or a J 

mightier than thyself. 1 5 Like will to like. 
21 The difference between the rich and the 
poor. 25 A maris heart will change his 

HE that toucheth pitch shall be 
defiled therewith; and a he a Dent, 
that hath fellowship with a proud 7 ' 
man shall be like unto him. 

2 Burden not thyself above thy 
power while thou livest ; and have 
no fellowship with one that is migh- 
tier and richer than thyself: for how 
agree the kettle and the earthen pot 1^/}'!";?? 
together? "for if the one be smitten a ^ a j n , st u > 
against the other, it shall be broken, broken. 

for the consequences, if he deliberately goes 
into such dangers. 

15. For a<while.~\ For a brief time. 

but if thou begin to fall.~\ Rather, but if 
thou turn aside, that is, if thou no longer 
entirely consort with him and co-operate in 
all his schemes. 

he will not be staunch.] In such case you 
must be prepared for his giving you up, so 
that you cannot even reckon on his sympathy 
unless you go with him in everything. 

16. And with his lips sweetly speaks 
the enemy, and [but] in bis heart he is 
planning to throw thee into a pit.~] The 
expression " he will not be satisfied with 
blood " is generally understood as meaning : 
he will not be satisfied, even although thy 
blood has been shed. But taking it in con- 
nexion with the following verse, which in 
our view further develops the thought, we 
understand it as meaning that such a hypo- 
critical enemy will not be satisfied to let 
matters have their course to our destruction, 
but will himself take part in it. 

17. If adversity come upon thee, thou shalt 
fmd him there before thee.] This cannot 

mean : as if to sympathise, for in such case 
he would not be there " before "the adversity 
came; but must mean that he will be in 
waiting for the event, not leave it simply to 
take its course (v. 16): and as though 
helping he will trip thee up [Bissell]. 

18. He will "whisper" [as does a hvpo- 
cnte] every kind of evil against thee, 'and 
" change his countenance," openly now as- 
suming the appearance of an enemy. 


From warnings of the dangers attaching to 
intercourse with evil, the writer proceeds to 

describe unwise intercourse : such as the 
attempted companionship of the poor with 
the rich (w. 2-23); and he concludes by 
moralising with the view of dissuading the 
pious poor from either wrongfully seeking 
riches and courting the rich, or being dis- 
contented with their lot. Apart from i\ 1, 
which, as often, serves as a link of connec- 
tion with the previous chapter, and omitting 
v. 14 as a spurious addition, the chapter 
consists of twenty-four verses, and is divided 
into two parts: Part I., w. 2-13; Part II., 
vv. 15-26. Part I. contains two double 
stanzas, each of six verses (yv. z-^ + i"v. 5- 
7 and w. 8-ro+ 11-13), shewing the folly 
of such attempted intercourse between poor 
and rich. In Part II. the first double stanza, 
w. 15-20, shews the impossibility and the 
danger of such intercourse (yv. 15-17 : what 
fellowship ? i"v. 18-20 : what peace ?). There 
is really no equality between the rich and 
the poor (w, 21-23), although we ought at 
the same time to take the higher view of 
riches and poverty (yv, 24-26). Thus Part 
II. also consists of two double stanzas, each 
of six verses (3 + 3, 3 + 3). 

1. Omit " therewith." The Syr., " it sticks 
to his hand." The saying has passed into a 
common proverb. 

shall be like unto him.~] Better, shall 
become like him. Syr., "put on of his 
ways " didicit mores ejus (Payne Smith). 
The verse forms a transition from the former 
to the present chapter. 

2. A burden (which is) above thy power 
lift not up, and with mightier than 
thou and richer than thou have no 
fellowship; what fellowship shall 
(earthen) pot have with (brass) kettle 
[caldron]' It shall hit [knock] against 
it [viz. the kettle against the pot, reading 
avTr), and not avrrj so also the Syr.], and it 

3 "] 



cir. 200. 

3 The rich man hath done wrong, 
and yet he threateneth withal : the 
poor is wronged, and he must in treat 

4 If thou be for his profit, he will 
use thee : but if thou have nothing, 
he will forsake thee. 

5 If thou have any thing, he will 
live with thee : yea, he will make 
thee bare, and will not be sorry for it. 

6 If he have need of thee, he will 
deceive thee, and smile upon thee, and 
put thee in hope ; he will speak thee 
fair, and say, What wan test thou ? 

7 And he will shame thee by his 
meats, until he have drawn thee dry 
twice or thrice, and at the last he will 

laugh thee to scorn : afterward, when 
he seeth thee, he will forsake thee, 
and shake his head at thee. 

8 Beware that thou be not de- 

15. c. 
cir. 200. 



d b 


lown "in 


jollity. Simplicity. 

9 If thou be invited of a mighty 
man, withdraw thyself, and so much 
the more will he invite thee. 

10 Press thou not upon him, lest 
thou be put back ; stand not far off, 
lest thou be forgotten. 

11 "Affect not to be made equal ! ' 0r > Fo r 

.. . ,. I, , . ,. n L . bear not. 

unto him in talk, "and believe not his n 0r bHt 
many words : for with much commu- 
nication will he tempt thee, and smiling 
upon thee will get out thy secrets : 

(the pot) shall be broken.] Thus much 
for the folly and danger of such attempts. 

3. The folly of the whole thing, viewed 
from the standpoint of the rich, could scarcely 
be more graphically set forth than in this and 
the following verses to the end of the stanza 
(vv. 3-7). The A. V., although not quite 
literal, gives the sense with sufficient ac- 
curacy : " and yet he threateneth withal ;" 
rather, and is very wroth besides. 

4. if thou have nothing.] Rather, if thou 
be in want. Similarly we read in Abh. ii. 3 : 
" Be cautious (in your intercourse) with 
the great [lit., those in authority], for they do 
not bring near [to themselves] a man except 
for their own purposes : they appear as friends 
when it is to their advantage, and stand not 
by a man in the hour of his need." 

In all probability the epyarai tv col repre^ 
sents the Hebrew 2 12V. 

; ~ t 

5. If thou have [anything], he will live 
with thee.] In the sense of associating and 
making a companion. The Syr. has : " he 

will speak fair" probably n?IT. 

make thee bare.] Rather, empty thee 

but he himself will not be sorry.] 
Bissell : " will not trouble himself." 

6. If he have need of th.'e, he will lead 
thee astray.] Not necessarily (as Fritzsche 
thinks) to hurt and damage. 

What wantest thou ?] Viz. I shall get it 
for thee. 

7. We cannot help thinking that the 
Hebrew had here a word-play between the 
alaxwe'i, Y k r r '?D, from K>13, " to be ashamed," 
and *lBnh, from V2\" to make dry," for the 

ApOC Vol. II. 

diroKvcoo-ei in the second clause. (The word 
is only used by Aq., Sym., and Theod. : comp. 
Field's' Hex.;' Judg. iii. 2551 Kings [1 Sam.] 
xxiv. 4.) For "by his feasts" the Syr. has: 
" by his devices " the Greek deriving the 

word from ?3X, the Syr. from ?3j. 

drawn thee dry.] Better, emptied thee. 
The idea seems to be that, incited by the 
banquets of the great man, the poor man tries 
to imitate his prodigality, and, while he is 
drained, he is only laughed at for his pains. 
The interpretation, that the great man bor- 
rows from him and so drains him (Fritzsche), 
is unsuited to the context. 

8. Beware lest thou be led astray.] 
This verse begins a new stanza. The "jollity" 
refers to the invitations described in v. 9. 
The transition from v. 7 seems clearly marked. 
The Vet. Lat. reads dqipoawn, which the 
Syr. shews to represent the original. 

brought down.] Rather, humbled, or 

9. withdraw thyself] Possibly, "appear 
reluctant " (Bissell). This would at any rate 
be in accordance with Jewish ideas, according 
to which a man should require a repeated in- 
vitation to a feast before going to it, and, when 
called upon for a public function in the 
synagogue, at first decline. But the Son of 
Sira at the same time warns us to avoid 
alike one and the other extreme, v. 10. 

11. Affect not [aim not, make not a point 
of it] to talk with him as an equal.] I.e. 
familiarly, or rather freely and without 

with much talk he will tempt thee.] 
Viz. unreservedly to open up all that is in 
thy mind. 

and as smiling he will search thee 




[v. 12 



cir. 200. 

1 i Cor. 6. 

12 But cruelly he will lay up thy 
words, and will not spare to do thee 
hurt, and to put thee in prison. 

13 Observe, and take good heed, 
for thou walkest in peril of thy over- 
throwing : when thou nearest these 
things, awake in thy sleep. 

14 Love the Lord all thy life, and 
call upon him for thy salvation. 

15 Every beast loveth his like, 
and every man loveth his neighbour. 

16 All flesh consorteth according 
to kind, and a man will cleave to his 

17 ''What fellowship hath the 

wolf with the lamb? so the sinner J'-c. 
with the godly. ir^oo. 

18 What agreement is there be- 
tween the hyena and a dog ? and 
what peace between the rich and the 
poor ? 

19 As the wild ass is the lion's 

prey in the wilderness : so c the rich c j am . 2. 
eat up the poor. 6 - 

20 As the proud hate humility : 
so doth the rich abhor the poor. 

21 A rich man beginning to fall 
is held up of his friends : but a poor 
man being down is thrust also away 
by his friends. 

out.] (Similarly. Bissell.) The rendering of 
the A. V. depends on another reading which 
seems a gloss on the text. 

12. Merciless, he that keepeth not 
words [concealeth not counsel, i.e. betrays 
what is said either in confidence or in the 
freeness and openness of conversation], nor 
will he spare [viz. to inflict, or cause to be 

inflicted in the original, either Din or 7011, 
both frequently so translated in the LXX.] 
injury or bonds.] He is reckless of con- 

13. Keep thyself [ = take care of thyself], 
and take good heed, for thou walkest 
[goest about Bissell] with thy fall.] A 
figurative expression (com p. Job xxxi. 5 ; 
Prov. xiii. 20), as it were: thou hast thy fall 
as a close companion in thy walk under such 
circumstances. The last clause in the A. V., 
beginning with " when thou hearest," &c., 
must be omitted. 

14. This verse in the A. V. must be omitted 
as a spurious addition ; perhaps a gloss em- 
bodying moral reflection. 

15. This verse begins Part II. (see intro- 
ductory remarks), shewing the reasonableness 
and the propriety of the advice hitherto given, 
as representing a universal law in the phy- 
sical and moral world, as well as of society. 
Similis simili gaudet ; aequalis aequalem delect at. 

and every man loveth his neighbour^] In 
the sense of kindred in mind or station. 

16. All flesh consorteth according to kind.'] 

in:W, LXX. Gen. i. 25, Kara yivos. The 
passage is quoted in the Talmud (Babha K. 
92 b) in illustration of the proverb, " A bad 
date-tree goes and joins itself to the reed." 
This saying is illustrated by examples from 
the Law, Gen. xxviii. 9; and from the 
Prophets, Judg. xi. 3 ; to which is curiously 
added as an illustration from the Hagiographa 

what is evidently our passage in Ecclus. : 
" Every bird dwells with its kind, and man 
with him that is his like." It will be noticed 

that the Talmud has " every bird " (t|1J? ?2) 
instead of" all flesh " {iraa-a (rapt;) the Greek 
translator probably having misread (as Ray- 

mundus Martini already suggests) f\M 72 for 

Fill? ?D. Other simiiar sayings occur in 
Rabbinic writings. The Syr. has a some- 
what different, but unsatisfactory, rendering. 

17. This figure, taken from Is. xi. 6, has 
its parallel in classical writings, among which 
the best known is probably that of Horace 
(' Epod.' iv. 1): Lapis et agnis quanta sortito 
obtigit, tecum mihi discordia est. For other 
parallels, see Grotius and Bretschneider. 

18. What peace is there between the hyena 
and a dog/] Classic writers describe the 
enmity between these two, and how the 
hyena contrives to allure and then to devour 
the dog. The curious reader is referred to 
Bochart, 'Hieroz.' Pars i., pp. 832, &c. 

19. The prey of lions (are) wild asses 
in [of] the wilderness ["Q1CQ D^XIS, 
Job xxiv. 5, LXX. 6V01 iv oypo), but see 
field's 'Hexapl.' ad loc.]: so the fodder of 
the rich (are) the poor.] For the plural 
use of the subst. see Winer, ' Gram. d. N. T. 
Sprach-Id.' 27, 3. 

20. An abomination to the proud is 
lowliness; so (is) the poor an abomi- 
nation to the rioh. The verse is omitted 
in the Syr. 

21. beginning to fall.] Rather, The rich 
when he is moved beginning to shake 
in the biblical acceptation, especially in 
that of the Psalms (as in Ps. x. 6, and often) 
where the LXX. render ttlD by aaXevco. It 
is not necessary to confine the meaning of 
the clause to the threatening decay of out- 
ward fortune; it had better be understood 

V. 2 2- 




cir. 200. 

22 When a rich man is fallen, he 
hath many helpers : he speaketh 
things not to be spoken, and yet men 
justify him : the poor man slipped, 
and yet they rebuked him too j 

^Eccies. rf he spake wisely, and could have no 

23 When a rich man speaketh, 
e every man holdeth his tongue, and, 
look, what he saith, they extol it to 
the clouds : but if the poor man 
speak, they say, What fellow is this ? 
and if he stumble, they will help to 
overthrow him. 

24 Riches are good unto him that 

Job 29. 

hath no sin, and poverty is evil in b. c. 
the mouth of the ungodly. cir^oo 

25 The heart of a man changeth 
his countenance, whether it be for 
good or evil : and S a merry heart / p r0 v. 
maketh a cheerful countenance. I3 ' I3- 

26 A cheerful countenance is a 
token of a heart that is in prosperity ; 
and the finding out of parables is a 
wearisome labour of the mind. 


I A good conscience maketh men happy. 5 The 
niggard doeth good to none. 13 But do thou 
good. 20 Men ai-e happy that draw near to 

in the most general and wide application. 
Grotius : sustentatur ne mat. 

the lowly when he is fallen [when he 
is down] is besides pushed away by 
friends (Trpocrancodel.Tai).'] One might almost 
be tempted to render : " is besides kicked by 
friends." Syr. : pellitur ex malo in peius 
evidently a confusion between JH and in. 
With this verse a new stanza begins. See 
introductory remarks. 

22. When the rich maketh a fall [<r(f)a- 
\evTos] (there are) many helpers.'] To take 
hold of him, to help him, to take his part. 

he speaketh [spoke] things not to be spoken.~\ 
What really only reflects upon or incriminates 

and they justify him [declare him just]. 
The lowly cometh to a fall, and they 
rebuke him besides; he speaketh forth 
reason [what is reasonable] and no room 
is given him] locum dare alicni; he is 
not listened to, nor his reasonable statement 

23. There is a realistic force in the A. V. 
which makes us hesitate to substitute the 
more literal rendering : " The rich speaketh 
and all are silent, and what he saith 
they extol [Syr. "and his favourers extol 
him "] to the clouds; the poor speaketh, 
and they say, Who is this? and if he 
stumble, they overthrow him besides." 
[So Bissell, with the exception of the last 
four words.] 

24. From these worldly experiences the 
writer turns in the last stanza to somewhat 
tardy and scarcely elevated moralising. 

Good are riches to which no sin 
attaches.] This seems to suit the context 
better than the rendering of the A. V., which, 
however, is admissible. 

and poverty is evil [wrong?] in the 

mouths of the ungodly.] I.e. according 
to their sentence, in their view, they declare 
it such. 

25. But happiness or misery depends not 
on outward circumstances, but on the inner 
state of a man, on his heart. " Good " and 
" evil " must not be here taken in the moral 
sense. The saying is quoted in the Midrash 
in the name of Ben Sira in illustration of 
Gen. xxxi. 2 : " The heart of a man changeth 
his countenance, whether for good or for 

evil" Qrb {"n 2)ttb pi, Ber. R. 73). The 
last clause in the A. V., beginning "and a 
merry heart," Sec, must be omitted. 

26. Literally, "The token of a heart in 
prosperity [in good, in happiness] is a cheerful 
countenance, but the finding out of parables 
is thinking [cogitations, considerations] with 
pain." Manifestly the two sentences must 
be intended as antithetical, and equally mani- 
festly they are a further development of 
the thought in v. 25 in some such form as 
this : A heart in prosperity changeth the 
coimtenance for good: on the other hand, as 
regards the change for evil, the strain of the 
mind, whether in finding out wise sayings, or 
interpreting parables, or reading the deep 
things of Providence or the problems of 
social life, in short, troubling oneself with 
such problems and cares only makes a man 
miserable, and his appearance indicates it. 
Probably the writer had in his mind Eccles. 
xii. 12, which warns against much study, 
as 1&2 riy:\ " weariness of the flesh." There 
also the previous verses (9-1 1) bear reference 
to " parables " and " sayings of the wise." 
Beyond these (i"li"!D "IJV1) we are warned 
not to go, since much study is weariness to 
the flesh. But by the side of this parallelism 
we also mark the wide contrast between 
Ecclesiastes and Ecclesiasticus. For while 
Eccles. xii. 1 2 is followed by the noble con- 
clusion in t"i\ 13, 14, Ecclus. xiii. 26 leads 

G 2 

8 4 


[v. 1-5- 

b. c. r\ LESSED a is the man that hath 
l) not slipped with his mouth, 

i6?&as. an< ^ iS not P r ' c k e d with the "multi- 
tude of sins. 

2 b Blessed is he whose conscience 

Jam. 3. 2. 


sorrcr^. hath not condemned him, and who 

*Rom. 14. j s not f a ll cn from his hope in the 

1 John 3. Lord. 

3 Riches are not comely for a nig- 

b. c. 

cir. 200. 

eard : and what should an envious 


man do with money r 

4 He that gathereth by defrauding 

his own soul ^ gathereth for others, * c h. u 
that shall spend his goods riot- 

5 He that is evil to himself, to 
whom will he be good ? he shall 
not take pleasure in his goods. 


ver. 1= 

up to the doubtful, if not actually Epicurean, 
stanza in xiv. 1 1-19. 


There is a close sequence between this 
chapter and the previous one. The latter 
had ended by shewing that riches are not 
always and absolutely desirable, and that 
happiness comes from within rather than from 
without, concluding with a hint not to burden 
oneself with thought or care. Chapter xiv. 
begins with a prologue of two verses, which, 
as usually, forms a transition from the subject 
of the previous to that of the present chapter. 
Then follows stanza 1 in eight verses (w. 3- 
10), presenting another aspect of the possible 
undesirableness of riches : they may not really 
be of benefit to a man not even give him 
pleasure. The second stanza of eight verses 
(w. 11-18) advises us rather to enjoy life so 
far as we can, closing with a transition in 
ik 19 to the third stanza of eight verses 
(w. 20-27), in which the writer once more 
assumes the functions of the moralist, this 
time in favour of wisdom. 

1. The warning against the trouble and 
labour of " finding out parables" leads the 
writer to consider more serious consequences 
which may ensue : since a man may offend 
with his lips, and there may be a more bitter 
cause of sorrow than anything outward, even 
an evil conscience: "Happy [blessed] the 
man that slippeth not with his mouth" 
[possibly such passages may have been in the 
writer's mind as Ps. xvii. 3 ; xxxix. 1 ; cxli. 3 : 
comp. St. James iii. 2], " and is not pricked 
[grieved] with the sorrow of sin" (so 
according to the better reading), i.e. with 
mourning for sin. The Aethiop. somewhat 
boldly renders, or rather paraphrases: "Happv 
is the sinner who is not troubled by grief." 
The Syr. has for the second clause : " from 
whose eyes justice is not hidden." Probably 
the Greek read: mjflD n^ynn *6) ; the Syr. 

vryo osynn 161. 

2. Eappy [blessed] (he) whom his soul 
convicteth not] The word Karayiv^Ku, 
as in the parallel passages i St. John iii. 20, 
21, means more than "accuse" and less than 

" condemn " in the sense of the actual pro- 
nouncing of sentence; in the LXX. it repre- 
sents several Hebrew words and bears different 
meanings. In the second clause the words 
"in the Lord" in A. V. must be omitted, 
although in Hebrew " hope " is sometimes 
put for the object of hope. Possibly, how- 
ever, Eccles. ix. 4, &c., may have been in the 
mind of the writer, in which case it would 
indicate absolute and final despair. 

3. With this verse begins the subject- 
matter of the first stanza: "To a niggard 
[to a man who is niggard] wealth is 
not comely," it does not really adorn. 
We suppose that the writer had in view 
Eccles. v. 10-17, which leads up to i\ 18. 
Riches in themselves do not make happy 
all depends on the enjoyment of them. Ac- 
cordingly Eccles. v. 1 8 proceeds : " Behold, 
what I have found good, what is comely [that 
it is comely] is to eat and to drink," &c. 
The LXX. here render " comely " (PIET) by 
KaXuv. We suppose then that the Hebrew 
original of Ecclus. also had PIS*, and applied 
the reasoning in Eccles. as follows : Since the 
niggard does not eat and drink, and enjoy 
the good of all his labour, his wealth is not 
ko\6s, not PlB\ On the other hand, the 
second clause of the verse takes us to Prov. 
xxviii. 22:" The man of evil eye hasteth after 
riches, and he knoweth not that want will come 
upon him." The expression, "the man of 
evil eye," is rendered in the LXX. by avrjp 
ftiicrKavos ; and similarly in the passage before 
us: to what [purpose] are all riches to 
a man of evil eye? (aV#pa>7ra> (3a(TKava>) 
since in the end want will overtake him (Prov. 
xxviii. 22): comp. Hor. 'Sat.' i. 1, 59, Sec. 
The meaning of " man of an evil eye " (comp. 
also Prov. xxiii. 6) is best gathered from its 
opposite: " he of good eye," Prov. xxii. 9. 

4. He that gathereth from (off) his own 
soul [i.e. by pinching himself] gathereth for 
others [a'XXots], and on his good things 
shall others fare sumptuously [revel, 
rpv(f)r](Tovcriv erepoi].] Comp. Hor. ' Od.' ii. 
14, 25, &c. 

5. Clause 1 seems an application and 
farther development of Prov. xi. 1 7 : " He that 
doeth good to his soul [not in the spiritual 

V. 612.] 



r.. c. 

CI". 2O0. 


6 There is none worse than he 
that envieth himself; and this is a 
recompence of his wickedness. 

7 And if he doeth good, he doeth 
it unwillingly ; and at last he will 
declare his wickedness. 

8 The envious man hath a wicked 
eye ; he turneth away his face, and 
despiseth men. 

7. 9 A ^covetous man's eye is not 
satisfied with his portion ; and the 

iniquity of the wicked drieth up his B. c. 

1 cir. 2co. 


10 e A wicked eve envieth [his] ' Prov. 23. 
bread, and he is a niggard at his table. ' 7 ' 

1 1 My son, according to thy abi- 
lity do good to thyself, and give the 
Lord his due offering. 

12 Remember that death will not 
be long in coming, and that the 
covenant of the grave is not shewed 
unto thee. 

sense] is a gracious man, and he that afflicteth 
his Hesh is cruel." And he shall not have 
pleasure in [be happy in] his riches. 

6. There is none more evil [or else wretched] 
than he that has an evil eye [grudgeth ?] 
towards himself.] In the second clause we 
should prefer, instead of " a recompense," " the 
recompense," which suits the context better. 
The worst evil is when a man grudges things 
to himself, and this is what he gets as return 
and reward of his wickedness. But accord- 
ing to seme the tovto refers to v. 7. 

7. And if he doeth good, he doeth it unwit- 
tingly [lit., in forgetfulness so also the Aeth. 
viz. of his real character and course of 
conduct. But this forgetfulness does not 
last], and in the end he sheweth forth 
his wickedness. 

8. Wicked (is he) who is evil of eye.] 
Viz. in regard to others, who has not pity 
nor mercy on them. Bao-KaiVw seems = 
jia(TKavi((o oc/)^aX/iw, by which the LXX. 
render IJ^y JTin, De'ut. xxviii. 54, comp. v. 56. 

and despiseth men.'] The original would 
bear this rendering, but the better and more 
literal translation would be " and neglecteth 
souls," in the sense of the needy and craving. 
The Syr. omits this verse. 

9. Rather: h not satisfied with a portion, 
and wicked injustice drieth up the soul. 
The A. V. reads dSiKia -rrovqpov with 248, Co. 
The meaning is : not satisfied with a part, he 
wants all, and his wicked injustice as regards 
the claims of others drieth up every better 
feeling. Syr. : qui autem usurpat quod proximi 
sui est, evidently mispointing V~). for JH. 

10. Some misreading of the Hebrew must 
have caused the Syr. rendering : O cuius nequam 
midtiplicat panem. The Greek has: "An 
evil eye is envious over bread, and [yet?] 
there is lack (deficiency) at his table" 
although such an one grudgeth and envieth 
even bread to his neighbour, yet his own 
board is bare ; or else, and at the same time 
his own board is bare. This latter view suits 
better as a transition to the stanza beginning 
ivithi'. n, which recommends free enjoyment 

of what we possess, so long as it is in our 

11. Son, according as thou hast, do 
good to thyself and properly [rightly, duly, 
in measure proportionate to thy possessions] 
bring oblations to the Lord.] A kind of 
attempted combination of enjoyment with 
piety, which reminds us of a similar proposal 
recorded in Eccles. ii. 3. But perhaps the 
writer may have had Prov. xvii. 1 in his mind, 
the " dry morsel " there becoming here 
whatever a man has, and the "sacrifices" 
being no longer " of strife." The Syriac has 
substantially the same for the first clause, but 
instead of the second virtually repeats the 
first clause : And if thou hast anything, do good 
to thyself. The alteration in this case seems 
to us to have been in the Syr. 

12. the covenant of the graved] Rather, 
a covenant of Hades perhaps a reference 
to Isa. xxviii. 15. The expression naturally 
conveys the thought that one knows not such 
a covenant, that he has not seen it, and that 
such an agreement does not exist; in other 
words, we have not drawn up a bargain with 
Hades that we shall die at a certain fixed 
period, and know not at what moment we 
may have to depart. Yet there may be 
another view of it, which the Greek translator 
may have either misunderstood or else chosen 
to keep back. We find it, although with an 
explanatory paraphrase (marked by us with 
square brackets), in the Talmud, which repro- 
duces vv. 11, 12, 18, although without quot- 
ing them. The subject is introduced by this 
admonition of a Rabbi : " Make haste to eat, 
make haste to drink, for this world which 
we leave is like a wedding " (equally brief). 
To which another Rabbi adds this: " If thou 
hast anything, do good to thyself [for in 
Sheol there is no pleasure], and death knows 
no delay : " comp. Ecclus. xiv. 1 1 , 1 2 a. "And 
[if thou say, I will leave to my son] the law in 

Sheol who will declare to thee?" (^KB>3 pin 

tfe TJ* D) : comp. Ecclus. xiv. 12 b. "The 
children of man are like the herbs of the field 
some bloom and some fade away:" comp. 
Ecclus. xiv. 18 (Erubh. 54 a). 




V. I 


cir. 200. 

/ Tobit 

4. 7. 

Luke 14. 

' Eccles. 

5. 18, &c. 
& 6. 1, &c 

!l Or, the 

feast day. 
' ver. 4. 

13 -^Do good unto thy friend be- 
fore thou die, and according to thy 
ability stretch out thy hand and give 
to him. 

14 8. Defraud not thyself of l the 
good day, and let not the part of a 
good desire overpass thee. 

15 ''Shalt thou not leave thy tra- 
vails unto another ? and thy labours 
to be divided by lot ? 

16 Give, and take, and sanctify 
thy soul ; for there is no seeking of 
dainties in the grave. 

17 'All flesh waxeth old as a B.C. 

' r . r 1 c ' r - 2 ' 

garment : for the covenant from the 
beginning is, ^Thou shalt die the ' 26 Ps " 102 ' 
death. Uaj.40. 6, 

Hebr. i. 

18 As of the green leaves on a . 
thick tree, some fall, and some grow ; 1 Pci.'i. 10 ' 
so is the generation of flesh and 24 " 
blood, l one cometh to an end, and I7 . &' 3 . 2 ' 
another is born. *9- 

19 Every work rotteth and con-j. 4 " 1 
sumeth away, and the worker thereof 
shall go withal. 

20 '"Blessed is the man that doth p s . i.l 

13. Do good unto t by friend.'] Rather: to 
a friend. 

14. Miss not a good day.'] The Alex, 
omits (Itt(> dyadijs. There can be little doubt 
that the Vat. represents the proper reading:. 
But we must not (with Fritzsche) understand 
the '"good day" in the later technical signifi- 
cation of 310 DV = festive day. The writer 
had Eccles. vii. 14 a in his mind, and perhaps 
intended this as a paraphrase of rQIO DV3 
31l23 !"Pn LXX. eV rj/J-epa ayaOuKTVvrjs. The 
second clause reads: " And let not a portion 
of a good desire [perhaps, a part in desirable 
good presumably, participation in lawful 
pleasure] go past thee." In short, carpe 
diem. The Syr. paraphrases the last clause : 
" and desire not an evil desire." 

15. thy travails . . . tby labours.] Viz. 
the fruit of them. 

16. The more than doubtful sentiment of 
this verse led to early attempts at emendation. 
Grotius would read dydnrjirov for dndrriaov 
a conjecture in which he was anticipated by 
the Armen. Version. But we cannot con- 
ceive such a use of the word 3HN in the 
original The Syr. has " nourish thy soul." 
It adds, probably as an apologetic corrective: 
" and whatever is fair to be done before the 
Lord, that do." Some Codices have aylaaov, 
as the A. V. evidently a later apologetic 
emendation ; the Vet. Lat. has justifica. It is 
needless to give other conjectural emenda- 
tions. The meaning of the verse is: "Be- 
guile [Bottcher = oblecta] thy soul [let thy 
soul enjoy itself], for there is no seeking 
after dainties [here the cause for the effect: 
seeking for finding] in Hades." It is indica- 
tive of the iormer estimate of the Apocrypha 
that, like Ecclus. xiii. 1, the first clause of 
v. 16 ("give and take") has passed into a 
popular adage, although with a verv different 
meaning attaching to it. 

_ 17. All fleshy TJ-n ^, a frequent expres- 
sion^ even- living creature, and specificallv 
all men. But possibly the Hebrew original 

simply quoted Ps. cii. 27, -I^T "1333 D?31 5 
which the Greek translator paraphrased for 
greater clearness. The LXX. render the verse 
in the Ps. by the same words as the Hebrew : 
TrdvTfs wf IfxaTiov Tva\aiu>6i]aovTai. 

for the covenant from everlasting [an - ' 
aluvos, but both in the Hebrew usage and 
here (comp. xliv. 2) it might be rendered: 
"from the beginning"] (is): Dying thou 
shalt die (JTlOri JYlE, here literally ren- 
dered from the Hebrew, as in LXX. Gen. 
ii. 17).] The underlying thought may have 
been the same as that of certain Rabbis that 
death was not the sequence of sin, but from 
the first appointed to man ; although the other 
idea is not necessarily excluded, that physical 
death came upon all in consequence of Adam's 
sin. In Siphre (ed. Friedmann, p. 141 a) we 
find a curious application of the words in 
Numb. xix. 14, rniflH r\a\, as implying a 
Divine decree of death upon all men. The 
Syr. has the following, no doubt later 
(Christian?) modification of v. 17: "for all 
the sons of men are certainly for corruption 
(corrumpendi sunt), and the generations of the 
world are certainly to die." 

18. As green leaves [it is not possible 
literally to render (pvXXov 6dXXov] on a thick 
tree.] Thick in the sense of " with branches," 
perhaps piH ; but see Schleusner ad -voc. 

flesh and blood.] The well-known expres- 
sion for man: D~J1 X'3. 

19. Conclusion of this and transition to the 
next stanza. "Every work which is cor- 
ruptible [or perhaps: being corruptible] 
shall consume away, and the worker 
thereof shall pass away with it." The 
Syriac has here also what seems a Christian 
modification : " and all his works shall be 
searched into before him, and the work of 
his hands shall follow after him." 

20. New stanza. Happy he that doth 
meditate [so the Alex, reading, and others, 
and this is preferable to the Vat. reXevrTjaei] 
in ivisdom.] Omit " good things." The 

V. 21- 




. c. 


I Or, 


meditate good things in wisdom, and 
that reasoneth of holy things by his 

21 He that considereth her ways 
in his heart shall also have under- 
standing in her secrets. 

22 Go after her as one that 
traceth, and lie in wait in her ways. 

23 He that prieth in at her win- 
dows shall also hearken at her doors. 

24 He that doth lodge near her 
house shall also fasten a :l pin in her 

25 He shall pitch his tent nigh B.C. 
unto her, and shall lodge in a lodging cit jJ? 
where good things are. 

26 He shall set his children under 
her shelter, and shall lodge under her 

27 "By her he shall be covered " wisd. 
from heat, and in her glory shall he I( 


2 Wisdom cmbraccth those that fear God. 7 
The wicked shall not get her. II We may 
not charge God with our faults : 14 for lie 
made, and left us to ourselves. 

verse is evidently based on Ps. i. 2, although 
significantly " wisdom " now takes the place 
of" His law," a difference characteristic, on 
the one hand, of the age and date of Ps. i., 
and, on the other, of the standpoint of the 

and discourseth (about it) in his under- 
standing?^ This may also answer to n^n 1 ' in 
Ps. i. 2. 

21. He considereth [or, "he that con- 
sidereth" if we regard the " happy" of v. 20 
as still carried on to this verse] her -ways in 
his heart, and pondersth on her secrets.] 
Wisdom is here personified. 

22. that traceth.] Viz., her footsteps. 
The figure is of a hunter. This sentence 
must be either regarded as intercalated, by 
way of admonition, or else we must suppose 
that the Syr. here represents the Hebrew 
more accurately when it connects all these 
sentences as subordinate to and dependent on 

13. 2 0. 

23. He prieth in ... and listeneth.] In 
other words, all means are used to learn her 

24. In pursuit of the same object: "He 
lodgeth . . . and fasteneth the peg in 
her walls." The peg, viz., of his tent. Mark 
that Wisdom is represented as having a house 
solid and permanent; whereas the human 
searcher after her is described as in a tent. 
See next verse. In the LXX. Trdaa-aXos always 
represents the Heb. 1JV, except in Ex. xxxix. 
33 (of the Hebrew text; in the LXX. there 
is a different order, or rather disorder, and 
i'. 33 is represented by v. 9). 

25. and shall lodge in a lodging where good 
things are.] Lit., " in a hostelry of good 

26. under her shelter.] The figure varies 
now to that of a tree. The shelter which his 
lodgment under her branches affords, extends 
to " his children " (descendants). The Syr. 
has : manus suas jactabit super ramos cius. At 

first sight we might conjecture that the Syr. 
read VT, "his hands," for \nh\ "his chil- 
dren " (as in the Greek Version). But on 
further consideration it seems more likely 
that the Syr., which here is throughout con- 
fused, had somehow transferred hither the 
Kara xe'P? avrfji ("by the side of her") of 
i\ 25. But, manifestly, it is impossible to 
make any good sense out of the Syr. Version. 
When, however, the Syr. has in v. 27 b: et 
in habitaculis eius relaxabit animum, it is evi- 
dent that it read instead of "Tin, "glory," 
~nn, " chamber," while it understood the 
word rendered in the Greek KaraXvcrei, "he 
shall lodge," as relaxabit, viz. animum, just 
as the LXX. similarly use the same Greek 
word (six times) for T)2V or TVSX&fl. 


This chapter forms a natural and easy 
continuation of the preceding, and a progres- 
sion upon it. If we might borrow the language 
of our public life, what in the last stanza 
of the previous chapter (xiv. 20-27) was 
the moral " amendment " on " the original 
motion " to do good to oneself, becomes in 
ch. xv. (i-jo) "the original motion," to which 
the objections or excuses on the part of a 
sinner in w. 11-20 are again a proposed 
"amendment" which is discussed and rejected. 
Thus the chapter consists of two parts. Part I. 
(w. 1-10) : praise of Wisdom, in two stanzas 
stanza 1 (jw. 1 -5), Wisdom from its objec- 
tive aspect; stanza 2 {yv. 6-10), Wisdom from 
the subjective aspect the relation of the wise 
and of the fool or sinner to Wisdom. Natu- 
rally, the latter is chiefly dwelt upon. This 
prepares us for the excuses which the sinner 
makes for not submitting to Wisdom, that is, 
for continuing in his sinful ways. This forms 
the subject of Part II. (yv. 11-20), which 
also consists of two stanzas, each of five verses. 
The first stanza (yu. 11-15) once more pre- 
sents the objective aspect of the answer to the 
sinner's excuse: I cannot help myself cir- 





cir. 200. 


E that fcareth the Lord will 
do good ; and he that hath 
the knowledge of the law shall obtain 

2 And as a mother shall she meet 
him, and receive him as a wife mar- 
ried of a virgin. 

3 With the bread of understand- 
ing shall she feed him, and give him 
the water of wisdom to drink. 

4 He shall be stayed upon her, and 
shall not be moved ; and shall rely 
upon her, and shall not be con- 

5 She shall exalt him above his 
neighbours, and in the midst of the 

his b. c. 

cir. 200. 

congregation shall she open 

6 He shall find joy and a crown of 
gladness, and she shall cause him to 
inherit an everlasting name. 

7 But foolish men shall not attain 
unto her, and sinners shall not see 

8 For she is far from pride, and 

Ps. "XI I 

men that are liars cannot remember Prov. 26.7'. 

9 ''"Praise is 
mouth of a sinner, for "it was 
sent him of the Lord. /, &> c . 

10 For " praise shall be uttered in"Orra- 
wisdom, and the Lord will prosper it. pal'abic. 

II Or, A 

, . . parable. 

not seemly in the 0r 
not k e was 

not sent 

cumstances, or rather God, caused my choice. 
Lastly, the second stanza (yv. 16-20) contains 
the answer to be given to the sinner, from the 
subjective aspect of the question, viz. man has 
liberty, and God will help him, if he seeks to 
do well. Naturally the two aspects (and 
stanzas) merge into each other (comp., on the 
one hand, v. 15 ; and, on the other, w. 18, 

1. He that fearetb the Lord shall do this 
[viz, so follow, and cleave to, Wisdom, as 
described in the last stanza of ch. xiv.] ; and 
be that is an adept in the law [a master in 
it] shall obtain her.'] Viz. Wisdom. This 
verse is both important and characteristic as 
marking Hellenistic views. The object is to 
represent fear of the Lord as the search after 
wisdom, and a proper and full knowledge of 
the Law as the attainment of Wisdom. The 
transition from "the Law" to "Wisdom" 
which was in process in the so-called Cbokhmab- 
books (Wisdom-books) of the Old Testament 
appears here as an accomplished fact. 

2. and receive him as a wife of (one's) 
youth.] Comp. Prov. ii. 17. That y Wi ) 
irap8 f vias means not virgin-wife, but wife of 
one's youth, seems established by LXX. Jer. 
111. 4, where napdeviu is the translation of 
D'"^, " youth." And here it may be well 
to bear in mind that the Book of Jeremiah 
was apparently a favourite one with the Alex- 
andrians (comp. Philo, Me Cher.' 14). 

3. Fritzsche explains the simile : as bread 
and water are the ordinary daily food, so 
wisdom supplies him spiritually with ordinary 
daily food. But the addition of these ad- 
jectives seems needless. The meaning con- 
veyed to our minds is that of a supply, which 
differs from that of ordinary men as regards 
its source, and is suitable for nourishment. 
Here and in the following verses we mark a 

gradation : food, support (v. 5), advancement 
{v. 6), joy (v. 7). 

6. Omit " He shall find." 

Joy and a crown of gladness, and an ever- 
lasting name shall he inherit.] This 
begins the second stanza of Part I., and 
serves as transition to what follows. 

7. Some authorities have Kal in the A. V. 
" but " which must be omitted. Fools shall 
not attain to wisdom; sinners have this goal 
not even in sight. Comp. here Erubh. 55 c. 

8. cannot remember h;r^\ Rather, shall 
not he mindful of her (Bissell) either in 
the sense of bearing her in mind, or caring for 
her. For the first part of this verse there are 
many Rabbinic parallels, such as: "God 
lifteth up him that abaseth himself, and abaseth 
him that uplifteth himself "(Erubh. 13^; comp. 
St. Matt, xxiii. 12); or "he that becometh 
proud shall fall into Gehenna" (Babh. B. 
ioi), &c. 

9. 10. These are perhaps among the most 
difficult verses in Ecclus. The A. V. repre- 
sents the Greek text with sufficient accuracy. 
Nothing can be learned from a comparison 
with the Syriac. We would suggest that the 
writer, or the translator, had in his mind and 
wished to improve upon Prov. xxvii. 21^, 
which in the LXX. has a clause added. It 
reads in the LXX. as follows : " but a man 
is tried [in the sense of "tested"] by the 
mouth of them that praise him. [LXX. 
adds:] The heart of the transgressor seeks 
after evil [mischief], but an upright heart 
seeks after knowledge." In whatever sense 
we may understand the somewhat difficult 
clause in the Hebrew of Prov. xxvii. 21, the 
writer of Ecclus. would, if our view be 
correct, have paraphrased or applied it in the 
following manner : Such praise as cometh from 
a sinner is not seemly, becoming, beautiful. 


v. n is:] 



cir. 200. 

Jam. r. 

11 *Say not thou, It is through 
the Lord that I fell away : for thou 
oughtest not to do the things that he 

12 Say not thou, He hath caused 
me to err : for he hath no need of 
the sinful man. 

13 The Lord hateth all abomina- 

b. c. 

Cir. 203. 

tion ; and they that fear God love it 

14 He himself '"made man from ''Gen.!, 
the beginning ''and left him in the 2 ,' 27 
hand of his counsel ; 16, i 7 ." " 

1 5 If thou wilt, to * keep the com- ' Matt. 19. 
mandments, and to perform accept- I7 ' 
able faithfulness. 

It is not real praise, however many may utter 
it, because it is not sent of the Lord and 
has not His sanction. Praise real praise 
is uttered in wisdom ( = by the truly wise = 
the pious) ; and such praise the Lord will 
prosper, that is, confirm and add His bless- 
ing to it. Bretschneider would regard aivos 

as = 7B>D, dicta sapientia: ; Fritzsche under- 
stands it as referring to praise of God (Lob- 
gesang) both, in our view, impossible ex- 
planations, alike as regards the meaning of 
the words and the context. 

11. With this verse Part II. begins (see 
introductory remarks). The connexion be- 
tween this verse and w. 9, 10 seems as 
follows : Praise (although coming from the 
ungodly) might lead a man to imagine that he 
had the Divine approbation, and so hurry 
him on to his fall, which in that case he 
might attribute to God. But for any such 
error the second clause furnishes a corrective 
by giving this test: for what He hateth, 
thou shalt not do (so more accurately 
than in the A. V.). It is not necessary to 
correct ov Troujaeis into 011 notrjo-ei. On 
the imperative use of ov with the indie, fut, 
see Winer, 'Gram. d. Neut. Spr.' 43, 5c, 
and 56, p. 445. On the passage generally, 
comp. St. James i. 13 which here, as in so 
many places, shews lines of correspondence 
with Ecclus. (comp. the General Introduc- 

12. Say not thou, [God] Himself hath 
made me stray : for He hath no pleasure 
in a sinful man.] In LXX. Prov. xviii. 2 

oil xpelav e^f t is the translation of }'SrV"N? ; 
comp. also Is. xiii. 17. As the rendering 
" He hath no need of a sinful man " does not 
give any proper meaning, we conclude that 
the Greek translator used the same expression 
as in LXX. Prov., where the original had 
"SIT. In that case the meaning would be: 
it is impossible to impute your conduct to 
God, since He has no pleasure in a sinner. 
Or else, as Symmachus renders by xP* ia tne 
"Sn of Eccies. iii. r, 17, v. 3, which in the 
tirst two passages means " purpose," while in 
later Hebrew it stands for "a thing (or a 
thing valued)," the sentence might also mean : 
"for He has no purpose with, or else, He 

has no dealing with, or even, He attaches no 
value to a sinful man." But our first render- 
ing is confirmed by the Syr. : non enim oblec- 
tatur homine sceleroso. 

13. The Lord hateth every abomination, 
and it is not loved by [not loveable toj 
them that fear Him.] The Syr. renders 
the last clause : " and will not give them [it] 
to them that love Him." The rendering 
" will give " is unintelligible unless, as has 
been suggested by Mr. Margoliouth, the Syr. 
misread 2H\ dabit, for inX* 

14. Similar evidence of direct translation 
from the Hebrew original comes to us from 
the use here in the Syriac of the expressions 
JVC'X'Q for upx*)s an d ~ 1 ^"' fc> r hui^ovkiov. 
There can be little doubt that the original 
contained the term Yetser, although not in 
the later application of it to either the good 
or the evil impulse in man, but in the earlier 
meaning of disposition, mind, counsel (Sinn, 
Gesinnung). The Greek rendering also is 
manifestly Hebraistic. The original may have 
been: \V) T3 -imnfl, while the e apxvs 
of the first clause may represent the Hebrew 
n:iL"X~inO- But it is not only these expres- 
sions which are of interest. The verse is im- 
portant as confirming the conclusion derived 
from Ecclus. xiv. 17. For whatever meaning 
we may attach to the first clause of xv. 14, the 
second clause, when taken in conjunction with 
v. 15, implies a virtual denial of the moral 
consequences of the fall. 

in the hand of his counsel.'] A Hebraism : 
rather, "in the power of his counsel" 
[will, mind] = to his own free choice. In 
passing we may notice that the later Alex- 
andrian distinction between the eVXaae, which 
was in reference to the " earthly," and the 
eTToirjo-e, which applied to the " heavenly man," 
had not yet been made ; comp. Philo, ' Leg. 
Alleg.' i. 12, 16. 

15. Rather, " If thou wilt, thou shalt 
[canst] keep the commandments, [in?] work- 
ing [doing] acceptable faithfulness." The 
infinitive noujaai in the second clause we 
suppose to represent the Hebrew nib'!??, here 
used in an adverbial or gerundial sense, in 
further explanation of what preceded (comp. 
Ewald, ' Lehrb.' pp. 698, 699). It is need- 




[v. 1 6 i. 


cir. 200. 

Z Jer. 21. 


* Ps. 147. 


Ps. 33- 
18. & 34. 

Hebr. 4. 


16 ^He hath set fire and water 
before thee : stretch forth thy hand 
unto whether thou wilt. 

17 ^'Before man is life and death ; 
and whether him liketh shall be 
given him. 

18 ; 'For the wisdom of the Lord 
is great, and he is mighty in power, 
and beholdeth all things : 

19 And 'his eyes are upon them 
that fear him, and he knoweth every 
work of man. 

20 He hath commanded no man b. c. 
to do wickedly, neither hath he given lr j_^- 
any man licence to sin. 


1 It is better to have none, than many lewd chil- 
dren. 6 The wicked are not spared for their 
number. 12 Both the wrath and the mercy 
of the Lord are great. 17 The wicked cannot 
be hid. 20 Gods works are unsearchable. 

DESIRE not a multitude of un- 
profitable children, neither de- 
light in ungodly sons. 

less to mention the explanations and correc- 
tions proposed by others, since they only 
involve fresh difficulties. 

16, 17. These verses begin the last stanza. 

16. stretch forth.~\ Rather, " thou mayest 
stretch forth thy hand." " Fire and water," 
in the sense of opposite extremes, yet pro- 
bably not without some reference to their 
effects. The harsh Greek rendering of 1 6 b 
would represent what was elegant in the 

Hebrew original : ^T" 1 n?K\ 

17 b. and whichever be liketh.'] In the 
Hebrew either n^'"l or ]'Dn, for both of 
which the word is used in the LXX. 
whichever of the two may be pleasing to him, 
or engage his choice: naturally not life or 
death, but that which leads to them, shall 
be his portion, or " be given him," in the 
end. Bearing in mind that verses 1 6 and 1 7 
are based on Deut. xxx. 1 5 (comp. Jer. xxi. 
8), we are struck with the absence of any 
reference to God as placing this choice before 
man. Can the translator have intended thus 
to emphasize man's absolute self-determina- 
tion ? The Syr., although in what seems a 
paraphrastic rendering, may perhaps more 
faithfully represent the meaning of the He- 
brew original. It translates: "For life and 
death are given to the children of man that 
they may choose life and eschew death." 
The last verses form the general conclusion 
and application of Part II. With v. 19 a 
comp. Ps. xxxiii. 18; xxxiv. 16. 


This chapter is one of the most loftv 
in the book. Omitting vv. 15, 16 which, 
although found in 106, 248, Co., and in 
the Syr., are manifestly an interpolation 
the chapter consists of' twentv-eight verses, 
which naturally divide themselves into two 
equal parts: Part I., -w. T -i 4: p art n., 
vv. 17-30- Taken as a whole, the chapter 
forms an exact counterpart to the preceding 
one. In ch. xv., Part I. in praise of Wisdom 

(int. 1-10) led up in Part II. to man's free 
determination, shewing his absolute liberty of 
choice, in accordance with which God would 
ultimately hold him responsible, therein also 
vindicating H is own character. On the other 
hand, in ch. xvi., Part I. (yv, 1-14) leads up, 
not to man's choice and doings, but to God's 
determination and work (y. 26 and following), 
which appear in those benefits which He so 
freely bestowed upon earth. So close is the 
correspondence between the two chapters 
that Part II. of ch. xvi. (y. 17) begins with 
exactly the same words (" Say not thou ") 
as Part II. of ch. xv. (y. 11). In both cases 
an objection is met: in ch. xv. that man is 
not responsible ; in ch. xvi. that he will not 
be called to account. In both chapters the 
refutation of the objection leads up to the 
statement of the positive truth which forms 
not only the climax, but the real subject- 
matter of each chapter. Part I. of ch. xvi. 
consists of three stanzas (5 + 5 + 4 verses). 
Stanza 1 is connected with the previous 
chapter, and shews that, since man is a re- 
sponsible agent, even the most coveted pos- 
session that of a numerous posterity may 
not always prove a blessing. Stanza 2 illustrates 
the general inference that only the good will 
remain, while those who are evil shall perish 
in judgment. This is shewn by a reference 
to the history of Israel (yv. 6-10). Lastly, 
in stanza 3 the writer proceeds to shew that 
God deals in this manner not only with 
nations, but also with individuals (yv. 11-14). 
At this point the objection is artistically intro- 
duced that it is unreasonable to imagine that 
every single individual in this vast universe 
will be called to give a separate account, t>. 
17, which opens the first stanza of Part II. 
{yv. 17-23). The answer to this objection 
lies in higher views of God, which exhibit His 
often hidden wisdom and justice (yv. 18-23). 
Lastly, in the second stanza of Part II. (like 
the first, of seven verses : vv. 24-30) this is 
farther enforced by a consideration of the 
sovereignty, care, and personal rule of God. 

1. unprofi 'table.] In LXX. Hos. viii. 8 the 

V. 2- 



9 1 


cir. 200. 

2 Though they multiply, rejoice 
not in them, except the fear of the 
Lord be with them. 

3 Trust not thou in their life, 
neither respect their multitude : for 
one that is just is better than a thou- 
sand ; and better it is to die without 
children, than to have them that are 

4 For by one that hath under- 
standing shall the city be replenished: 

but the 'kindred of the wicked 
speedily become desolate. 

5 Many such things have I 



mine eves, an 


mine ear 



E. C. ' 
cir. 200. 

I Or, tribe. 



heard greater things than these. 

6 a h\ the congregation of the un- 
godly shall a fire be kindled ; and in a 
rebellious nation wrath "is set on fire. 

7 *He was not pacified toward the b 
old giants, who fell away in the wisd.' 14. 
strength of their foolishness. 

II Or, 


same word stands for 12 ]'?n pR. In Jer. 
xxii. 28, xlviii. 38 (in LXX. xxxi. 38), the 
same Hebrew expression is similarly rendered 
(ou/c eori XP eia avTov). Comp. also Philem. 
v. 11 (see the excellent remarks on the 
expression in Philem. in the ' Speaker's Com- 
ment.' ad loc). In any case the word a^pr/cr- 
tos conveys here a much stronger meaning 
than our ordinary usage of " unprofitable," 
although probably not one so strong as in 
the Hebrew passages referred to, which seem 
rather to be represented in Rom. ix. 21; 
2 Tim. ii. 20. 

neither delight in.'] Better, neither have 
joy over. The general meaning of the verse 
is farther set forth in v. 2. 

3. neither respect their multitude.] Rather, 
neither have respect [in the sense of re- 
liance] to their place [in the sense of rank 
or condition]. The difficulty of the expression 
led to such attempts at correcting the text 
as the Alex, reading (and that of other 
authorities), to nXfjOos, " the multitude," for 
tov Toirov adopted in the A. V. or the Vulg. 
reading, kottov, labores. But from the usage 
in the LXX. there cannot be any doubt that 
the Hebrew original for tokos was QlpD 
here in the later Targumic and Talmudic 
sense of rank, condition (comp. the beautiful 
saying : " Not his rank maketh a man honour- 
able, but the man his rank," Taan. 2 1 b, 
anticipating Burns). Indeed that meaning of 
the word seems already implied in Eccles., as 
in Eccles. iii. 16, and especially x. 4. Accord- 
ingly the words of the Siracide mean : trust 
not in their life, and have no reliance on, look 
not to, their present rank and condition. 
In the next clause the words "that is just" 
must be omitted as a later gloss. The last 
line of the verse reads: And to die childless 
than to have ungodly children [Bissell]. 

4. Omit " speedily " in the second clause. 

the city.] Rather, a city. We retain the 
rendering " shall be replenished " for o-woiki- 
adi]o-eTai, as more general, and including more 
than merely the population of a city. The 
expression seems to have been chosen as anti- 

thetic to the epr/jua)f?i)o-fTat ("shall be made 
desolate ") in the second clause. 

but the house of the ivicked shall become 
desolate?^ " House " in the wider Hebrew 
sense of JV3 or nn2^D = the whole kindred 
and family, viewed as a unit. " D esolate : " the 
Hebrew word was either 2"in or DEC'. 

5. greater.] Rather, more mighty, I 
have heard, or come to know, even more 
striking instances of this than those which 
I have personally witnessed. 

6. This verse begins the stanza of historical 
illustrations. If we regard v. 6 as the first 
instance of them, the reference would be 
primarily to Numb. xi. 1, comp. Ps. lxxviii. 
21, although the history of Korah may also 
have been in view (Numb. xvi.). In that 
case we would translate : " In the congregation 
of sinners fire was kindled;" the Greek 
translator having for some reason rendered 
the Hebrew imperfect (in the first, though 
not in the second clause) by the future (in 
the LXX. Numb. xi. 1 reads: e^e<av6r) iv 
avTols irvp). But it is at least conceivable 
that v. 6 a is intended not as a reference to 
any particular event, but as a general summary 
and inference from the past, and as a predic- 
tion of what would take place in the future. 
This would avoid the strange transition from 
a much later event to the history of the giants, 
of Lot, and of Israel, in the following verses, 
which are all related in their chronological 
order. If this view of v. 6 be adopted, the 
future tense must be retained in the transla- 
tion: " shall f re be kindled." See note on 
v. 8. 

7. toward the old giants.] Rather, in 
regard to. The reference is to Gen. vi. 1-4. 
On the view here taken of this narrative 
comp. Wisd. xiv. 6; Bar. iii. 26 ; 3 Mace. ii. 
4, the Pseudepigr. (B. of Hen. ; B. of JubiL 
Comp. Dillmann, ' B. Hen. Einl.' p. xlii.), 
Jos., Philo, and as regards the Greek text of 
Gen. vi. 1, Field's 'Hex.' ad loc. On the 
interpretation of Gen. vi. 1-4 see the special 
literature in Dillmann, ' Die Genesis' (Kurz- 
gef. Exeg. Handb., ed. 1882), pp. 113, 114, 

9 2 


[v. 816. 

B. C. 

cir. 200. 

8 ^Neither spared he the place 
where Lot sojourned, but '^ abhorred 
them for their pride. 

9 He pitied not the people of per- 
dition, who were taken away in their 
sins : 

10 'Nor the six hundred thousand 
footmen, who were gathered toge- 
ther in the hardness of their hearts. 

1 1 And if" there be one stiffnecked 
among the people, it is marvel if he 

/ch. 5. 6. escape unpunished: for -^mercy and 
wrath are with him ; he is mighty 
to forgive, and to pour out dis- 

c Gen. 19. 
= 4- 

'- Ezck. 16 
49. 5. 


M- 15. 35 

& 16. 21. 
it 21. 6. 
& 26. 64. 

12 As his mercy is great, so is his B.C. 
correction also: ^he judgeth a man cl L!f' 
according to his works. I2 Ps- 62 - 

13 The sinner shall not escape 
with his spoils : and the patience of 
the godly shall not be frustrate. 

14. Make way for every work of 
mercy : for every man shall find 
according: to his works. 

15 h The Lord hardened Pharaoh, h Exod. 7 
that he should not know him, that 4,' s. H ' 
his powerful works mio-ht be known Kom -9- 
to the world. 

16 His mercy is manifest to every 
creature; and 'he hath separated Gen. 1. 4 

and Delitzsch, 'Comm. il.d. Gen.' (ed. 1872), 
pp. 190, dec. 

in the strength of their foolishness.'] Rather, 
in their strength, omitting what evidently 
was a gloss (emendatory or else apologetic). 

8. He spared not those who dwelt 
with Lot, whom He abhorred for their 
pride.] According to the common interpreta- 
tion, the reference is here to the people of 
Sodom. But these would not have been 
" the sojourners with Lot ;" rather was Lot 
a sojourner with them. A further difficulty- 
arises from the fact that the following two 
verses (yv. 9, 10) can only refer to Israel. 
Hence we conclude that all these historical 
illustrations are taken from what befell the 
professing children of God. Accordingly 
they " who dwelt with Lot " must be those of 
his own family whose pride prevented their 
listening to his warning irapoiKta standing 
for the Hebrew rV2. and not 11 JO, as some- 
times in the LXX. On the other hand, the 
Syr., which has here several alterations, seems 
to wish to apply -w. 6-9 not to Israel, but to 
their enemies, as we think, wrongly. 

9. the people of perdition.] I.e. devoted to 
perdition. The reference may be to what is 
recorded in Ex. xxxii., or else in Numb. xi. 

The Syr. would read the Heb. DJ? by Drn &6] 
iO"in a play on the words. 

10. Nor.] Rather, and so. The refer- 
ence here is to the fact that the 600,000 
footmen who came out of Egypt (Ex. xii. 37) 
perished in the wilderness on account of the 
hardness of their hearts. The rendering of 
the Greek : " who were gathered together," 
iiricrvvaxdivras, is due to a misunder- 
standing of the verb epX (D^BD&On or it 
may have been -ISDXp. TJ'X), Which' means 
indeed " to gather," but in the twofold sense 
of gathering together and of gathering away 

= taking away = destroying. The meaning 
of the Hebrew original no doubt was : who 
were carried ff [swept away] in the hard- 
ness of their hearts. 

11. Third stanza, preparing for Part II. 
Not only a community, but individuals are 
punished of God. Omit " among the people." 

13 b. nor will He delay [defer, cause to 
come too late] the hope of the godly.] 
Briefly, God will fulfil, and that ere long, the 
hope of His people. The wicked shall not 
be allowed to be rich in his robbery, nor yet 
the just to fail of his hope. We have 
rendered vnopovrj not " patience," but "hope," 
in accordance with the usage of the LXX. 
The Hebrew may have been : P^V J"llpn\ 

14. He will make a place for all 
mercy; every one shall find ( = receive) 
according to his works.] The difficulty here is 
whether the " mercy " {iXer^ixoavvr]) referred 
to is that shewn by man, of which God will 
make acknowledgment, or that displayed by 
God in the sense that, while He will prove 
very merciful, every one shall receive a just 
retribution. The meaning of the expression 
" He will make a place " {wmrja-e 1 tuttov) is 
illustrated by Acts xxv. 16; Rom. xii. 19; 
Heb. viii. 7, xii. 17. It corresponds to the 

Hebrew ? DIpD JH3. Although the term 
eXerj^oavvr) is very rarely employed in refer- 
ence to God, it is so used in Ecclus. xvii. 29, 
and in LXX. Ps. cii. (Heb. ciii.) 6 a, where it 
stands for " righteous acts," DIpTV. Indeed, 
this latter passage may have been in the mind 
of the writer, and the noiiov eXer/^oo-was of 
that Ps. have become the 71-0077 eXf-qpoa-vvT] 
Tvoujaei Ti'mov of our passage. At the same 
time it must be admitted that the addition of 
Trda-rj seems to point to the exercise of human 
rather than Divine mercies. In that case 
" make a place " would = assign a place. 

17 22.] 



cir. 200. 

!l Or, 

his light from the darkness with an 

17 Say not thou, I will hide my- 
Hon - self from the Lord : shall any re- 
member me from above ? I shall not 
be remembered anions so many peo- 
ple : for what is my soul among such 
an infinite number of creatures ? 

18 ^'Behold, the heaven, and the 
heaven of heavens, the deep, and the 
earth, and all that therein is, shall be 
moved when he shall visit. 

19 The mountains also and foun- 

* 1 Kings 
: Chron. 
>. 18. 

Pet. 3. 


dations of the earth shall be shaken B. c 
with trembling, when the Lord look- Cl [^- 
eth upon them. 

20 No heart can think upon these 
things worthily : / and who is able to 'Rom. n. 
conceive his ways ? 33 ' 

21 It is a tempest which no man 
can see : for the most part of his 
works are hid. 

22 Who can declare the works of 
his justice ? or who can endure them ? 
for his covenant is afar off", and the 
trial of all things is in the end. 

17. Omit w. 15, 16. (See introductory 
remarks.) It adds to our difficulties of inter- 
pretation that w. 15, 16 are found in the Syr. 
Again, the Syr. also gives a totally different 
turn to v. 17 (comp. Syr. v. 18), and presents 
it in a sense foreign, as we believe, to the 
purpose of the original writer. It is not 
difficult to perceive the apologetic motives 
for these alterations although some may 
regard it as open to question whether the 
Greek or the Syriac translator tampered with 
the Hebrew original. For our own part we 
have no hesitation in abiding by the Greek 
Version. The last clause of the verse should 
be rendered: "For what is my soul in im- 
measurable [infinite] creation 1 ?" It 
must, however, be admitted that alike the 
thought and its mode of expression (ktio-is) 
are not Hebrew, but Alexandrian. 

18. Omit the words " and all that therein 
is"; "shall be moved," &c. rather: shall 
be shaken at His visitation. It is pos- 
sible that w. 18-22 still continue the objec- 
tions of v. 17, derived from a misapplication 
of the observed greatness of God. But 
it seems difficult to imagine such language 
on the part of an unbeliever. On the other 
hand, if, as we suppose, -w. 21, 22 are in- 
tended as an answer to his secret thinking, 
"w. 18, 19 must also be regarded as part 
of the same argument. In that case the 
reasoning would be : True, God is very great ; 
yet He is not far from His creation, but 
penetrates, pervades, and directs all both 
physically and ethically even though this 
may be un perceived or unheeded. 

19. shall be shaken, <&'c.~\ Rather: "are 
shaken with trembling when He looketh 
upon them." 

20. But (Wi for Se) upon (ordinarily, 

nepi) these things the mind (3?) shall 
not think.] The future here in the sense 
of " cannot," to express what is morally im- 
possible: comp. Rom. v. 7 ; 1 Cor. viii. 8 
(Winer's ' Gramm.' p. 250). Most com- 

mentators, however, regard the words as 
implying a reproof of such a state of mind. 

and His ways who shall consider'?] 
The interpretation proposed by us of this 
and the preceding clause, although not free 
from difficulty, agrees best with v. 19. We 
may add that the Syr. Version offers not any 
help on these difficult verses, and indeed is 
not trustworthy. 

21. As a tempest, is'c.~\ The figurative 
comparison of God's dealings with the wind 
seems to have been not only frequent, but to 
have become almost proverbial. Comp. Ps. 
exxxv. 7 ; Prov. xxx. 4 ; Eccles. i. 6 (viii. 8 ?), 
xi. 5 ; and especially St. John iii. 8. 

22. The works of (God's) justice 
[righteousness] who shall announce, or 
who shall expect [await]?] 'Yno^ivnv 
stands in the LXX. for a number of Hebrew 
words, but in a very large proportion of 
instances for such as mean " to expect " or 
" await." The meaning here is : as it is 
extremely difficult, almost impossible, to an- 
nounce and anticipate the manner in which 
God's justice shall be manifested (since it is 
secret, sudden, irresistible, like the storm), 
so, on the other hand, there are few who 
expect it. 

for far off is the covenant.] The 
clause following on these words in the A.V. 
must be omitted (in the Syr. the whole verse 
is wanting). These words express the false- 
inference drawn by men from the impossibility 
of announcing God's judgments, as well as 
the reason why they are not expected. They 
imagine: far off is the covenant. The 
reference to the biad^K-q is a favourite one 
with the Son of Sirach, who employs the 
term twenty-two times. In the LXX. it 
stands almost invariably for )V*13. We sup- 
pose that " the covenant " here in view is that 
with death and Hades, to which reference 
was made in Ecclus. xiv. 12, 17. The writer 
had probably in his mind LXX. Is. xxviii. 
15, and especially v. 17: "And I will cause 



[v. 2329. 

cir. 200. 

'" Ps. III. 

23 He that wanteth understand- them he disposed the parts there- 
ins: will think upon vain things : of. 

cir. 200. 

and a foolish man errinp; imagineth 

O O 


He garnished his works for 
, and in his hand are the "chief 


II Or, be- 

24 My son, hearken unto me, and of them unto all generations : they 
learn knowledge, and mark my words neither labour, nor are weary, nor 
with thy heart. cease from their works. 

25 I will shew forth doctrine in 28 None of them hindereth an- 
weight, and declare his knowledge other, "and they shall never disobey Ps. 148 
exactly. his word. 

26 '"The works of the Lord are 29 After this the Lord looked 
done in judgment from the begin- upon the earth, and filled it with his 

and from the time he made blessings. 


judgment to be for hope (here eXnls), and 
my compassion ((Xtrjfioa-vvr], as in Ecclus. xvi. 
14) for just measures, and ye that trust vainly 
in falsehood shall fall : for the tempest 
(/carntyi's', as in Ecclus. xvi. 21) shall not by 
any means pass by you except it also take 
away your covenant of death (Sin^Kr/, as in 
Ecclus. xvi. 22), and your hope in Hades 
shall by no means stand ; if the rushing tem- 
pest (Karaty/f) should come upon you, ye 
shall be beaten down by it." In our view 
this passage explains not only the expression 
" for far off is the covenant," but also the fol- 
lowing verse. 

23. He that ivanteth understanding [lit. 

heart, ZP"1pn] will think these things, and 
an unwise and erring man will think 
foolish things [pa>pd = i"l?33]. 

24. Stanza of final admonition. The ex- 
pression " mark with the heart," as often in 

the Hebrew (3? D^), here apparently de- 
rived from Deut. xxxii. 46 (both in the Heb. 
and LXX.). Comp. also Ezek. xliv. 5. Hence 
the proper translation is: "And set thy 
heart upon my words." 

25. J twill sheav forth instruction by 
weight [carefully and accurately measured 
out, perhaps also with a secondary reference 
to its value], and declare [announce, set forth] 
knowledge with exactness [accuracy, 

26. By [according to] the counsel [ap- 
pointment, decree GSL'V?] of the Lord 
(rue) His works from 'the beginning, and 

Jrom [the time of?] their making He 
assigned [apportioned] their parts [to 

each its part ? perhaps ip6n j&n in*?""^-")].] 
This vast creation, so far from leading us to 
infer as the foolish had suggested in the 
previous stanza that the individual is lost or 
unheeded amidst the vast mass, rather leads 
to an opposite conclusion. From the first 
all things have had the law of His appoint- 

ment impressed upon them, and in every part 
of creation we mark this orderly distribution. 

27. He ordered [settled, appointed, pre- 
pared adorned?] for ever His works, 
and their rule to their generation.] 
Simple as these words seem, it is not easy to 
decide how exactly to render them. " The 
works" here referred to are God's chief works : 
the sun and stars to which Jewish Alexan- 
drian philosophy attached such high im- 
portance, as well as the regulation of all 
nature (comp. here especially Philo, ' de 
Monarch.' i. 1 ; comp. ii. 5, 6, and the art. 
Philo in Smith and Wace's ' Diet, of Chr. 
Biogr.'). We have rendered f<6crprjaev : He 
" ordered," " settled," which meaning it cer- 
tainly bears in LXX. Mic. vi. 9, as well as a 
kindred meaning in other passages. The 
common rendering, " garnished " or " beau- 
tified," seems to give no meaning, while ours 
suits the context. Again, we have rendered 
tcis dpxds by " their rule," being the expression 
used in reference to the rule of sun and stars 
in LXX. Gen. i. 16, 18, and Philo similarly 
designates them as ap^ovras (' de Monarch.' 
i. 1). As to their "ordering for ever," the 
writer had probably Ps. cxlviii. 6 in view, 
where the same language is used. Indeed 
it is not improbable that the Hebrew original 

reproduced the ch^b lV_h DtplDJ^l of that 
Ps. (comp. also Ps. exxxv., in the Heb. 
exxxvi. 8, 9). It is even possible that the 
following clause also, Kai ras dpxus avrcov els 
yeveds avrav, may be the younger Siracide's 
peculiar mode of rendering the second clause 

of Ps. cxlviii. 6 : "lbj^ &6\ jnrpri "they 
neither labour," rather: they hunger 

28. hindereth [crowdeth, in the sense of 
moving out of its place] another [lit. "his 
neighbour"]. "Each presseth not upon 
his neighbour, and unto everlasting 
[Aeon] shall they not disobey His word." 

29. And after this.'] Viz. after having 

i 5-] 



B. C. 
cir. 200. 

o Gen. 1. 


P Eccles. 

~\. 20. 

Gen. 1. 
27. & 3. 
9. & 5. 2. 
Eccles. 3. 

IWisd. 2. 
2}- & 7- 

30 "With all manner of living 
things hath he covered the face there- 
of ; -?*and they shall return into it again. 


1 J/tni' God created and furnished man. 14 
Avoid all sin : 19 for God seeth all things. 
25 Turn to him while thou livest. 

r I ^HE Lord "created man of the 

earth, and turned him into it 

2 3 He gave them few days, and a b. c. 
short time, and power also over the cir j_^- 
things therein. *Jobi 4 .i. 

O C p 

3 He endued them with strength 26 . &' 9 *' 6- 
by themselves, and c made them ac- lCor -"- 
cording to his image, c'oioss. 3. 

4 And put the fear "of man upon ' 
all flesh, "'and gave him dominion fHm. 
over beasts and fowls. rf Gen. 1. 


5 [They received the use of the 


thus established and regulated for ever what 
is in heaven above. 

30. living thingsJ] Rather, "living 
creatures." The Hebrew may have been: 

inh'z traa n*M vhv. 


and they shall return into it again.~\ Lit. 
" and unto it the return of them." 


The argument of the previous chapter is 
here continued. What had previously been 
stated in regard to the world is now shewn 
to apply also to man only that in his case 
personal responsibility is superadded. The 
world has a Divine Law inherent in itself; 
for man, as made in the image of God, his 
mental and moral individuality the mind, 
conscience, heart, and free will are that 
Law. Man is thus in the highest sense a 
law unto himself. In his case there exists 
not any necessity of nature, but he has the 
moral freedom of a personal choice, for which 
he is also endowed with the necessary moral 
qualifications. Hence he is absolutely and 
personally responsible (comp. xvi. 17, &c). 
This forms the subject of the first stanza 
(w. 1-8 ; <v. 9 must be omitted). Turning 
next from this subjective to the objective 
aspect of the question, the writer lays down 
this further position, that man is intended by 
God to glorify Him, for which purpose God 
has made Himself known to him, and this 
involves another and still higher degree of 
responsibility. This forms the subject of the 
second stanza (w. 10-15, v. 15 marking the 
climax, while i\ 16 must be omitted). But 
the highest responsibility attaches to Israel 
(stanza 3: w. 17-24). In a concluding 
stanza (w. 25-32) the writer makes a 
religious application of what had preceded. 
Thus the chapter consists of four irregular 
stanzas. We add that w. 5, 9, 16, i8,and 
21 in our A. V. must be omitted as spurious. 

1. and turned hbn.~] But the sense requires : 
"and shall turn him." In the Heb. it 
was no doubt iPD*^*, or more probably 
^r^tf'! (comp. Kautzsch-Gesenius, 24th ed., 

p. 145, 4, note); or, as in the Syr., with 21L" 
before it. In the latter case the meaning 
would have been : He shall certainly turn 
him again (Ewald, p. 782). The Greek 
translator used the aorist instead of the future, 
possibly as in Rev. x. 7 ; 1 Cor. vii. 28 
(Winer, /. /. p. 248). The statement itself is 
parallel to Ps. cxlvi. 4. 

2. fe-ui days.~\ rjpepas dptdpov, lit. "days 
of number." A common Hebraism, as in 

"ISDO niJC', "a few years," Job xvi. 22, and 

13DB WW, "a few days," Numb. ix. 20 
(LXX. rjpepas dpidpw), where the words in 
the Heb. are however in apposition, while in 
Ecclus. the original had ISpO *. The 

use of the word " number " for " numbered " 
= few, is frequent, alike in the Heb. and in 
the LXX. 

and a (definite) time [a season].] No 
doubt ny, perhaps, as suggested by the next 
clause, with the secondary sense of a Divine 
appointment attaching to it, as in Eccles. iii. 
In Ezek. vii. 7, 12, the words "day" and 
" season " are also conjoined, both in the 
Heb. and the LXX., but in the inverse order 
of Ecclus. 

and He gave them the dominion 
[imperium, as apparent from the gen. of the 
object] of what is upon it] Viz. of all 
that is upon the earth. 

3. He endued them with their own 
strength.] I.e. strength of their own (so 
the Aethiop.), strength which was their own, 
human ; while the Figure, which was behind 
that strength and directed it, and of which 
they were "the image," was Divine. kciB' 
eavrovs, probably for the sake of antithesis to 
the kot elKova (" according to His image ") 
in the next clause. The <a6' (avrovs stands 
here instead of the genitive: comp. Acts 
xvii. 28, xviii. 15, xxvi. 3 ; Eph. i. 15 (Winer, 
/. /. p. 139, and 30, Anm. 5, p. 174 of the 
6th ed.). The Syr., which renders the second 
clause, " and covered them with terror," seems 
inapt and a confusion with the first clause of 
the next verse. 

5. This verse must be omitted. AsGrotius 

9 6 


[v. 613. 

B. c. five operations of the Lord, and in the 
cir^joo. g j xt j 1 pi ace ne imparted them under- 
standing, and in the seventh speech, an 
interpreter of the cogitations thereof.] 

6 Counsel, and a tongue, and eyes, 
ears, and a heart, gave he them to 

7 Withal he Riled them with the 
knowledge of understanding, and 
shewed them good and evil. 

8 He set his eye upon their hearts, 
that he might shew them the great- 
ness of his works. 

9 He gave them to glory in his 
marvellous acts for ever, that they 
mi<rht declare his works with under- 

10 And the elect shall praise his 
holy name. 

1 1 Beside this he gave them 
knowledge, and the law of life for an 

12 He made an everlasting cove- 
nant with them, and shewed them 
his judgments. 

13 Their eyes saw the majesty of 

B. c. 

cir. 20D. 

remarks, it is probably the marginal gloss of 
some Stoic annotator. 

6. Counsel.'] Rather, a disposition. Cp. 
xv. 14. The Syr. omits, as we think rightly, 
this word. It should be noted that 8iaftov\i<>v 
in the singular does not occur in the LXX. 
and only twice in Ecclus. : here and in xv. 14 
[see note] in the sense of disposition, mind = 
")X\ It occurs in the plural (whether of 
SiafiovXia or 8iafiov\iov) in the sense of 
" counsels," " purposes," and " thoughts," in 
LXX. Ps. v. 1 1 and ix. 23 (Heb. x. 2), and in 
Hos. xi. 6 ; also in Hos. iv. 9, v. 4, vii. 2. where 
the Heb., however, has "doings" (for the 
rendering of X*'p in 2 Sam. [LXX. 2 Kings] 
xv. 1 2 by 8iaftov\iop, see Field, ' Hex.' ad Joe). 
We infer that the use of SiafiovXtov and of 
"IX* in that sense was post-biblical, and, as 
regards the Greek term, we would suggest, 
Alexandrian. In omitting the word, the Syr. 
is probably faithful to the original. We 
farther mark that the Syr. order of the verses 
differs from the Greek, there being an inver- 
sion of w. 6 and 7 as well as of clauses a 
and b in v. 9, while clause a of v. 8 is 
omitted. The Syriac order therefore is: 
"w. 7, 6, 8 b, 9 b, 9 a, these last three clauses 
forming Syr. v. 8, then v. 9, which is v. 10 
of the A. V. The Vulgate, it must be re- 
membered, represents in Ecclesiasticus the 
ancient Latin Version (Vet. Lat.). See the 
Introd. It omits v. 5 and adds a clause both 
at the beginning and the end of v. 6 (in 
A. V.). It also inserts a clause between a 
and b in 1: 7, and adds a clause to, while it 
generally confirms, w. 8-10 (in our A. V.). 
Lastly, the reading of A. V. differs from that 
of the Vatican, which we are throughout 
following. From all this we infer that the 
text of these verses has been altered, probably 
by successive "hands," from philosophical 
and theological motives, which, so far as 
w. 5-7 are concerned, will be easily under- 
stood. On the whole, we prefer the Syr. 
arrangement of the verses. 

to understand^ Perhaps, to consider. 

7. Omit " withal." 

9, 10. Verse 9 is omitted in the LXX. 
(Vatic), while ik 10 reads as follows: And 
they shall praise His holy Name fin 
the Syr. only : " And that they may praise 
His holy Name"] that they may declare 
(tell) the greatnesses of His works 

(/neyoXeta = niPTJ, Ps. lxxi. 19). Here or 
perhaps at the next verse begins a new stanza. 

11. He gave them besides.] But we 
are inclined, in accordance with the Syr., to 
emend Trpoa-idrjKeu into TrpotBqKfv. he set 
before them. This would suit the context 
much better. 

and made them inherit a law of 
life.] Houbigant understands this as an 
allusion to the Law of Nature in man. But 
this seems incompatible with clause a and 
with %>. 12, both of which as we understand 
them, and as the original no doubt intended 
would point to the Law of Moses. But 
we suspect that some alterations were pur- 
posely made in this verse by the younger 
Siracide. The Syr. has " covenant," and we 
suspect that the younger Siracide purposely 
changed the IVQ, " covenant," of the original 
into "wisdom," eVtor^r/, in order to give 
the verse a more general, Alexandrian sense. 
Similarly the Syr. has in the second clause 
" He taught them " (perhaps Dyniil), which 
was changed into " made them inherit," as 
if it were a general human inheritance. Thus 
Houbigant may, after all, have rightly in- 
dicated the intention of the Greek translator, 
though not the meaning of the original. 

12. This verse confirms our previous in- 
terpretation. " His judgments," in the sense 
of the Hebrew VtDS^'O = laws, command- 
ments, ordinances. 

13. Here it is no longer open to doubt 
that the reference is to the revelation on 
Sinai. " The majesty of bis glory" rather, the 
greatness of the glory (omitting "his") ; 

V. 14 2 2.] 



B. C. 

cir. 200. 

e Exod. 

20, & 21, 

& 22, & 23. 

f ch. 15. 


ver. ig. 
Hebr. 4. 
; , '3- 

- r Deut. 
32. 8, 9. 

* Rom. 
13. 1. 

' Deut. 4. 
20. & 10. 

Exod. 4. 

his glory, and their ears heard his nourisheth with discipline, and giving b. C. 
glorious voice. 

14 And he said unto them, Beware 
of all unrighteousness ; and he *gave 
every man commandment concern- 
ing his neighbour. 

15 /Their ways are ever before 
him, and shall not be hid from his 

16 Every man from his youth is 
given to evil ; neither could they 
make to themselves fleshy hearts for 

17 For -^in the division of the na- 
tions of the whole earth he set a 
/2 ruler over every people j but 'Israel 
is the Lord's portion : 

18 Whom, *being his firstborn, he 

him the light of his love doth not C1 L!^' 
forsake him. 

19 'Therefore all their works are l ver. 15. 
as the sun before him, and his eyes 
are continually upon their ways. 

20 None of their unrighteous deeds 
are hid from him, but all their sins 
are before the Lord. 

21 But the Lord being gracious, 
and knowing his workmanship, w nei- Deut. 
ther left nor forsook them, but spared 3I " 6 ' 

22 The "alms of a man is as a sig- ,: ch. 29. 
net with him, and he will keep the - : 
good deeds of man "as the apple of"Ps. 17. i 
the eye, and give repentance to his 
sons and daughters. 

and again in the second clause, and the 
glory of their voice [sound = their 
glorious sound] heard their ear. Many 
authorities correct aiirStv, " their " [after 
(pavr/s], into avrov, "His," and the Syr. has 
the same reading. But there seems no need 
for the correction. " Their " voice or sound 
was that of the commandments, v. 12, while 
thev onlv saw "the greatness of glorv," not 
" His " glory itself. 

14. The reference seems to be to the 
chapters following the ten commandments, 
especially Ex. xxi., xxii. 

15. This verse sets forth the final inference 
from all as regards Israel's personal respon- 
sibility, in answer to the objections mentioned 
in Ecclus. xvi. 17, Sec. 

16. The whole verse must be omitted. It 
is so evidently an interpolation and of late, 
probably Christian, authorship, that it is 
difficult to understand its insertion. 

17. Omit "For in the division of the nations 
of the whole earth." Fritzsche regards the 
"rulers" whom God had set over each nation 
as their guardian angels, through whom He 
stood in some relationship to "every people," 
and he refers in corroboration to LXX. 
Deut. xxxii. 8 and Heb. ii. 5. The latter 
passage has not any reference to this subject, 
nor does even the former bear out the con- 
tention of Fritzsche, since the parallelism be- 
tween the verse in Ecclus. and that in LXX. 
Deut. is, to say the least, extremely doubtful. 
It is indeed true that the LXX. rendering of 
Deut. xxxii. 8 reproduces the tradition in the 
Jer. Targ. on Gen. xi. 7, 8, where the "We" 
who came down to confound the languages 
and to scatter the people are explained to be 

Apoc Vol. II. 

the seventy angels, having reference to the 
seventy nations who would be formed (comp. 
also Pirqe d. R. El. 24). In the later Midrash 
this is further developed, and God not only 
assigns to the nations their bounds "according 
to the number of the angels of God " (LXX. 
Deut.), but these angel-princes are protectors 
of the nations, hostile to Israel, arid shall 
ultimately be cast down (Ber. R. 56 ; Shem. 
R. 21: Vayy. R. 29; Ruth R. ed. Warsh. 
p. 36 b). But in Ecclus. there is as yet not 
any mention of such hostility to Israel on the 
part of the " angel-princes," nor even a clear 
indication of the legend underlying the LXX. 
gloss on Deut. and the Jer. Targum. When 
to this we add that Michael was similarly 
regarded as the "Angel-prince" of Israel, we 
are inclined to regard " the rulers " of Ecclus. 
xvii. 1 7 as secular princes, and the reference 
if any to be to Deut. xxxii. 8, 9 in the 
Hebrew. And words of comfort like these 
would be very appropriate in the political 
condition of Israel in the time of the older 

18. This verse must be omitted. 

19. Omit " therefore." 

20. Their unrighteous deeds are not 
hid from Hiw, and all their sins are before 
the Lord.] The Syr. : " and open before Him 
are all their thoughts " perhaps more true to 
the original, or else by way of softening it. 

21. This verse must be omitted. 

22. The last clause after "apple of the eye" 
must be omitted. From the nation the writer 
passes to the individual. Although Israel as 
a people may suffer for their sins, yet there 
are the righteous among them. We have 
here clear indication of the later doctrine of 


9 8 



cir. 200. 

P Matt. 
25- 34. 35- 

* Acts 3. 

r Jer. 3. 


lessen thy 

II Or, illu- 

23 ^Afterwards he will rise up 
and reward them, and render their 
recompence upon their heads. 

24 ^But unto them that repent, he 
granted them return, and comforted 
those that failed in patience. 

25 ^Return unto the Lord, and 
forsake thy sins, make thy prayer 
before his face, and "offend less. 

26 Turn again to the most High, 
and turn away from iniquity : for he 
will lead thee out of darkness into 
the light of health, and hate thou 
abomination vehemently. 

27 s Who shall praise the most B.C. 

T T . { , 1 r , cir. 200. 

High in the grave, instead or them 
which live and give thanks ? & P i S i S 6 'i 5 7 '. 

28 Thanksgiving perisheth from I -^ ai - 38- 
the dead, as from one that is not : Bamch 2. 
the living and sound in heart shall I7 ' 
praise the Lord. 

29 How great is the lovingkind- 
ness of the Lord our God, and his 
compassion unto such as turn unto 
him in holiness ! 

30 For all things cannot be in men, 
because the son of man is not im- 

the meritoriousness of " good works," espe- 
cially of ''almsgiving." Altogether the 
verse forms a later Judaic paraphrase, or 
rather transformation, of Deut. xxxii. 10. It 
is now " almsgiving " which is precious as 
" the signet " on the hand, and which God 
guards as carefully as the apple of the eye. 
Nothing can annul what that signet has sealed ; 
nothing shall disturb or dim that eye. The 
meaning which we attach to this verse is con- 
firmed by the paraphrastic Syr. rendering : 
"The righteousness [merit] of all the sons of 
men is sealed and deposited with Him, and 
the goodness of all the sons of men is as the 
apple of the eye preserved before Him." 

23. From the use of the expression " and 
render their recompence upon their own 
heads," which is not only exactly parallel to 
Joel iii. (Heb. iv.) 6, 7, but reproduces the word- 
ing of the LXX., we conclude that this verse 
refers not to the subject of v. 22, but to the 
punishment of the wicked. With this agrees 
the Syr. : " and return [give] their sins (in the 

Heb. it was probably D7ID! ; comp. also 
Ps. xxviii. 4) upon their head." 

24. granteth . . . comforteth . . . fail 
in confidence.] That is, those whose hope 
or confidence of forgiveness faileth. The 
Syr. either misread or misunderstood the 

25. Last stanza, and offend less.'] Rather : 
and lessen (the occasion for) offence; 
lit., "the stumble." The word TrpoaKo^a 
is used in that sense (although for different 
Hebrew words) in LXX. Ex. xxiii. 33, 
xxxrv 12; Is. viii. i 4 , X xix. 21; and in 
N. I. Rom. ix. 32, 33, xiv. 13, 20; 1 Cor. 
vm. 9 : 1 Pet. 11. 8. Substantially, therefore, 
the advice is to avoid what would lead to sin. 
I he Syr had here either a different text, or 

altered the original. Or it may be that the 
younger had modified it in his own 
fashion. '1 he Greek is certainly feeble as 
compared with the Syriac. 

26. The clause beginning "for he will 
lead thee," and ending "into the light of 
health," must be omitted. 

27, 28. grave.] Rather, Hades. 

thanks . . . thanksgiving.] Rather, praise. 

Verses 27 and 28a seem again to imply a 
denial of personal immortality. On the other 
hand, the Syr. has : " For what delight hath 
the Lord in all those who perished in the 
world instead of them who live and render 
praise to Him ; " Does the Greek text repre- 
sent an alteration on the part of the younger 
Siracide, or is the Syr. version a Christian 
emendation? After "sound" in v. 28 omit 
the words " in heart." The gloss may have 
been intended to mitigate what might seem 
offensive in the original, while the limitation of 
" praise " to corporeal and temporal benefits 
is quite in the spirit of at least the younger 

29. Omit as glosses, similar in character to 
that just noticed, in clause a, "our God;" 
and in clause b, " in holiness." 

30. The first clause in the Greek gives 
no meaning. If we were to alter -rvavra into 
raiira, it would agree with the Syr. and the 
sense would be : " For these things are not in 
man." But this does not fit in either with 
what precedes or with what follows. It 
seems not unlikely that the Hebrew original 

was D1X3 h$ *6 3 or fc'iJN " for the 

t t : ***: 

Lord is not as man," and that the younger 
Siracide misread ?3 for 7>X and D1X3 for 

t t : 

D^IX3 (comp. Horowitz, in Frankel's ' Mon- 
atschr.' xiv. p. 198). If we may thus account 
for the first clause by a misreading of the 
Hebrew, it is not easy to explain the second 
clause. It accords indeed with the first clause 
in the Greek, but we can scarcely imagine that 
it faithfully represents the original. Can it have 
been intended to convey the same meaning as 
w. 27, 28 a or else to attenuate that meaning 





cir. 200. 

* jo"b7 5 - 


''What is 

the light 


than the 
thereof faileth : 

3 1 

sun ? yet 

and flesh and blood will imagine evil. 
32 He vieweth the power of the 
height of heaven ; and all men are 
but earth and ashes. 


4 God's works are to be wondered at. 9 Jlfan's 
life is short. 11 God is merciful. 15 Do not 
blemish thy good deeds with ill words. 22 
Defer not to be justified. 30 Follow not thy 


E that liveth for ever ^created b. c. 
all things in general. cb l!! - 

2 The Lord only is righteous, and " Gen ' 
^there is none other but he, * Deut , 

3 Who governeth the world with 3S- 
the palm of his hand, c and all things c ch. 42. 
obey his will : for he is the King of 23 " 

all, by his power ^dividing holy things d Lev. 10 
among them from profane. 

4 To whom hath he given power 

to declare his works ? *and who shall e p s. 106. 
find out his noble acts ? 

by a vague generality ? The Syr. has : " nor 
is his counsel like that of the sons of flesh." 

31. Whether we adopt the Greek or the 
Syriac version of v. 30, v. 31 is evidently 
intended to set forth in contrast to the great- 
ness and goodness of God the inherent weak- 
ness of the creature : What is more 
shining [more brilliant] than the sun? 
yet even this is obscured: and an 
evil man will think of flesh and blood. 
Fritzsche translates : " taketh flesh and blood 
into consideration," and regards it as referring 
to a moral obscuration. But this explanation is 
not satisfactory. For in that case we should 
have the inapt comparison of the natural 
obscuration of the light of the sun with the 
voluntary moral obscuration of the wicked. 
Our A. V. adopts the Alex, reading, which 
must be regarded as an attempt at emendation. 
The Syr. paraphrases. Horowitz (u. s.) con- 
jectures that the Hebrew original was : ^3 PJX 
mi 1C3 PUM ni3Pn, " how much more 
the thoughts of man who is flesh and blood ;" 
or else, on a like supposition, D~1X "IV* *3 f)X 
mi TJ'3 JTin, " how much more the evil 
imagining of man who is flesh and blood." 
If so, the Greek translator might have treated 
the substantive DP as a verb, and interpreted 
it by " meditateth," or " imagineth." 

32. He surveys the host of the height 
of heaven, and men, all [of them], are earth 
and ashes.] We have rendered Svvafuv by 
"the host," supposing the original to have 
been 7>;n or VH, which is generally rendered 
in the LXX. by dvua^s. The Syr. has: " He 
judgeth the host of heaven, also the children 
of flesh . . ." 


As is the case in other chapters, so here 
also the closing part of chap. xvii. becomes 
the subject of farther teaching in chap, xviii. 
It consists of two Parts: Part I., w. 1-18 ; 
Part II., v. 19-end. Part I. contains three 
stanzas (6 originally 7 ? \- 7 + 4 verses). 

The first stanza (yv. 1-7) sets forth the 
greatness of God relatively to man ; the second 
stanza (w. 8-14), the smallness of man rela- 
tively to God in His greatness and goodness; 
while the third stanza (yv. 15-18) admonishes 
man in his own way to imitate the goodness 
of God. This forms the transition to Part II., 
which deals with man. Here also we have 
three stanzas (7 + 4 + 4 verses), which may 
be thus summarized: stanza 1 (w. 19-25), 
man relatively to God; stanza 2 (yv. 26-29), 
general inferences; stanza 3 (yv. 30-33), moral 
application, or rather the commencement of a 
series of useful commonplace sayings. 

1. The text seems here corrupt. The Syr. 
begins with what we number as v. 4. In the 
A. V. v. 3 must be omitted, so that the first 
stanza would only consist of six verses. But 
we would suggest that both w. 1 and 2 must 
in the original have had a second clause, and 
that there is a lacuna between w. 2 and 4. 
Thus stanza 1 may originally have consisted 
of seven verses. 

in general.] Rather, generally. This in 
the sense of the world as a whole (comp. the 
use of koivji in 2 Mace. ix. 26). We con- 
jecture that if this verse was in the original 
Hebrew, it contained a strong assertion of the 
Divine creation of everything out of nothing, 
and that the younger Siracide, entertaining the 
Alexandrian notion of the pre-existence of 
matter, had modified it, but disguised this 
under the ambiguous expression kowtj, which 
might mean " together," " as a whole," or 
" generally." 

2. The Lord alone shall be justified 
[perhaps: "declared righteous"].] This verse 
seems also fragmentary. We can only con- 
jecture that it expressed an antithesis to the 
imperfectness and defects of all creatures. 
See under v. 5. The second clause in the 
A. V., " and there is none other but he," as 
well as v. 3, must be omitted. 

4. To no one [so the better reading] 
gave He po-<jjer to proclaim His <worhs.] 
Schleusner : facultatem dedit, sett copiam fecit 

H 2 



[v. 5- 


cir. 200. 

5 Who shall number the strength 
of his majesty ? and who shall also 
tell out his mercies ? 

6 As for the wondrous works of 
the Lord, there may nothing be taken 
from them, neither may any thing 
be put unto them, neither can the 
ground of them be found out. 

7 When a man hath done, then he 
beginneth ; and when he leaveth oft, 
then he shall be doubtful. 

8 What is man, and whereto 

serveth he ? what is his good, and B- c. 

.... ... cir. 200. 

what is his evil r 

9 -^The number of a man's days at f Ps. 9- 

the most are an hundred years. 

io As a drop of water unto the 

sea, and a gravelstone in comparison 

of the sand ; so are a -^thousand years " Ps. 90. 

to the days of eternity. 2'pet. 3.1 

1 1 Therefore is God patient with 
them, and poureth forth his mercy 
upon them. 

12 He saw and perceived their end 

i.e. none of His creatures is able or sufficient 
for it ; none is qualified fully to proclaim them. 
Fritzsche regards it as = ivtnoi^ae in Ecclus. 
xlii. 17. But although the two passages are 
parallel, the meaning of (piroifa (in Ecclus. 
xlii.) is somewhat different from that of 
iKiroUa. The expression " to proclaim His 
works " is the same as in LXX. Ps. cvi. 
(Heb. cvii.) 22, although the idea is rather 
parallel to LXX. Ps. cv. (Heb. cvi.) 2. In 
the Syr. : " Who is able to shew forth 
manifest, declare His works?" 

and who can search out His mighty 
act si] The same word (as for "search 
out ") is used in the LXX. both for Em and 
for "lpH ; "mighty acts," fieyaXela, as in LXX. 

Ps. Ixx. (Heb. lxxi.) 19 : rt^TI. 

5. In the Syr. the Greek v. 4 (there v. 1) 
is followed (as v. 2) by what is fragmentarily 
preserved in the Greek v. 2 : " The whole 
world shall be examined together, and the 
Lord alone be just." The Greek v. 5 is 
omitted in the Syr. " Number " = enumerate ; 
"tell out" = set forth. In the Hebrew 
original the second clause (if genuine) may 

have been: lHDn T3r6 ei'DV '. 

t t -: ~ : ' 

6. There is not [it is not possible] to 
make fewer [to diminish] nor to add to, 
nor is there (fully) to search out the 

wonderful works [flixbsJ ; generally 
thirty-one times so translated in the LXX.] 
of the Lord. 

7. When a man hath ended, then he begin- 
netb.'] I.e. when he is at the end of his 
attempts to compute or understand, he is 
really only at the beginning of his task and of 
God's wonderful works. 

and when he cease th [Bretschneider aptly, 
sell, opere per ac to when he gives up the 
search, rests from it], then is he per- 
plexed.] I.e. astonied, confounded, in 
utter perplexity, viz. alike by what he cannot 
search out and by the multitude of the things 

opening to his view. The most apt rendering 
here is the Latin obstupescere. This not only 
answers to the Syr. rendering, but tnvopta> is 
used in the same sense in the LXX. (see, for 
example, Gen. xxxii. 8 (LXX. 7), where it 

stands for 'h ~l1) and repeatedly in the N. T. 
The Syr. translates " when they return," 
instead of " when he ceaseth." Possibly the 
original may have been 2B>*, which the Greek 
translator rendered " when he ceaseth :" while 
the Syr. derived it from 31B\ The Greek 
gives a better sense. 

8. This leads up to the second stanza about 
man. Instead of " whereto serveth he ?" the 
Syr. has, " what is his defect and what his 
advantage?" Heb. irriJV rlO-1 ij'npri HD 
a word-play. Altogether a pessimist view 
of man and of life. 

9. The number of days of a man [the 
duration of his life] many years, (if) an 
hundred.] Bretschneider q notes from Seneca, 
' de brevit. vitae,' c. 3 : " Pervenisse te ad ulti- 
mum aetatis humanae videmus: centesimus 
tibi, vel supra, premitur annus." But then the 
philosopher continues to shew how much has 
to be deducted from this age on account of 
trouble, illness, and needless or frivolous 
waste, so that the real span of life is after all 
very short (ed. Ruhkopf, i. pp. 497, 498). 

10. As a drop of water out of the sea and 
a little stone out of the sand [the omis- 
sion of the prepos. in the second clause is a 
Hebraism. See Winer, /. /., p. 373, &c], jo 
a few years in the day of eternity.'] The 
Syr. here paraphrases in targumic manner. 

11. Therefore is the Lord long-suffer- 
ing towards them.] He bears with them 
in their sins. Bretschneider notes here the 
absence of any reference to another life. This 
appears especially in v. 12. 

12. their end.] KaTa<rrpod)r) is a rather 
stronger word than " end," and used sensu 
malo. The Hebrew had probably DIVinK, as 
in the Syr. 




cir. 200. 

* Ps. 145. 

to be evil ; therefore he multiplied 
his compassion. 

13 The mercy of man is toward 
his neighbour; /( but the mercy of 
the Lord is upon all flesh : he reprov- 
eth, and nurtureth, and teacheth, and 
bringeth again, 'as a shepherd his 

14 He hath mercy on them that 
receive discipline, and that diligently 
seek after his judgments. 

15 /c WLy son, blemish not thy good 
deeds, neither use uncomfortable 
words when thou givest any thing. 

16 Shall not the dew asswage the B. C 
heat ? so is a word better than a - ' 

17 Lo, is not a word better than 
a gift ? but both are with a gracious 

18 A fool will upbraid churlishly, 
and a o-ift of the envious consumeth 


the eyes. 

1 g Learn before thou speak, and 
use physick or ever thou be sick. 

20 Before judgment 'examinethy- 'iCor.n 
self, and in the day of visitation thou 2 
shalt find mercy. 

13. toward his neighbour.] The Syr., "him 
that is near in flesh :" this, in accordance with 
Rabbinic usage and ideas. 

reproving, and disciplining, and 
teaching, and bringing back.J The 
reference is to God. 

14. He hath mercy on them that accept 
discipline, and who hasten [make haste] 
after His ordinances.] Lit., "judgments," 
D^DQtJ'D who submit to the discipline which 
He administers and become obedient. The 
Syr. here substitutes : " Happy they who 
hope in His compassion and they who receive 
[approve] His judgments." 

15. Third stanza : see Introd. 

Son, add not blame in thy good deeds."] 
Lit., give not blame, viz. joining words of 
reproach to benefits bestowed a not un- 
common mode of pharisaic churlishness. The 
opposite characteristic in the gifts of God in 
St. James i. 5 one of the many parallelisms 
between that Ep. and Ecclus. (see General 

nor with [in] every gift sadness 
[mourning] of words.] I.e. words that cause 
sadness. The Syr. evidently misunderstood 
this verse. The sentiment is truly Jewish in 
the best sense. 

16. heat."] Perhaps "scorching east- wind:" 
in that case it would mean that it restores 
what such east-wind, DHp, " has scorched " 
(see Grimm, ' Lex. in 1. N* T.' sub Kava-av). 

17. a word.] Viz. a good, kind word. 

better than a gift.'] In the Hebrew pro- 
bably: \mo ate. The Talmud contains 
many similar statements. Thus Sukk. 19 b: 
Alms are rewarded only according to the 
graciousness which accompanies them. In 
' Jer. Peah,' viii. 9, it is pointed out that in 
Ps. xli. 1 it is said, " Blessed is he that con- 
sidered " (not " that giveth to ") " the poor." 
In ' Babh. B.' yb we read that he that gave to 

the poor a Perutah (the smallest coin) was 
blessed with six blessings (according to Is. Iviii. 
S, 9), but he that comforted them with words 
was blessed with eleven blessings (according 
to Is. Iviii. 10-12). Lastly, in 'Ab. de R. 
Nath.' xiii. we are told that if one bestowed on 
another all the gifts in the world, but with an 
unpleasant countenance, it would be reckoned 
as if he had not given anything, while if a man 
received his neighbour with a pleasant face, 
even if he gave him nothing, it would be 
reckoned as if he had bestowed on him all the 
gifts in the world. 

but.] Rather, and. 

gracious.] The same expression in St. Luke 
i. 28. 

18. J fool will upbraid ungraciously, and 
the gift of a churl [fidtricavos, Ecclus. xiv. 
3, and often here not exactly = envious, but 
corresponding to the German scheelsiichtig, 
?nisgunstig] melteth the eyes.] Not, as 
Fritzsche understands it : " causeth weeping," 

but as in Job xxxi. 16, for n?3; here possibly 
D-ry nV? "consumeth the eyes," perhaps 
in the sense of their looking and longing in 

19. This verse begins the second Part. 

use physick.] Rather, attend to thy 
health, or else get thee medicine. 
The Syr. : " before thou lightest procure for 
thyself an helper, and before thou art sick a 

20. Before judgment.] Here evidently 
that of God, whether the controversy be 
between Him and man, or between man and 

and in the hour of visitation thou shalt 
find reconciliation.] Syr.: "Before ad- 
versity comes upon thee, pray, and in the 
hour of adversity thou shalt find it, and it 
will procure favour for thee." The meaning 



[v. 21 26. 

cir. 200. 

21 '"Humble thyself before thou 
be sick, and in the time of sins shew 

22 "Let nothing hinder thee to 
pay thy vow in due time, and defer 
not until death to be justified. 

23 Before thou prayest, prepare 
thyself; and be not as one that 
tempteth the Lord. 

24 "Think upon the wrath that B.C. 
shall be at the end, and the time of ' " 
vengeance, when he shall turn away "^ 7 ' I7 ' 
his face. . 

25 When thou hast enough, re- 
member the time of hunger : and 
when thou art rich, think upon 
poverty and need. 

26 From the mornino; until the 

of the Greek is, that if a man thus makes 
timely self-examination, and combines with it 
humiliation and repentance, judgment will 
not descend upon him. 

22. The second clause may refer to the 
practice of delaying to perform a vow till just 
before death, and then discharging his obliga- 
tion, and thereby becoming "justified," that 
is, escaping punishment. 

In general w. 19-21 are strictly Judaic 
and find their parallel in Rabbinic writings. 
Thus we read (' Jer. Taan.' iii. 6, p. 9 a) : 
" Honour thy physician before thou hast need 
of him." In the Midrash it is quoted as a 
proverb (Shem. R. 21), and explained to 
mean that we are to worship and to entreat 
God before we are overtaken by sickness or 
adversity (comp. Ecclus. xxxviii. 1). In 
another place (Shabb. 32a) we find this: 
" Ever let a man seek mercy before he is ill. 
For when he becomes sick they say to him : 
Shew thy merits, and thou shalt be delivered." 
In Sanh. 44 b we read : " Ever let a man pray 
before adversity comes." Again in Nedar. 
41 a it is said : " The sick does not rise from 
his sickness till all his sins are forgiven him;" 
and in ' Babh. K.' 46 b, " There is no medica- 
ment like the medicine of prayer and of the 
Law." Other passages might be quoted from 
the tractate ' Berakhoth,' setting forth the 
connexion of prayer and humiliation with 
the healing of disease. The Syr. renders the 
passage somewhat differently, and as it seems 
to us, at any rate, paraphrastically. 

23. Before thou vowest, prepare thyself.'] 
That is, we are to consider whether the vow 
should be made, and whether we are prepared 
to perform it. In the Midrash 'Tanchuma' 
(Par. Vayyishlach, ed. Warsh. p. 43 b) this 
saying of Ben Sira is quoted as follows: 
" Before thou vowest, prepare thy vow lest 
thou be [or, that thou be not] as one that 
causcth to err." This agrees with the Syr., 
which, however, renders the second clause: 
"and be not as a man that tempteth his 
lord "possibly altering the UIX of the 
Hebrew original into mx. But from the 
quotation in 'Tanchuma' it would rather 
seem that neither the one nor the other word 
was in the original. The passage is evidently 

based on Eccles. v. 4, 5, with which it is 
brought into connexion in ' Tanchuma.' 

24. The Syr. here paraphrases what the 
translator either did not or else would not 

He member [think upon the] wrath in 
the days of the end [death ?], and the time 
of retribution in the turning away 
[or hiding] of the countenance.] Viz. 
when God shall turn away or hide His 
countenance. This rendering is established 
by the use of the similar expressions in LXX. 
Deut. xxxi. 18, on which, indeed, the saying 
of the Siracide seems founded. Comp. for 
the expression also Deut. xxxii. 20 and other 
passages. (In general we mark the frequent 
reference in Ecclus. to LXX. Deut.) The 
verse under consideration has been generally 
understood as referring to the time of a 
man's death : "the days of the end" = "the 
days of death." But in that case we should 
have expected the singular, not the plural : 
" in the day," as in Ecclus. xi. 26, not " in the 
days." Accordingly we would suggest that 
the expression refers not to " death," but 
represents the Hebrew H^nS : that which 
cometh afterwards, the end, in later Heb. 
especially the future. Indeed, in LXX. Prov. 
xxiv. 14 JVinS is rendered by rikevrf]. Thus 
the meaning of the verse would be : remember 
the wrath in the days hereafter, in the future, 
in the end, and that there will be a time of 
tribulation when He turneth away His coun- 
tenance. We would farther suggest that the 
reference is primarily to the making of vows 
by which God is provoked (v. 24), and 
secondarily to all sins of rashness. Thus it 
would, in the strictest sense, be a paraphrase 
of Eccles. v. 6, which should be rendered 
(not as in the A. V., nor as in the R. V., 
but) : " Suffer not [cause not] thy mouth to 
bring punishment upon thy flesh." 

25. Remember the time of hunger 
in the time of satiety, (and) poverty 
and need in the days of wealth.] 
Here also the reference seems primarily to 
vows rashly made in a season of prosperity 
without bearing in mind the future difficulties 
which this may involve. Besides, the verse 
may also be intended generally to enjoin the 



/ Prov, 
28. 14. 

b. c. evening the time is changed, and all 
.lrjjoo. t j lm are soon done before the Lord. 

27 * A wise man will fear in every 
thing, and in the day of sinning he 
will beware of offence : but a fool 
will not observe time. 

28 Every man of understanding 
knoweth wisdom, and will give praise 
unto him that found her. 

29 They that were of understand- 
ing in sayings became also wise them- 
selves, and poured forth exquisite 

Rom. 6. 20 q Qo not after thy lusts, but 
refrain thyself from thine appetites. 
31 If thou givest thy soul the de- 

sires that please her, she will make b. c. 
thee a laughingstock to thine enemies C1 L!!' 
that malign thee. 

32 Take not pleasure in much 
good cheer, neither be tied to the 
expence thereof. 

33 Be not made a beggar by ban- 
queting upon borrowing, when thou 
hast nothing in thy purse : for thou 
shalt lie in wait for thine own life, 
and be talked on. 


2 Wine and women seduce wise men. 7 Say 
not all thou hcarest. 1 7 Reprove thy friend 
without a?iger. 22 There is no wisdom in 

need of timely preparation for the future. 
The Rabbis are urgent on the same topic, 
chiefly with the view of counselling prepara- 
tion in this life for that which is to come: 
preparing during the week for the Sabbath ; 
providing before setting out for the require- 
ments of the journey, &c. 

26. By a natural transition the writer passes 
to the rapidness of great changes and the con- 
sequent need of preparedness. 

From morning to evening.] I.e. in 
the brief space between these two. For the 
expression, comp. Ruth ii. 7 ; Job iv. 20. 

the time is changed^] We might almost 
incline to regard Kaipos = tempus, in the sense 
of " weather," but it gives good sense even if 
we retain the ordinary rendering " time." 

and all things are rapid before the Lord.~\ 
As the time quickly flieth or else as the 
weather rapidly changes from morning to 
evening, so all things are in their changeful 
occurrence rapid before God. 

27. Omit "but a fool will not observe time." 

A wise man will be careful [cautious] 
in every thing, and in the days of sins i.e. 
in those in which sin abounds will beware 
of offence [transgression].] The Syr. must 
here have had another text, since it conveys a 
different kind of lesson from the Greek. 

28. The Syr. has : " Every wise man has 
to teach wisdom, and to render thanks to them 
that know her." It must be admitted that 
this fits in better with the following verse. 

29. They who are of understanding in 
sayings who understand their meaning 
become also wise themselves probably : also 
display their wisdom, and pour forth 
exquisite proverbs.] Their wisdom shews 
itself in this. 

30. This verse is headed in the Greek text 
by the words : " Mastery (control) over the 
soul." This can scarcely have been in the 
original, and probably slipped from the margin 
into the text. It is therefore all the more 
remarkable that there should be an indication 
of this inscription in the Syr. unless, indeed, 
the translator, or a later " hand," had the 
Greek before him. The heading itself is not 
inapt. In all probability the writer intended 
to begin with v. 30 the exquisite common- 
places or proverbs to which reference was 
made in v. 29. 

but.] Rather, and. 

31. If thou ministerest [suppliest] to 
thy soul the pleasure [gratification] of 
desire [appetite, passion], it will make thee, 
<ft\] Omit the words : " that malign thee." 
A man who gives the reins to his desires will 
soon become a laughing-stock to his enemies. 

32. Delight not in much luxurious- 
ness, nor suffer thyself to be bound 
to its association.] So literally; the 
purport being to warn against being drawn 
into association with, or the society of, bons 
vivans. 2vfil3o\i], in the LXX. always for 
rnin or IVOnO " Luxuriousness," not 
merely in the pleasures of the table, but 
including all the wantonness of which this 
formed part. 

33. banqueting.'] The expression refers to 
having a share in joint banquets. Philo (' de 
Ebr.,' 6, ed. Mang. i. p. 360) makes curious 
reference to such joint feasts, and in haggadic 
manner traces the word o-v/x/3oXoK07reco to a 
connexion between o-u/x/3oXai, the contribu- 
tions to these feasts^ and kotttco, " I strike," 
" wound," " smite." The last clause in the 
A. V. after " thy purse " must be omitted. 
The Syr. paraphrases or rather is a Targum 
on the verse. 




cir. 200. 

-TTL gi 

" Gen. 9. 
91. & 19. 
32. &C. 

* 1 Kings 
ii. 1, 4. 

LABOURING man that is 
given to drunkenness shall not 
be rich : and he that contemneth 
small things shall fall by little and 

2 "Wine and '''women will make 
men of understanding to fall away : 
and he that cleaveth to harlots will 
become impudent. 

3 Moths and worms shall have him 

to heritage, and a bold man shall be B. c. 

' cir. 200. 

taken away. 

4 'He that is hasty to give credit '"josh. 22. 
is lightminded ; ''and he that sinneth "' 
shall offend against his own soul. 3 6. 

5 Whoso talceth pleasure in wick- 
edness shall be condemned : but he 
that resisteth pleasures crowneth his 

6 He that can rule his 



From what seems a confusion in the text of 
w. 3-5, it is not easy to arrange the chapter. 
But its general subject seems an admonition 
to carefulness : first in reference to sinful in- 
dulgence {yv. 1-3 of A. V.); secondly, in 
regard to what we listen to, and say (wv. 4-12 
of A. V.), and what we credit (yv. 13-17). 
Then follows a caution as regards true and 
false wisdom, and what hypocritically assumes 
the appearance of wisdom {yv. 20-28); the 
last two verses forming a general conclusion 
(yv. 29, 30). 

1. This verse connects itself with the close 
of the previous chapter. 

and he that despiseth the few things 
either he who is not careful over the few 
things which he hath, or else he who freely 
spends what in itself seems little, small sums 
shall speedily [soon] fall, in the sense 
of being ruined. The Syr. has: "he that 
loveth flesh shall inherit poverty." It is diffi- 
cult to account for this: the Greek seems 
more congruous with the first clause of v. 1 ; 
the Syr. with i\ 2. 

2. fall away.'] Viz. from God : " will 
become impudent;" rather, will be more 
reckless (daring, audacious), viz. than those 
referred to in the first clause. 

3. moths.] In the wider sense of insects 
of that kind (maggots). 

and a reckless soul shall be de- 
stroyed.] Several considerations seem to 
suggest corruption in the text. Thus the 
description of him that cleaveth to harlots as 
more reckless seems strange, while the second 
clause of i<. 3 is not only needless, but 
weakens the first clause. Accordingly it has 
been suggested that the words "will be 
more reckless " (roK^portpos) have some- 
how intruded from the second clause of v. 3 
($v X t) Tokfxrjpa), and that the verse should 
read : " he that cleaveth to harlots, moths and 
worms shall have him to heritage." This 
would be parallel to such passages as Prov. v. 
5; vii. 26, 27; ix. 18. But in that case it 
would also seem necessary to strike out the 

second clause of v. 3, as now doubly incon- 
gruous. That clause may originally have been 
a marginal gloss, which somehow crept into 
the text, and then in turn gave rise to the 
intrusion of roXfxrjporepos i'o-Tai in v. 2. The 
alterations thus made may seem extensive, 
but they are in accordance with the Syr., 
which has : " and he that cleaveth to whoredom 
shall perish." 

4. The writer now passes to an entirely 
different subject, which is connected with the 
verses following. 

He that hastily [quickly] trusteth 
[giveth credence] who is hasty to give trust 
and credence is of a light mind.] The 
next clause presents difficulties. Its literal 
translation would be: and he that sin- 
neth against his soul shall offend, 
or else be guilty. This, rather than the 
somewhat unnatural arrangement of the 
words adopted in the A. V. and by Fritzsche. 
But in any case it is difficult to see the 
connexion between this and the first clause 
of the verse. As in the LXX. the expression 
" against his own soul " is rendered by eis- 
ttjv tavTov y\rvxr]v (LXX. Prov. xx. 2 ; comp. 
viii. 36) and not i^-vx^v airov, we might be 
inclined to suppose that the Son of Sirach 
had meant that one who sinned against the 
soul of another (not " his own ") by lightly 
crediting a report was guilty of offence. But 
in the Book of Sirach \^u^/) avrov is also 
used for " his own soul." We would there- 
fore suggest that the whole of this difficult 
clause was not in the original, but has some- 
how crept into the Greek text. And we 
are confirmed in this view by the circum- 
stance that the Syr. substitutes for it : " he 
that condemneth himself, who shall justify 
him ? " which is an interpolation from x. 29, 
and is omitted in the Arabic Version. 

5, 6. We notice, first, that clause 2 of v. 5 
and clause 1 of v. 6 must be omitted. But 
even so the Greek text is evidently corrupt. 
Although generally unwilling to adopt ex- 
tensive emendations, yet those proposed by 
Drusius are so reasonable and give such a 
good meaning that we accept them, although 

v. 7 io-] 



B. C. 
cir. 200. 

' ch. 41. 

II Or, 

of friend 


shall live without strife ; and he 
that hateth babbling shall have less 

7 ''Rehearse not unto another that 
which is told unto thee, and thou 
shalt fare never the worse. 

8 Whether it be "to friend or foe, 
talk not of other men's lives ; and if 

thou canst without offence, reveal 
them not. 

9 For he heard and observed thee, 
and when time cometh he will ;1 hate 

10 If thou hast heard a word, let 
it die with thee j and be bold, it will 
not burst thee. 


cir. 200. 

II Or, sluiu 
his /tat red. 

they involve some difficulties. The present 
text runs : 6 ev(j)paiv6p.evos KapSta Karayva>- 
o-di'iaeTai "he that rejoiceth in heart" [is 
of joyous heart (?)] " shall be condemned ; " 
ical 6 purcov Xakiav eXctTTovovTcii Kaiciq " and 
he that hateth babbling shall have less evil." 
Even Fritzsche admits that nothing can be 
made of Kap8ia in the first clause. It is 
therefore easiest to suppose with Drusius 
that the KapSiq of the first clause, and the 
KciKLq of the second, have been misplaced and 
must be interchanged. This gives a very 
good sense for the first clause: "He that 
taketh pleasure in evil shall be condemned," 
i.e. he whose delight it is to hear and spread 
evil. In the second clause a further emen- 
dation is required. Drusius supposes that 
the Hebrew text had r\W, "he that repeateth 
a thing," lit. a word, and that the translator 
misread it W, "he that hateth," and ac- 
cordingly rendered " he that hateth babbling " 
(~Q"I). That the original had " he that re- 
peateth " is confirmed by the Syr., which has 
the same word. The difficulties unsolved 
are the substitution of the X for the H, and 
that in i>. 7 what at first sight seem to have 

been the same Hebrew words (i"l3B>FI ?X 
~Q"I) are correctlv rendered in the Greek : 

T T J * 

fir)8eTTOT 8evTepa>(TT]s \6yov (but see v. 7). 
Still the suggestion of Drusius offers the only 
satisfactory emendation of the verse. We 
have little doubt that the same inattention or 
ignorance which appears in the rendering " he 
that hateth babbling," also led to the strange 

error of literally translating 27 ">pn by 

iXciTTovovrai KapStq. Thus corrected, the 
second clause in the Hebrew may have read 

as follows: 2?"lDn (1212;) "I2"7 T\yff\ : 

"-: tt: t t - * 

and the whole verse {yv. 5, 6 in A. V.) would 
have to be thus rendered : He that taketh 
pleasure in evil shall be condemned; 
and he that repeateth a matter is 
wanting in understanding. 

7. Never repeat a speech [a word], 
and thou sbalt fare never the ivorse.] Thus 
in the Greek. In the Syriac the last clause 
reads : " and no one shall revile thee." The 
Greek evidently took the root to be "IDII, 
while the Syr. derived the word from IDIl in 

the Piel, " to revile." Which of these was 
correct ? We incline to the Syr., which 
would be a virtual adaptation of Prov. xxv. 
9 b, iort. If we were conjecturally to re- 
construct it according to that passage, the 
Hebrew of v. 7 may have differed from that 
in v. 6 (see above), and perhaps have run as 

follows: vhx ^boh? a6\?] Q'j bjrrta, 

" reveal not a matter [we prefer giving "DT 
the wider meaning of " matter," rather than 
" word " or " speech "J lest man revile thee ; " 

or if K?1, "and no one shall revile thee." 
But perhaps the construction may have been 
somewhat different. 

8. Our conjecture of the derivation of v. 7 
from Prov. xxv. gb, ion, is strengthened by 
v. 8, which would be an enlargement of the 

advice in Prov. in fact, we have the 73H ?X 
in the pi) atroKcikviTTe at the close of the 
verse. The Syr. has here something quite 
different whether by way of "targum" or 
otherwise, it is impossible to say. But we 
cannot suppose that it gives a correct repre- 
sentation of the Hebrew text, if only because 
it dees not in any wise fit into the context. 
The Greek text runs: Eelate not [viz. a 
speech, or any matter] whether to friend 
or to foe [an enlargement on Prov. xxv. 9], 
and, unless sin [fault, blame] attach to 
thee, reveal (it) not, i.e. either in the 
sense that blame or guilt would be imputed 
or else that it would really accrue, in which 
cases it would be duty to disclose a matter. 

9. The Syr. has : " lest he that heareth thee 
hateth thee, and regard thee as an harmful 
person." This seems a closer paraphrase 
of Prov. xxv. 10 than the Greek text. But 
the whole section to the end of v. 12 bears 
evident reference to that passage. The 
verse reads: For he heareth thee, and 
is on his guard against thee; and on 
occasion [when occasion arises] he will 
hate thee; he will not only feel, but shew 
hatred. Groti us aptly : occasione exact a odium 
tui monstrabit. 

10. Hast thou heard a thing 1 ? [lit. 
"a word," but Xuyov here = "121]. Let it die 
with thee. Take courage! [cheer up.] It 
will not burst thee.'] For this latter the Syr. 
uses another illustrative figure. 



[v. II 20. 


Matt. 18. 

. 1! - c. 1 1 A fool travailcth with a word, 

cir. 200. ' 

' as a woman in labour of a child. 

12 As an arrow that sticketh in a 
man's thigh, so is a word within a 
12k fool's ' belly. 

/"Lev. 19. 13 -^Admonish a friend, it may be 
he hath not done it : and if he have 
done it, that he do it no more. 

14 "Admonish thv friend, it may 
be he hath not said it : and if he 
have, that he speak it not again. 

15 Admonish a friend : for many 
times it is a slander, and believe not 
every tale. 

16 There is one that slippeth in 
willingly, his speech, but not 'from his heart ; 

and who is he that hath not offended B - c. 

1 1 . 3 cir. 200. 

with his -^tongue r 

17 "Admonish thy neighbour be- f &" 2 I 5 4 ' 8- 
fore thou threaten him; and not James 3 . 2. 
being angry, give place to the law of Jg^. 
the most High. 

18 A The fear of the Lord is the A Prv. 
first step "to be accepted [of him,] ch 7 4 o. 26. 
and wisdom obtaineth his love. Or, of 

19 The knowledge of the com- Z'/u/"'* 
mandments of the Lord is the doc- 
trine of life : and they that do things 

that please him shall * receive the ' Rev. 2. 7 . 
fruit of the tree of immortality. & 22- 2 ' I4 

20 The fear of the Lord is all 
wisdom : and in all wisdom is the 

11, 12. Two apt illustrations follow. " A 
fool will travail over [by reason of] a 

matter \_d7r0 7rpoo"w7rou \uyov = ~QT ^S?^] 
as over an infant she that giveth 
birth. An arrow stuck in the fleshy 
thigh, so (is) a matter [lit. "word," as 
above] in the inside of a fool." In the 
Heb. (after the analogy of Ps. xl. 9) probably 

bap *JJ Spri2: this, rather than 1$2, since 

27 is never rendered in the LXX. by Koikla ; 
or it may have been, though less probably, 
27)3. The Syr. : " the thigh of a man." 

13. The writer proceeds a step further. 
From warning against telling a thing, he goes 
on to caution against crediting a matter or 
else allowing it a permanent influence. 

Cross-question a friend.] More than 
merely "question," and not exactly "ad- 
monish," = the German zurecbt-zueisen, pro- 
bably somewhat stronger than Fritzsche's 
?<r Rede stellen: frequently in the LXX.= 
ITrsin. The Syr. adds: "that he may not 
do evil." This would require in the Greek 
77-01)7077, instead of the iirolrjcre of the text. 

and if he did something.] I.e. if he did 
any part, although perhaps not the whole of 
what is imputed to him, &c. 

14. Cross-question [perhaps: "expos- 
tulate with "and so in the following verses] 
a friend, perhaps he did not say 
(it) [the Syr. makes here an alteration in the 
verb similar to that in v. 13] ; and if be has 
said (it), that be may not repeat (it) 
[say it again].] Fritzsche supposes that the 
subject of the admonition, alike in vv. 13 
and 14, is "a friend," and that the difference 
lies in this, that in the one case his deed, in 
the other his speech, is the object of expostu- 
lation. Fritzsche reads with C, Sin., some 

MSS., the Syr., and Vet. Lat, "the neigh- 
bour " instead of " a friend." In that case 
the distinction seems to extend also to the 
persons in the one case, a friend; and the 
admonition would be, that we should speak 
to a friend about what he is supposed to 
have done, and to a neighbour about what he 
is reported to have said. 

15. Admonish.'] Rather, cross-question; 
see v. 13. 

16. There is that slippeth [omit "in 
his speech"]; but not from his soul.] The 
reference here seems not to sins of speech 
(Fritzsche), but to slips in outward conduct, 
which do not always proceed from inward 
badness, so that we must not in all cases 
judge the one from the other. 

and <who sinned not <witb his tongue?] 
Sins of deed do not necessarily imply a bad 
heart, and every one is guilty of sins of speech. 
Syr. : " For there is that sinneth but not from 
the heart, and there is that stumbleth but 
not with the tongue." 

17. Omit in the second clause the words 
" not being angry." 

Admonish [rather, cross-question] before 
thou threaten, and give place to the laiv of 
the most High.] Fritzsche understands this 
to mean that in doing as directed in the first 
clause we shall obey the law of God, as in 
Lev. xix. 17. But the phrase means, as in 
Rom. xii. 19, Eph. iv. 27, "to give free scope 
to a thing." Here : expostulate first, and, 
if needful, reprove and threaten ; but beyond 
this allow the Law of God to take its course, 
give free course to it. Thus Rom. xii. 19 
would really be a reference to this passage. 
The Syr. is here quite different. 

18. 19. These verses must be omitted. 
20. All wisdom is fear of the Lord; 

V. 21- 





cir. 200. 

* Matt. si. 

performance of the law, and the 
knowledge of his omnipotency. 

21 *If a servant say to his master, 
I will not do as it pleaseth thee ; 
though afterward he do it, he anger- 
eth him that nourisheth him. 

22 The knowledge of wickedness 
is not wisdom, neither at any time 
the counsel of sinners prudence. 

23 There is a wickedness, and the 
same an abomination ; and there is a 
fool wanting- in wisdom. 

24 He that hath small understand- 

ing, and feareth God, is better than b. c. 
one that hath much wisdom, and ar ^' 
transgresseth the law of the most 

25 There is an exquisite subtilty, 
and the same is unjust ; and there is 
one that turneth aside to make judg- 
ment appear ; and there is a wise 
man that "justifieth in judgment. 11 Or, 

26 There is a wicked man that"'* get 
hangeth down his head " sadly ; but Or, 
inwardly he is full of deceit, 

27 Casting down his countenance, 

in black. 

and in all wisdom (there) is doing [ful- 
filling, observance] of the Law.'] The words 
that follow in the A. V. must be omitted. 
The writer naturally passes from reference 
to the Law of God to true wisdom, which is 
its fulfilment. As regards the expression 
"doing of the Law," we again mark a 
similar use in St. James i. 25 (comp. v. 22), 
and the parallelism extends beyond the 
wording to the reasoning. But in the form 
in which the saying appears in Ecclus. it is 
so Alexandrian that we instinctively turn to 
the Syr. This has : " The words of prophecy 
and all wisdom is the fear of the Lord [re- 
ligion ?], and the fear of God is wisdom." If 
we could accept this as representing or 
approximating to the true text, it would, 
first, imply a desire to combine the prophetic 
and the " Wisdom "-books of the Old Testa- 
ment as constituting the substance of true 
religion ; and thus, secondly, represent the 
via media in the combination of a moderate 
Hellenism with Palestinianism, before their 
separation and later antagonism ; in short, 
what we consider to have been the peculiar 
theological standpoint of which the Book of 
Sirach is the expression. It is scarcely neces- 
sary to add that if we adopt the Syriac text, 
the Greek rendering must be regarded as 
an Alexandrian adaptation by the younger 

21. This verse must be omitted. 

22. And wisdom is not knowledge 
of wickedness, nor is, where the counsel 
of sinners (is), prudence.] Or else, " there is 
no case where the counsel of sinners is pru- 
dence." Fritzsche omits Sttov with the Alex. : 
" nor is the counsel of sinners prudence." 
The verse seems aptly to follow the reasoning 
of v. 20. The Syr. gives the sentiment in 
a concrete form : " He is not wise who is 
wicked," &c. 

23. As the first clause yields no proper 
meaning, Fritzsche proposes to substitute for 
TrovrjpLa, " wickedness," iravovpyia, " clever- 

ness," as in t\ 25 supposing that novqpla 
had crept in from the preceding verse. But 
there is little MS. support for this emenda- 
tion. Besides, even if we were so to correct 
the first clause of the verse, a similar want 
of meaning exists in the second clause. On 
the other hand, it has been well suggested 
that a comparison with the Syr. shews that 
the word irovrjpia, " wickedness," in the first 
clause, has been interchanged with o-cxpia, 
" wisdom," in the second clause. Thus cor- 
rected, the text reads: "There is a wisdom 
and it is an abomination, and there is a 
silly person who is without [free from] 
wickedness." With this the following 
verse agrees. 

24. Better one inferior in under- 
standing who feareth (the Lord) than 
one who excelleth [aboundeth] in cle- 
verness and transgresseth the Law.] 
The Syr. is only a virtual repetition of the 
previous verse. 

25. There is an exact [accurate, precise] 
prudence [subtilty], and it is unjust.] 
The outcome of this precise subtilty is not 
truth nor justice, but unrighteousness and 

and there is that turneth aside (judg- 
ment) for the sake of making it ap- 
pear judgment.] I.e. he not only makes 
his turning aside of judgment appear as if it 
were true judgment, but he is so subtle as 
to give to that which is really a turning aside 
of judgment the appearance of having been 
done for the sake of shewing forth judgment 
and vindicating the right. The clause is 
confessedly very difficult. We supply Kpipa 
after t)tao-Tpe(pa>v ; the same expression occurs 
in LXX. Ex. xxiii. 6 for DBIPO HUn. 

t : * t * 

26. The transition is natural from the 
clever deceiver to the clever impostor. 
"There is that is wicked who is bowed 
down with sadness, and . . ." 

27. He boweth down the face and 



[V. 23-: 


cir. 200. 

' ch. 21. 

and making as if he heard not : 
where he is not known, he will do 
thee a mischief before thou be aware. 

28 And if for want of power he be 
hindered from sinning, yet when he 
findeth opportunity he will do evil. 

29 A man may be known by his 
look, and one that hath understand- 
ing by his countenance, when thou 
meetest him. 

30 A man's attire, and l excessive 
laughter, and gait, shew what he is. 


I Of silence and speaking. 10 Of gifts and 
gain. 18 Of slipping by the tongue. 24 Of 
lying. 27 Of divers advertisements. 

THERE is a reproof that is not B.C. 
11 . . cir. 200. 

"comely: again, some man 

holdeth his tongue, and he is wise. leason- 

2 It is much better to reprove, able - 
than to be angry secretly: "and he " Pro v. 
that confesseth his fault shall be 2 ' I3 ' 
preserved from hurt. 

3 How good is it, when thou art 
reproved, to shew repentance ! for 
so shalt thou escape wilful sin. 

4 As is the lust of an '''eunuch to b ch. 30. 
deflower a virgin ; so is he that exe- 2< 
cuteth judgment with violence. 

5 There is one that keepeth silence, 
and is found wise : and another by 
much babbling becometh hateful. 

is deaf with one ear; when he is not 
observed [perceived], he will antici- 
pate [surprise, prevent] thee.] The A. V. 
correctly gives the meaning of the writer. 

29. By bis look [i.e. by what is seen of 
him, as it were the impression made by his 
appearance "'XID] shall a man be 
known, and one that bath understanding 
shall be known occursu faciei by the 
meeting of countenance.] I.e. by the 
manner in which his countenance is met, the 
expression it wears. 

30. The Talmud also gives rules in regard 
to appearance and demeanour by which a man 
may be known. Two of those here men- 
tioned dress and gait are referred to in 
Ber. 43 b. Comp. also the three things in 
which it is said that a man shews what is in 
him: in his cups, in his purse, and in his 
anger, to which is added as a fourth in his 
merriment (Erubh. 65 b). 


From the long parenthesis in chap. xix. 
20-30 the writer returns to the topic of 
chap. xix. 13-17. The main subject discussed 
in chap. xx. seems to be that of speech. The 
various points in the reasoning are somewhat 
loosely connected rather linked together 
than of one piece. But this is characteristic 
of the whole book. In the first eight verses 
the advantages and disadvantages of silence 
and speech are discussed; the moral being 
that it is impossible to lay down any absolute 
rule, and that sometimes what seems the 
worse is the better and more desirable, and 
vice vend. This leads the writer into a 
series of other illustrations, -w. 9-13. With 
y. 1 4 the writer returns to his subject, treat- 
ing of the silly man in his talk (yv. 14-17), 
of the unpleasant man in his conversation 
(vv. 18-20), of rashness, especially in speech 

(w. 21-23), of f a l se speaking (yv. 24-26), 
and lastly, of the bearing of the wise, whether 
as regards speech, silence, or conduct. 

1. There is an expostulation [arguing, 
t'XeyXos] which is not seasonable.] 
'Qpalos bears the twofold sense of our word 
" seasonable," timely and seemly. As pre- 
viously indicated, there is not an exact English 
equivalent for eXey^oj : it is not precisely 
admonition nor yet reproof, but that arguing 
which may imply either, or both, or on the 
other hand may fall short of them. The 
second clause is, if not quite literally, yet so 
forcibly rendered in the A. V. and so fully 
expresses the meaning of the writer that it 
had best be adopted, although for " again, 
some man " it will be better to substitute 
"and there is." 

2. How mucb better to expostulate 
tban to cherish anger.] Omit " his fault." 

hurt.] Rather, damage. The Syr. has 
here something quite different. 

Omit v. 3 in A. V. 

4. We should be disposed to regard this 
as an interpolation, since, at first sight at 
least, it does not seem to fit into the context, 
but it occurs also in the Syr. If, however, 
we regard itouiv Kpt/iara not as meaning to 
execute judgment, but, like D'tpstPO nb'J?, 
in the Heb. and in the LXX., as occasionally 
meaning "to do judgments," in the sense of 
doing what is righteous, it would yield a 
good sense: "so he that doeth judg- 
ments (but) in [by] violence." The 
point of comparison in the coarse illustration 
of clause 1 would then be the incongruity 
and impossibility of the attempt in both cases. 
If this be the correct view, -v. 4 may be con- 
nected with the first clause of i\ 2. 

5. There is that keepeth silence who is 
found tvise, and there is that is odious 

v. 6 1 5.] 



cir. 200. 

c Eccles. 

6 Some man holdeth his tongue, 
because he hath not to answer : and 
some keepeth silence, ^knowing his 

7 A wise man will hold his d tongue 
till he see opportunity : but a babbler 
and a fool will regard no time. 

8 He that useth many words shall 
be abhorred ; and he that taketh to 
himself authority therein shall be 

9 There is a sinner that hath good 
success in evil things ; and there is a 
gain that turneth to loss. 

10 There is a gift that shall not 
profit thee ; and there is a gift whose 
recompence is double. 

1 1 There is an abasement because 
of glory ; and there is that lifteth up 
his head, from a low estate. 

12 There is that buyeth much for 
a little, and repayeth it sevenfold. 

13 e A wise man by his words 
maketh himself beloved : but the 
11 graces of fools shall be 'poured out. 

14 The gift of a fool shall do thee 
no good when thou hast it ; neither 
yet of the envious for his necessity : 
"for he looketh to receive many 
things for one. 

15 He giveth little, and ^upbraid- 
eth much ; he openeth his mouth 
like a crier ; to day he lendeth, and 
to morrow will he ask it again : such 


cir. 200. 

' ch. 6. 5. 

I Or, 


II Or, lost, 
or, spilt. 

II Gr. for 
his eyes 
arc many 

for one to 

f ch. 41. 

on account of [through] much talk.] 
" Found," probably N^'P?, and used in the 
same wide sense as = turn out, appear, be. 

6. There is that is silent, because he 
hath not a reply; and there is that is 
silent, knowing the proper time [the 
opportunity, nj?j.] There is the silence of 
the foolish because he has nothing to say ; 
and there is the silence of the wise, who 
waiteth for the proper time and opportunity 
for speaking. 

7. A wise man will he silent till the 
proper time, but a hoaster and a fool 
will pass beyond the opportunity.] 

The one because he deems himself inde- 
pendent of opportunity, the other because he 
does not discern it. 

8. and he that assumeth authority^] 
That is, he who speaks in an authoritative 
manner, as if every one must listen and obey. 

9. There is prosperity in adversity 
[lit. 'evils"" to a man [that is, as we 
understand it, what appears to be adverse 
may turn out for good], and there is a gain 
unto loss. 

10. " Recompence " = return, 7-1D3 ; 

"double," rather twofold. The Rabbis 
speak of certain good deeds, the fruit or 
interest of which is enjoyed in this world, 
while the capital itself still remaineth for the 
next world (Peah, i. 1; Shabb. 127 a; QJdd. 
39 b, 40 a). But here it probably refers to 
the return which men make to us for our 
benefits. The Syr. of w. 10 b and 11 is 
quite different. 

11. There is loss [damage] on account 
of glory.] That is, a man may sustain loss 
or damage by reason of the glory which he 
either seeks after or attains unto. 

from a low estate.'] Out of a low estate, 
out of humiliation. The expression " there 
is " = there may be. The attainment of high 
estate may entail real loss, while sinking to a 
humble condition may issue in real exaltation. 
In all these matters outward or temporary 
appearance must not deceive us. 

12. In the end it will cost him seven times 
the amount : " repayeth," D?t?\ 

13. The wise man by his speech . . . but 
the amenities of fools shall be poured out.] 
That is, all the speeches and the like in 
which fools do their best to make themselves 
pleasant shall be like water, or some other 
fluid, that shall be poured away. 

14. The middle clauses in A. V. must be 

The gift of one [who is] senseless [silly, 

foolish bw, or else ^DD] shall not 
profit thee, for in his view [opinion, lit. 
his eves in the Heb. VJ^B, "in his eyes,'' 
or it 'may have been W '"3 = WJD] in- 
stead of one many.] I.e. he considers 
one thing as if they were many : not neces- 
sarily with a view to the return which he 
expects, but it is characteristic of certain 
persons that they look upon every little thing 
that they have or bestow as if it were an 
immense quantity, and so indefinitely multiply- 
in their own minds any favour or benefit. 
This view is confirmed by the following 
verse. [We would here call attention to the 
Syr. and the Vet. Lat., both for their addi- 
tions and the remarkable agreement between 
them, as specially noticed in the General 
Introduction, VIII., when treating of the 
Vet. Lat.] 

15. Omit the closing words " of God and 




[v. 1 6 24. 

B. c. an one is to be hated of God and 

cir. 200. 


16 The fool saith, I have no friends, 
I have no thank for all my good 
deeds, and they that eat my bread 
speak evil of me. 

17 How oft, and of how many 
shall he be laughed to scorn ! for he 
knoweth not aright what it is to 
have j and it is all one unto him as if 
he had it not. 

18 To slip upon a pavement is 
better than to slip with the tongue : 
so the fall of the wicked shall come 

1 or, speedily. 

Anun- in 'An unseasonable tale will 

pleasant 1 1 1 1 r 1 

/Menu., always be in the mouth or the unwise. 

20 A wise sentence shall be re- b. c. 
jected when it cometh out of a fool's -L-!? 
mouth ; for he will not speak it in 
due season. 

21 There is that is hindered from 
sinning through want : and when he 
taketh rest, he "shall not be troubled. ^Gr. shall 

22 ^There is that destroyeth his pricked. 
own soul through bashfulness, and e ch. 42. 1. 
by accepting of persons overthroweth 

23 There is that for bashfulness 
promiseth to his friend, and maketh 
him his enemy for nothing. 

24 h A lie is a foul blot in a man, h ch - 2 s- z 
yet it is continually in the mouth of 
the untaught. 

16. speak et'il of me.'] We should prefer 
rendering: are paltry [sorry] of tongue. 
<Pav\os gives the idea of meanness rather than 
evil, and this suits the context very well, since 
a silly, boastful person who had an over- 
weening opinion of himself would not com- 
plain that those who receive his benefits eat 
his bread speak evil of him, but that they do 
not make enough of him or of his good 
deeds, give him not sufficient public praise, 
are mean and sorry of speech. 

17. Omit all after " laughed to scorn." 

18. The subject of w. 5 and following is 
now resumed, although tongue and speech 
have throughout been in the mind of the 

A slip [Slipping] on [because of, on 
account of] the ground rather than by 
[in] the tongue; so the fall of the wicked 
shall come speedily [quickly].] The idea seems 
to be: A slip on the ground brings a person 
to a sudden fall ; but a slip as regards speech 
is far worse : he who committeth sins of 
speech may look for a sudden fall, far worse 
in every sense than the sudden downfall of a 
person who slips while he walks. The Syr. 
is quite different. 

19. An ungracious man [is like] un- 
seasonable talk [speech, saying]: in 
the mouth of the uncultured it will 
be continuous.] Viz. as unseasonable 
not necessarily foolish or wrong talk is con- 
tinuous in the mouth of uncultured persons, 
so is an ungracious personage : even when in 
the right he is always mal a propos. This is 
followed out in the next verse. 

20. A parable from the mouth of a 
fool shall be rejected [not necessarily 
because it is silly or false, but from this 

cause] , for he speaketh it not in its sea- 
son.] It is spoken unseasonably : so an 
ungracious person is always unseasonable in 
what he says and does, even if in itself it 
were right, and like an unseasonable saying 
he is rejected. 

21. Silence from want of having anything 
proper to say may be preferable to unseason- 
able speech. This is illustrated by an 
analogous case. 

There is that is hindered from sinning through 
<want.~\ Lack of means prevents his sinning 
just as a man may be silent because he has 
not anything to say. But what of that ? So 
far from being a real disadvantage: and in 
his repose he shall not feel remorse. 
Once more the Syr. is, for one reason or 
another, not of any help to us. 

22. On the other hand, there is false and 
wrong silence: "there is that through bash- 
fulness destroyeth himself" (lit. his 

soul, 1K'D3) = he is ashamed or afraid to speak 
out and ruins himself by such silence "and 
through a silly face overthroweth 
himself." The Syr. has "by covering his 
face." This may be merely a Targum of 
the Hebrew, just as the Greek was probably 
a paraphrase of it or there may have been a 
confusion of the roots HD3, " to cover," and 

^D3, " to be foolish." 

- T J 

23. Similarly bashfulness may lead a person 
by his silence to give the impression of having 
made a promise to a friend, and thereby turn 
him into an enemy "for nothing " when there 
is really no cause for it. 

24. in the mouth of the uncultured 
it will be continuous.] They will always 
tell and do lies. 

V. 252.] 


1 1 1 

cir. 200. 

I Or, 

25 A thief is better than a man 
that is accustomed to lie : but they 
both shall have destruction to heri- 

ta s e - 

26 The disposition of a liar is 'dis- 
honourable, and his shame is ever 
with him. 

27 A wise man shall promote him- 
self to honour with his words : and he 
that hath understanding will please 
great men. 

28 'He that tilleth his land shall 
increase his heap : and he that pleas- 
eth great men shall get pardon for 

29 ^Presents and gifts blind the 
Or, as a eyes of the wise, and "stop up his 

nuzzle z J , , , 

he mouth, mouth that he cannot reprove. 

2. 11. 

'i 28. 19. 


)eut. 16. 

30 Wisdom that is hid, and trea- B. c. 
sure that is hoarded up, what profit c "jjf' 
is in them both ? 

31 l Better is he that hideth his'_ ch -4i- 
folly than a man that hideth his 

32 Necessary patience in seeking 
the Lord is better than he that lead- 
eth his life without a guide. 


2 Flee from sin as from a serpent. 4 His 
oppression will undo the rich. 9 The end of 
the unjust shall be nought. 12 The difference 
between the fool and the wise. 

MY son, hast thou sinned ? do 
so no more, but "ask pardon "Ps. 41. 4. 
for thy former sins. 2I " e I5 " 

2 Flee from sin as from the face 

26. The Syr. has instead of what is ren- 
dered " disposition " the word " end." It 
has been suggested that the Heb. had JVV1X, 
" the end," " what cometh after," and that the 
Greek misread it fl'llTlS, "the paths;" in 
which case the Greek would have to be 
corrected: "The end of a liar is dishonour, 
and his shame is continuous with him." But 
it must be admitted that the Greek gives also 
a good sense and that it suits the context, 
while, on the other hand, the second clause 
in the Syr. shews that the rendering of the 
verse was paraphrastic, in which case we can 
understand the use of the word " end " for 
" paths," mode of life. 

27. From sin and folly in speech, with 
their consequences, the writer again turns to 
wisdom in speech. The Vatican text has 
here again an inscription : " Sayings of 
Parables," or rather " Parabolic " or " Pro- 
verbial sayings." This has evidently crept 
into the text from the margin. It seems 
probable that these inscriptions represent an 
early attempt to arrange the somewhat loosely 
connected reasoning, especially in some parts, 
of this book under definite headings. " Shall 
promote himself" = make himself promoted. 

and a prudent man will please the 
great [Bissell].] The morality of the senti- 
ment is not very elevated. The Syr. is 
doubtful and at best paraphrastic. 

28. and he that pleasetb the great shall 
atone for unrighteousness.] The point 
of comparison is successful labour : as regards 
the soil (comp. Prov. xii. 11) and as regards 
" the great " in both cases it is not easy, but 
in both it will certainly yield a good return. 
The Syr. is quite different. 

29. Presents [to guests xenia, in Lat. as 
in Gr.] and gifts blind the eyes of the ivise 
[all but the first word is a quotation from 
LXX. Deut. xvi. 19]; and, as a muzzle 
on the mouth, they turn away re- 
proofs [Bissell]. 

30, 31. These verses occur again in xli. 14, 
15. They may have been common sayings; 
but their repetition in the one or the other 
place is probably due to a marginal reference. 

that is boarded?^ Rather, that is not 
seen, or, that does not appear. Ineither 
case, to be of use they must be brought forth. 

he.~] Lit. a man. 

32. This verse in A. V. must be omitted. 


The writer returns in -v. 1 to xix. 1 3 . 
But it is difficult to perceive any orderly 
arrangement in this chapter, which is even 
more loosely strung together than others. 
It was perhaps on this ground that the mar- 
ginal heading (see xx. 27) "Parabolic" or 
" Proverbial sayings " was chosen. We can, 
however, mark the antithetic description of 
the sinner and the righteous, and, side by 
side with it, of the wise and the fool. The 
best arrangement seems to be that of grouping 
the chapter into triplets of verses (t\ 28 form- 
ing a general conclusion), in which case a 
progression of thought may be marked. 

1. Comp. xix. 13^. "Thy former:" viz. 
sins or else doings. Lit. entreat for thy 
former ones. 

2. " As from the face of" = as from before, 
L'TU \3BQ3. The danger of sin is illustrated 
by three figures: the serpent in its stealthy 



[v. 3-8. 

B. C. 

cir. 200. 

* Exod. 


& 22. 23. 

Ps. 34. 6. 

of a serpent: for if thou comest too 
near it, it will bite thee : the teeth 
thereof are as the teeth of a lion, 
slaying the souls of men. 

3 All iniquity is as a two edged 
sword, the wounds whereof cannot 
be healed. 

4 To terrify and do wrong will 
waste riches : thus the house of proud 
men shall be made desolate. 

5 *A prayer out of a poor man's 

mouth reacheth to the ears of God, B.C. 
and his judgment cometh speedily. cin^oo. 

6 ''He that hateth to be reproved c Prov. 
is in the way of sinners : but he that ^'^ IO- 
feareth the Lord will "repent from his 11 Gr. be 
heart. ""H 

7 An eloquent man is known far 
and near ; but a man of understand- 
ing knoweth when he slippeth. 

8 rf He that buildeth his house d J er - 22. 
with other men's money is like one ' 

and unobserved approach ; the lion with his 
destructive teeth ; and the two-edged sword 
with its incurable wounds. 

too near.] Rather, near. 
slaying.'] Perhaps a somewhat too strong 

souh.~\ Here in the sense of the Heb. CS3, 
and not in that which in English commonly 
attaches to the word. The Syr. text is 

3. Every transgression (is) as a two- 
edged savord : for the wound thereof 
there is not healing. 

4. Second triplet. Terrifying and vio- 
lence the one perhaps referring to words, 
the other to deeds, or else : violence and 

so the house of the proud shall be 
made desolate.] "The proud" are the Heb. 
DK1, in the O. T. sense of " proud," which 
implies ungodliness. In fact, the clause is a 
reproduction of Prov. xv. 25, although the 
LXX. there renders DK| JV3 by o'Uovs 

5. The prayer ofthepoor (reacheth) from 
the mouth [viz. of the petitioner] to his 
ears [viz. those of the proud].] The A. V. 
and some interpreters refer the " his " to God, 
and would have us translate : " The prayer out 
of the mouth of a poor man reacheth to His 
ears," viz. those of God. But, first, " out of 
the mouth of the poor " would have been e< 
(TTOfxaros TrTa>xv 'i secondlv, pravers that 
reach not " to " but " into " the ears of God 
are in the LXX. not rendered by W, which 
cannot mean " to " in the sense of " into," but 
'up to," the loci terminus ad quern. The 
LXX. in such cases uses els, as in LXX. Ps. 
xvn. 7, ds tu cora ai/Tov, or else the writer 
would have chosen such an expression as in 
Ps. xxxiv. 15 (LXX. Ps. xxxiii. 16), with which 
his thought would have been strictly parallel. 
Lastly, the avrov, " his," of v. 5 most natu- 
rally refers to "the proud" mentioned in 
v. 4. So also Grotius, Fritzsche, and Bret- 
schneider. Accordingly the judgment spoken 

of in the second clause of v. 5 must be re- 
garded as that of " the proud," unto but not 
into whose ears the prayer of the poor reacheth. 
The most curious attempt at interpretation is 
that of the Aethiop. : " When the poor man 
asketh, he gapes as far as his ears." [Here 
and in other references to the Aethiop. : 

6. He that hateth reproof (is) in the 
track [in the wake] of the sinner.] Which 
perhaps is not the same as " he walketh in the 
way of the sinner" = in a sinful way, but 
rather that he walks in the footsteps, the track, 
which sinners who also refuse reproof have left. 

reproof?] e'Xey/xos, " expostulation," "moral 
argument." The first clause of the verse 
evidently refers back to xix. 13-17, and the 
second clause to xix. 20. 

but he that feareth the Lord ivill repent 
[turneth] in heart.] The same verb is 
frequently used in the N. T. to indicate 

7. Third triplet. Known from afar is 
he that is mighty in tongue, and [not 
"but"] his slips [or "errors"] will not 
escape the man of understanding.] 
Generally, the " mighty in tongue " is sup- 
posed to mean an eloquent man who is known 
from afar, as Fritzsche explains, easily. But 
ficiKpodei/ is not used in that sense, nor is it 
easy to perceive either the meaning of an 
eloquent man being known from afar or the 
fitness of introducing him in that connec- 
tion. As the whole triplet is condemnatory 
in its character, we regard the expression 
" mighty in tongue " as used in an ironical or 
rather an evil sense, and as referring to " the 
tongue that speaketh great things," Ps. xii. 4. 
In fact, " the mighty in tongue " are the same 
as those in Ps. xii. 5, "who say, With our 
tongues we will prevail" the dwaros iv 

ykuxTo-r) is the |i^3 "V3JE> (this rather than 

the 7 of Ps. xii. 5 see Delitzschav/ loc), 1133 
being in the LXX. commonly rendered by 

8. The last words in the second clause are 



I: 3 

B.C. that gathereth himself stones for the 
cirjaoo. tom k Q f ^jg b ur j a l # 

ch. 16. 6. 9 e The congregation of the wicked 
is like tow wrapped together : and 
the end of them is a flame of fire to 
destroy them. 

10 The way of sinners is made 
plain with stones, but at the end 
thereof is the pit of hell. 
I7 II /He that keepeth the law of 

the Lord getteth the understanding B.C. 
thereof : and the perfection of the ' 
fear of the Lord is wisdom. 

12 -^He that is not "wise will not ^ Prov. 
be taught : ; 'but there is a wisdom 1 1" 

o il Or 

which multiplieth bitterness. -witty. 

13 The ''knowledge of a wise man '' Eccies. 

II Or, 

shall abound like a flood: and his 
counsel is like a pure fountain of f ' J 

rendered in the A. V. according to Co., or 
rather 248, 106, which agree with the Syr. 
In this reading els x^H- a IS substituted for els 
XeLfxwva, and the words ra(f)i]s avrov (" of his 
burial") are added. But, according to the 
generally accepted reading, the second clause 
must be translated: as one that gathereth 
his stones for [unto] winter. To this it 
seems difficult, if not impossible, to attach any 
meaning. Fritzsche regards it as implying : 
like a fool that gathereth stones instead of 
wood for winter. The explanation is even 
more difficult than the illustration which it 
professes to explain. We would suggest that 
the Greek misread ?|")'n, " winter," for l^H, 
" desolation," which was the word in the 
original. In that case the original would 
have been : " He that buildeth his house by 
goods [property] belonging to others is as he 
that gathereth his stones for desolation [for 
a ruin, for what is to be such]." 

9. The congregation of transgressors (is 
as) tow gathered [heaped] together. .] A 
word-play here between trvvriyp.i'vov, " gathered 
together," and crwaycoyrj, " the gathering," 
' congregation." 

and their end a flame of fire.] The 
reference is probably to Is. i. 31. Omit the 
words " to destroy them." 

10. Fourth triplet, but.'] Rather, and. 

hell.] Rather, Hades. The Syr. has: '"The 
path of the wicked is a stumbling-block to 
him, because the end thereof is a deep ditch." 
Does the difference between the Greek 
" made plain with (by) stones " and the Syr. 
" stumbling-block " depend upon a different 
reading or misreading of the Hebrew to 
which the Aethiop. seems to point by its 
rendering, " rough are the stones of the road 
of sinners " ? Or did the Syr. alter what 
seemed a dangerous statement in the original ? 

11. Omit in first clause the words " of the 
Lord." Thus corrected, the A. V. expresses 
one mode of rendering or rather interpreting 
the first clause, in which case it would be 
parallel to St. John vii. 17. But, as Fritzsche 
rightly observes, the word evvurjfia could 
scarcely be used of " understanding " of the 

Apoc Vol. II. 

Law. The word does not occur in the LXX., 

and (besides this passage) is only used by Theo- 

dotion in the plural for nibanjjl, " the evil 
counsels" (of the wicked), Prov. xii. 5. We 
prefer therefore another rendering of the 
clause, which seems not only more easy, 
but entirely agrees with the Syr.: He that 
keepeth (~l)pj) the Law getteth the 
mastery [rule] over his inclination 

[intent, mind, disposition, Vl*3 ^ , <^'; m tne 
peculiar sense of "I-?*]. The next clause of 
the verse is so entirely Alexandrian that we 
prefer regarding the Syr. as representing the 
genuine Hebrew text. It reads: "and he 
that feareth the Lord shall not want any- 
thing," which is a reproduction of Ps. xxxiv. 9 
(Heb. 10). In the Syriac Psalter this verse 
seems wanting, but the Syriac of Ecclus. xxi. 
1 1 reproduces the wording of the Targum on 
Ps. xxxiv. 10. 

12. wise.] Rather, prudent. 

taught.] Here rather in the sense of moral 
teaching. The Alex, rightly inserts 8e, " but," 
at the beginning of the second clause. The 
Syr. wholly omits the verse ; and if our con- 
jecture be correct as to the Hellenistic alter- 
ation introduced in the Greek of v. 1 1 b, we 
can understand the motive for such a senti- 
ment as -v. 12, which seems an adaptation 
from xix. 22-25. 

wisdom.] Rather, prudence ; perhaps 
here in the sense of subtilty. 

13. This verse begins another triplet 
unless, indeed, we were to regard it as com- 
mencing with i\ 14, the four lines of t. 15 
being in that case two verses thrown together. 

shall abound.] Rather, will increase, 
swell, become more full. 

counsel.] Probably, as generally in the 
LXX., HVy (this rather than rntrnD) in the 
wider sense of " counsel " = resolve, purpose. 

pure fountain of life.] Omit the word 
" pure." Generally the expression " fountain 
of life " is supposed to be = " living waters," 
Qn WD, but it rather corresponds to "npp 
D^n in Prov. xiii. 14, xiv. 27, to both of which 



[v. 14- 


* Prov, 

B. c. 14. 'The inner parts of a fool are 

- ' like a broken vessel, and he will hold 
' c . 33- s- no knowledge as lono; as he liveth. 

15 If a skilful man hear a wise 
word, he will commend it, and *add 
unto it : but as soon as one of no 
understanding heareth it, it displeas- 
eth him, and he casteth it behind his 

16 The talking of a fool is like a 
burden in the way : but grace shall 
be found in the lips of the wise. 

17 They enquire at the mouth of B.C. 

' . ' . , . cir. 200. 

the wise man in the congregation, 
and they shall ponder his words in 
their heart. 

18 As is a house that is destroyed, 
so is wisdom to a fool : and the know- 
ledge of the unwise is as talk "without n Or, 

not to be 
SenSC enquired 

19 Doctrine unto fools is as fetters a f ter - 
on the feet, and like manacles on 

the right hand. . , 

20 / A fool lifteth up his voice 30. 

this verse is strictly parallel, and where the 
LXX. translates 7n/y?) </"'?? It is, indeed, not 
impossible that n-jryij a>j}? may represent the 
Heb. D\n D>!3 "fipp, "fountain of living 
waters," not " fountain of life," since in one 
passage (Jer. xvii. 13) it is so rendered in the 
LXX. ; but it is very improbable, considering 
that in three other passages D^n U)t2 is not 
so translated (Cant. iv. 15 ; Jer. ii. 13 ; Zech. 
xiv. 8). 

14. Omit "as long as he liveth," which, 
however, is supported by 106, 248, Co., and 
is in the Syr. 

be will hold no knowledge. ~] As a vessel 
that is broken cannot hold what is put into 
it, so are the inner parts of a fool as regards 
knowledge eynara, ~2~)p : so in the LXX. 

rendering of Ps. xlix. (LXX., 1.) 12 ; Ps. cviii. 

(LXX., cix.) 18. It is not quite = 27 (comp. 
Ps. xxxix. 4 ; lv. 5), but rather designates the 
seat of feeling and thinking. For " broken 
vessel " the Syr. has " broken cistern," which 
is both more apt and more biblical. 

15. We suspect that in the original v. 15 
a, b and c, d formed two verses (see above, 
w. 12, 13). 

a skilful man.] Rather, a man of under- 
standing [knowledge], in the wider biblical 
sense, including, and in a sense identifying, 
moral and intellectual knowledge, fVio-r^coi/ 
(in the N. T. only in St. Jas. iii. 13 which 
should be marked as farther shewing the cor- 
respondence between St. Jas. and Ecclus.) ; 
the Heb. |13J (so, with only one exception, 
in the LXX.), and generally combined with 

_ but as soon as one of no understanding hearetb 
tf.J Rather, "he that liveth in pleasure 
[is given to pleasure] heareth it, and it 
displeaseth him." Clauses a and c, b and d 
are strictly antithetic. Opposed to " a man of 
knowledge "^ is 6 (mara\5,u, " he that is given 
to pleasure." The word occurs again in 
1 Tim. v. 6 ; St. Jas. v. 5, but it is not used 
in the LXX., where we have, however, the 

compound KaraanaTaXda in Prov. xxix. 2 1 ; 
Amos vi. 4. Whereas the man of under- 
standing addeth to a wise word, the man who 
liveth for pleasure casteth it behind his back. 
For the latter expression, see 1 Kings xiv. 9 ; 
Ezek. xxiii. 35 ; Nehem. ix. 26. 

16. This verse begins another triplet. 
talking.'] Narrative (talk, here perhaps: 


in the way.] I.e., while journeying instead 
of lightening its difficulties and troubles, only 
increasing them. 

grace.] Not in the commonly understood 
biblical sense, but in that of pleasantness ; see 
the Syr., which also instead of "fool" has 
" the wicked," and " the pious " instead of 
" intelligent." 

the wise.] Rather, of him who is in- 
telligent has understanding. 

17. The mouth of the prudent will 
be sought.] Viz., his word or saying; comp. 
as to God Amos viii. 12. In the second 
clause we accept (as in the A. V.) the Alex, 
reading biavoi^crovrab instead of the Vat. 

18. As a house destroyed.] Fritzsche 
explains : " as a house destroyed is not of any 
use, so is wisdom to a fool." The Syr. has : 
" as a prison." We believe that the Syr. read 
"lB> 1V3 (comp. Gen. xlii. 19) and the 
Greek "IfX'O IV3. More puzzling is the 
Syr. rendering in the second clause. Here 
the Greek has: as words that will not 
bear enquiry (A. V., "as talk without 
sense"); while the Syr. renders, "like coals 
of fire." 

19. Another triplet. Fetters on the 
feet (so is) instruction to those with- 
out understanding.] Alike hindering and 
unpleasant, as preventing them from freely 
walking in their own ways. 

on the right hand.] Which is mostly 
engaged in action. 

20. with."] Rather, in. 

V. 21- 

B. C- 

cir. 200. 




with laughter ; but a wise man doth 24 It is the rudeness of a man to 

scarce smile a little. hearken at the door : but a wise man 

21 Learning is unto a wise man as will be grieved with the disgrace. 

an ornament of gold, and like a 25 The lips of talkers will be tell- 

bracelet upon his right arm. ing such things as pertain not unto 

22 A foolish man's foot is soon in them : but the words of such as have 
his [neighbour's] house : but a man understanding are weighed in the 
of experience is ashamed of him. balance. 

23 A fool will peep in at the door 26 The heart of fools is in their 
into the house : but he that is well mouth : but the mouth of the wise is 
nurtured will stand without. in their heart. 

b. c. 

cir. 200. 

a wise man.'] Rather, a prudent man. 
Grotius quotes Seneca : " risus sit sine 

21. Instruction is to a man of under- 
standing.] The verse is in antithesis to v. 19. 

22. Another triplet. The foot of a fool 
(is) quickly into a house. We believe 
this to be the passage (hitherto not localised) 
which the Talmud has in view, when it quotes 
as from 'The Book of the Son of Sira': "Three 
I hate and four I do not love a prince (leader) 
who goes about drinking-houses some say, 
who is quarrelsome ; some say, who is quick- 
tempered a man who places his habitation 
in the high places of the city . . . [we omit 
the third], and a man who enters the bouse of 
bis neighbour suddenly" (without knocking) 
(Nidd. 16 ; comp. Pes. 112 a). 

but a man of experience will feel shame 
before the face.] So literally; and the 
question is whether we are to explain it as 
" the face of him," i.e. before him that is to 
be visited, or else as meaning " before the 
house." Fritzsche goes so far as to apply the 
expression Trpoa-unvov (face) to the inner walls 
of the antechamber, before which such a 
person is supposed to hesitate or feel reluc- 
tance {hat Scheu). The Syr. renders : " bends 
down the face." If we suppose the Greek 
text to be a correct rendering of the Hebrew, 
we should certainly explain it as meaning 
"the face of him" in the sense of being bash- 
ful when visiting a house. But may it not be 

that the Hebrew text was 13E& G5>B>3, "hesi- 
tates before it," which was misunderstood and 
mistranslated as above ? 

23. A silly person . . . but a man 
who is instructed [cultured, educated; the 
German gebi/det].] While a silly person in his 
curiosity tries to get a peep of what is going 
on, a well-bred person purposely stands far 
away. The Syr. has a strange and certainly 
inapt rendering. 

24. It is want of breeding [rudeness] 
. . . but he who is sensible [intelligent, 
prudent] will be weighed down [bur- 

dened] with the dishonour.] Viz., of doing 
such a mean thing. 

25. Last stanza. The literal rendering of 
the Greek (both Vat. and Alex.) would be : 
" Lips of strangers will be burdened in these 
things." But as this yields not any intelli- 
gible meaning, we conclude that the text 
is corrupt rather than that the original had 
been mistranslated. For, although a man 
might mistranslate, there must at least be 
some meaning in his words. But apparently 
in the whole clause, ^e i\rj aXkorpiav iv tovtois 
fiapvv&rjo-eTai, only the first word (xet'Ar/, lips) 
really forms part of the verse. Bretschneider 
suggests that the word aAAorpiW, " of 
strangers," belongs to the first clause of 
v. 24, which should read "to hearken at the 
door of strangers," while similarly the iv 
rovTois belongs to the second clause of v. 24, 
which should read, " is weighed down by the 
disgrace in these things." Lastly, the word 
l3apvvdrj(TTai, " will be weighed down," or 
" burdened," seems only a copyist's repetition 
from the previous verse. In the absence of 
any reliable text little can be learned from the 
Syr., "The mouth of the wicked talketh 
against his body ; " i.e. his talk is really 
against himself, to his hurt and detriment. 
In these circumstances we seem restricted to 
the Complutensian reading, or rather that of 
248, which is adopted in the A. V., " The 
lips of talkers will be telling such things as 
pertain not unto them " = as are not theirs, 
which concern them not and with which they 
have not anything to do. Fritzsche conjec- 
tures that the Hebrew read : " The lips of the 
proud [where he supposes DHT to have been 
misread Q^J] are burdened with cursing " 
(rPX2, which he supposes to have been mis- 
read n?X3). But, to waive other objections, 
this would not suit the context. 

26. In the mouth of fools is their 
heart, but the heart of the wise is their 
mouth.] The Syr. is the same except that the 
preposition " in " is transferred from the first 
to the beginning of the second clause : " the 

I 2 



[v. 271. 








27 When the ungodly curseth Sa- 
tan, he curseth his own soul. 

28 '"A whisperer defileth his own 
soul, and is hated wheresoever he 


I Of the slothful man, 3 and a foolish daughter. 

1 1 Weep rather for fools, than for the dead. 
13 Meddle not -with them. 16 77iewise man's 
heart will not shrink. 20 What will lose a 
friend. . 

A SLOTHFUL man is compared 
to a filthy stone, and every 
one will hiss him out to his dis- 

cir. 200. 

mouth . . . ., but in the heart . . . ." The 
first part of the verse does not require any 
comment. "To wear one's heart on one's 
sleeve " indicates shallowness alike of feeling 
and of intellect. The second clause Fritzsche 
regards as meaning that the wise have first 
well pondered in their hearts what they utter 
with their mouths. But the antithesis seems 
to suggest more than this, viz. that the wise 
are reticent as to their deepest feelings: 
they do not parade them before all and every 
one their heart is their mouth. 

27. This verse is of the greatest interest, 
alike as regards the theology of the writer 
and indirectly the age of this book. When 
the writer speaks of cursing Satan as seducing 
a man unto sin, he refers to the person of 
the Devil. But the allusion implies not only 
belief in the personality of Satan on the part 
of the older Siracide, but that this belief was 
so general that the writer could put its ex- 
pression into the mouth of the wicked. And 
not only so, but by the side of it we find also 
the rationalistic corrective that what men 
called Satan was really their own evil inclina- 
tion. This certainly accords with an excep- 
tional Rabbinic view, which identifies Satan 
with the Tetser ha-Ra, the evil inclination 
(Babh. Bathr. 16 a). But, as just hinted, 
this was not the common view, according to 
which Satan was also regarded as inciting man 
to sin (comp. the A pp. on Satanology in ' Life 
and Times of Jesus the Messiah,' vol. ii. p. 
7 5 7). We have therefore here alike evidence 
of a general belief in Satan and its rationalistic 
modification. On the other hand, we also 
mark here a development (this rather than a 
progression) in the Old Testament standpoint 
on this subject. Its various stages in the later 
books of the Old Testament may be indicated 
in the following order : Job i.' 6-12, ii. 1-7; 
Zech. iii. 1, 2 ; and lastly, 1 Chron. xxi. 1, 
with which comp. 2 Sam. xxiv. 1. With 
these passages should be compared, on the 
other hand, the curious (later) Rabbinic 
comments (see ' Miqr. Gedol.,' ad he.). 
Considering the developed Angelology in the 
Book of Daniel, it seems strange that no refer- 
ence should be made in it to Satan. Indeed, 
the apparent generality of the belief as implied 
in Ecclus. seems incompatible with this silence 
in Daniel, if the authorship of the latter were 
posterior to that of Ecclesiasticus. In the 

later Apocrypha (Bar., Tob.) Demonology 
appears in a very developed and Judaic form. 
To Wisd. ii. 24 we do not refer, on account 
of the late composition of that book. The 
Syr. paraphrase for "Satan," "him that has 
not sinned against him," is both interesting 
and curious. In our view it implies not 
another Hebrew text, but the avoidance of 
its meaning by a paraphrase. 

28. wheresoever he dzuel/eth.'] Rather, 
in the neighbourhood, i.e. among his 
neighbours. The Syr. has : " The soul of 
the wise is grieved (oppressed, in anguish) 
on account of the fool, because he knoweth 
not what he should say unto him." 


This chapter is better connected than that 
which preceded. The subject seems still a 
warning against folly, in its various mani- 
festations, specially as regards speech. In 
that respect the aspiration of the last verse 
forms an appropriate general conclusion. The 
first five verses refer to certain aspects of 
folly of conduct, especially as regards the 
young. From this the transition is natural to 
instruction, especially of the young, which is 
hopeless in cases where there is a certain dis- 
position (five verses, ft'. 6-1 2, as i)-v. 9,10 must 
be omitted). This leads to the admonition to 
avoid all intercourse with such persons (three 
verses, but one of them a triplet, in six lines : 
w. 13-15). Next, the steadfast purpose of 
a wise man is contrasted with that of the fool 
(three verses : to. 16-18). Lastly, the differ- 
ence is described between the speech and 
action of the fool in regard to others, with its 
sad consequences (four verses, the last of them 
double: -vv. 19-22), and the speech and 
action of the wise in regard to others, with its 
happy results (four verses, the first of them 
double: i>i<. 23-26). The chapter closes 
with an aspiration after higher direction in 
this matter. 

1. is eo>?ipared.~\ I.e. is like. 

a filthy stone.~\ The lapis latrinarum. 

ivill hiss him out to his disgrace.^ Rather., 
will hiss over his dishonour. Generally 
the clause is supposed to refer to the filthy 
stone which is looked upon as disgusting. 
And so the Syr., " every one runs away from 

V. 2 IO.] 



cir. 200. 

2 A slothful man is compared to 
" the filth of a dunghill : every man 

that takes it up will shake his hand. 

3 An evil nurtured son is the dis- 
honour of his father that begat him : 
and a [foolish] daughter is born to 
his loss. 

! Prov. 13. 4 "A wise daughter "shall bring 
2 - an inheritance to her husband : but 

>?th?te"she that liveth dishonestly is her 
Qfnd facer's heaviness. 

5 She that is bold dishonoureth 
both her father and her husband, but 
they both shall despise her. 

6 A tale out of season [is as] mu- 

sick in mourning : but stripes and 
correction of wisdom are never out 
of time. 

7 Whoso teacheth a fool is as one 
that glueth a potsherd together, and 
as he that waketh one from a sound 

8 He that telleth a tale to a fool 
speaketh to one in a slumber : when 
he hath told his tale, he will say, 
What is the matter ? 

9 If children live honestly, and 
have "wherewithal, they shall cover 
the baseness of their parents. 

10 But children, being haughty, 

cir. 200. 

1 Or, 
an art. 

the smell of it." But it seems better to refer 
the clause to the idle man, over whom every- 
one will hiss, V?V plX?\, Job xxvii. 23, for 
which the Syr. may have read pn*l*, and then 
translated paraphrastically. 

2. The l36\l3irov Konpimv, "filth of a dung- 
hill," is the LXX. rendering of HS>; ^J in 
Ezek. iv. 12 (comp. Ewald, 255 b, p. 639). 

shake.~] For the purpose of cleansing. The 
Syr. paraphrases, at the same time retaining 
the last words of the original : " will shake 
his hand." This is instructive. 

3. (There is) shame to a father in the 
begetting of a son undisciplined, but 
a daughter [viz. of this kind; Syr. "a 
woman "J is born to loss.] There is pro- 
gression here : an undisciplined son is a source 
of shame to his father, but an undisciplined 
daughter is a source of actual loss of the 
one he may be ashamed, the other will cause 
him damage and hurt. 

4. y/prudent [sensible, mentally well con- 
ditioned] daughter shall obtain her husband 
(or are we to follow the Latin : hareditas viro 
juo, and to suppose a misunderstanding on 
the part of the Greek translator ?).] Bret- 
schneider : " av8pa avrrjs, maritum sibi desti- 
natum " and thereby she will bring honour 
to her father. 

but a daughter that bringeth dis- 
grace is unto grief to him [the grief of 
him] that begat her.] "That bringeth 
disgrace," in the Heb. no doubt nK'^D, but 
not in the sense of " disgraceful," as in 
Prov. xii. 4, but as in Pro v. x. 5, xiv. 35, 
xvii. 2, in that of putting to shame. In these 
three passages K^IE always stands antitheti- 
cally to ^StPO, "prudent." Probably the 
same antithetic expressions may have been 
used in the Heb. of our verse, although the 

LXX. render 7*3tW0 in Prov. x. 5, xiv. 35, 
by voi]jxa>v. The Syr. wholly omits this verse. 

5. The bold [viz. daughter] disgraceth 
father and husband, and by both will 
she be despised.] The term "bold" (77 
dpaaela) is used in the sense of noisy self- 
assertion and impudence, as in Prov. ix. 13, 
which seems parallel, and where the LXX. 
render yvvfj acppoov nai Bpaaela whatever 
meaning we may attach to the Hebrew phrase 

n-1^D3 nt? : N\ The Syr. has "father and 
mother," instead of " father and husband." 

6. Unseasonable speech.] Referring to 
instruction or admonition addressed to the 
young, but at that particular moment not in 
season : good in itself, but just then unsuit- 
able. The second clause literally translated 
would be, "(but) stripes and discipline at 
all times (are) of wisdom," which is some- 
times explained as meaning that the application 
of these at all times is the part of wisdom. 
But it is not easy to find this in the Greek text. 
The Syr. has : "is wisdom at all times." 
There can be little doubt that this represents 
the original Hebrew, i"l03n fllTTO?, which 
the Greek mistranslated iv navrl Kaipa> aotplas. 

1. Whoso.} Rather, he that. Omit "and" 
in second clause. 

sound sleep.} Rather, deep sleep. The 
point of comparison is the uselessness of the 
attempt in each case. 

8. He that narrateth . . . narrateth to 
one that is nodding [slumbering], and upon 
the completion he will say: What is it 1 ?] 
The simile of v. 7 leads to that about slumber 
which is not inapt. The Syr. has in the 
first clause instead of our Greek : " like a 
man that eateth bread when he is not 

9, 10. These verses must be omitted. 



[v. ii 1 6. 

B. C 
cir. 200. 

* ch. 38. 


through disdain and want of nurture 
T j_^' do stain the nobility of their kindred. 

11 ^Weep for the dead, for he 
hath lost the light : and weep for the 
fool, for he wanteth understanding : 
make little weeping for the dead, for 
he is at rest : but the life of the fool 
is worse than death. 

12 c Seven days do men mourn for 
him that is dead ; but for a fool and 
an ungodly man all the days of his 

13 Talk not much with a fool, and 
go not to him that hath no under- 
standing : ^beware of him, lest thou 

c Gen. 50. 

<i ch. 12. 

have trouble, and thou shalt never B. c. 
be defiled "with his fooleries : de- c "if! ' 
part from him, and thou shalt find Jgj, he 
rest, and never be "disquieted with f-f^tf? 
madness. n 0r 

14 What is heavier than lead ? and -varied. 
what is the name thereof, but a fool ? 

15 ""Sand, and salt, and a mass of'Prov. 
iron, is easier to bear, than a man 
without understanding. 

16 As timber girt and bound to- 
gether in a building cannot be loosed 
with shaking : so the heart that is 
stablished by advised counsel shall 
fear at no time. 

27- 3- 

11. Weep for the dead, for light has 
failed [ceased, passed away] . . . for 
understanding has failed . . . Weep 
softly [Bissell] for the dead, for he is at 
rest.~\ The contrast is melancholy, as indi- 
cating absence of hope as regards an after-life. 
The Syr. modifies the last clause and adds : 
" for worse than death is an evil life." 

12. Seven days.'} The ordinary period of 
great mourning (Gen. 1. 10; Judith xvi. 24). 
St. Augustine finds in the number seven for 
the period of mourning an allusion to the 
Sabbath of rest, indicative of this, that the 
dead were at sacred rest. The contrast is 
very forcible. While we mourn seven days 
for the pious who are at rest, the whole life- 
time of the fool and the ungodly is a period 
of mourning. 

13. Another stanza, in which progression 
from the former verses is clearly marked. 
Lit. : " With one void of intelligence do not 
multiply speech." The Syr. has " make not 
pleasant " for " multiply not." W e are inclined 

to believe that the Heb. had ISK'F) "?S, and 
that the Greek took "EC in the sense of 

- T 

measuring measuring words, while the 
Syr. understood it in the more common use 
of the word. Or may there have been some 
confusion of the roots i"Q~l and I1X"! ? For 
the second clause the Syr. has : " and with a 
pig do not go in the way." Possibly the 
original had Tm, "a pig," and the Greek 
translator, regarding this as below the dignity 
of the argument, may have altered it in 
common Rabbinic manner of commentation, 
as follows : _ Read not inn, a pig, but "ipn, 

wanting = 3 ?~*lDn, wanting in understanding. 
The third clause seems to support the Greek 
rendering, but the fourth accords rather with 
the Syr. On the other hand, the simile of the 
pig is not only un-Jewish, but seems abruptly- 

introduced. Clause d should be translated : 
and thou shalt not be denied by that 
which he throws out. This, whether 
we understand it realistically, as of saliva or 
the like, or figuratively, seems a not inapt 
paraphrase of eV to> (vTivay^ia avrov. 

The last two clauses of v. 13 read: Turn 
away from him, and thou shalt find rest, 
and not be overwhelmed by his sense- 
lessness. "Overwhelmed" with the addi- 
tional idea of fainting or being weary in conse- 
quence, corresponding to the Hebrew *\VW, 
for which it is used in LXX. Ps. lx. (Heb. 
lxi.) 2 ; ci. (Heb. cii.) 1 ; cxlii. (Heb. cxliii.) 4. 

14. The Syr. : " for he is much heavier than 
lead ; " the Greek and the Syr. rendering the 
HD differently. 

15. Syr. : " than to dwell with a foolish 

16. This verse begins a new stanza. 

A tie-beam [comp. Hab. ii. 11: "cross- 
beam out of the wood"] bound into a 
building will not be loosed in a storm.] 
Lit. " commotion," like its Hebrew original 
"iyD and myp (or rather in that instance 
rhyp), for which it stands in LXX. Jer. 

xxiii. 19; 4 (2) Kings ii. 1. In one passage 
(LXX. 3 Kings xix. 11) it stands indeed for 
B>jn, " earthquake," but that word also bears 
the general meaning of " quaking." In any 
case, the rendering " storm-wind " suits the 
context far better than " earthquake." 

so the heart stablished on advised [con- 
sidered] thought [purpose] shall not be 
afraid at the time.] At the proper time 
ny3, at the right time, that which is to be 
looked for when thought must pass into 
action and dangers threaten around (as the 
hurricane that falls upon a house), he who i& 
as here described shall not give wav through, 
fear nor even be perturbed. 

v. i7 24.] 



B. C. 
cir. 200. 

Or, of a 

f ch. 41. 

17 A heart settled upon a thought 
of understanding is as a fair plais- 
tering "on the wall of a gallery. 

18 Pales set on an high place will 
never stand against the wind : so a 
fearful heart in the imagination of 
a fool cannot stand against any fear. 

19 He that pricketh the eye will 
make tears to fall : and he that 
pricketh the heart maketh it to shew 
her knowledge. 

20 Whoso casteth a stone at the 
birds frayeth them away : and he 
that ^upbraideth his friend breaketh 

21 Though thou drewest a sword 
at thy friend, yet despair not : for 
there may be a returning [to 

22 If thou hast opened thy mouth B.C. 
against thy friend, fear not ; for C1 L^' 
there may be a reconciliation : ex- 
cept for upbraiding, or pride, or 

s disclosing of secrets, or a treacher- ^ ch. 27. 
ous wound : for for these things every a 4I " 
friend will depart. 

23 Be faithful to thy neighbour in 
his poverty, that thou mayest rejoice 
in his prosperity : abide stedfast 
unto him in the time of his trouble, 
that thou mayest be heir with him 
in his heritage : for a mean estate 
is not always to be contemned : nor 
the rich that is foolish to be had in 

24 As the vapour and smoke of a 
furnace goeth before the fire ; so re- 
viling- before blood. 

advised thought] Considered purpose, 
hiavor)\i.a ftov\rjs: the former word corre- 
sponds to rntSTlO, the latter to i"ixy. 

17. A heart settled upon a prudent [an 
intelligent] purpose is like the plastered 
adornment of a smoothed wall.] As we 
understand it, the reference is to a wall built 
of rough stones, but which becomes smooth 
and polished by being plastered having the 
" plastered adornment." According to Gro- 
tius, Fritzsche, and others, the point of com- 
parison lies in this, that the plaster does not 
fall off, but remains firm even in earthquake, 
storm, and rain. But such would certainly 
not be the case in an earthquake, while storm 
and rain could scarcely in any case affect the 
inside of a house. In our view the com- 
parison lies in this: that as in a house of 
strong stones the " plastered adornment " 
gives firmness, beauty, and completion to 
what is now a polished wall, so the prudent 
purpose of a wise heart. 

18. Pales set on a high place [rather, accord- 
ing to the Alex, reading: small stones laid 
on a high place] . . . so a fearful heart 
upon [i.e. caused by, the outcome of] the 
purpose of a fool shall not stand against 
any alarm.] For -^dpaKes, "pales" (pali- 
sades?), the Alex. reads xAi*e?, "little stones," 
possibly in the sense of a heap of loose little 
stones. This reading is confirmed by the 
Syr., which has : " a pebble upon the top of a 
lofty stone." 

19. Another stanza. He that presseth 
[hurteth] the eye [lit. pricketh, in the general 
sense of touching to hurt] . . . and he that 
hurteth the heart [the same verb as before] 

causeth feeling (viz. of pain ?) to appear 
[brings it to light].] The point of the com- 
parison lies in the making visible, bringing 
out the inward sensation or feeling. When 
you rub the eye, the visible effect is tears ; if 
you similarly hurt the heart of another, the 
pain which you give will make itself out- 
wardly apparent. This is further developed 
and illustrated in -v. 20, where the " upbraid- 
ing" in clause b (weihi&iv) is, as it were, 
morally casting stones at a friend. 

21. Omit "to favour." 

22. If] Rather, though. All direct 
and open attacks, whether by word or deed, 
are not necessarily offences which make a 
breach hopeless there may be " return " or 
" reconciliation " but the mean conduct 
mentioned in v. 22 c will for ever alienate a 
friend. Omit the word "for" in the last 

23. Last stanza. Win trust with the 
[thy] neighbour in (his) poverty.] Gain his 
confidence by the way in which thou actest 
towards him while be is poor. The Syr. 
paraphrases, although in the spirit of the 
sentence : " support thy companion in his 

that thou mayest be heir woith him in his 
heritage. ,] Probably rather, that thou 
mayest have part with him in his 
possession, i.e. when he attains to it. The 
rest of the verse in the A. V. must be omitted. 

24. Before a fire smoke of the fur- 
nace and vapour . . . so reviling before 
blood.'] Rather, "before bloodshed" 
alfiara bearing the same meaning as the 
Heb. WlDl. Bretschneider would place v. 24 




cir. 200. 

* Ps. 141. 

25 I will not be ashamed to defend 
a friend ; neither will I hide myself 
from him. 

26 And if any evil happen unto 
me by him, every one that heareth it 
will beware of him. 

27 A Who shall set a watch before 
my mouth, and a seal of wisdom 
upon my lips, that I fall not suddenly 
by them, and that my tongue destroy 
me not ? 


I A prayer for grace to Jlec sin. 9 We may 
not use sivcaring: 14 but remember our 
parents.- 16 Of three sorts of sin. 34 The 
adulterous wife sinneth many ways. 

OLORD, Father and Governor 
of all my whole life, leave me 
not to their counsels, and let me not 
fall by them. 

2 Who will set scourges over my 
thoughts, and the discipline of wisdom 

e. c. 

cir. 200. 

before v. 23. But t>. 24 aptly precedes v. 25, 
if its meaning be : If bloodshed come, I will 
not be ashamed nor hesitate to protect a 

25. The Syr. paraphrases: "If thy friend 
become impoverished, put him not to shame." 

26. The Syr. has instead of this: " If thy 
companion reveal to thee a secret, disclose it 
not, lest every one that heareth it beware of 
thee, and regard thee as an evil-doer." The 
Greek text expresses a sentiment by no 
means elevated, and which considerably 
detracts from the moral value of v. 25. 
The meaning seems to be: If harm comes, 
the blame will be imputed to the other who 
allows his friend to suffer for his sake ; and 
thus he, not I, shall suffer in public esteem. 
Probably, however, the Syr. expresses what 
was the sentiment of the original. 

27. Bretschneider and Fritzsche would 
connect this verse with the following chapter. 
But we have repeatedly observed that the 
close of one chapter prepares for the subject 
of the following, and in fact forms the con- 
necting link with it. 

Who shall set.~] Rather, Oh that one 
would set, the Greek being only a literal 
rendering of a common Hebrew idiom 
(Ewald, 329c"). As the verse is evidently 
formed upon Ps. cxli. 3, we may conjecture 

the Hebrew to have been \7\\ * or nB * 

*th TCfcV (or point rnDB>). 

a seal of wisdom."] Rather, of pru- 
dencethis for the elegant Hebrew in the 
corresponding clause of the Psalm. 

that I fall not suddenly by them. .] Rather, 
that I fall not from it, viz. the watch or 
guard upon his mouth : for that purpose he 
asks for the additional security of a seal on 
his lips. Generally it is translated "that I 
tall not by it" {"iva fxi) iriau) an avTrjs), and 
the reference is supposed to be to the 
y\w<T<ra, "tongue," in the last clause. But 
it is difficult to understand how the an avrfjs 
can refer not to what precedes, but to what 
follows in the next clause. 


The chapter opens (see xxii. 27) with a 
prayer against sins of the tongue, of the eyes, 
and of the flesh (vv. 1-6 ; i\ 5 in the A. V. 
must be omitted). Then follows what is 
appropriately entitled in the LXX. text as 
"Discipline of the mouth" (i>v. 7-15). 
Here, after a general introduction Qwv. 7, 8), 
we have a warning against profane language 
(i>v. 9-1 1), against loose language (w. 12,13), 
and against disrespectful language Qw. 14, 15). 
What may be called Part II. consists of two 
stanzas, each of six verses (yv. 16-21; i<v. 
22-27), respectively directed against male and 
female offenders against purity. 

1. Lord, Father and Ruler of my life, 
leave me not to their counsel [to what they 
suggest], suffer me not, isr'c (Bissell).] 
The reference must be to "the lips" in 
ch. xxii. 27, since the "their" and "they" 
can scarcely be referred to the " adversaries " 
of v. 3. 

2. Oh that one would put rods [chas- 
tisements] upon my thinking [purposing, 
hiavw]\x,a, i"Qt'nO ; in the singular only used 
in Ecclus., not in the LXX. nor in the N. T.] 
and the discipline of ivisdom upon my heart 
[either wise discipline or that which leadeth 
to wisdom: probably the former] ; in order 
that they [viz. the stripes] may not 
spare my mistakes ["spare" in the sense 
of "be indulgent to," "not punish;" "mis- 
takes," H^D, both in the Heb. and in the 
LXX. only used in Gen. xliii. 12, but in our 
verse used in the plural], and that it [viz. 
the discipline of wisdom] may not pass by 
their transgressions] viz. when the 
" mistake " or Hj^'D leads on to actual trans- 
gression. Or else, if we follow the Latin and 
derive napy not from napirjpi (I pass by) but 
from TrdpmiL (I am present, I arrive), we 
shall have to translate : " and that their trans- 
gressions (those which are the outcome of 
our mistakes) may not appear," or "come 
out." The ultimate meaning is nearly the 
same in both cases. The text is so com- 
plicated that it gave rise to early attempts at 




b. c. over mine heart ? that they spare me 

;ir. 200. r J '.. 

not for mine ignorances, and it pass 

not by my sins : 

3 Lest mine ignorances increase, 
and my sins abound to my destruc- 
tion, and I fall before mine adver- 
saries, and mine enemy rejoice over 
me, whose hope is far from thy 

4 O Lord, Father and God of my 
life, give me not a proud look, but 
turn away from thy servants always 

9 r > "... " a haughty mind. 

uint-likc. to J . 

5 i urn away from me vain hopes 
and concupiscence, and thou shalt 

hold him up that is desirous always B.C. 

j J cir. 200. 

to serve thee. 

6 Let not the greediness of the 
belly nor lust of the flesh take hold 
of me ; and give not over me thy 
servant into an impudent mind. 

7 Hear, O ye children, the disci- 
pline of the mouth : he that keepeth 
it shall never be taken in his lips. 

8 The sinner shall be left in his 
foolishness : both the evil speaker and 
the proud shall fall thereby. 

9 "Accustom not thy mouth to " o E * 0cL 
swearing; : neither use thyself to the c] }- 2 7- h- 

to ' J Matt. 5. 

naming or the Holy One. 33 , 34 . 

emendation. The most noteworthy of these 
is the omission of the pr), " not," from 
clause c, and the change of the verb from the 
plural to the singular. Thus the clause 
would read: "that he (viz. the Lord) would 
spare my errors" the Syr.: "that the Lord 
would spare (not punish) my guilt." But 
the Syr. adds so much in the sequel that we 
must put it aside as a wide and not very apt 
paraphrase. Fritzsche not only corrects the 
number in clause c (" that he may not spare 
my follies"), but alters in clause d "their" 
into "my" ("that he may not let pass 
durchliessel my sins"). This certainly is to 
cut the knot. 

3. Omit from A. V. " to my destruction ;" 
also the last clause, " whose hope," &c. 

4. Sins and mistakes, the outcome of the 
heart, naturally lead to thoughts of the class 
mentioned in w. 4-6. 

a proud look.'] Rather, lascivious (or 
lustful) eyes; comp. xxvi. 9: literally, "lift- 
ing up of eyes." This would correspond to 
the Hebrew usage of Q^TV KKO, as in Gen. 
xxxix. 7. But in the LXX. the latter passage 
is rendered, eVe'^aXei/ tovs 6(pdakfxovs civttjs. 
Moreover the word used in our verse for 
" uplifting of eyes " (/xerewpta/xos' dcfrBaX/jLiov) 
occurs either as a substantive or a verb, or 
in some derivative form, not less than twenty 
times in the LXX., but always in the sense 
of " high," or when connected with " eyes " 
for " proud; "so in LXX. Ps. cxxx. (cxxxi.) 1 
and in Is. v. 15. Can there have been some 
misunderstanding, such as that rYWlO WV, 
" eyes of deceit," was misread n'nS Q'TV, 
" proud eyes," there being in the MS. neither 
vowel-points nor final letters, nor yet the 
separation of words ? In that case a similar 
misreading would also have to be assumed in 
xxvi. 9. In the so-called ' Second Alphabet 

of Ben Sira ' we read : " Woe to him who 
walketh after his eyes, and he knoweth that 
they are children of whoredom, and he has 
nothing from them," in the sense of not 
gaining anything by them (comp. in Jer. 
Ber. 3 c and in several Midrashim : " The 
heart and the eyes are the intermediaries of 
sin "). [On the figurative expression " whore- 
dom of the face" for a bold and shameless 
look, comp. Hos. ii. 4 in the A. V. and R. V. 
ii. 2. Comp. also Prov. vii. 13 ; Jer. iii. 3.] 

but turn away, <rv.] Instead of this clause 
in the A. V. (which follows 248, Co.) read: 
and turn away lust from me. There 
is not, as some have supposed, anything in 
this prayer inconsistent with the fullest re- 
cognition of personal self-determination. 

5. This verse in the A. V. must be omitted. 

6. The somewhat realistic rendering of the 
A. V. had best be left. Omit from the A. V. 
" thy servant," and render : " and give m e 
not over to a shameless mind." 

7. This verse begins a new stanza. In the 
text of the LXX. we have here the inscrip- 
tion : " Discipline of the mouth " originally, 
probably, a marginal note. In the second 
clause translate: "shall never be caught." 
For " caught " the Syr. has " exposed to 
infamy." The words following, " in his lips," 
or rather through his lips, must be joined 
to t. 8 a. So in the Alex, and in the Syr. 

8. Through his lips shall the sinner 
be taken [we would read KaTaXrjcfi&Tio-fTai, 
supported by 157]: both the railer and the 
proud shall be made to stumble by 

9. St. James v. 12 seems different in spirit 
from this warning, which is rather against the 
habit of lightly swearing, as leading to pro- 
fanity and profanation. " The naming of 
the Holy One "may refer to the invocation 



[v. IO 12. 

cir. 200. 

10 For as a servant that is conti- 
nually beaten shall not be without a 
blue mark : so he that sweareth and 
nameth God continually shall not be 

1 1 A man that useth much swear- 
ing shall be filled with iniquity, and 
the plague shall never depart from his 
house: if he shall offend, his sin 
shall be upon him : and if he ac- 

knowledge not his sin, he 
double offence : and if he 

cir. 200. 

maketh a 
swear in 

vain, he shall not be "innocent, but 11 Gr. 
his house shall be full of calamities. &*&** 
12 b There is a word that is clothed * Lev. 24 
about with death : God grant that it I; 
be not found in the heritage of Jacob; 
for all such things shall be far from 
the godly, and they shall not wallow 
in their sins. 

of the name Jahveh in an oath. The utter- 
ing of that name was not prohibited at that 
time. "The Holy One:" a common mode 
of expression for God the formula in later 
Hebrew being K-IH tj-lia WTIpn (ni"pn): 
"The Holy One, blessed be '"He." The 
Syr. seems to have thought such a light use 
of the Holy Name impossible, and hence 
applies the passage to judicial investigations. 
It renders the second clause: "and be not 
sitting among judges " [or may the words 
have here slipped in from i>. 14^?]. The 
Syr. accordingly continues in v. 10: "For 
every son of man who swears much (often) 
will not be free from stripes [shall not be 
without incurring, or deserving, the punish- 
ment of scourging] : similarly he who lyingly 
swears shall not be free from guilt." In this 
latter distinction the Syr. had perhaps in view 
the Rabbinic idea of the punishment " by the 
hand of God," or by " cutting off." 

10. This verse seems rather to confirm the 
impression given by the Syr. (see above), that 
in the original the reference was to forensic 
swearing, and in that case the Syr. helps us 
to understand the otherwise difficult com- 
parison in the Greek text. 

For as a domestic slave that is con- 
tinually being examined shall not be lack- 
ing in weals [he will bear the bodily marks 
of such investigation, which was by scourging], 
so he that sweareth and taketh the Name 
(viz. of God) at all times shall not be 
clean from sin.] Here in the sense of 
being free from guilt. As he lightly or 
lyingly resorts constantly to swearing, the 
invisible Hand lays on ' him the spiritual 
scourge, the weals and bruises of which are 
the defilement of sin, the guilt which he 

11. The figure is continued and developed. 
iniquity.} Rather, unrighteousness. 

the plague] Perhaps better, stroke, re- 
ferring to the stroke of God. In the LXX 
it is used for J?J3 in LXX. Ps. xxxviii. (xxxix.) 
11; lxxxviii. (lxxxix.) 33; xc. (xci.) 10: and 
repeatedly in the N. T. in the general sense 
of a Divine stroke. 

if he shall offend, <&>c.~] Rather, " if 
he offend [transgress], his sin (is) upon 
him." The first two clauses having laid down 
the general principle, its application is shewn 
in three possible cases. The first is that of 
swearing and not doing: this involves sin. 
The second is : and if he neglect, overlook 
this meaning being established by the use of 
the word in Ecclus. (ii. 10; xxxv. 17 [in the 
Greek MSS. except in 248, ch. xxxii. 14]; 
and especially in xxxviii. 16) that is, if he 
simply treat his oath as nothing, then " he 
sinned twofold" once by breaking his 
oath, the other time by treating an oath as if 
it were nothing. The third case contemplated 
is not that of an oath which is broken, nor of 
an oath which is treated as if it were nothing, 
but of one which is needlessly taken : " and if 
he swear in vain" (without cause, DJin, for 
which it stands four times in the LXX. : once 
for pH?, Lev. xxvi. 16 ; once for Dp 1 "}, Ps. 
xxiv. (Heb. xxv.) 3 ; and only once, in Ps. xxx. 
(Heb. xxxi.) 7, for KID') in such a case "he 
shall not be absolved," not be pronounced 
innocent, without guilt, not be so treated 
lit. he shall not be justified. The expression 
in that sense is common in Hebrew. The 
Syr. paraphrases and alters, as it seems to us, 

12. From swearing the writer passes to 
lewd speaking. Generally the verse is re- 
garded as referring to blasphemy, but this 
does not accord with the third and especially 
not with the fourth clause. On the other 
hand, the reference to lewd speaking is borne 
out by i\ 13. Such speech was only too 
common among the surrounding heathen 
nations, but happily not " in the heritage of 

There is a way of speaking [a speech] 
which over against it is surrounded by 
death.~\ The consequence of which is death 
on every side, avrnvepLfie^Xrjiiivrj. The read- 
ing avTLTrapaj3ej3\r]^.evt], "the counterpart of 
which is death," is very attractive, but not 
necessary, and would only suit the context if 
the reference were to blasphemy. 

God grant that.'] Rather, may it not be 

V. I 




B.C. 1-7 Use not thy mouth to intem- 

cir. 200. ^ v , . . , 

perate swearing, for therein is the 
word of sin. 

14 Remember thy father and thy 
mother, when thou sittest among 
great men. Be not forgetful before 
them, and so thou by thy custom be- 
come a fool, and wish that thou 
job 3 . hadst not been born, and c curse the 
' &c - day of thy nativity. 

' 2 Sam. J , r-ry, J 1 1 

6.7. 15 I he man that is accustomed 

to opprobrious words will never be . B - c. 
reformed all the days of his life. ar^oo. 

16 Two sorts of men multiply sin, 
and the third will bring wrath : a 
hot mind is as a burning fire, it will 
never be quenched till it be con- 
sumed : a fornicator in the body of 
his flesh will never cease till he hath 
kindled a fire. 

17 f All bread is sweet to a whore- e Prov. 9- 
monger, he will not leave off till he die. I? ' 

found. For " shall " in the next two clauses, 
rather " will." Omit " their " before " sins." 

13. To filthy [lewd] coarseness ac- 
custom not thy mouth.] Indulge not in 
that species of coarseness which consists in 
filthy talk. The last clause literally rendered 
would be : " for therein is word of sin," or 
perhaps " speech of sin." But this seems so 
inapt that we suppose the Hebrew "G^, 
literally " a word," to have been here as 
frequently used in the sense of " matter 
of," as in TH miy, or JH "im (which, 

1 T T - : V ' T T T # V ' 

however, rather means something noxious) or 
yi 12T or as the Rabbis have it : hw 111 

- :' t t 

\Op. Accordingly, we would translate : " for 
therein is matter of sin." [It has been 
suggested that the Xoyns apaprias here may 
throw light on the difficult expression ratio 
peccati (" the nature of sin ") in Article ix. : 
" Of original or birth-sin."] The Syr. once 
more gives something different as we believe, 
of purpose. 

14. The admonition in regard to the tongue 
is now applied in a different direction. Fritz- 
sche supposes the writer to be still referring 
to the same subject as in v. 13. He proposes 
to alter the "for (yap) thou sittest" into 
" when thou sittest " (as in the A. V.), and 
explains : Let consideration for thy parents, 
as those who have educated thee, act as a 
deterrent against coarse speech, lest thou 
bring them to shame. But irrespective of 
the arbitrariness involved in this explanation, 
it is difficult to see how indulgence in coarse 
speech could lead a person to wish he had 
not been born (clause 5). Lastly, %>. 15 for- 
bids any reference of v. 14 to lewd speech. 
Bretschneider cuts the knot by regarding 
i\ 1 4 as spurious, while Grotius proposes a 
number of alterations too arbitrary for serious 
consideration. In our view the author here 
refers to another class of sins of the tongue 
those in breach of the fifth commandment. 
It is the latter which he has in view. " Re- 
member thy father and thy mother, for thou 
sittest in the midst of great ones, that 

thou be not forgetful before them (see 
Winer, 56, 2), and by thy custom [viz. 
with them, thy habituation, here = familiarity] 
thou behave foolishly" when the con- 
sequences mentioned in the last two clauses 
would ensue, as threatened on breach of the 
fifth commandment. For edicrpos, " custom," 
see LXX. Gen. xxxi. 35 f|!jn) and 3 Kings 

xviii. 28 (BSE**?). 

15. A man <who is accustomed [who ac- 
customs himself] to words of reproach 
[viz. towards his parents, or else words of 
shame, viz. in regard to them either D^D-HS, 
as in LXX. Is. xliii. 28, or HS'in] will not 
become instructed [in the high moral 
sense trained, educated and in this, its 
true meaning, gebildet] in all his days.] 
The Syr. paraphrases again intentionally 
w. 14, 15 (the former rather according to 
our interpretation of it), and adds a clause at 
the end of v. 15 which raises the suspicion 
of a desire to obscure what was the real 
subject referred to in the original. 

16. From words the author turns to deeds. 
The meaning is sufficiently brought out ins 
the A. V. "Two sorts" "of men" is under- 
stood, not expressed in the text. The two 
sorts of men referred to are : A soul, hot 
as burning fire (so better than in the A. V.); 
and, secondly, the man guilty of the sin " in the 
body of his flesh," of whom it is said : he will 
never cease till he have kindled fire 
(so, more correctly). Fritzsche understands 
the iv <to) pan aapKos avrov just referred to of 
the i'lK'3 "IX^ of Lev. xviii. 6 ; xxv. 49 : but 
this is quite differently rendered in the LXX., 
nor could such a sin have been ranked as less 
than the third class, described in v. 18, which 
is characterised as bringing down wrath Qv. 
16 b). The Syr. omits the first of the triad. 

17. This verse is a parenthetic sentence 
referring to and explaining v. 16, and also 
preparing for the enormity off. 18. 

Jill bread.'] Every kind of bread ; " bread," 
a euphemism, for which the parallel in 
Prov. ix. 17 is doubtful (Prov. xx. 17 does 



[v. 1828. 

B.C. 18 A man that breaketh wedlock, 


in<r thus in his heart, -^ Who seeth 


s Job 24. me p j am com p asse{ ] about with darkness, the walls cover me. and no 

I FBI. 2Q. 

15. body seeth me ; what need I to fear ? 

the most High will not remember my 
sins : 

19 Such a man only feareth the 
eyes of men, and knoweth not that 
the eyes of the Lord are ten thousand 

ch. : 5 . times brighter than the sun, ^behold- 
ing all the ways of men, and con- 
sidering the most secret parts. 

20 He knew all things ere ever 
* Gen. 1. they were created ; /: so also after 

they were perfected he looked upon 

them all. 
' Lev. 20. 21 'This man shall be punished in 
Jeut. 22. tne streets of the city, and where he 
- 2 - suspecteth not he shall be taken. 

22 Thus shall it go also with the 

wife that leaveth her husband, and 
stranger, bringeth in an heir by "another. 

4- 3- 

2? For first, she hath disobeyed B.C. 

171 f \ TT-1 J cir - 2 

the k law of the most Hicrh : and 
secondly, she hath trespassed against 20 * 
her own husband ; and thirdly, she 
hath played the whore in adultery, 
and brought children by another 

24 She shall be brought out into 
the congregation, and " inquisition Or, 
shall be made of her children. 

25 Her ''children shall not take /w; sd. 
root, and her branches shall bring 
forth no fruit. 

26 She shall leave her memory to 
be cursed, and her reproach shall not 
be blotted out. 

27 And they that remain shall 
know that there is nothing better 
than the fear of the Lord, and that 
there is nothing sweeter than to take 
heed unto the commandments of the 

28 It is great glory to follow the 

not refer to this). Prov. xxx. 20 is more 
parallel, and Ecclus. xxiii. 18 seems to have 
this verse in view. But the euphemism was 
adopted in later Hebrew parlance (as J"l5 
" bread "), and is very coarsely carried into 
detail in Shabb. 62 b, last line. 

19. The language is abrupt, but all the 
more striking. 

And the eyes of men are his fear.] 
I.e. the object of his fear. It is difficult to 
reproduce the last clause. Perhaps this 
gives it most nearly: and fully looking 
into [perceiving] the secret places (lit., 
" parts "). This verse and that which follows 
are a very apt digression, which enhances 
the force of the admonition implied in the 
previous verses. 

20. Before all things were [the All 
was] created they were known to Him, 
and so also after they were com- 
pleted. ] This is a bold Alexandrianism, for 
which the Syr. has what we believe correctly 
represents the original : " For before things 
are they are open before Him, nay and after 
the consummation of the world He iudeeth 
it." to 

21. The writer returns to the subject in 
hand, and shews that although the adulterer 
may imagine that he can withdraw himself 
Irom the sight of God, yet He will bring his 
sin to light and punish it publicly by the hand 
of man. 

22. From the male sinner the writer turns 
to the adulteress: Similarly also the 
wife. On the form -rrapia-Tcocra, see Winer, 
p. 72. 

23. Instead of "her own husband," the 
Syr. has " the husband of her virginity." It 
has also only one verb, instead of the Greek : 
" she hath disobeyed . . . she hath trespassed." 
Probably the original had only the expressive 
rn33, which would equally apply to her sin 
before God and towards man. 

24. In the first clause the Syr. has: "she 
shall be driven from the congregation." The 
Greek seems to contemplate the public 
inquisition into her crime, which appears 
more likely to be correct than the excom- 
munication indicated by the Syr., or the Syr. 
may have had Deut. xxii. 21 in view. In the 
second clause it is added that the consequences 
of her sin shall be felt by her children, and 
upon her children shall be visitation, 
probably r\2)V 1j?B\ Syr.: "and upon her 
children shall her sins be remembered." 

27. The Syr. : "and all the inhabitants of 
the earth shall know, and all that are left 
in the world shall understand." It seems 
scarcely likely that these two clauses were in 
the original. Was the first clause original, 
and was the second taken from a comparison 
with the Greek translation ? [See the General 
Introduction, VIII.] Or are we to regard 
it as a Christian addition or rather ampli- 
fication ? 





cir. 200. 

Lord, and to be received of him is 
Ions; life. 



I Wisdom doth praise herself, shew her begin- 
ning, 4 her dwelling, 13 her glory, 17 her 
fricit, 26 /w increase and perfection. 

WISDOM shall praise herself, B.C. 
and shall glory in the midst ' 

of her people. The praise 

2 In the congregation of the most wisdom. 
High shall she open her mouth, and 
triumph before his power. 

28. This verse in the A. V. must be 


Once more the closing lines of the pre- 
ceding chapter form a transition to this, 
which is aptly headed in the LXX., " Praise 
of Wisdom." The beauty of this chapter has 
been generally acknowledged. Accordingly 
it has not only been separately translated 
into German (see the literature in Frit/sche, 
p. 124), but also repeatedly into Hebrew. 
Here we have to mention first the Hebrew 
translation by Lowth (in ' De sacra poesi 
Hebr. praelectiones,' ed. Oxon), reprinted by 
Fritzsche in his ' Comment, on Ecclus.' 
(' Kurzgef. Exeg. Handb. ii. d. Apokr.,' v., 
pp. 134-136), and furnished by him with 
Notes marking the alterations made by him 
in his own independent translation. While 
fully recognising the merits of this version, it 
must be admitted that it leaves not a little to 
be desired. 'Next, although not in the order 
of time, we have the version of Isaac Seckel 
Friinkel in his Hebrew translation of the 
Apocrypha (Leipzig, 1830). This elegant 
rendering is not open to some of the objections 
which have been made to that of Lowth. But 
it is far inferior in beauty of classical Hebrew 
to that of Ben Seebh (see General Introd.). 
The latter, however, follows to a great extent 
the Syriac, and often deviates from the Greek 
text. Passing from this to the subject-matter 
of the chapter, its general arrangement seems 
as follows. After an introduction in two verses, 
in which Wisdom places herself, as it were, 
in the midst of Israel, follow three stanzas in 
praise of Wisdom, each consisting of five 
verses. Stanza I. Qw. 3-7) presents Wisdom 
before Israel's history commenced; Stanza II. 
describes Wisdom as having taken root in the 
midst of Israel (in: 8-12); Stanza III. sets 
forth the glory and beauty of the tree thus 
planted (-w. 13-17 ; -v. 18 must be omitted). 
These three stanzas are followed, in a fourth 
stanza (of four verses, 19-22), by an ad- 
monition to accept that Wisdom. This 
stanza seems to form a transition to what we 
regard as the underlying thought in the rest 
of the chapter (two stanzas .-6 + 5 verses). 
Their purport may, for want of better terms, 
be described as prophetic and missionary 
not in any controversial sense, nor even as 
directly referring or addressing itself to the 

heathen world, but as embodying the thought 
and hope that the river of Wisdom, swelling 
in the fulness of its waters, shall yet become 
a sea ; that her morning light shall spread to 
the utmest bounds of earth, and that her 
teaching as prophecy shall sound in the ears 
of all and to all generations Qw. 30-34). The 
Syriac translation leaves no doubt that the 
chapter formed part of the original work of 
Sirach. Thus viewed, the chapter is of the - " 
greatest importance, as illustrating not only 
the religious views of the writer but, by 
implication, also the date of the composition 
of his book and the religious history of that 
period. For we mark a decided advance upon 
P rov. viiL That chapter itself is character-) 
isFic oFthe Chokhmah-Uterature of Israel, but 
of its biblical"yTeriocT, although of a late stage 
in it. But Ecclus. xxiv. goes much beyond it 
in the direction of admitting the i nfluence, 
Gr ecian tho ught, and indicating a benignant 
attitude towards the world outside the 
bounds of Israel. The former appears even 
from the manner in which Wisdom is de- 
scribed ; the latter, from the thoughts and 
hopes expressed of the ultimate universal 
prevalence and acceptance of Israel's Divine 
Wisdom in the happy future in prospect. 
Eichhorn regards this chapter as beginning 
the Second Part of Ecclesiasticus (to xlii. 14) ; 
Fritzsche, as opening Section III. 

1. The meaning would probably be more 
accurately thus represented : " Let Wisdom 
praise herself, and in the midst of her people 
let her glory." The writer, as it were, calls 
upon Wisdom to open her mouth and to set 
forth her excellency before the whole people. 
The future tense is to be understood in this 
jussive sense. From v. 3 onwards Wisdom 
iT~ introduced as responding to this call. 

her people.'] The Syr. has " the people of 
God." This, no doubt correctly. It also 
has " she will be honoured " instead of " let 
her glory." 

2. In the congregation of the Most High 
[probably ^X rni'3, as in the Syr.] let her 
open her mouth, and let her glory [i.e. set forth 
her glory] before His Might [i.e. before God].] 
The most divergent opinions prevail as to 
the meaning of the expression "before His 
Might" {ivavTi 8wuij.ecQs airov). Lowth 

renders i^n ^a?, " before His host," pre- 



[v- 37- 

cir. 200. 

J Or, 
a mist. 

" Job 22. 


i Ps. 104. 


3 I came out of the mouth of the 
most High, and covered the earth as 
a " cloud. 

4 a I dwelt in high places, and 
b my throne is in a cloudy pillar. 

5 I alone compassed the circuit of 

heaven, and walked in the bottom of 
the deep. 

6 In the waves of the sea, and in 
all the earth, and in every people and 
nation, I got a possession. 

7 With all these I sought rest : 


cir. 200. 

sumably Israel ; Fritzsche, W \3Sp, " before 
His Might " ; Frankel, W\ We 'believe that 

the original was iTTWan \3??J literally, " be- 
fore the Might," but a very common mode of 
expression in later Hebrew for "before God." 
Perhaps, however, the Hebrew may have been 

3. Wisdom responds to the appeal : " I 
came forth from the mouth of the Most 
High." This is the earliest identification of 
Wisdom with the \6yos, but as yet only as 
God manifesting, not as having manifested, 
Himself: hence not yet "the Word." 

cloud.~\ The dark and misty cloud. The 
Xoyos as the creative (or rather the forma- 
tive) agency is brooding over the face of the 
dark chaotic deep. What in Gen. i. 2 is 
said of " the Spirit of God " is here attributed 
to Wisdom, with this additional difference, 
that this emanation of Wisdom from God 
as He is manifesting Himself is represented 
as immediately preceding that orderly ar- 
rangement of the world in which Wisdom is 
the agent. The older Church writers regarded 
this personification of Wisdom as the Christ. 
But the vital difference of thought in Ecclus. 
is apparent from the following verses (see 
especially v. 9). We find here, not the 
beginnings of Christianity, but of Alexan- 
drianism ; and the personification (?) or rather 
distinction of Wisdom as God manifesting 
Himself points forward to Philo, not to the 

4. I dwelt in the heights, and my throne 
(is, was?) on the pillar of cloud.] We 
cannot see in this any reference to the cloudy 
pillar in the wilderness. It is true that Philo 
(' Quis rer. Div. her.' 42) regards the cloud 
which separated Israel and the Egyptians 
(Ex. xiv. 19) as an emblem of Wisdom, but 
the whole context forbids us to identify this 
allegorical combination with the passage be- 
fore us (see Dahne, 'Jiid. Alex. Relig. Phil.' 
u-PP- 'H, 135). The figure of Wisdom as 
enthroned on a pillar of cloud is sublime. 

5. The figure is further developed. Amidst 
the solemn silence and solitude prevailing 
W lsdom fills all and pervades all. 

/ compassed.] In the sense of " I circled," 
or of " I went round about," ni3D. 

alone.] The Syr. has: "together with 

Him." The difference is great, and of serious 
importance if the inference which it suggests 
be well grounded. We can scarcely account 
for it merely by a different reading of the 
same or similar Hebrew letters. For the 

Syr. at least suggests the word \S>V.. And, 
irrespective of this, the rendering of the 
Greek evidently suits the context, which the 
Syriac does not. It would therefore seem 
that the Syr. expression " together with Him " 
represents an intentional alteration on the 
part of the translator ? If so, remembering 
that the ancient Christian writers identified 
" Wisdom " in Ecclus. with Christ, it suggests 
a Christian hand, either in the translation or 
the redaction of the text. Without claiming 
certainty for our inference, the alteration in 
this verse forms an important element in 
determining the question of the Christian 
authorship of the Syr. Version. In any case 
the expression "together with Him" goes 
much beyond the language of Prov. viii. 30, 
in which Wisdom presents herself as " an 

artificer by His side " (1?V^ certainly not = 
"together with Him"). When the Siracide 
speaks of the all-pervading presence of Wis- 
dom, he refers presumably to her formative 
agency in regard to our present world. 

in the bottom of the deep.] Lit. in the 
depth of the abysses. The expression is 

6. We advance another step. The rule of 
Wisdom is to be traced, not only in nature, 
but also among men. 

/ got a possession.] Fritzsche supposes the 
Greek to have misunderstood 'JVJp in the 
original ; that the word here meant " I created " 
(as in Prov. viii. 22 and other places); and 
that it should have been translated by eicria-a. 
But this seems impossible. The underlying 
idea would not be Hebraic in fact, it would 
be inconsistent with Prov. viii. 22. Nor yet 
would it be Alexandrian, as even the Greek 
translation of the verse shews. Still less 
would it belong to that intermediate period 
to which we ascribe the work of the Siracide. 
Lastly, what would be the meaning of a 
creative agency of Wisdom " in the waves 
of the sea, and in all the earth, and in every 
people and nation " ? Our difficulty is rather 
increased than diminished by the Syr., which 
renders : " I was given rule [or control] over 

v. 8 ii.] 



cir. 200. 

and in whose inheritance shall I 
abide ? 

8 So the Creator of all things gave 
me a commandment, and he that 
made me caused my tabernacle to 
rest, and said, Let thy dwelling be in 
Jacob, and thine inheritance in Israel. 

9 He c created me from the begin- b. c. 

ning before the world, and I shall cir j_^- 

never fail. c Prov - 8 - 


10 In the ^holy tabernacle I serv- <*Exod. 
ed before him ; and so was I esta- 3I- 3- 
blished in Sion. R T s ,' r3 f" 

1 1 e Likewise in the " beloved city 11 Or, holy. 

the waves of the sea," Sec. Did the Syr. 
purposely choose an expression that might 
mean one thing or another, or must we regard 
this as an emendation similar to that in v. 5 ? 

7. With all these.'] Viz. every people and 
nation. "We can scarcely doubt that the 
question here propounded by Wisdom (al- 
though not necessarily addressed to God, as 
Fritzsche supposes) expresses what was after- 
wards formulated by the Rabbis in the legend 
that the Law had been offered to, and refused 
by, every nation before it was accepted by 
Israel at Mount Sinai (' Abh. Z.' 2 b, towards 
the end). The legend in the Talmud was 
supported by an appeal to Deut. xxxiii. 2 and 
Hab. iii. 2. Possibly the legend represents 
a survival of the fundamental thought of 
Alexandrianism, or rather of that more free 
thinking which in Palestine itself formed the 
root and source of what afterwards was 
developed in Jewish Hellenism as the idea of 
an original share of all mankind in that highest 
Wisdom which found its full expression in 
the Law. Long after such views had passed 
away in Palestine, and indeed evoked the 
bitter antagonism of the Rabbis, its leading 
idea may, all unconsciously to themselves, 
have survived in this legend. From its theo- 
logical aspect that question ultimately resolves 
itself into the great problem which must 
engage every thoughtful student of Revela- 
tion : that of the universal Fatherhood of 
God. How differently it was solved in the 
Gospel and in Apostolic preaching, need not 
here be explained. 

8. So.] Rather, then. The reference 
here is to the Revelation of God in Israel, 
and more particularly to the Law, wherein 
Wisdom, which is the emanation of God, 
restfully tabernacled upon earth. 

and thine inheritance in Israel.] Lit. " and 
let thine inheritance be given thee in Israel." 

9. from the beginning.] Fritzsche (object- 
ing with reason to the JVtrXIE of Lightfoot) 
suggests Dlpp as the original Hebrew, but 
incorrectly, and his appeal to Mic. v. 1 only 
goes against him. We believe the Hebrew 

words were D^iyft and B>K")E, as in Prov. 
vin. 23, which, indeed, the LXX. renders by 
the same words as in our passage {irpo tou 
alcovos ... eV dpxjj in our passage an' 

dpxrjs). The verse reads as follows : Before 
the Aeon [i.e. before time began], from 
the beginning, He created me (the two 
terms are evidently not identical, as Fritzsche 
supposes); and to the Aeon [i.e. the end 
of time] I shall not ever fail. The Syr. 
has : " Before the world I was created, and 
to the Aeon of Aeons [eternity] my remem- 
brance shall not fail." Here also we should 
perhaps note as significant the alteration " to 
the Aeon of Aeons " in the Syr. for the Greek 
" to the Aeon." The expression " Aeon of 
Aeons," or, more frequently, " the Aeons of 
Aeons," is frequent in the N. Test. It does 
not occur in the Gospels, where awTeXeiarov 
alSivos is peculiar to St. Matthew (there five 
times, once in Heb. ix. 26), but in the Pauline 
Epistles (Gal. i. 5 : Eph. iii. 21 ; Phil. iv. 20; 
1 Tim. i. 17; 2 Tim. iv. 18), in Heb. (i. 8 ; 
xiii. 21), in 1 Pet. (iv. n), and especially in 
the Book of Revelation (there fourteen times). 
In the Old Testament it is only found in Dan. 
vii. 18 (there also in the LXX.). Besides 
this, it occurs in the LXX. (with the excep- 
tion of 1 Esdr. iv. 38) exclusively, although 
frequently, in the version of the Psalms (there 
not less than twenty-eight times), and in 
Tob. vi. 18. Does this indicate that the 
LXX. version of the Psalms was made after 
Daniel, in which the expression was ap- 
parently introduced but soon after it, as the 
frequency of its occurrence seems to suggest ? 
It also occurs in the Targum Onkelos, and 
later on in that on the Psalms, which cannot 
date earlier than the second half of the 7th 
century. We regard it as characteristic of 
the anti-Hellenistic tendency of the Syr. that, 
while making the last clause of v. 8 a separate 
verse (v. 9), it adds to v. 9 (which in the 
Syr. is f. 10) the first clause of our Greek 
v. 10. For thereby what in the Greek ex- 
hibits Wisdom in a wider and universal 
aspect (v. 9) becomes strictly Judaic (comp. 
the note on v. 34). If the emendations, 
therefore, are Christian, they must be Judaeo- 
Christian. To complete its re-arrangement 
of the verses, the Syr. adds the Greek v. 10 b 
to v. ir, which thus becomes a verse of three 

10. and so.] The Syr. has " and again." 
Had the original DJ1, or did the Syr. wish to 
convey something special ? 

<was I established.] In all probability the 



[v. 12 19. 

B.C. he gave me rest, and in Jerusalem 

cir. 200. ' J 

was my power. 

12 And I took root in an honour- 
able people, even in the portion of 
the Lord's inheritance. 

13 I was exalted like a cedar in 
Libanus, and as a cypress tree upon 
the mountains of Hermon. 

14 I was exalted like a palm tree 
in J En-gaddi, and as a rose plant in 
Jericho, as a fair olive tree in a 
pleasant field, and grew up as a plane 

n Or, in tree it by trie W ater. 

the water. J 

151 gave a sweet smell like cin- 
namon and aspalathus, and I yielded a 
pleasant odour like the best myrrh, 

II Or, 

as galbanum, and onyx, and sweet b. c 
storax, and as the fume of /frank- 
incense in the tabernacle. 

16 As the turpentine tree I stretch- 
ed out my brauches, and my branch- 
es are the branches of honour and 

/ Exod. 
3- 34. 36 


17 *As the vine brought I forth f s J hn 
pleasant savour, and my flowers are 

the fruit of honour and riches. 

18 I am the mother of fair love, 
and fear, and knowledge, and holy 
hope : I therefore, being eternal, am 
given to all my children which are 1: Or, 

dr 1 chosen. 

or him. 

19 h Come unto me, all ye that be 55. i." 

Hebrew had, as the Syr., *ftt?j?, which bears 
the Greek rendering. The verse points to 
the presence of God and the Divinely instituted 
worship in the Tabernacle, which became 
permanent in the Temple. In the Taber- 
nacle Wisdom became, as it were, the 
ministrant, and in this her office she was 
established in Zion. At the same time, this 
verse, when viewed in connexion with v. 9, 
is not by any means Judaic in the special 
sense of the term. For Wisdom, which in 
v. 9 was spoken of in relation to the world 
generally, is in v. 10 only presented as con- 
centrating her agency : she has her ministra- 
tion in the Levitical worship, and her Metro- 
polis, so to speak, is in Zion. And this mode 
of viewing Wisdom is, as we have seen, cha- 
racteristic of the theological standpoint of the 
older Siracide. 

11. my power.'] Rather, my authority, 
" rule," as in the Syr. 

12. slnd I took root in an h n u r e d people 
[one that attained honour, became distin- 
guished through this very thing] in the portion 
of the Lord, (the portion) of His inheritance. 
(Comp. Deut. xxxii. 9, where the LXX. has 
the same two words.) 

13. This verse begins a new stanza. I was 
exalted.'] Rather, I grew lofty. Wisdom 
having thus taken root, her glory is next set 
forth under some figures. 

14. / was exalted.! Rather, I grew 

in En-gaddi.] The Vat. text has iv alyia- 
\ois, " by the sea-shores," but the reading of 
the A. V., found in one or another form in 
several MSS., must be preferred, as being 
confirmed by the Syr. and also generally 
more suitable, since palms are not supposed 
to attain any special height by the sea-shore, 

while Engedi was celebrated for its palms, as 
even its other name, Chat sat son Tamar, indi- 
cates. Omit "pleasant" before "field;" 
omit also " by the water." The Syr., how- 
ever, has the words, " a rose plant," no 
doubt in Heb., as in the Syr., 11\, or else 
KTll. The word occurs in the Mishnah. 

T - 

15. But there is not only glory; beauty also 
and sweetness, as well as rich fruit. 

like cinnamon and aromatic aspalathos.] 
The latter is described by Pliny as of the 
height of a small tree, with flower of rose. 
Its root was used for making a precious 

I yielded.] Rather, I spread, I dif- 
fused. The words "in the tabernacle" are 
omitted in the Syr. The omission further 
indicates the Christian authorship of this 

16. Rather, and my branches (were) 
branches of glory and grace "grace" 
here in the sense of beauty. For " tere- 
binth " the Syr. has " rhododaphne," the rose- 
laurel, probably either a species of oleander 
or a rhododendron. 

17. I, like a vine, budded forth beauty 
[adopting the Alex, reading, eliXda-Tijaa], and 
my flowers (ripen into) fruit of glory and 
riches.] We are here reminded of St. John 
xv. 1. 

18. This verse in the A. V. must be omitted. 
It is probably of Christian authorship. It 
is not found in the Syr., which in general 
arranges the previous verses somewhat 

19. This verse begins another stanza (see 
the introductory remarks to the chapter). 
On the ground of the previous description, 
Wisdom now makes her appeal to all men. 

V. 2 

o 25.] 



E. C. 
cir. 200. 

desirous of me, and fill yourselves 
with my fruits. 

20 For my memorial is i 'sweeter 
than honey, and mine inheritance than 
the honeycomb. 

21 They that eat me shall yet be 
hungry, and they that drink me shall 
yet be thirsty. 

22 He that obeyeth me shall never 
be confounded, and they that work 
by me shall not do amiss. 

23 All these things are the book b. c. 
of the covenant of the most high cn jj^ - 
God, even the *law which Moses *Exod. 
commanded for an heritage unto the&a 3 . 
congregations of Tacob. P eut - 4- * 

o e> > m & 29. 1. 

24 Faint not to be strong in the & 33- 4- 
Lord ; that he may confirm you, 
cleave unto him : / for the Lord Al- 1 i sa i. 45 . 
mighty is God alone, and beside him 2I ' 
there is no other Saviour. 

25 He filleth all things with his 

fruits.] Lit., products. The Syr. is some- 
what paraphrastic. 

20. For my remembrance [the memory, 
thought of me] is more sweet than honey, and 
mine inheritance [this suits the context better 
than " portion"] above the honeycomb^] We 
read with some MSS. and many authorities, 
Krjpiov (Alex., 248, and cognate MSS. nr/plov') ; 
the Vulg. (which has Spirit us meus for "my 
remembrance") renders: super mel et f avion; 
the Syr. has s\m\>\yfwvus. More probably the 

Hebrew had >;n"*|-1, as in Prov. xvi. 24 ; 
and the word occurs again in D^a-ltf nBJ, 
" the forthpouring of the honey cells," Ps. 
xix. 11 (see Delitzsch, ad loc). This verse 
and the following have this additional interest 
that they show the well-known hymn attri- 
buted (rightly, in its genuine parts) to St. 
Bernard of Clairvaux, to have been based on 
Ecclus. xxiv. [The hymn in Daniel, ' Thes. 
Hymnol.' i. p. 222 ; Mone, ' Hymni Lat.' i. 
p. 329 ; and again in Daniel, u. s. iv. p. 215. 
It is in parts translated in the well-known 
hymn, " Jesu, the very thought of Thee," 
' Hymns Ancient and Modern,' 178 ; the first 
stanza more closely in Hymn 177. In its 
entirety it has been translated by the present 
writer: ' The Jubilee Rhythm of St. Bernard 
and other Hymns,' London, 1867.] The 
opening stanza of the hymn is an adaptation of 
Ecclus. xxiv. 20 : Jesu dulcis memoria dans 
vera cordis gaudia sed super mel et omnia 
dulcis ejus praesentia. Again Ecclus. xxiv. 2 1 
reappears in lines 45, 46 {apud Mone; 77, 78, 
apud Daniel) : qui te gustant, esuriunt qui 
bibunt, adhuc sitiunt. And this settles a 
curious literary question. Mone gives the 
hymn from the oldest MS. (dating from the 
14th cent: see u. s. p. 330), in which it 
bears the title: Cursus de aeterna sapientia, 
and alike he and Daniel (a. j. t. iv.) are un- 
certain as to the origin of the superscription 
de aeterna sapientia, which so widely differs 
from those in other MSS. But in view of the 
connexion between this hymn and Ecclus. 
xxiv. its ancient title seems accounted for. 
The expression cursus is either = officium 
borarum, or else = the 6>6uos tw 7nW coy in 

Apoc Vol. II. 

this instance more likely the latter, although 
the hymn is arranged for "the hours." 

22. be confounded.'] Rather, be ashamed. 

not do amiss.] Rather, not sin. Syr.: 
" shall never fall, and all his works shall not 
be corrupted" they shall be incorruptible, 
either in the sense of their being permanent 
in value and goodness, or in that of not 
becoming gradually perverted. The Syr. 
version gives, in our view, a better meaning 
than the Greek. In the original the first 

clause was probably, as in the Syr., v V^W 

7\Q\ NP. Fritzsche explains: "he shall not 
be put to shame," viz. as regards his hope of 
happiness, by obedience to the Divine com- 
mandments. But the second clause is against 
this interpretation. 

23. The Greek is here peculiarly interest- 
ing. Literally it reads: "All these [with 
reference to all that was previously said of 
"Wisdom] the book of the covenant of the 
most high God." The sentence requires 
some verb. The Syr. has : " all these (things) 
are written in the book of the covenant of 
the Lord." We believe that the Hebrew 

had \\ JVT3 1DD2 H^S ?3, " all these things 
are in the book of the covenant of Jehovah," 
and that the Greek, by way of giving a Hel- 
lenistic turn to the statement, left out the ^t, 
so as simply to identify Wisdom with the 
Law. We suspect a somewhat similar ten- 
dency in the next clause: "the law which 
Moses commanded, an [the?] inheritance to 
the congregations of Jacob" (we punctuate 
as Tischendorf and as in the Alex.). The 
plural " congregations " must refer to the 
Diaspora, and would scarcely have been in 
the original. The Syr. has : " the law which 
Moses commanded, it is an inheritance to 
the congregation of Jacob." The expression 

D^npD, Ps. xxvi. 12, and rripnpn, Ps. lxviii. 
27 both rendered by the LXX. iv tKick-qo-lais 
certainly do not here afford a parallel so as 
to explain the plural. The accus. vufxov, by 
virtue of attraction (see Winer, u. s. 66, 5, 
P- 552). 


1 3 


[v. 26 31. 

B.C. wisdom, as '"Phison and as Tigris in 

or* 200. 

- ' the time of the new fruits. 
, en ' 2 ' 26 He maketh the understanding 
to abound like Euphrates, and as 
"josh. 3. "Jordan in the time of the harvest. 

27 He maketh the doctrine of 
knowledge appear as the light, and as 
Geon in the time of vintage. 

28 The first man knew her not 
perfectly : no more shall the last find 
her out. 

29 For her thoughts are more B.C. 
than the sea, and her counsels pro- - 
founder than the great deep. 

70 I also came out as a "brook " 0r > 

r -' , 1 drain, 

from a river, and as a conduit into a or, ditch. 

31 I said, I will water my best 
garden, and will water abundantly 
my garden bed : and, lo, my brook 
became a river, and my river became 
a sea. 

24. This verse in the A. V. must be 

25. "Which [viz. the Law] maketh wis- 
dom full as Phison, and as Tigris in the time of 
the new fruits.] The Greek seems to convey 
the meaning that the Law gives the fulness of 
wisdom, which is again a Hellenistic turn for 
the Syr. : " which is full, as Phison, with 
wisdom." And this, as we suppose, the 
original had. The point of comparison is : 
when these rivers are most full of water. 

in the time of the new fruits.] D'H-lSijin D? 9 
Numb, xxviii. 26. The allusion here is not 
to Pentecost (as seems implied in v. 26 b), 
since the rivers would then not be in flood. 
St. Jerome (on Hagg. ii.) rightly describes 
Nisan (Abhibh) March or April as " the 
month of the new fruits " (mensis novorum). 
Very significantly the streams selected are 
those of Paradise: Pishon, Gen. ii. 11, and 
Hiddeqel (Tigris), Gen. ii. 14. The figure is 
continued in v. 26. The Syr. must have 
confused the lines. It has : " as Tigris in the 
days of field-products [harvest] . . . and as 
Jordan in the days of Nisan." 

27. It [the Law] maketh instruction [viz. 
of the moral kind, rraiSela] 1 appear [brings 
it forth], like the Nile.] The Greek has 
" as the light," but this evidently from a mis- 
understanding of the Hebrew "1S<3, which, as 
in Amos viii. 8, stands for "I'^'S, comp. Amos 
ix. 5 (see Hitzig-Steiner, 'Kurzgef. Exeg. 
Handb.' ad loc; and Gutmann, ' d. Apokr.' 
p. 83, note). The Syr. renders the word 

Geon.'] Gen. ii. 13; afterwards regarded as 
the Nile (comp. LXX. Jer. ii. 18). 

28. The first [viz. man, not, as Fritzsche 
supposes, the first searcher] knew her [viz., 
here again, Wisdom] not perfectly [did not 
complete to know her, did not finish know- 
ledge of Wisdom]; and likewise the last 
(man) shall not search her out.] She is 
beyond the complete ken of man. 

29. For her thought [thinking?] is full 
more than the sea, and her counsel more 

than the great deep.] So abundant that it 
cannot be all taken in (t. 28 a); so deep that 
it cannot be quite searched out (a\ 28 b). 
'A7rd a well-known Hebraism (comp. Vor- 
stius, 'de hebr. N. T.,' p. 352). 

30. A new stanza. Wisdom being thus 
beyond the compass of unaided man, she 
made for herself a channel in Revelation, and 
specifically in the Law, by which to carry her 
fertilising waters in the first place to her 
" garden," viz. Israel. But this river is yet to 
become a sea: the blessings first communi- 
cated to Israel are to be shared by all man- 
kind and to all ages, and so shall the final 
aim of Wisdom be realised and her true 
character appear. 

And I came out as a channeiyrow a river, 
and as a conduit into an orchard [garden, 
park, irapd8ei(ros].] Mark that this channel 
and conduit issued from the paradisiac streams 
previously referred to. The underlying idea 
seems to be that these rivers had compassed 
all Paradise that originally all mankind were 
intended to have share in that Divine Wisdom, 
but that in the course of time (comp. w. 7- 
9) her waters passed through the channel of the 
Law into Israel, which thus became " a well- 
watered garden," Is. lviii. 11, ktjttos fiedvoov 
the two words actually occur in v. 31. It is 
therefore the Law which, as Wisdom resid- 
ing in the midst of Israel, is once more the 

31. Omit from the A. V. "best" before 
" garden." 

my brook, <b'c] Rather, the channel 
hecame to me a river. The last line is 
specially interesting : " and my river became 
a sea." For this the Syr. has : " and the river 
went down to the sea." It is scarcely possible 
to account for this difference either by a 
misreading or a mistranslation of the original. 
Nor can we suppose that the Syr. made an 
alteration of the original : first, because the 
thought which it expresses is much more 
Hebraic than the Greek version (we suppose 
both the Heb. and the Syr. to have referred 
to the Diaspora) : secondly, because we can- 
not perceive any object for such an alteration 


I3 1 


cir. 200. 

32 I will yet make doctrine to 
shine as the morning, and will send 
forth her light afar otf. 

33 I will yet pour out doctrine as 
prophecy, and leave it to all ages for 

34 "Behold that I have not la- 
boured for myself only, but for all 
them that seek wisdom. 


cir. 200. 

I What things are beautiful, and what hateful. 
6 IVhat is the crown of age. 7 What things 
make men happy. 13 Nothing 'worse than a 
wicked woman. ,'. , 


IN three things I "was beautified, g Gen- 13- 
and stood up beautiful both before Ps. i 33 . i. 
God and men : the a unity of brethren, i . 

in the Syriac. For we cannot regard it as 
an allusion to the communication of Israel's 
Wisdom to the Gentiles by the Gospel (see 
next verse). On the other hand, if the altera- 
tion be on the part of the Greek translator, 
its object and meaning are obvious. The 
narrow channel of the Law becomes the wide 
river of prophetic declaration, of true Wisdom- 
lore, perhaps swelled by Grecian tributaries ; 
and this again merges into the boundless sea, 
when Wisdom shall be no longer Hebraic 
nor yet Grecian, but universal, watering every 
shore. That such was the meaning of the 
Greek translator seems confirmed by the 
verses which follow. 

32. I will yet light up instuction [in 
the moral and religious sense] as the dawn 

[s>p0pos = "in^ ; , Joel ii. 2 fens -int: ; 3 

^' , "!^n"?y, possibly the figure may have been 
in the mind of the writer, although with very 
different application], and I will cause it 
[instruction] to shine forth [shew it] unto 
afar off.] Aura : see Winer, u. s. 22, 3, p. 128, 
for the combination of these pronouns in the 
plural with a noun in the sing. Fritzsche 
suggests that p^para 7rai8eias was in the mind 
of the translator. The Syr. has : " Yet again 
shall I declare [tell] my doctrine in the morn- 
ing and shall leave it to many ages." The 
latter clause appears in the Greek as v. 3 3 b. As 
regards the first clause, the 3 as the dawn or 
morning has been evidently misread 3. Irre- 
spective of this alteration, it must 'be left 
undetermined whether the Greek or the Syr. 
correctly represents the Hebrew original. 
Our view is in favour of the Syr. 

33. / will yet pour forth teaching [in- 
struction] as prophecy^ Possibly a Hellenis- 
tic adaptation of Joel ii. 28 may have been 
intended by the Greek translator. The Svr. 
has: "Yet again shall I declare [tell] my 
doctrine in prophecy " (once more -possibly 
though not probably a confusion of 3 and 3). 

and leave it unto generations of Aeons 
= all generations, the els marking the time, 
not the persons. For this clause the Syr. 
has: "and the end will be unto afar off." 
Possibly the original may have had (as in 

Talmudic usage) such a word as JWllX, 
"doctrines," "teaching," and the Syr. may 
have misread it nrTHnX. 

t -: - 

34. The final exclamation of the Jewish 
Law, thoroughly Hellenistic in spirit : " Behold 
that I laboured not for myself only, but for 
all them that seek her," viz. Wisdom: the 
Law laboured not only for the Jews, but for 
all who sought Wisdom. The Syr. omits 
this verse, nor do we believe that it was in 
the original Hebrew. We may perhaps 
suggest that the younger Siracide introduced 
it in this place from xxxiii. 1 7 (in the A. V. ; 
xxx. 26 in the Greek MSS.), where the 
wording is similar, although not the con- 


From the height attained in ch. xxiv. the 
writer again descends to the general level of 
this book. In the chapter before us various 
proverbial sayings, the outcome of a not very 
elevated Oriental experience of life, are grouped 
under the headings of things desirable and 
undesirable. The first two verses are general. 
They are followed by a statement of what is 
desirable and honourable in old age, and 
specially in the eldership (four verses : w. 3- 
6), and of what is generally desirable in life 
(five verses: -w. 7-1 1). Then follows what 
is undesirable in life (three verses: int. 13- 
15 ; i'. 12 in A. V. must be omitted); 
lastly, what is undesirable in that which 
forms the largest factor in life, the family and 
the relation between the sexes (eleven verses : 

1)13. 1626). 

1. Interpreters have regarded the text as 
in a state of confusion, nor indeed is it easy 
to determine who is introduced as speaking 
in v. 1. The Syr. has: "Three things my 
soul desired, and they are beautiful before 
God and man." As regards the Greek text 
we are inclined to believe that the writer 
intended here to introduce universal Wisdom 
as speaking in her character of discipline or 
" instruction " (xxiv. 32, 33). In any case it 
seems difficult, without altering the whole 
text, to give it the meaning of the Syr., 
which the Vet. Lat. follows. Translate : con- 
cord among brethren (viz. of the same 

K 2 

I 3 2 


[v. 28. 

B- c. the love of neighbours, a man and a 

cir. 200. . 

- wife that agree together. 

2 Three sorts of men my soul 
hateth, and I am greatly offended at 
their life : a poor man that is proud, 
a rich man that is a liar, and an old 
adulterer that doateth. 

3 If thou hast gathered nothing in 
thy youth, how canst thou find any 
thing in thine age ? 

4 O how comely a thing is judg- 
ment for gray hairs, and for ancient 
men to know counsel ! 

K O how comely is the wisdom B - c. 

r i l II 1 1 c ' r - 2 

of old men, and understanding and 
counsel to men of honour ! 

6 Much experience is the crown of 
old men, and the fear of God is their 

7 There be nine things which I 
have judged in mine heart to be 
happy, and the tenth I will utter with 
my tongue : A man that hath joy of 
his children ; and he that liveth to see 
the fall of his enemy : 

8 Well is him that dwelleth with 

nation. Israel), affection among kindred, 
&c. We have thus an ascending climax of 

2. Bnt three sorts (of men) my soul hateth, 
and I greatly abhor [abominate, am vexed 
at?] their manner of life [&/ so pro- 
bably, although possibly their life = the fact 
of their existence ; the latter would be better 
Greek]: a poor man who is arrogant 
\_vnepT](f)avos, not merely " proud," but arro- 
gantly and insolently so], a rich man who 
is lying [as it were: a beggar who is a 
braggart, and a rich man who makes promises 
and breaks them. The bearing or conduct 
of these two " sorts *' is utterly incongruous, 
absolutely inexcusable, nay unaccountable ; 
it is of a character to evoke abhorrence, or 
else to make one wish such persons out 
of existence], and an aged adulterer [an 
adulterous old man] who is wanting in 
understanding.] The last clause must 
be regarded not as an apposition, but, as 
frequently in Hebrew, as generally applying 
to and describing the conduct of such 
an one. Like that of the other two, his 
conduct is utterly incongruous, inexcus- 
able, nay unaccountable and abominable. 
For what we have rendered "arrogant," 
wrepr]<pavos, the Hebrew had no doubt nXii ? 

as (four if not five times) in the LXX. ; for 
" who is lying " it would have 2T3 ; 2T3 with 
7 meaning " to lie to a person," " to deceive 
him," more particularly " to break one's 
plighted word " (comp. Ps. lxxxix. 36). The 
Syr. does not specify the sin in the third 
clause, but has : : ' and an old man who is 
foolish and wanting in knowledge." Similarly 
the Vet. Lat. and the Syr. Hex. The 
Talmud mentions these three things as what 
u the mind cannot bear," adding as a fourth : 
a Parnas official, administrator in the con- 
gregationwho exalts himself over the con- 
gregation : either in the sense of vanity or 
else of neglecting their wants (Pes. 1 13 ). 

3. If thou hast not gathered in youth.] 
The Syr. adds " wisdom." Similar sentiments 
are expressed in Talmudic writings, the most 
closely resembling that of the Son of Sirach 
being the following quoted as a proverb : " If 
in thy youth thou hast not desired them (the 
words of the Law), how shalt thou attain them 
in thine old age ?" (Ab. d. R. Nath. xxiv. about 
the middle). The sentence is intended to 
prepare for the praise in the next verses of 
a wise old age, for which it is necessary to 
gather the stores in youth. 

4. judgment. 1 DSE'D, in the sense of 
" right, justice." 

ancient men .] Rather, aged men. 

to know counsel.] The Syr., " understand- 
ing." Only such old age as here described 
is desirable. 

5. ho-zu comely is the tvisdom of elders, and 
understanding and counsel to those placed in 
honour. .] We believe the reference here to 
be to the official elders, the yepovres, D*3j?T, 
the members of the ytpovuiu. This view is 
confirmed by the next verse ; and in that case 
v. 6 also gains additional meaning. Similarly 
the Syr. has " dignitaries." 

6. The crown of elders [again in the 
official sense] is much experience, and 
their glory (boast) fear of the Lord.] 
See previous verse. This adorns and digni- 
fies them in truth. 

7. A new stanza: what is desirable in life: 
Lit. Nine suppositions [ = cases supposed] 
I in heart [i.e. in my own unspoken think- 
ing and wishing] deem happy while as to 
the tenth he has no hesitation in uttering and 
declaring it. The Syr. has : " Nine (things) 
which have not entered into my heart I 
have praised, and ten which I have not 
uttered." This must depend on a misread- 
ing. We would suggest that the original 

had 3^8 6V JWfcl, and that the Syr., 
... T . ... / > 

dropping out the second V, read : XI? J^'fl 

v. g- 




cir. 200. 

b ch. 14. i, 
& 19. 16. 
James 3. 

a friend. 

I Prov. 3. 

a wife of understanding, and that 
hath not ^slipped with his tongue, 
and that hath not served a man more 
unworthy than himself: 

9 Well is him that hath found 
"prudence, and he that spealceth in 
the ear of them that will hear : 

10 c O how great is he that findeth 
wisdom ! yet is there none above him 
that feareth the Lord. 

11 But the love of the Lord pass- B.C. 
eth all things for illumination : he cn jJ^ - 
that holdeth it, "whereto shall he be n Or, 
likened? towho,,u 

12 The fear of the Lord is the 
beginning of his love : and faith 
is the beginning; of cleaving; unto 

13 [Give me] any plague, but the 
plague of the heart : ^and any wick- ^ver. 19. 


''Sbb, or even *a!?"^ *& Th e sentiment of 
the last clause is certainly not of an elevated 
character. For the remaining part of the 
verse the Syr. has: "the man who re- 
joiceth in his end" (presumably, who looks 
forward trustfully and joyously to the final 
Divine vindication and retribution, whether 
in this life or the next) " while he yet liveth 
shall see the fall of his enemies." We may 
feel certain that this was not in the original. 
It is another question whether the alteration 
was intentional or not. We believe the 
former, and that the Syr. sought, by a per- 
haps slight change in the Hebrew text, to 
convert what was an objectionable into a 
pious sentiment. 

8. Three further "beatitudes" follow (the 
third, fourth, and fifth) : " Well is him " 
rather, happy he "that hath not slipped;" 
rather, that slippeth not. Last clause: 
"and that serveth not one unworthy 
of him" a person whose character or folly 
renders it derogatory, or a trial, to have to 
do his bidding or to be his subordinate. To 
the first clause of the verse there are many 
parallels in Rabbinic writings. But the Syr. 
addition to this clause is, so far as we re- 
member, the only source of what is an 
undoubtedly Jewish simile for an ill-assorted 
marriage. The verse in the Syr. version 
reads : " Well to the husband of a good 
wife, who draws not the plough with an ox 
and an ass together." May the apostolic 
injunction (2 Cor. vi. 14), " Be not unequally 
yoked together with unbelievers" which 
seems, in the first place, to refer to religiously 
unequal marriages have been derived from 
a Jewish proverb, preserved in this Syr. 
rendering, rather than from Lev. xix. 19; 
Deut. xxii. 10 ? Or is the opposite the case, 
and did the Syr. derive its simile from 2 Cor. 
vi. 14? Instead of "that slippeth not with 
his tongue," the Syr. has, " whose tongue does 
not overthrow [destroy] him." 

9. Beatitudes 6 and 7. Happy he who 
findeth [ = attaineth] prudence cppuvrjo-is, 
in the sense of knowledge of what should be 
done. " And he that speaketh," viz. it, that 
is, in the prudent direction to duty. The 

A. V., although not literal, gives the meaning 
accurately. The Syr. has " mercy " instead 
of " prudence." Probably the original had 
njn, " knowledge," " prudence," as in BN 
Hjn (Prov. xxiv. 5), which the LXX. ren- 
ders : avr/p (pp6vr](Tiv i'^wv ; and the Syr. 
read, instead of HJH, the word ilJTl which 
means " a friend," or else by a different 
punctuation of the Syr. may mean " mercy." 
In point of fact, the Vet. Lat. has here "a 
true friend." 

10. Beatitudes 8 and 9. "Yet is there 
none;" rather, yet is he not. The Syr. 
omits this verse, but curiously interposes the 
following : " well to the man whom poverty 
has not broken, nor yet want hath broken " 
possibly to make up the number of the beati- 
tudes. " Wisdom " in its theoretical aspect 
is here distinguished from practical Wisdom, 
or the fear of the Lord. 

11. The writer now sets forth that " tenth " 
thing he had in v. 7 declared it his purpose 
to " utter" with his tongue; that is, to make 
matter of special and explicit praise without 
fear of contradiction. 

The fe ar of 't he Lord surpasseth above 
every thing.] Thus, and not as in the 
A. V. : the vnip in the verb, in addition to that 

preposition, represents the Hebrew ?V ""W. 
The second clause of the verse is omitted in 
the Syr. 

holdeth^] Rather, holdeth fast. 

<wbereto.] Perhaps, rather, to whom? 
To this question no answer is returned, per- 
haps to indicate that comparison is here not 
possible, since the condition of such a person 
surpasseth all else. 

12. This verse deserves special attention. 
It does not occur either in the Vat. or in 
the Sinait. Cod. but in H., 248, Co. We can 
scarcely doubt that it is a spurious addition, 
and due to a Christian hand. That we find 
it in the Syr., and in the Vet. Lat. and the 
Arab., does not surprise us, and confirms 
our impression of the Christian origin of the 
Syr. Version, and of the dependence upon it 
of the Vet. Lat. 



[v. 14 19. 

cir. 200. 

e Prov. 2 


& 25. 24. 

edness, but the wickedness of a 
woman : 

14 And any affliction, but the 
affliction from them that hate me : 
and any revenge, but the revenge 
of enemies. 

15 There is no head above the 
head of a serpent ; and there is no 
wrath above the wrath of an 

16 T had rather dwell with a lion 

cir. 200. 

II Or, like 
a bear. 

and a dragon, than to keep house 
with a wicked woman. 

17 The wickedness of a woman 
changeth her face, and darkeneth her 
countenance 'like sackcloth. 

18 Her husband shall sit among 
his neighbours ; and when he heareth 
it shall sigh bitterly. 

19 -^ All wickedness is but little to-^er. 13. 
the wickedness of a woman : let the 
portion of a sinner fall upon her. 

13. A new stanza. After the res expetendse, 
come the res fugiendx. 

Any wound but not a wound of the 
heart, and any wickedness but not the wicked- 
ness of a woman.] The Syr. has in both 
clauses, " but not as ; " the Yet. Lat. either 
misunderstood or alters the wording. In 
the Talmud we have this (we italicise the 
parallel words) : " Any disease but not disease 
of the bowels ; any wound but not a wound 
of the heart ; any ache but not ache of the 
head ; any -wickedness but not a wicked woman " 
(Shabb. 1 1 a). This is interesting, as shew- 
ing that many of these sayings of the Siracide 
must have been proverbial among the Jews. 

14. Any affliction but not the affliction of 
them [ = from them], 

15. This verse is one of the most curious 
and interesting from the exegetical point of 
view. Since the time of Bretschneider, it has 
been generally held that what the Greek 
rendered " head " and " head of a serpent " 
(K((f)a\T)) was a mistranslation of L ,; N~I, 
"poison," as in Deut. xxxii. 33. And the 
evidence of what in itself seems probable lies 
in this, that the word 6vfi6s, which occurs in 
the second clause of our verse in Ecclus., is 
the word by which the LXX. render C'X'"1 in 
Deut xxxii. 33. The correct rendering of 
the Hebrew text of Ecclus. xxv. 15 would 
therefore be: There is not a poison above 

I more virulent thanj the poison of a 
serpent, nor rage [vehemence of passion] 
above the rage of an enemy. But this 
is not all. Not only has the Syr. also mis- 
translated Pm by " head "unless the word 
means in Syr. also " poison "but it has: 
I here is not a head [poison '] more bitter 
than the head [poison ?] of a serpent, and 
there is not an enmity of more bitterness 
than that of woman." The Vet. Lat. has : 
et non est ira super iram mulieris ; thus giving 
another evidence of its dependence upon the 
Synac As regards the clause itself, we have 
little doubt that the Svr. here purposely 
altered the original Hebrew, which was cor- 
rectly given by the Greek, and the alteration 

is the more cunning that it fits so well into 
the context of the following verses. But 
what was the purpose of the alteration ? We 
cannot help suspecting that it was intended to 
allude to the doctrine of the fall of man. 

16. A new stanza. / would rather [I 
should prefer to] dwell together with a 
lion and a dragon than dwell in the house 
with a wicked 'woman. 

17. her face.'] Rather, her appearance. 
The meaning of the second clause seems to 
be that it makes her face, or herself, sinister 
instead of being bright as the day. The Syr. 
has: "makes pale the face of her husband, 
and makes it dark, &c." It is not easy to 
account here for the change of person in the 
verse, although the Syr. seems more natural 
than the Greek. The Alex, has, instead of 
" like sackcloth," "like a bear" possibly some 
misreading. Curiously the Vet. Lat. has both 
the Vat. and the Alex, reading : tamquam 
ursus, et quasi saccum ostendit. We conjecture 
that a later hand had altered the original 
translation and put, either in the text or 
margin, both the Alex, and the Vat. readings 
markedly, the Alex, first and that then an 
attempt had been made to make sense out of 
the two : nequitia . . . obaecat vultum suum 
tamquam ursus (in the nomin.), &c. 

18. In the midst of his neighbours 
[possibly in the sense of relatives] her 
husband resteth; and as he heareth 
[viz. either what is said of her, or else the 
praise of good women], he sigheth bitterly.] 
Instead of aKovaas. "and as he heareth," 
other texts have dKovaicos, " involuntarily." 
As the Syr. has the same, we imagine that 
this must be the correct reading. The Syr. : 
" In the midst of his companions sitteth the 
husband of the foolish woman, and involun- 
tarily he sigheth." The Vet. Lat. seems 
once more to combine the two different 
readings, slightly altering them. 

19. All.] Better, any. The Syr. modi- 
fies : " Manifold is wickedness, but it is not 
like the smallest wickedness of a wicked 
woman." It seems needless to quote Rabbinic 

V. 2 0- 




20 As the climbing up a sandy 
way is to the feet of the aged, so is a 
wife "full of words to a quiet man. 

21 -^ Stumble not at the beauty of 
a woman, and desire her not for 

22 A woman, if she maintain her 
husband, is full of anger, impudence, 
and much reproach. 

23 A wicked woman abateth the b. c. 
courage, maketh an heavy counte- C1 ^_^- 
nance and a wounded heart: a 
woman that will not comfort her 
husband in distress maketh weak 
hands and feeble knees. 

24 Of 7 ' the woman came the be- 7 ' Gen. 3. 
ginning of sin, and through her we all x 'Tim. 2. 
die. I4 - 

parallels, but we may mention that which, on 
the basis of Eccles. vii. 26, prays for deliver- 
ance from that which is worse than death 
a wicked woman (Yebam. 63 a). 

20. A sandy (place of) ascent, <&V\] 
Equally trying to a quiet man is a woman 
who always puts in her words. The Syr. 
has, " of a long tongue." 

21. These things being so, a general warn- 
ing follows. " Stumble not," &c. let not the 
beauty of a woman cause thee to stumble 
while pursuing thy way and bear not 
desire after a woman. The Alex, supple- 
ments after "woman" iv KiiAXei, and Fritzsche 
adopts this ; but the addition seems to us 
disturbing. The Syr. has : " be not allured 
by the beauty of a wicked woman ; and even 
if she have wealth, do not desire after her." 
This seems rather an alteration than a different 
leading of the text. The Vet. Lat. repeats 
the tautology of the Alex, reading. 

22. Anger, impudence, and great 
shame, when a woman supplies [viz. 
his livelihood but the word is difficult] to 
her husband.] Such are the consequences 
when a husband depends upon his wife for 
his living. The Syr. has : " for hard servitude 
and evil shame (is) a woman who doeth harm 
to and lords over her husband, and with whom 
the heart is also covered [who dissemblethj." 
The last clause is an addition unless it be a 
strange mistranslation of the opening Greek 
words of the next verse (icapSla raiveivr]). 
Putting aside this clause, we suppose that 
the original had 7\V\) nnny, " cruel wrath," 
a similar expression in Gen. xlix. 7 in 
which the Greek misunderstood HD'^ for 
"impudent," as in Ezek. ii. 4, D^B^p, 

and then resolved the substant. and adject, 
into two substantives, while the Syr. mis- 
read the substantive and misrendered the 
adjective as if it had been T\&\> r\"]2V, " hard 
service " (taking HCp in the primary meaning 
of the word). In that case the original 
would have meant " cruel anger" (viz. on the 
part of the wife), " and great shame " (viz. 
on the part of the husband). But how are 
we to account for the difference between the 

" sustaining " of the Greek, and the " doing 
harm and lording" in the Syriac. Can it be 
that there was here a confusion between some 
form of 1VD (in the Greek) and "ll?D (in the 

23. A wicked woman [here follow the re- 
sults] : a heart depressed, a counte- 
nance sullen, and a heart stricken [lit., 
stroke of heart]; hands relaxed [weak, 
that hang down], and knees palsied: 
such an one as makes not happy her 
husband [causes not his happiness]. J Two 
kinds of wives are here distinguished : the 
wicked woman and, in the second part of the 
verse, one who does not actually secure the 
happiness of her husband. The influence of 
such a wife on his life is paralysing. It 
deserves notice that the quotation from Is. 
xxxv. 3, "relaxed hands and palsied knees," 
is not literally taken from the LXX. The 
passage is again quoted in Heb. xii. 12 
and there the same difference from the LXX. 
obtains, while the words are adduced pre- 
cisely as in Ecclus. 

24. The verse is remarkable, as ascribing 
to Eve not only the introduction of death, 
but also the commencement, although not 
the introduction, of sin. The first of these 
two propositions is not inconsistent with 
Ecclus. xiv. 17 (mark there the word 8ia8i']Kr], 
and the pointed reference to LXX. Gen. 
ii. 17). But we must be careful not to 
identify the statement that " of woman [came, 
or was] the beginning of sin " with the N. T. 
doctrine of original sin. The Hebrew had 
probably rVBWl, and the Syr. here repro- 
duces it: "from woman began sins." We 
surmise that in 1 Tim. ii., culminating in 
w. 14, 15, the Apostle had this verse in 
Ecclus. in view, although his reference was 
no doubt also to Gen. iii. 17. [We might 
almost conjecture that one of the objects in 
1 Tim. ii. 14, 15 was to prevent any false 
inference as to the undesirableness of the 
married estate on the part of Christian 
women.] Apart from this, it is noteworthy 
that the Apostle emphasises the introduction 
of sin through woman. In Galilee it was 
the custom for the women to go before the 
bier, so as to mark that death came through 
woman (Ber. R. 17). 



B.C. 25 Give the water no passage; 

- " neither a wicked woman liberty to 
gad abroad. 

26 If she go not as thou wouldest 
have her, cut her oft" from thy flesh, 
Deut. 24. and 'give her a bill of divorce, and 
Mark 10. let her go. 


I A good wife, 4 and a good conscience, do glad 
men. 6 A "wicked wife is a fearful thing. 
13 Of good and bad wives. 28 Of three 

things that are grievous. 29 Merchants and B. C. 
hucksters are not without sin. cir. 200. 

BLESSED is the man that hath 
"a virtuous wife, for the nura- "Prov. 3t . 
ber of his days shall be double. IO ' &c- 

2 A virtuous woman rejoiceth her 
husband, and he shall fulfil the years 
of his life in peace. 

3 h A good wife is a good portion, * Prov. xa. 
which shall be given in the portion of 22 ' 
them that fear the Lord. 

25. neither to a wicked woman rule (per- 
haps better: authority or power).'] Omit 
"to gad abroad," which is added in 248, 
Co. For (govaiav, " rule," Fritzsche would 
read with the Sin., Alex., 248, and six other 
MSS. irapprjcriav, "liberty," or rather "con- 
fidence." But this not only gives the im- 
pression of a later emendation, but is for- 
bidden by the Syr., which has " rule " 
or "power," and therefore establishes the 
Vat. text. The A. V. follows 248, Co. 
Very curiously the Syr. has : " nor to a 
woman face and rule." Did the Syr. make 
some confusion with such an expression as 
P)S1 in the original, or may the latter have 
had DJB nwfeo, " lifting up of the face," in 

the sense of special honour, distinction, which 
the Syr. misunderstood ? The Syr. also adds : 
" for as the issue of waters as it proceeds 
becomes larger, so a wicked woman proceeds 
and sinneth." The Vet. Lat. is apparently 
emendated, but generally accords with 248, 
Co., which (as already indicated) have for 
it-ov<Tiav, Trapprjcrtciv etjodov. It renders : non 
ties aqiict tua exitum, nee modicum ; nee mulieri 
nequani I'eniam prodeundi (the latter also in 
A. V.). 

26. If she go not according to thy 
hand] that is, either "according to thy 

manner," TT3, or more probably TT^, 
"under thy leadership." The words " and 
give her" viz. a bill of divorce "and send 
her away " (more freely rendered in the A. V.) 
must be omitted. They are neither in the 
Vat., the Alex., nor the Sin. (which latter 
has in the first clause, instead of ^t Ipd aov, 
Xf'tpus <tov). But the clause occurs in 248, Co., 
and also in the Syr. The wording of the 
latter (carnem taam reseca) might lead us to 
suspect some indelicacy in the original which 
the Greek has modified (but see the note on 
xxvi. 1 ). The Vet. Lat. is paraphrastic or 
explanatory in the second clause. 


The arrangement of this chapter presents 
special difficulties from the state of the text 

since w. 19-27, although found in 248, Co., 
and in the Syr., are not in either the Vat. or 
the Alex., while w. 28, 29 evidently belong 
to ch. xxvii. (see the notes). The chapter as 
thus curtailed treats of the favourite subject 
of the Son of Sirach : woman. Four verses 
in praise of a good woman are followed by 
eight verses (yv. 5-12) which describe the 
ills entailed by evil women. Lastly, we have 
six verses in praise of a fair woman {yv. 

1. Happy the husband of a good wife, 
and.] This verse and <v. 3 are quoted in the 
Talmud in two passages (Yebam. 63 b\ Sanh. 
1006) as from Ben Sira. In Sanh. 100 they 
are introduced as useful for preaching pur- 
poses. But although the two verses are 
quoted precisely alike in both Talmudic 
passages, and are the same as in the Greek 
version, their order is inverted, v. 3 (of the 
Greek text) preceding v. 1. Moreover, be- 
tween these two sayings another is inserted, 
which represents the closing verse of the 
previous chapter ; being, however, neither 
exactly like the Greek nor the Syriac version, 
but almost a compromise between the two. 
We can scarcely agree with Fritzsche that 
the second clause of our verse is explanatory 
of the first. The doubling of the number of 
days seems a continuation, rather than an 
explanation, of the first clause. 

2. a brave [worthy] wife.] yvvrj dvbpeia, 

by which the LXX. render the h\U DEW of 
Prov. xii. 4, xxxi. 10 (LXX. xxix. 28), while 
the same Hebrew expression in Ruth iii. 11 
is rendered by ywi] 8vi>dp.(a>s another evi- 
dence that the translation of Prov. and that 
of Ruth were made by different hands and 
presumably at different periods. 

his years.] Not "the years of his life," 
as in the A. V. after 248, Co. The Syr. 
interchanges w. 2 and 3, and it has "in joy" 
instead of "in peace." Such a woman will 
be a defence from evil and strife. 

3. As regards the second part of the verse, 
the repetition of the word " portion " shews 
that there must have been some misapprehen- 

v. 4 io.] 


l 2>1 




4 Whether a man be rich or poor, 
if he have a good heart toward the 
Lord, he shall at all times rejoice 
with a cheerful countenance. 

5 There be three things that mine 
heart feareth ; and for the fourth I 
was sore afraid : "the slander of a 
city, the gathering together of an 
unruly multitude, and a false accu- 
sation : all these are worse than 

6 But a grief of heart and sorrow 
is a woman that is jealous over an- 
other woman, and a scourge of the 

tongue which communicateth with B.C. 

Heir. 200. 

7 An evil wife is "a yoke shaken 1 Or, 
to and fro : he that hath hold of her l/lJen. 
is as though he held a scorpion. 

8 A drunken woman and a gadder 
abroad causeth great anger, and she 
will not cover her own shame. 

9 The whoredom of a woman may 
be known in her haughty looks and 

10 c Ifthy daughter be shameless, c ch. 42. 
keep her in straitly, lest she abuse ' 
herself through overmuch liberty. 

sion on the part of the translator. The 
mistake is rectified by the quotation in the 
Talmud, which has in the second clause p'ns, 

" in the bosom," misread by the Greek p?ri3, 
" in the portion." Thus the original Heb. 
text would have been: she shall be given 
[or it shall be given, viz. the gift : fUnD, as in 
the Talmud] in the bosom of them that 
fear the Lord. The Syr. puts it thus: "a 
good wife shall be given to the man who 
feareth the Lord in return for good works " 
a somewhat bold emendation, probably in 
order to avoid the appearance of fatalism. 
The Vet. Lat. here once more shews alike its 
dependence on the Syr. as well as on the 
Greek by combining the Syr. and the Greek, 
as follows: in parte (this from the Greek) 
timentium Deuni debitur t'iro (this from the 
Syr.) pro factis bonis (this again from the Syr.). 

4. The heart of the rich and also of 
the poor (is) happy, at all times [here 
= under any circumstances] the counte- 
nance cheerful.] Viz. if he have such a 
wife. The A. V. follows 248, Co. 

5. There is some difficulty about the 
second clause. The text of the A. V. is here 
also that of the Alex, and S 2 . But this read- 
ing seems almost impossible (see Fritzsche). 
On the other hand, the Vatic, has : " with the 
face I have prayed," which is no doubt the 
better text, but gives no meaning, since " to 
pray with the face " can scarcely be regarded 
as = " to pray humbly," i.e. with down-turned 
face. We imagine that the confusion origin- 
ally arose from the expression jS, " lest " (of 
course our present final letters were not in 
use), which the Greek translator misread 
'3?, or even DOSS, "face," and thus bunglingly 
turned into Trpoamna,, " with the face." But 
as the reading " with the face I have prayed " 
gave no meaning, it was next emended into 
" I have feared." The original had probably 
neither one nor the other, but something that 

would give this meaning : "Of three things 
my heart is afraid, and over the fourth, 
lest (|2) it befall me" or something of 
that kind. 

the gathering together of the multitude 
[presumably, mob-rule and mob-law] . . . 
all these are more wretched than death.'] 
The Syr. combines into one sentence the first 
two causes of fear in a manner similar to what 
we have noted in xxv. 7 (see the note). 

6. This verse states that fourth object 
which inspired him with such dread. Omit 
" but." The last clause we propose render- 
ing: and a scourge of tongue which 
(equally) gives a share to all is equally 
administered to all : the sense being that one 
of the (three) things connected with a jealous 
woman is that her evil speaking the scourge 
of her tongue equally falls upon all, however 
unreasonable and uncalled-for the promptings 
of her jealousy may be. The Syr. omits this 

7. a yoke shaken to and fro.'] Rather, " an 
ox-yoke moved to and fro," i.e. unsteady 
in its movement, one of the animals pulling 
in the other direction. The Syr. renders 

it by " a hard yoke," perhaps reading HDID, 
while the Greek derived the word from the 
verb DID. 

he that layeth hold of her is as one that 
seizes a scorpion^] Which turns round to 
inflict a poisonous bite. 

8. A woman drunken [and roaming 
about, which the A. V. falsely softens].] The 
italicised words within brackets, which are 
not in the Vat. nor Alex, but in 248, Co., are 
also represented in the Syr. The idea sug- 
gested is sufficiently plain. 

9. in the upliftings of the eyes and. 
in her eyelids. 

10. Three warnings follow. 
shameless.] dduiTperrTos ; lit. "over a 



[v. ii 1 8. 


cir. 200. 

11 Watch over an impudent eye : 
and marvel not if she trespass against 

12 She will open her mouth, as a 
thirsty traveller when he hath found 
a fountain, and drink of every water 
near her : by every "hedge will she 
sit down, and open her quiver against 
every arrow. 

13 The grace of a wife delighteth 
her husband, and her discretion will 
fatten his bones. 

14 A silent and loving woman is 
a gift of the Lord ; and there is no- 

thing so much worth as a mind well b. c. 

, cir. 200. 


15 A shamefaced and faithful wo- 
man is a double grace, and her con- 
tinent mind cannot be valued. 

16 As the sun when it ariseth "in \ 

ii-ii -ii r highest 

the high heaven ; so is the beauty or a places of 
good wife in the "ordering of her house. '' 

1 7 As the clear light is upon the ornament. 
holv candlestick ; so is the beauty of Or, in 

, J r 11 constant 

the race "in ripe age. age . 

18 As the golden pillars are upon iOr, 
the sockets of silver ; so are the " fair " ' uy ' 
feet with a constant ''heart. breast. 

daughter that cannot be turned aside 
here from lust (this, rather than " head- 
strong," see Fritzsche) keep a strait 

through overmuch liberty.~] Rather, "lest 
finding relaxation," i.e. of the watchfulness 
advised. Fritzsche tries to explain the sin 
referred to in a better sense than that implied 
in the A. V. ; but in our opinion with little 

11. (To go) After an impudent eye, 
he on thy guard (beware, have a care).] 
It is scarcely worth discussing the meaning to 
be attached to these words, nor whether the 
reference is to a daughter, as in v. 10, or to 
another woman probably the latter. If 
the warning of the first clause be neglected, 
marvel not if she leads thee into sin. 

12. As a thirsty traveller will open 
his mouth and drink of every water 
that is near, so will she sit down he- 
fore every peg, <b'c. 

13. A new stanza, in praise of woman. 
The antithesis to the previous verses which 
described the bad woman is not difficult to 
trace. The expression " make fat the bones," 
as in Prov. xv. 30. 

14. Omit from the A. V. the words " and 
a loving" evidently a later emendatory 

and there is nothing so much worth.] ko.1 
ovk ('(ttiv dirdXXay/nn, there is not an ex- 
change here, best : equivalent in value. 
Instead of "as a mind well instructed" of the 
more polite Greek, the Syr. has "as continence 
[exiguity, parsimonyj of throat." 

15. Omit from the A. V. the words "and 
faithful" (see v. 14). Lit., is grace upon 
grace = utmost grace. 

cannot be valued.'] A good paraphrase of 
ouk eo-n (TTadfios nds d'^toj. Instead of " a 
continent mind " the Syr. has " continence 
[exiguity, u. s.] of the mouth:" but the 

allusion of the Greek is to something different, 
and marks a progression on the first clause 
of the verse. 

16. in the high heaven.} Rather, in the 
heights (the highest places, iv v\j/icrTots) 
of the Lord. 

in the ordering of her house.'] More cor- 
rectly, according to the Vat., " the ordering 
of his house," viz. that of her lord. The 
comparison is between the sun in the heights, 
or high places, of his lord, and woman in the 
house of her lord : both have a lord, and both 
are beautiful in the effectual discharge of the 
functions assigned to them. What the sun 
is in the house above, woman is in that upon 
earth. The Syr. has : " so is the beauty of 
a good woman when she abideth in her 
house." This probably represents the original 
more accurately. 

17. As the lamp that shineth forth 
upon the holy candlestick, so is beauty of 
face upon a steadfast age [life].] The 
word T]\iicia is always used in that sense in 
the Apocr., and the meaning would be : so is 
matronly beauty after a constant, steadfast 

18. Another figure, no doubt also derived 
from the furniture of the Temple, and equally 
designed to exhibit the combination of beauty 
with goodness. 

As golden pillars upon a silver 
base, so fair feet with [lit., upon) the 
heart [lit., breasts] of one who is stable 
[quiet].j Or, adopting the reading eva-raBeai, 
"with a stable [quiet?] heart." The antithesis 
to w. 8-12, as well as the parallelism with 
the previous verse, are clearly marked. At 
the same time it should be mentioned that 
commentators following the lead of S 1 , the 
Vet. Lat., and the Syr. propose to alter o-repvots 
into Trrepvais, and to translate " so are fair feet 
upon firm soles." But this not only destroys 
the parallelism, but does not yield any good, 
scarcely an intelligible, meaning. 

v. 19 29.] 


I 39 


cir. 200. 

19 My son, keep the flower of 
thine age sound ; and give not thy 
strength to strangers. 

20 When thou hast gotten a fruit- 
ful possession through all the field, 
sow it with thine own seed, trusting 
in the goodness of thy stock. 

21 So thy race which thou leavest 
shall be magnified, having the con- 
fidence of their good descent. 

22 An harlot shall be accounted 
as "spittle ; but a married woman is a 
tower against death to her husband. 

23 A wicked woman is given as a 
portion to a wicked man : but a 
godly woman is given to him that 
feareth the Lord. 

24 A dishonest woman contemneth 
shame : but an honest woman will 
reverence her husband. 

25 A shameless woman shall be 

counted as a dog ; but she that is b. c. 
shamefaced will fear the Lord. 1 

26 A woman that honoureth her 
husband shall be judged wise of all ; 
but she that dishonoureth him in her 
pride shall be counted ungodly of all. 

27 A loud crying woman and a 
scold shall be sought out to drive 
awav the enemies. 

28 There be two things that grieve 
my heart ; and the third maketh me 
angry : a man of war that suffereth 
poverty; and rf men of understanding <* Eccies. 
that are not set by ; and ''one that 9 '1 IS \ 

. - . , J . e Ezek. 18. 

returneth from righteousness to sin ; 24. 
the Lord prepareth such an one for 
the sword. 

29 S A merchant shall hardly keep -^ch. 27. 
himself from doing wrong ; and an 
huckster shall not be freed from 


19-27. These verses, which are not found 
either in the Vat. or in the Alex., are an 
interpolation, although probably an old one. 
They occur in H., 248, and Co. They are 
also found in the Syr. (though not in the Vet. 
Lat.), but with expressions so strange and 
divergent from the Greek as to raise the 
suspicion of a later addition. We enter- 
tain the less doubt as to the spuriousness of 
these verses, since they often contain repeti- 
tions of what had been previously said. 

28. This verse evidently begins a subject 
totally different from that hitherto discussed. 
We can scarcely doubt that this and the 
following verse form part of ch. xxvii. The 
new subject is introduced in a manner similar 
to Ecclus. xxvi. 5. The object of the writer 
in thus introducing a new theme seems to be, 
by first stating three things on which all are 
agreed, to prepare for, and to conciliate, the 
favourable consideration of his readers in 
regard to the new subject which he is about 
to bring before them. 

Over two things has my heart been 
grieved, and over [forj the third strong 
feeling cometh upon me . . . and men 
of understanding if they are not set by.] As 
the fifth line is not introduced in any of the 
Greek texts by Kai, we propose beginning 
with it a new sentence, and combining it with 
the last line: He that returneth from 
righteousness to sin, the lord pre- 
pareth him Tsuch an one] for the sword. 
[So also Bissell, although not as to punctua- 
tion.] The Syr. has "and." In this it is followed 
by the Vet. Lat., although not in the some- 

what peculiar rendering of the three cases 
instanced : "a free man" for "a man of war;" 
" men of celebrated fame who fall from their 
glory," and " over him who turneth from 
adherence to God [apostatises from the true 

29. The sentence is in strict accordance 
with Rabbinic sentiment. The efxiropos is here 
the "l|Jj) (as in the Syr.) of the Targumim 
and Talmud, the larger, resident, or else the 
importing merchant (even the dealer en gros), 
while the KtinriXos is either the travelling 
hawker, the pnp of the Talmud, or more 
probably the "O^n, "huckster" or "shopman." 
But in the LXX. the epiropos is alike the 
inb, although even so a travelling merchant, 

and the 73*1 of biblical Hebrew resident 
merchants being apparently unknown. The 
word KaTTTjKo^ occurs only in the LXX. modi- 
fication of the last clause of Is. i. 22 ("thy 
hawkers mix the wine with water " the intro- 
duction of the term seeming to imply different 
authorship and perhaps laterdate than other 
parts of the LXX. The LXX. in Ezek. has 
only efiiropos). The Talmud ranks the *J13n, 
" huckster " or " shopkeeper " (by which the 
Syr. renders the Ki'nrrjXos of our text among 
those whose occupation involves robbing 
(Qidd. 82 a, b altogether a curious passage). 
In Ab. ii. 5 we are told that he who trafhcks 
much (multiplieth merchandising, iTTinp) 
cannot become a sage, while in Erubh. 55 
Deut. xxx. 13 is thus explained: "Thou shalt 
not find it [the Law] either with hawkers or 




cir. 200. 


I Of sins in selling and buying. 7 Our speech 
will tell what is in us. 16 A friend is lost by 
discovering his secrets. 25 He that diggeth a 
pit shall fall into it. 

" Prov. s8. 


Or, a 
thing in- 


ANY "have sinned for "a small 

matter ; and he that ^'seeketh 

abundance will turn his eyes 

a"p>v. a3 . awa 7- 

4-_ 2 As a nail sticketh fast between 


t Tim. 6. 

the joinings of the stones ; so doth 

sin stick close between buying and B - C. 

3 Unless a man hold himself dili- 
gently in the fear of the Lord, his 
house shall soon be overthrown. 

4 As when one sifteth with a 
sieve, the refuse remaineth ; so the 
filth of man in his " talk. ; r > , 

-t-i r 11 thought. 

5 c 1 he furnace proveth the pot- fprov> 
ter's vessels ; so the trial of man is 

in his reasoning. 

with merchants " ((PUTO l6l MTnM l6). 

The Syr. curiously adds explanatively : " for if 
he stumbles not in this, he stumbles in that." 
But ''the shopkeeper" or "hawker" is abso- 
lutely given up he " is not free from sin." 


The subject begun in the two closing verses 
of ch. xxvi. is continued in the three opening 
verses' of ch. xxvii. From " commerce " the 
writer proceeds to that other " commerce," 
the intercourse of daily life. This forms the 
general subject of the chapter. First, the 
source of conversation is traced to the con- 
dition of mind and heart (stanza 2, four 
verses : 4-7). This gives rise to a parenthetic 
stanza of three verses on righteousness and 
truth (yv. 8-10). Then follows an antithetic 
stanza about the discourse of the wise and that 
of the fool (stanza 4 of five verses: 11-15). 
Next we have a stanza (the fifth) on un- 
warrantable and dangerous speech (six verses: 
16-21); and then a sixth stanza of three 
verses on deceitful speech and action (yv. 
22-24). The last stanza (six verses : 25-30) 
on malice and anger follows up that which 
had preceded, and intimates the righteous 
retribution of God on conduct such as that 
referred to. This stanza also serves as a 
transition from ch. xxvii. to xxviii. 

1. a small matter.] Rather, a thing 
indifferent, which has no real value and for 
which he perhaps little cares. Com p. Note 
on vii. 18. 

seeketb for abundance.'] To increase = to 
accumulate wealth. 

will turn away the eye.] Viz., either 
from that which is right, or else in the sense 
of an obliquity of vision. The Syr. curiously 
has : ' he that seeketh to multiply sins turneth 
away his eyes." 

2. As a peg is driven in [made fast] 
between the joinings of stones, so is sin 
crushed in between buy big and selling.'] 
There is some difficulty about the meaning 
of a-vvTpii^aeTai (" crushed in "). It is 

simply arbitrary on the part of Fritzsche 
to change the word into o-wdXiftijcreTai by 
way of following (?) the Vet. Lat., angustia- 
bitur. The Syr. renders : " is made strong." 
This, as has been suggested, would represent 
fWnJjl, or it might be ptnijl, which the Greek, 
however, read P.T.njj), " layeth hold of." And 
although (TWTpi$r]<jtTai properly means " is 
crushed," yet the figure in the first clause 
about the peg driven in might naturally sug- 
gest this free, but substantially correct, ren- 
dering of the Greek for the Hebrew: "layeth 
hold of." 

3. The previous verse is followed by a 
general warning, which in the Syr. and the Vet. 
Lat. is cast in the form of a personal address. 
The meaning is : Such being the tempta- 
tions of daily life, take care lest instead of 
building your house by your gains you destroy 
it in consequence of your sin. The Syr. 
rendering of the second clause is both inapt 
and unaccountable. 

4. A new stanza, talk.] Rather, think- 
ing. As in the LXX. generally, we must 
regard Xoyianos, as = HZlu'nE). The object of 
the writer is to shew that the real character 
of a man will ultimately appear in his dis- 
course. The lighter substances may be 
shaken out of a sieve, but the heavier re- 
main. So it is with a man. The vile remains 
in his thinking and purposing, and it will 
manifest itself. This is the real test of what 
a man is and of what he will do or say. 

5. in his reasoning.] Rather, in his con- 
sideration -in his balancing of what course 
to take, and in his consequent choice. 
This meaning seems to suit the whole con- 
text and also best to fit in with w. 8-10. 
The expression 8oKifidei Kapuvos, " the furnace 
proveth," reminds us of LXX. Prov. xvii. 3 
(8oKifxdfTai iv Kafxlvcp) rather than of LXX. 
Prov. xxvii. 21. Nevertheless, we suspect that 
the gloss (perhaps originally marginal) found 
in LXX. Prov. xxvii. 21 may be based on, 
Ecclus. xxvii. 5, 6, rather than on LXX. 
Prov. xvii. 3 or on xii. 8. 

6 1 6.] 



cir. 200. 

6 d The fruit declareth if the tree 
have been dressed ; so is the utter- 

r7 . latt ' 7 ' ance of a conceit in the heart of 

7 Praise no man before thou hear- 
est him speak ; for this is the trial 
of men. 

8 If thou followest righteousness, 
thou shalt obtain her, and put her on, 
as a glorious long robe. 

9 The birds will resort unto their 
like ; so will truth return unto them 
that practise in her. 

10 As the lion lieth in wait for 
the prey ; so sin for them that work 

1 1 The discourse of a godly man 

is always with wisdom ; but a fool 

changeth as the moon. 

be among the indis 

12 If thou 
creet, observe the time ; but be 
continually among men of under- 

13 The discourse of fools is irk- 
some, and their sport is the wanton- 
ness of sin. 

14 ^The talk of him that swear- 
eth much maketh the hair stand 
upright ; and their brawls make one 
stop his ears. 

15 The strife of the proud is blood- 
shedding, and their revilings are 
grievous to the ear. 

16 Whoso discovereth secrets los- 

b. c. 

cir. 200. 


53. 9. 

6. The cultivation of a tree its fruit 
sheweth forth [mark the similarity with, 
and yet difference from St. Matt. vii. 16, 20, 
and comp. especially St. Jas. iii. 12, 17], so 
the matter [Xoyos = "121, in the sense of 
" object "J of desire [or of cogitation] 
the hearts of men (taking KapSias as the 
accus. plur., not the gen. sing.).] It would 
be extremely difficult, and perhaps scarcely 
worth the labour of the attempt, to explain 
the divergences in the Syr. 

7. This verse, which forms the conclusion 
of this part, is omitted in the Syr. Translate : 
Praise not a man irrespective of (his) 
thinking, viz. before thou knowest what 
that is "for this is the trial [the test] of men." 

8. This stanza follows naturally upon what 
had preceded. " If thou followest the 
right, thou shalt obtain [attain] and put it 
on," &c. The " long robe," nodijprjs, as in 
Rev. i. 13, especially the robe of the High 
Priest (Ecclus. xlv. 8), and also in the LXX. 
O. T. (where its use in Ezek. ix. 2, 3 for 
E^lSl deserves notice). Here it indicates 
holy beauty and glory as of the raiments of 
the High Priest. 

9. Birds ivill resort [turn in to lodge 
with] unto their like.'] Comp. our note on 
xiii. 16; "similarly truth will return," &c. : 
will ultimately appear on the side of the 
righteous and vindicate them, however they 
may have suffered or been misrepresented. 
On the other hand, sure destruction will 
ultimately overtake those who do the wrong 
(y. 10). Omit " as" in the A. V. 

11. The Syr. here interposes what in the 
Greek is v. 12. A new stanza. 

always ivitb ivisdom.'] According to the 
better reading, always wisdom. The 

constancy of his wisdom, as the outcome of 
piety within, is contrasted with the phases 
of a fool, changing like those of the moon. 
The Vet. Lat. has this peculiar rendering : 
homo sanctus in sapientia manet sicut sol, 
which gives a better antithesis than either the 
Greek or the Syr. text. This may have 
suggested the alteration perhaps with some 
(Christian?) reference to Ps. lxxii. 17. It 
has indeed been argued that the Vet. Lat. 
has here preserved the correct Hebrew text, 
TOD illSrO, "as the sun perpetual," which 
the Greek misread: TDJ1 110311, "wisdom 

T TIT 7 

perpetual = is always." But it is difficult to 
understand either the supposed sentiment or 
that it should be so expressed (comp. Ps. 
lxxii. 17); still more whence the Greek could 
have derived the word <W;y?/<Tij, the genuine- 
ness of which is attested by its occurrence in 
the antithetic v. 13. Lastly, the Syr. has the 
verse as in the Greek. 

12. Into the midst of [among] those 
of no understanding: have heed to the 
time choose the proper season, the proper 
moment for going among them; into the 
midst of those of understanding: be 

13. The discourse of fools is an offence, 
and their laughter in the ivantonness of sin 
in wanton sin. 

14. The profanities and blasphemies in 
their brawls are such that one stops his ears. 

15. The strife of the audacious [insolent, 
proud, vivepri(pdv(i)v] is shedding of blood 
leads to it and their angry railing 
a grievous sound.] This and the two pre- 
ceding verses evidently constitute a climax. 
The Syr. text is here confused, and seems 



[v. 1724. 

B. c. eth his credit ; and shall never find 

cir. 200. r 1 , . 1 

friend to his mind. 

17 Love thy friend, and be faith- 
r c h. 22. f u l unto him: but /if thou bewrayest 

22, _ *. 

his secrets, follow no more after him. 

18 For as a man hath destroyed 
his enemy ; so hast thou lost the love 
of thy neighbour. 

19 As one that letteth a bird go 
out of his hand, so hast thou let thy 
neighbour 20, and shalt not get him 

20 Follow after him no more, for 
he is too far off; he is as a roe es- 
caped out of the snare. 

21 As for a wound, it may be B.C. 
bound up ; and after reviling there - " 
may be reconcilement : but he that 
bewrayeth secrets is without hope. 

22 He ^that winketh with the eyes - Prov. 
worketh evil : and he that knoweth T< 
him will depart from him. 

23 When thou art present, he will 
speak sweetly, and will admire thy 
words : but at the last he will 
"writhe his mouth, and slander thvOr, ait, 

24 I have hated many things, but 
nothing like him ; for the Lord will 
hate him. 

';- i 
his speech. 

16. Another stanza, and another instance 
of " discourse " which betrayeth an unworthy 

discovereth.] Rather, revealeth. 

17. beivrayest.] Rather, revealest. 

follow no more after him.] It will be 
useless trouble, for he will not be reconciled. 
The Syr. deserves special notice : " Try thy 
friend, and then trust him [this probably 
correctly according to the Hebrew, although 
perhaps interpolated from vi. 7] ; but if he 
reveal the secret of the faith, go no more 
after him." The subtle alteration in the 
second clause betrays the Christian emendator. 
He must have been later than the Arabic 
translator, who made his version from the 
Syr., and yet does not reproduce this alteration. 
Similarly, the addition is not found in the 
Vet. Lat. 

18. lost.'] Rather, destroyed. The 
meaning of the Greek would be : thou hast 
completely destroyed all friendship as one 
completely destroyeth an enemy. But the 
Syr. has, for "his enemy," "has lost his 
portion ; " the Vet. Lat., " loseth his friend." 
Bretschneider conjectures that the original 
had 'lTV, " his prey " (in hunting), for which 
the Greek read VlIX, "his enemy." But 

although this would accord with the follow- 
ing verses, it does not explain the Syr. nor 
yet the Latin rendering. Horowitz (in 

Frankel's ' Monatsschrift,' xiv. p. 197) adopts 
the Syr. reading, and supposes that the 

original had Ypiri, " his portion," which the 

Greek misread i?nh, " him that hurts or ill- 
treats him." In that case it might be further 
conjectured that the Vet. Lat., if it had the 
Hebrew before it (which is certainly not 
impossible), read mn, "his friend." But 
the whole combination is very doubtful. 

Rather, and as 

-a hunting term, 

19. As one that letteth.] 
thou lettest. 

get Aim again."] 6rjpevo~fis- 
" catch him in the hunt." 

20. he is too far off.] Better, he has 
withdrawn himself far off. 

as a roe.] Rather, "as a gazelle," or 
antelope, known for its fleetness. The Syr. 
has here the addition : " and as a bird out of 
the snare," evidently taken from Prov. vi. 5. 

21. Omit " as " in the A. V. 

wound.] For the Vat. dpavpa, "break- 
ing," which may represent the Hebrew "0^ 
we adopt the Alex, reading rpavpa. There 
are hurts which can be healed, but not that 
here supposed. 

22. A new stanza, describing another 
manifestation of the same sin. The A. V. 
here follows the reading of H., 248, Co. 
(which is also adopted by the Armen.), na\ 6 
ftSuy ai>Tov anoo~rr]o-eTai an avrov. This 
is certainly preferable to the Vat., nal ovdeis 
avrov dnoar^an an' avrov = and no one will 
be able to get rid of him. A., C, and eight 
MSS. have avra dnoo-rijo-ei referring to the 
" evil " in the first clause. 

winketb with the eye.] Indicating malicious 
plotting; comp. Prov. vi. 13, x. 10. 

23. The writer proceeds to give a de- 
scription of such a person. Lit., before 
thine eyes he will make his mouth 
sweet, &c. ; adopting the reading o-rdpa 
avrov with A., C, 55, 106, 157, 248, 307, 
Co., Vet. Lat. (the Syr. here is throughout 
corrupt). This evidently suits the context 
better than the Vat., which has aropa vov, 
" thy mouth." 

but afterwards he will turn about 
his speech.] The last clause, literally ren- 
dered, reads: "and will put in' thy 
words an offence;" that is, he will pur- 



cir. 200. 

I Ps. 7. 1 
Prov. 26. 

Eccles. 1 

Ps. 9. 1 

& 35- 8. 


25 Whoso casteth a stone on 
high casteth it on his own head ; 
and a deceitful stroke shall make 

26 h Whoso diggeth a pit shall fall 
therein : and z he that setteth a trap 
shall be taken therein. 

27 He that worketh mischief, it 
shall fall upon him, and he shall not 
know whence it cometh. 

28 Mockery and reproach are from 
^Deut.32. the proud ; but k vengeance, as a lion, 

shall lie in wait for them. 

29 They that rejoice at the fall of 


Rom. 12 

the righteous shall be taken in the b. c. 
snare ; and anguish shall consume ar i^Z' 
them before they die. 

30 Malice and wrath, even these 
are abominations ; and the sinful 
man shall have them both. 


I Against revenge, 8 quarrelling, 10 anger, 
1 5 and backbiting. 

HE "that revengeth shall find aDeut - 
vengeance from the Lord, and Rom? 12, 
he will surely keep his sins [in re- I9 * 

posely attach to them a meaning which will 
cause offence. 

24. /hate many things, but nothing like 
him.'] Literally, but I do not make them 
equal to him, &c, i.e. I do not put other 
things hateful to me on the same level with 

for.] Rather, also, the Heb. D|. The 
Syr. adds : " and will curse him." The Arab, 
omits this, which proves that it is a later 
emendation of the Syr. Version, which the 
Arab, throughout follows. 

25. A new stanza, describing the righteous 
retribution on such a course. 

shall make wounds.] Rather, shall dis- 
tribute wounds; an obscure phrase, which 
from the context we suppose to mean that 
the consequence of a deceitful stroke will be 
to wound him that deals it, as well as him to 
whom it is dealt. 

26. The Syr. is different, and the Vet. Lat. 
has an explanatory addition. 

27. We are once more carried back to 
Prov. vi. : see above, v. 13. The expression 
6 TToimv Trovrjpa, "he that worketh evil," is 
preserved in the Syr. in its Hebrew form, as 
in Prov. vi. 14. There the person described 
in Ecclus. xxvii. 23 as "turning about his 

speech" is characterised by i3?3 JVDSnFl, 
"turnings about in his heart" (comp. Prov. 
viii. 13, x. 32, niSSnn *3; Prov. x. 31, 

nbsnri f\tih). Again (as in the Syr.) the 
rroicijv irovrjpa is = V~\ BHh, " he that forgeth 
evil" (comp. xiv. 22, iii. 29), or in Prov. vi. 

is, }.)X nin^no enn n 1 ?. 

whence it cometh.] Add: upon him. 

28. This verse is not found in the Syr. 
(although in the Vet. Lat.), and reads like an 

29. The Syr. here has a different and cer- 
tainly erroneous rendering, probably due to 
a misreading of the Hebrew, which it is 
scarcely worth the labour to trace in detail, 
although in part it is evident. 

30. even these.] Rather, these also. 
Omit from the A. V. the final word " both." 


This chapter stands in close internal con- 
nexion with the preceding. It deals with 
that to which the sins previously referred to 
give rise, and finally returns to these sins 
themselves. The special topics of the chapter 
may be grouped as follows : Revenge (stanza 1, 
of seven verses) ; strife (second stanza, of five 
verses: -w. 8-12); calumny (third stanza, of 
four verses: w. 13-16); its baneful effects 
(fourth stanza, of five verses: w. 17-21 
although this and the previous stanza may 
possibly be combined into one). Lastly, we 
have a stanza which on the one hand promises 
to the righteous safety from the consequences 
of backbiting, and on the other admonishes to 
watchfulness (five verses : v. 22 to the end). 

1. The words italicised, " keep his sins in 
remembrance," are inadequate. The verb is 
used here as in Ps. exxx. 3 : "if Jehovah keep 
sin;" that is, not only remember, but reserve 
it for punishment (comp. the figure in Job 
xiv. 17), only that here it must have been 
~\V.2V\ ibS?, which the Greek preserves, as 
well as the Vet. Lat. (servans servabit). We 
need scarcely here remind ourselves of Rom. 
xii. 19. But the whole sentiment seems so 
unlike the spirit of the book, and so Christian 
in its conception, that we suspect an inter- 
polation. The Syr. is quite different, and 
perhaps preserves the Hebrew original. It 
begins the verse with what seems a modifica- 
tion of the second clause of the last verse in 
the previous chapter : " And the deceitful 
man destroyeth his way " (perhaps the 



[v. 27. 

cir. 200. 

i 7 ' Matt. 6. 
Mark 11. 

Luke 6. 

c See 
Matt. 18. 
23, &.C 

2 ^Forgive thy neighbour the hurt 
that he hath done unto thee, so shall 
thy sins also be forgiven when thou 

3 c One man beareth hatred against 
another, and doth he seek pardon 
from the Lord ? 

4 He sheweth no mercy to a man, 
which is like himself: and doth he 
ask forgiveness of his own sins ? 

5 If he that is but flesh nourish 

hatred, who will intreat for pardon 
of his sins ? 

6 Remember thy end, and let en- 
mity cease ; [remember] corruption 
and death, and abide in the com- 

7 Remember the commandments, 
and bear no malice to thy neigh- 
bour : [remember] the covenant of 

the Highest, 



k at 


B. C. 

cir. 200. 

original had something like Ps. i. 6 : 

*nNFl D^EH), " and will receive retribution 

[vengeance] from God, because all his sins 
shall be carefully preserved to him." 

2. Forgive the unrighteousness [the 
wrong, injury] of thy neighbour, and 
then when thou prayest thy sins shall 
he loosed rAucV/croi/rai ; comp. St. Matt, 
xviii. 18].] The latter expression, but chiefly 
the addition " when thou prayest " which 
makes the verse parallel with St. iMark xi. 25 
indicates Christian alteration. In Talmudic 
writings we find indeed such statements as 
" To whom is sin pardoned ? To him who 
forgiveth injury" (Rosh Hash, i-ja, and in 
other places) ; and again : " every time that 
thou art merciful, God will be merciful to 
thee ; and if thou art not merciful, God will 
not shew mercy to thee " (Jer. Babha 0\_ 
viii. 10, and other places). Other similar 
passages might be quoted, to which St. Jas. 
ii. 13 forms the N. T. parallel. But so far as 
we know there is not any ancient Jewish 
saying strictly parallel to this verse in Ecclus. 
We therefore regard it as a later Christian 
alteration. The Syr. Christian emendation 
goes even further. It has : " Remit what is 
in thy heart and afterwards pray, and all thy 
sins shall be remitted thee." The Vet. Lat. 
follows the Greek. 

3. (One) Man keepeth anger against 
(another) man, and doth he seek healing 

from the Lord?) "Healing," like NSH, or 
rather here NB"j, in the sense of forgiveness. 
We are here again on strictly Jewish ground. 
The N. T. also offers well-known parallels. 
Fritzsche quotes from the Pastor of Hermas, 
B. iii., Similit. ix. 23. But that passage rather 
recalls St. Jas. iv. 12. A better parallel would 
have been u. s., B. ii., Comm. ix. : " For He is 
not like men who remember evils done against 
them ; but He Himself remembers not evils, 
and has compassion on His own creatures." 
This seems based on the following from 
Yoma, 86 b: " Come and see that the measure 
[manner of dealing] of the Holy One, blessed 
be He, is not like that of flesh and blood. A 

man makes his neighbour angry [offends him] 
by words, there is a doubt whether or not he 
will be assuaged by him ; and if thou sayest, 
he will be assuaged by him, there is doubt 
whether or not he will be assuaged by words, 
but the Holy One, blessed be His Name: a 
man committeth a sin in secret He [God] is 
assuaged of him by words (see Hos. xiv. 2)." 

4. Rather, he hath not mercy. 

doth he ask forgiveness.) Rather, "does 
he entreat (viz. mercy) on account of 
his sins?" The Syr. omits the verse. 

5. He that is flesh keepeth resent- 
ment [fxrjviv], who will atone for [expiate] 
his sins /] (Bissell.) The Syr. has: "he who 
is a son of man is not willing to remit, and 
who shall remit his sins ? " These verses are 
intended to mark the incongruity of his posi- 
tion. But i>. 5 seems also to indicate that 
works of mercy were regarded as a kind of 

6. The writer now proceeds to positive 

thy end.) Rather, the end. For "abide 
in the commandments," the Syr. has " abstain 
from sinning " probably correctly represent- 
ing the original, since the first clause of the 
next verse is as in the Greek. Verses 6 and 7 
mark a progression, which the Greek probably 
wished to make more emphatic by this " abide 
in the commandments," to be immediately 
followed by " remember the command- 
ments," &c. 

7. bear no malice to.) Rather, be not 
angry against. 

ivink at.) Rather, overlook, 

ignorance.) liyvoia, as in the LXX., always 
in the sense of guilt or sin of weakness, nJJC^, 
or else Ut'H. and riDG5>K. The Syr. has: 

T T t : - ' 

" Remember the commandment and hate not 
thy neighbour before God, and give him what 
lacketh to him." It has been ingeniously 
suggested that the Syr. for " before " iyOfO) 

is corrupt, and that we should read (>a.>) 
" covenant " " the covenant of God " while 

8-i 4 .] 



B.C. 8 d Abstain from strife, and thou 
cir^oo. g j la j t diminish thy sins : for a furious 
*ch. 8. 1. man w j]i kindle strife. 

9 A sinful man disquieteth friends, 
and malceth debate among them that 
be at peace. 
r Prov. 26. 10 'As the matter of the fire is, 
so it burneth : and as a man's strength 
is, so is his wrath ; and according to 
his riches his anger riseth ; and the 
stronger they are which contend, the 
more they will be inflamed. 

1 1 An hasty contention kindleth b. c. 
a fire : and an hasty fighting shed- '^j J 
deth blood. 

12 If thou blow the spark, it shall 
burn : if thou spit upon it, it shall 
be quenched : and both these come 
out of thy mouth. 

13 J Curse the whisperer and dou- / ch. 21. 
bletongued : for such have destroyed 2i 
many that were at peace. 

14 A backbiting tongue hath dis- 
quieted many, and driven them from 

the other differences between the Greek text 
might be explained by supposing that the 

Greek read iity 'h KB>J, while the Syr. 

read VW. 

; t 

8. A new stanza : strife.~] Omit from the 
A. V. "thy" before "sins." If we abstain 
from strife, there will be fewer sins on our 
part ; but this will not be the case if a man is 
wrathful. The Syr. omits the last part of the 

9. Rather, And a sinful man the ex- 
pression being general, to indicate that other 
sins besides fury may lead to strife. 

disquieteth.'] rapdt-ei, perturbs, stirs up. 
The manner of it is immediately explained : 
and casteth in calumny [possibly, ill- 
feeling so the Syr. and Vet. Lat.] among 
them that are at peace. Instead of "dis- 
quieteth friends," the Syr. has, what seems 
more apt : " loveth litigation." If we suppose 
that the original had mnO 2HX, "loveth 
strife," we might conjecture that the Greek 
read ll'HO 2^, which he interpreted as above. 

10. The clauses of this verse are evidently 
misplaced in the Vat. The Sin., Alex., and 
many other Codd. make the fourth clause the 
second ; and as this is also the order in the 
Syr. as well as the natural order we con- 
clude that such was the arrangement in the 
original. The Vet. Lat. omits the second 
clause. Possibly, it was only inserted in the 
Vat. (and there in the wrong place) by a later 
corrector. Correcting the order of the clauses 
(as above), the first two would read as follows : 
According to the fuel of a fire so it 
burneth [the Syr.: "whatever thou castest 
into the fire will burn"], and according to 
the firmness [strength?] of a strife will 
it burn up. The Syr.: "the more thou 
increasest litigation, the larger will it grow." 
The original may have been 3'H nO>*y3, 
which the Greek understood as = according 
to the strength, the Syriac as = according to 
the amount ; (clause c) "according to a 

ApOC Vol. II 

man's strength is his wrath;" the Syr., 
" as is the glory of a man's hands, so is his 
wrath ; " in the Hebrew original perhaps 
VT PD3 (in the LXX. Icrxvs is mostly the 
translation of n'3) " and according to his 
wealth his anger riseth." 

11. The Syr. evidently read the original 
differently: "Pitch and naphtha kindle fire, 
and frequent quarrels spill blood." This 
seems more apt than the Greek text. 

fighting.] Rather, strife. 

12. All depends on the disposition of men. 
What in the one case issues in fire, in the other 
is quenched : it is the individual not the thing 
which causeth the mischief. The twofold 
simile of fire and water in connexion with 
disputes (the latter simile brought out more 
fully in the Syr. than in the Greek) recalls 
St. Jas. iii. 6 and 10, n. The Syr. is inter- 
esting as shewing that, even where it and the 
Greek are evidently renderings of the same 
Hebrew words, there may be slight differences 
between them, because each translator would 
deem himself at liberty to translate freely. 
The following is quoted in Vayyk. R. 33 
(beginning) as from Ben Sira: "Is there a 
coal before thee blow upon it, and it will 
kindle up ; spit upon it, and it will be 

13. A new stanza (see introductory re- 
marks). The Syr. renders: "also 'the third 
tongue,' let it be cursed, for it has laid low 
many corpses." The expression " third 
tongue" is of post-biblical Jewish usage. It 
means the calumnious, babbling tongue, and 
its designation "third tongue" is explained 
by this, that it kills three: the person who 
speaks the calumny, the person who listens to 
it, and the person concerning whom it is 
spoken (Ar. 16 b ; Jer. Peah, 16 a ; in Vayyk. 
R. 26 an instance of this is given; in Jer. 
Peah it is added that in the time of Saul it 
killed four). The Syr. translator seems to 
have had this in mind in his paraphrastic 
rendering of the verse. 





B. c. nation to nation : strong cities hath 

-l-^ " it pulled down, and overthrown the 

houses of great men. 

tor, ic A" backbiting tongue hath cast 

third. , J . & & , , , 

out virtuous women, and deprived 

them of their labours. 

16 Whoso hearkeneth unto it 
shall never find rest, and never dwell 

17 The stroke of the whip maketh 
marks in the flesh : but the stroke 
of the tongue breaketh the bones. 

18 Many have fallen by the edge 
of the sword : but not so many as 
have fallen by the tongue. 

19 Well is he that is defended 
from it, and hath not passed through 

thereof, nor hath 

the venom thereof; who hath not 

drawn the yoke 

been bound in her bands 

20 For the yoke thereof is a yoke 
of iron, and the bands thereof are 
bands of brass. 

21 The death thereof is an evil 
death, the grave were better than 

22 It shall not have rule over them 
that fear God, neither shall they be 
burned with the flame thereof. 

23 Such as forsake the Lord shall 
fall into it ; and it shall burn in them, 
and not be quenched ; it shall be 
sent upon them as a lion, and devour 
them as a leopard. 

cir. 200. 

14. A third [a calumnious] tongue hath 
tossed many to and fro.] Before " strong 
cities" insert "and." The last clause gains 
in emphasis by restoring its order as in the 
Greek: and nouses of great men (fieyi- 
<tto.v(ov) hath it overthrown. It is very 
interesting to find that not only the later 
Syriac but the Greek translator knew the 
Jewish expression "third tongue," explained 
in the previous note, and therefore in all 
probability the popular interpretation recorded 
in the Talmud. Indeed, the reference to the 
influence of a calumnious tongue in regard 
to other lands (clause b) recalls the Talmudic 
legend (told immediately after the explanation 
of the term " third tongue "), in which, in 
reply to a question of R. Samuel b. Nachman, 
the serpent explains that if its poisonous bite 
in one member extends to all the members, 
a calumnious tongue speaks in one place and 
its killing stroke falls in Rome, or else it 
speaks in Rome and its stroke falls in Syria. 
The Syr. translates somewhat differently, but 
is probably only a free version. 

15. virtuous women.] Better, perhaps, 
brave women, yvvoaKas avhpelas : comp. 
xxvi. 2. 

deprived them of their labours^] I.e. of the 
fruit of them. 

16. He who giveth heed to it shah 
never find rest, nor yet shall he dwell 
tranquilly.] The Syr. omits this verse. 

17. marks in the fleshy Better, weals. 

19. Well.} Rather, happy. 

and hath not passed through the venom 
thereof.} Rather, who has not entered 
into the passionate fury thereof; "who 
hath not drawn the yoke thereof" (Deut.xxi. 

3,?ig? n?fD; in the LXX. elXtcvo-e fryoV), 

a Hebraism, meaning, who does not expe- 
rience it. 

21. The death thereof] I.e. the death which 
it viz. the calumnious tongue worketh is 
evil, being a moral death (comp. Juvenal, viii. 
192, and the note of Mayor). 

and the grave.] Rather, and Hades is 
profitable rather than it, viz. Hades is 
more profitable, serves a better purpose, were 
rather to be chosen than such a tongue. 

22. Possibly a new stanza : of promise and 
admonition. " It " viz. such a tongue, not 
Hades " shall not have rule." The use of 
the genit. here (KpaTrja-rj evo-efioov) shews that 
it refers to a continuous hold (see Winer, /. /. 
p. 182). The Syr. renders our verse, " burn 
not:" in the optative form, "mayestthou not 
burn upon the righteous," &c. 

23. bum in them = among them. 

devour them as a leopard.] Rather, muti- 
late them as a leopard (or panther). For 
" it shall be sent upon them as a lion," the 
Syr. has " it shall rule over them;" evidently 
reading (as has been suggested) UX'F), while 

the Greek read TmPR. If even in the Greek 
the wording of the first two lines (referring 
to the flame although, from the context, that 
kindled by the tongue) raises the suspicion of 
a Christian modification, so that the words 
about the flame that would burn without 
quenching might be understood of Hades ; 
this suspicion is increased by the Syriac, 
which seems to go much further in the same 
direction. It has: "All that forsake the fear 
of God shall fall into it [the flame] ; upon 
them shall the fire kindle and not be extin- 
guished, it shall rule over them as a lion, and 
as a panther tear them in pieces." 

24. 25. The four lines of which these two 



cir. 200. 

24 Look that thou hedge thy pos- 
session about with thorns, and bind 
up thy silver and gold, 

25 And weigh thy words in a 
balance, and make a door and bar for 
thy mouth. 

26 Beware thou slide not by it, 
lest thou fall before him that lieth 
in wait. 


I We must shew mercy and lend : ^.butthebor- 
rower must not defraud the lender. 9 Give 
alms. 14 A good man will not undo his 
surety. 18 To be surety and undertake for 

others is dangerous. 22 It is better to live at B. C. 
home than to sojourn. cir. 200. 

E that is merciful 


will lend Ps- 37- 
unto his neighbour ; and he 
that strengtheneth his hand keepeth 
the commandments. 

2 b Lend to thy neighbour in time * Deut. 
of his need, and pay thou thy neigh- ^ t 8 t " s _ 
bour again in due season. 42- 

3 Keep thy word, and deal faith- 35- 
fully with him, and thou shalt always 
find the thing that is necessary for 

4 Many, when a thing was lent 

verses consist are misplaced in the Vat. 
(although Origen Horn. i. in Ps. xxxviii. and 
Horn. Cant. vii. 8 favours the Vat. arrange- 
ment). The natural, and no doubt correct, 
succession of the lines is preserved in H., 248, 
Co., as well as in the Syr. and the Vet. Lat. 
It is as follows: 

v. 24 Lo, surround thy possession [re- 
ferring to land] with thorns [a 

(25 b) And make a door and bar for thy 
mouth ; 
V. 25 (24 b) Bind up thy silver and thy gold, 

(25^) And make for thy words a 
beam and weight [an accu- 
rate balance]. 

The latter illustration is the more forcible be- 
cause silver and gold, so tied up, were weighed 
money going by weight. The two verses 
express the same thought only the one in a 
negative, the other in a positive form. The 
hedge round the field, and the door and bar 
to the mouth, are to keep out evil; the balance 
is to weigh out the precious metals. Instead 
of "thy possession" in 24 the Syr. has "thy 
vineyard," and the Vet. Lat. aures tuas (thine 
ears), adding the explanative clause : " linguam 
nequam noli audire." The aures of the Lat. 
instead of the " possession " of the Greek is 
strange. The Syr. rendering, " vineyard." 
has its parallel in the LXX., where DID is 
repeatedly translated by KTrjpa. 

26. Beware lest by any means thou 
slip by it, Sec. 


This chapter is only loosely connected with 
that which preceded. Generally we might 
say that we have in these chapters a succession 
of prudential counsels, conceived in a quasi- 
rehgious spirit, grouped under different head- 
ings, and bearing on different aspects of daily 
life. Possibly there may be some connexion 
between what was said at the close of the 

previous chapter about the binding up of 
silver and gold, and the admonition to mercy 
in this chapter ; and again between the pre- 
vious admonition to have a care over our 
words and the present warning against sureti- 
ship for another. The topics of the present 
chapter are : ( 1 ) an admonition to mercy in 
lending, one stanza of six verses, v. 7 form- 
ing the transition to the next stanza, which 
(2) presents another phase of Mercy : that 
which is not discouraged by misuse, but be- 
stoweth freely (w. 8-1 3). (3) The next stanza 
presents yet another aspect of Mercy : Sureti- 
ship (ot. 14-19 six verses). Lastly (4), the 
opposite point of view is taken, and we are 
shewn how desirable it is not to seek nor to 
accept Mercy {yv. 21-28). 

1. He that is merciful.'] Lit. he that doeth 
mercy, Ipn MEty, or IDn v>Di 

he that strengtheneth his hand [similarly the 
Vet. Lat.: pnrvalet mamt].] Rather, "and 
he that maketh strong with [by] his 
hand; " that is, supporteth another by helping 
him. The Hebrew would be : 1T3 p : rnO, or 
p-tn, or P^nD, the construction as in Ezr. i. 6. 
As tor "the commandments" thus "kept," 
see Lev. xxv. 35 (13 nptjilQ]) ! Deut. xv. 7, 8 ; 
comp. Ps. xxxvii. 26 (there nyPO-1 pin, and in 
the next verse Zlitrnb'y). Comp. St. Matt. v. 

2. The duty of lending in such a spirit has 
for its correlative the obligation of punctual 
repayment. The Syr. is explanative rather 
than literal. 

3. A further admonition to him who has 
contracted the obligation. 

Keep thy tvord.~] Lit. make strong, con- 
firm it a Hebraism. 

alnvaysJ] Lit, at every season, nST^^, 
viz. whenever thou shalt need it. Observance 
of duty will in that case bring its own 

L 2 

1 48 


[v- 59- 

cir. 200. 

II Or, 
If he be 

them, reckoned it to be found, and put 
them to trouble that helped them. 

5 Till he hath received, he will 
kiss a man's hand ; and for his 
neighbour's money he will speak 
submissly : but when he should re- 
pay, he will prolong the time, and 
return words of grief, and complain 
of the time. 

6 " If he prevail, he shall hardly 
receive the half, and he will count as 
if he had found it : if not, he hath 
deprived him of his money, and he 

hath gotten him an enemy without B.C. 

, ii- 1 cir. 200 

cause : he payeth him with cursings 
and railings ; and for honour he will 
pay him disgrace. 

7 Many therefore have refused to 
lend for other men's ill dealing, fear- 
ing to be defrauded. 

8 Yet have thou patience with a 
man in poor estate, and delay not to 
shew him mercy. 

9 Help the poor for f the com- f Deut. 
mandment's sake, and turn him not 
away because of his poverty. 

4. Lit. Many consider a loan as a 
find they treat a loan as if they had found 
something on the road, which they may appro- 
priate and think no farther of him who lost it. 
In the second clause the simile is continued: 
the lender is represented as having the labour 
and trouble of searching after what he had 
lost. It has been ingeniously suggested that 
in the first clause the original may have had a 

word-play between ""ibx^', " a thing asked," 
and tyf," a spoil" or "gain." 

5. The description of the dishonourable 
borrower is true to the life only it applies 
also to those of a like character who ask and 
obtain any favour. 

Till he hath received.'] Rather, until lie 

kiss a man's band.'] Lit. "kiss his hand." 

and for bis neighbour s money he will speak 
submissly.'] Rather, "about his neighbour's 
property he will speak humbly" (lit. humble 
the voice). The meaning seems to be: he 
will refer in very humble language to the 
wealth of another how easily he could help 
him, perhaps what liberal use he was wont to 
make of it. The Syr. gives the same impres- 
sion. But afterwards matters are quite 
('hanged. "When he should repay," lit. at 
the time of giving back (dnoSoaews), 
then there is postponement: he will pro- 
tract the time, the payment is delayed for 
the future, while what he does "give back" 
(/irro o-eOare "words of sorrow (regret):" 
he is very sorry but the times are so bad. 

6. If he prevail [that is, if the creditor 
succeed in getting back anv money from the 
debtor | he shall hardly recover the half, and 
he will regard it [esteem it] as a find 
[something that he had considered absolutely 
lostj. But if not that is, if the creditor does 
not get back anything at all, then] he [the 
debtor] hath deprived him [the creditor] of 
his property, and [viz. at the same time] be 

[the creditor] hath gotten him [the debtor] 
an enemy without cause [5o>peai/, D3n for 

" Neither a borrower nor a lender be, 
For loan oft loses both itself and friend." 

Hamlet, Act i., Sc. 3. 

The writer then looks back upon v. 5 a, b, c, 
d, and marks the contrast. This is the repay- 
ment made: Cursings and revilings 
will he "give back" to him (a7ro<5a>o-e{ 
avrca comp. v. 5^) such is the coin in 
which he pays him back and instead of 
glory [as when he kissed his hand and spoke 
so humbly about the other's property] he 
will "give back" to him (7ro6cocrei avrco) 

7. Lit. Many turned away [viz. from 
lending this, rather than they who came to 
borrow] on account of wickedness [viz. 
such as that above described] : they feared 
to be deprived [viz. of their property] for 
nothing. The Syr. has : " Many have refused 
to lend, not from [without its being from] 
wickedness, but because they were afraid of a 
useless quarrel." There can be little doubt 
that the Greek and not the Syr. translator 
here rightly understood the Hebrew original. 
It is therefore all the more deserving our 
attention that the Vet. Lat. follows the inter- 
pretation of the Syr. It has: multi non causa 
nequitiae non foenerati sunt. 

8. This verse begins the admonition not to 
be discouraged in well-doing, to which v. 7 
formed the transition from the previous 
stanza. The first clause of the verse refers 
to a case in which the delay blamed in vv. 
5, 6 may not be culpable, and the creditor 
should be patient and forbearing: and in 
regard to charity [in the sense of bestow- 
ing alms or benefits, eV \trnxo<Tvvqv; the Alex, 
and others read: eV eXerjuoavvrj, "in charity"] 
do not defer [delay] him put him not off 
to another time ; let him not wait. 

9. For the commandment's sake 


v. io 17.] 



10 Lose thy money for thy brother 
and thy friend, and ' f let it not rust 
under a stone to be lost. 

11 ''Lay up thy treasure according 
to the commandments of the most 
High, and /it shall bring thee more 
profit than gold. 

12 -^Shut up alms in thy store- 
houses : and it shall deliver thee from 
all affliction. 

13 It shall fight for thee against 

_E. c. 

cir. 200. 

*ch. 10. 


'Dan. 4. 


Matt. 6. 

Luke 11. 
41. & 
12. 33. 
Acts 10. 4. 
1 Tim. 6. 
t8, 19. 

I Matt, 
tq. 21. 

* Tobit 4. 7, 8, 9, 10, 11. ch. 17. 22. 

thine enemies better than a mighty 
shield and strong spear. 

14 An honest man is surety for 
his neighbour : but he that is im- 
pudent will "forsake him. 

15 Forget not the friendship of 
thy surety, for he hath given his life 
for thee. 

16 A sinner will overthrow the 
good estate of his surety : 

17 And he that is of an unthank- 

b. c. 

cir. 200. 


assist [Syr.: "relieve"] a poor man, and 
according to his lack [need, want] turn 
him not away empty.] As we understand 
the second clause, it may probably point in 
the direction of the Rabbinic rule that the 
poor should be assisted in a manner conform- 
able to their former condition according to 
their lack (Kethub. 67 h). The Syr. render- 
ing depends either upon a misreading or is a 

10. Lose money through a brother and 
[or] & friend, and let it not rust under the stone 
unto loss.] "The stone:" the definite stone 
that marks the place where the money is 
buried. The meaning is : better to lose money 
through a friend than by letting it rust. It is 
a secondary point that such an expression as 
loss by rust is scarcely applicable to silver. 
For there might be loss in such manner, or at 
any rate considerable deterioration. On the 
other hand, the figure of rust as affecting 
metals might be transferred from one metal 
to another (see the same about rust as affect- 
ing the gold of the idols : Ep. of Jer. w. 12, 
24). It is of much greater importance and 
interest to notice that this verse affords fresh 
evidence of the use which St. James made of 
Ecclus. For the figure in St. Jas. v. 3 of the 
rust as affecting the unused gold and silver is 
not found in any other part of Scripture, and 
seems derived from our passage. Moreover, 
of the two expressions for " rusted " and 
"rust" in St. Jas. v. 3, the one (to?, " rust") 
which in this signification occurs only in that 
place in the N. T. is used in our passage in 
Ecclus. (Ico6^t<o), while the other word in 
St. Jas. v. 3 (KTtWni "your gold and your 
silver are rusted"} does not occur in any other 
place in the N. T. nor yet in the LXX., but 
only in Ecclus. xii. 1 1. This also indirectly 
shews in what general use our book must 
have been among the Jews a fact confirmed, 
as we have seen, by the numerous Talmudic 
quotations from Ecclus. The Syr. has, instead 
of "let it not rust under a stone unto loss," 
this : " rather than thou hide it under the stone 
or wall." The difference in the two versions, 
"wall" (in the Syr.) and "loss" (in the Greek), 

we would account for by the latter reading 
nntp, while the Syr. read JlVlS? (Jer. v. 10), 
"walls." For the divergence the Greek 
reading " rust," the Syr. " hide " it is not 
easy to offer a satisfactory explanation. 
Possibly the Greek translation was not in- 
tended to be literal. 

11. than gold.'] Rather, "than the gold." 
We remember here the better and far higher 
direction in St. Matt. vi. 19, 20. The 
Rabbis speak of certain things of which 
a man enjoys the fruit or interest in this 
world, while the capital itself remaineth for 
the next (Peah i. 1, and in other places). 
Among them although the study of the 
Law is said to outweigh all the others the 

bestowal of mercy is mentioned (n-'P' , OJ 
DHDn in Shabb. 127 a this is applied to 
hospitality and visiting of the sick). The 
Syr. paraphrases this verse. 

12, 13. What a man is to lay up in his 
storehouses is not grain, nor fruits, nor any 
other source of wealth but alms. This 
will prove a preventive against or else a 
deliverance from the ill that would otherwise 
befall him. The simile is farther developed 
in v. 13. When the Vet. Lat. thus para- 
phrases v. 12 : conclude eleemosynam in corde 
pauperis, et haec pro te exorabit ab omni malo 
it may have had St. Luke xvi. 9 in view. 

14. A new stanza : Suretiship. Translate : 
"A good man will be surety . . . but he 
who has lost shame will leave him," in 
the sense of deserting him : such an one will 
leave the person who has become surety for 
him to bear the consequences of his rash 

15. the friendship.'] Rather, the favours 
the kindness. 

he hath given his life.] Lit., his soul, in 
the sense of " himself." The Svr. omits the 



16. the good estate^] Rather, the posses- 
sions. The Syr. omits this verse, and para- 
phrases i'. 17 in a manner which raises 
suspicion of a later revision. 



[v. 1 8 24. 

. p >- c. ful mind will leave him [in danger] 
- ' that delivered him. 

18 Suretiship hath undone many 
of good estate, and shaken them as a 
wave of the sea : mighty men hath it 
driven from their houses, so that they 
wandered among strange nations. 

19 A wicked man transgressing the 
commandments of the Lord shall 
fall into suretiship : and he that 
undertaketh and followeth other 
men's business for gain shall fall into 

20 Help thy neighbour according B. c. 
to thy power, and beware that thou - 
thyself fall not into the same. 

21 The ; 'chief thing for life is 7 <ch. 39 
water, and bread, and clothing, and 2 
an house to cover shame. 

22 Better is the life of a poor man 
in a mean cottage, than delicate fare 
in another man's house. 

2? Be it little or much, 'hold thee ''iTim 
contented, that thou hear not the 
reproach of thy house. 

24 For it is a miserable life to 

6, 8. 

18. of good estate.'] Rather, that were 
in a prosperous condition. 

shaken tbem.~] Rather, tossed them. 

driven from their houses.'] Rather, made 
to emigrate [to remove]. 

strange nations.] Rather, foreign na- 

19. This verse is found in its simplest and, 
no doubt, original form in the Vat. God. 
It reads: The sinner [the addition in the 
A. V., "transgressing," Sec. occurs in H., 248, 
Co., Syr., Vet. Lat., and is no doubt a later 
gloss] who falleth into suretiship 
[perhaps in the sense of purposely incurring 
it, throwing himself into it or else even in 
the sense of "rashly" doing so] and who 
pursueth after improper gains shall 
be thrown into judgments [law-sen- 
tences]. There is probably not a more diffi- 
cult expression in Ecclus. than 8i6>kgov epyo- 
XajSeta?, which we have rendered: "who 
pursueth improper gains" although with 
great doubt. For, assuredly, it does not suit 
the context, whether of the previous clause 
or of the preceding verses, which throughout 
refers to suretiship. If therefore we have not 
the courage to give up the usual meaning of 
either <5ia>Kcoi> or epyoXafielas, the latter must 
at least be taken sensu malo (which it some- 
times bears), so as in some way to fit into 
the context. But we would venture to 
suggest that Slukwv might here be taken as a 
law-term" a prosecutor "and epyoXa/Scws 
as in the genitive. In that case the words 
might be rendered: and who prosecutes 
[another] for a contract referring to a 
man who first wrongfully or foolishly be- 
came surety, and then 'by a law-process 
tried to get rid of his engagement. This, if 
admissible, would suit the context well. The 
Syr seems from its paraphrastic language to 
have had difficulty about this verse, and it 
inserts between the two clauses what reads 
like a later interpretation. The Arab, omits it. 

20. On the preceding verse this follows 

as a general conclusion and summary: "As- 
sist thy neighbour according to thy power, 
and (but) take heed to thyself that 
thou fall not." The Syr. has instead of 
the words in the second clause : " and de- 
liver thvself from double." The "take heed 
to thyself" (Greek) and "deliver thyself" 
(Syr.) may well represent the same Hebrew 
word probably (as in the Syr.) the word 
nXS, perhaps with the addition of another 

verb as in Ps. cxliv. 7, *37*5tni "OVS; perhaps 

it read "^L' ; p3 b^n) H>*S. As to the Syr. 

rendering " double " for the Greek " that 
thou fall not," the former may be a para- 
phrastic reference to the punishment into 
which such an one might fall, or (as has been 
suggested) it may depend on a confusion 

between hhlft (the Greek) and ^Q3D (the 

21. A new stanza. Utmost moderation is 
recommended, so as to be independent of 

to cover shame.] Rather, " which cover- 
eth shame," conceals what decency forbids 
to be in public. 

22. Better is the state of life.] Or, the 
mode of living, ftius. 

in a mean cottage.] Rather, under a- 
roof of beams, the opposite of a "ceiled 

in another man's house.] Rather, "among 

23. The second clause, " that thou hear 
not," &c. (or rather, and thou shalt not 
hear, &c), does not occur in the Vat, the 
Sin., nor the Alex., but is found in 248, Go. 
The Syr. has: " Whether he (live on) much 
or little, no one knoweth : and what he doeth 
within his house man does not see it." The 
Vet. Lat. has a confused paraphrase. 

24. Lit., A wretched life: from 
house to house and where one so- 



B. c. go from house to house : for where 
*- ' thou art a stranger, thou darest not 
open thy mouth. 

25 Thou shalt entertain, and feast, 
and have no thanks : moreover thou 
shalt hear bitter words : 

26 Come, thou stranger, and fur- 
nish a table, and feed me of that thou 
hast ready. 

27 Give place, thou stranger, to 
an honourable man ; my brother 
cometh to be lodged, and I have 
need of mine house. 

28 These things are grievous to a 
man of understanding ; the upbraid- 
ing of houseroom, and reproaching of 
the lender. 


cir. 200. 

I It is good to correct our children, 7 and not 

to cocker them. 14 Health is better than 
wealth. 22 Health and life are shortened 
by grief. 

HE "that loveth his son causeth chl ^ en 
him oft to feel the rod, that p r0 v. 
he may have joy of him in the & 23 4 i 3 . 

2 He that chastiseth his son shall 0r> ^^ 
have "joy in him, and shall rejoice of *y*. 
him among his ''acquaintance. . /&#'*"**" 

3 He that '''teacheth his son griev-*r>eut. 
eth the enemy : and before his friends 6 - "> 
he shall rejoice of him. 

4 Though his father die, yet he is 
as though he were not dead : for he 

journeth [as one not forming part of the 
household but admitted to it : Trapoua'jaei] he 
cannot open the mouth. 

25. Although all the Codd. have, as in the 
A. V., eviels kcu ttothIs, "thou shalt entertain 
and feast," it seems absolutely necessary to 
adopt the emendation of Bretschneider : 
t;evi.o-de\s kcu 7roTiardeis : Thou shalt be 
entertained as a guest, and be given 
to drink unto ungraciousness = with 
ungraciousness, or else, till at last it is made 
ungracious " and besides | afterwards ?] 
thou shalt hear bitter things about them," 
viz. about thy entertainment and drink. The 
Syr.: "thou art a sojourner ( = fjevie Is ?), and 
thou shalt drink contumely." 

26. The verse expresses what is virtually 
said to such an one : "Go bye (along), so- 
journer, prepare a table, and if there 
is anything in thy hand (if thou hast 
anything) give me to eat" (entertain me). 
It is thy turn now, "give and take," as 
men say. 

27. Lit.: Go out, sojourner, from the 
face [or presence] of glory; probably in 
the sense of the A. V. Fritzsche explains : 
" Go away from this glory, which is not meant 
for thee [this seems strained] my brother 
has been received as a guest. (I have; need 
of the house." 

28. Lit.: upbraiding of a house 
that is, as Fritzsche explains, connected with 
one's being in a house" and reproach [or 
disgrace] of a creditor." These are the 
two things which a man of sensibility feels 
grievous: the one inside the house, when 
things are cast up to him and he has intima- 
tion to leave ; the other outside the house, 
when he is harassed and importuned and put 

to shame by a creditor. The reference, it 
need scarcely be said, is to a poor man but 
one of intelligence and education. 


This chapter, which in its present position 
in the Vat. and other Codd. is misplaced (see 
the remarks in the sequel), naturally arranges 
itself under the two headings : " About 
Children" (yv. 1-13) and "About Health" 
(i"v. 14-20). Each of these sections begins 
with the heading just mentioned. But there 
is a third stanza added Qw. 21-25) on joy 
of the heart, which belongs to the second 
section, and is connected with v. 16 b. 

1. Lit., "will continue to him 

in the end.] Rather, "at last." Comp. 
Prov. xiii. 24, xxiii. 13, xxix. 15. 

2. Be that chastiseth.'] Perhaps better, 
correcteth, or disciplineth. 

shall have joy [or advantage] ; and shall 
rejoice of him.] Better, and shall glory 
in him. For the construction comp. LXX. 
Ps. xlviii. (xlix.) 6 ; Prov. xxv. 14 : Rom. v. 2. 

3. grieveth.] Rather, "maketh jea- 
lous." The second clause differs only 
slightly from v. 2 h. 

4. Lit., "his father died, and as if 
be had not died," &c. The Syr. has: 
"and he is companion (associate, fellow == 

~Di"l; the expression is = the Heb. 7 PIS, 

. T , 

which the Targum renders : 7 K"Gn) to him 
that is not dead." The Syr. seems to repre- 
sent the Hebrew more faithfully than does 
the Greek. The meaning is: the father is 



[v. 5- 


B.C. hath left one behind him that is like 

cir. 200. , . , r 

f p s . 123. 5 While he lived, he ^saw and re- 
3.6. joiced in him : and when he died, he 
was not sorrowful. 

6 He left behind him an avenger 
against his enemies, and one that 
shall requite kindness to his friends. 

7 He that maketh too much of his 
son shall bind up his wounds ; and 
his bowels will be troubled at every 

8 An horse not broken becometh B- c. 
headstrong : and a child left to him- - : 
self will be wilful. 

9 Cocker thy child, and he shall 

make thee "afraid: play with him, 11 Or, asto- 
and he will bring thee to heaviness. 

10 Laugh not with him, lest thou 
have sorrow with him, and lest thou 
gnash thy teeth in the end. 

11 ^Give him no liberty in his d ch - 7- 23- 
youth, and wink not at his follies. 

12 Bow down his neck while he is 

not really dead, for he continues in his son. 
This and the following verse cast light on 
one of the great consolations and hopes which 
the writer entertained in regard to death : 
continuance in one's children. 

5. The words " in him," omitted in the 
Vat., are found in 248, Co. The Syr. has: 
"saw him and rejoiced." The Vet. Lat. has: 
i<idit, et laetatus est in illo. We may therefore 
conclude that the pronoun was in the original, 
although probably in the same order as in the 
Syr. The omission in the Vat. may have 
been due to a wisli to give the statement a 
more general form. 

6. Compare here the previous remarks in 
the note on v. 4. The Syr. probably 
rightly inverts the clauses. 

7. He that maketh too much of.'] Better, 
he that treateth him indulgently 
(molliter et leniter) : Trepiyj/vxcov which the 
Vet. Lat. curiously resolves into two words, 
pro animabus (filii). The Syr. rightly repro- 
duces what probably was in the original : 
P.3BO, as in Prov. xxix. 21 (a verse which is 
differently understood in the LXX.). In 
Ber. R. 22 (on Gen. iv. 6) we read that he 
who in his youth indulgently treats (in- 
dulged) his (evil) inclination (m"> riX jMSDB> 
WVlWn), his end (will be) that it will rule 
over him in his old age ; referring to Prov. 

Xxix. 2 1. 

From this it would appear that when the 
LXX. translated Prov. xxix. 21 by m Kara- 
(nraTaXa /c 7raio\5y, " he that liveth wantonly 
from a child," they only followed an ancient 
Jewish tradition in their identification of 
n?y, ' his servant," with \fS) t " his inclina- 
tion," since the same explanation as in Ber. R. 
22 also occurs in Sukk. 52 . The other 
mistranslation in the LXX. : " and in the end 
shall grieve over himself," for the Hebrew 
fOD njrP (erroneously rendered both in the 
A. V. and the R. V., following Jewish com- 
mentators : " shall have him become a son ") 
is the same as in the Syr. (which agrees with 

the LXX. in the whole clause). The Targum 
has : " he that indulges [his inclination ?] 
from his youth shall become a servant [to 
it?]." But in later Hebrew the word JUO 
was understood as meaning : " to lift oneself 
up," " to be lord or master." The interest 
of the subject will excuse this digression. 

shall bind up his wounds.] I.e. he shall 
have such wounds to bind up. Hence the 
Syr. paraphrastically : " his wounds shall in- 
crease." The subject is the indulging father 
(so also in the Syr.) and not the indulged son. 

and his bowels.'] The Syr. rightly explains, 
"the heart." 

is troubled at every cry.] Whether of 
his son, or more probably, that caused by 
him. The Syr. has : " shall empty out." 
Perhaps the Hebrew had tenj Wl P1J53J, 

as in Is. xix. 3, where the LXX. renders 
rapa^dijo-erai (as in our verse) to ivvtvpa iv 

9. Cocker thy child.] Rather, tend as a 
nurse thy child. The Syr. has " instruct." 
Possibly the Hebrew word was JOX, which 
the LXX. renders by our Greek word in 
Lament, iv. 5 (comp. Heb. Numb. xi. 12), 
and which means " to tend," " to bear " (as a 
child is borne ; comp. Is. Ix. 4), and also " to 
train," " educate," " guide " (so repeatedly in 
the O. T.). The second part of clause 1 the 
Syr. translates : " lest thou be put to shame," 
possibly a paraphrastic rendering dependent 
upon the translation of the first word. The 
Greek means that by such dealing on the 
part of a father the son will come to bring 
terror and shame upon him. Fritzsche q uotes 
from Solon : liberis ne arrideas, ut in posterum 
non fleas. 

11 b and 12 a are placed in the Vat. after 
v. 13, probably by mistake of a transcriber. 
They are omitted in the Alex., C, and other 
Codd. They must be restored from H., 
248, Co. They are also in the Syr. and the 
Vet. Lat. Verse 12 d is wholly omitted and 
restored from H., 106, 248, Co., Vet. Lat. 




cir. 200. 

Of health. 

young, and beat him on the sides 
while he is a child, lest he wax 
stubborn, and be disobedient unto 





sorrow to thine 


13 Chastise thy son, and hold him 
to labour, lest his lewd behaviour be 
an offence unto thee. 

14 Better is the poor, being sound 
and strong of constitution, than a rich 
man that is afflicted in his body. 

15 Health and good estate of body 
are above all gold, and a strong body 
above infinite wealth. 

16 There is no riches above a 
sound body, and no joy above the joy 
of the heart. 

17 Death is better than a bitter 
life or continual sickness. 

18 Delicates poured upon a mouth 
shut up are as messes of meat set 
upon a grave. 

19 ^What good doeth the offering 
unto an idol ? for neither can it eat 
nor smell: so is he that is "perse- 
cuted of the Lord. 

20 He seeth with his eyes and 
groaneth, -^as an eunuch that em- 
braceth a virgin and sigheth. 

21 -^Give not over thy mind to 
heaviness, and afflict not thyself in 
thine own counsel. 

22 The gladness of the heart is the 
life of man, and the "joy fulness of a 
man prolongeth his days. 

23 Love thine own soul, and 
comfort thy heart, remove sorrow 
far from thee : 7 'for sorrow hath 

cir. 200. 

e Bel and 
Dragon 7. 

11 Or, 

f ch. 20. 

Z Prov. 
12. 25. 
& 15. 13. 
& 17. 22. 

II Or, exul- 

!t 2 Cor. 7. 

13. Chastise.] Better, "discipline thy 
son;" "hold him to labour." Gaab and De 
Wette : " labour with him," " take pains 
with him ; " see xiii. 4. 

leivd behaviour.] Rather, shameful be- 
haviour: "be an offence to thee," Vat. 
TTpoo-Ku-^rj]] A., C, and other Codd., Trpocr- 
Ko-^/rji. The alterations in the Syr. seem of 
little importance. 

14. This verse begins the second stanza, 
" concerning health." The first clause lit. : 
"better one poor, sound and strong 
of constitution." 

15. and good estate of body.] Rather, a 
good constitution. The Syr. differs 
slightly perhaps correctly, perhaps explana- 
tively. In the second clause it has: "and a 
good spirit above pearls " (viz. " I have loved " 
this in the first clause). The sentiment 
expressed in this verse is farther developed 
in 16 b, where the Syr., however, has: "a 
good heart." 

17. After " a bitter life," H., the Syr., and 
Vet. Lat. insert: "and eternal rest then." 
This was undoubtedly in the original. 
Possibly the words were omitted for "dog- 
matic reasons. The construction Kpeicrcrcov 
vnip, which in Ecclus. occurs only in this 
passage, is found in the LXX., in 3 Kings 
xix. 4, and in Ps. xxxvi. 16, Ixii. 4, lxxxiii. 10. 
These are the only passages in the Psalms in 
which the word occurs. In the other twenty- 
eight passages in the LXX. the construction 
with Kpe'io-o-oov is different, as also in the 
other three passages in Ecclus. in which it 
occurs = 'D niD. In the N. T. this con- 
struction does not occur. 

18. For "poured" (better, "poured 
out ") the Syr. which the Vet. Lat. follows 
reads " covered." May there have been a 
confusion between HDD and "]DJ ? At the 
same time 248 (which Co. follows) has also 
Kk\c icrpeva. 

19. That the second clause of v. 18 
refers to heathen practices, appears from 
i'. 19 a, b. In clause c the marginal rendering, 
" afflicted " (viz. by sickness), gives the right 
meaning. The Syr. paraphrases it : " so is 
he who has wealth and [but] does not use it." 

20. At the close of the verse the Syr. 
adds : " But the Lord shall avenge it with 
His hand," perhaps a marginal gloss. But 
H., 23, 55, 68, 106, 253, 254 have (perhaps 
after the Syr. ?) : ovtus 6 -aoiwv ev fiLa tcpi/iara, 
interpolated, not unnaturally, from xx. 3. 

21. This verse begins the third stanza, 
which connects itself with v. 16 b (if not, ac- 
cording to the Syr., with 1 5 b). From what 
directly affects the body the writer passes to 
what influences it through the mind. It is 
probably to this verse that the Talmud refers 
when it quotes as from Ben Sira (what we 
also find although there probably from 
Prov. xxvii. 1 in St. Matt. vi. 34) : "Sorrow 
not the sorrow of the morrow, for thou 
knowest not what a day may bring forth ; 
perhaps to-morrow he is no more, and so he 
shall be found sorrowing over a world which 
is no longer his" (Sanh. 100 b; Yebam. 63 b). 
Similarly we read (Ber. 9 b), "Suffice sorrow 
in its hour " (i.e. when it comes) ; and (Jer. 
Abh. Z. 39 ), "The sorrow of the hour 
(immediate sorrow) is sorrow." 

23. thine own soul = thyself. The Talmud 
quotes here as from Ben Sira : " Let not care 



killed many, and there is no profit 

24 Envy and wrath shorten the 
life, and carefulness bringeth age 
before the time. 

2C "A cheerful and good heart will B.C. 
have a care of his meat and diet. 

[anxiety, sorrow] come into thy heart, for 
care [anxiety, sorrow] hath killed strong 
men" (in another place, " hath killed many "). 
(Sanh. 100 Z>.) 

24. From sorrow the writer passes to other 
noxious affections of the mind. 

25. The chapter closes with what in all 
the Greek MSS., except 248, which has it in 
its right place, stands as xxxiii. 13. In the 
Syr., which is followed by the Vet. Lat., it is 
in its right place. Translate: "A heart 
noble [liberal? probably in contrast to 
v. 24] and good [cheerful?] at [over: see 
Winer, pp. 349-351] meat [meats] will 
give heed to [attend to have a care of] 
the food." As we understand it, a man free 
from envy and anger and cheerful at table will 
enjoy his food, and it will do him good. Thus 
this sentence is not abrupt, but in strict con- 
nexion with the preceding context, which 
treats of health and how to promote it. Fritz- 
sche (whose interpretation alone we will men- 
tion) understands it to mean that a liberal heart 
and one that feels cheerily disposed at meat 
will have a care for the food in the sense of 
seeing to it that there be not any stint he 
will not be niggard as regards meat. But 
this would abruptly introduce what is in no 
way connected with the preceding context. 
Fritzsche himself refers to the use of emfie- 

\ovaai avrod for vby W nDfa* in Gen. 

( T T * " T ' T 

xliv. 2 1 [and the expression is not used in the 
LXX. in that sense in any other place : in 
Ecclus. it occurs only in our verse]. But 
this surely means, " I will pay attention to 
him," and cannot in any wise lead to the 
interpretation which Fritzsche would give to 
our verse. The Syr. has : " (he that is of) 
a good heart has much meat, and all that he 
eats mounts into body." This phrase repre- 
sents the Rabbinical IQIJ b]} D^>y ('Abhoth 
de R. Nathan,' ed. Schechter, p. 82 a). The 
Vet. Lat. seems to have been ambitious of 
imitating this, although it omits the second 
clause of the Syr., which indeed may have 
been only a gloss. It has : " splendid urn cor 
et bonum in epulis est: epulae enim illius 
diligenter fiunt" We mark that the Syr. is 
here not followed by any Greek MS. not 
even by 248. 1 

As regards the inversion and wrong order 
in the Greek MSS., not only of v. 25, but in 

1 In regard to what follows after this, see 
the note on p. 32 of the General Introduction. 


I Of the desire of riches. 12 Of moderation 
and excess in eating, or drinking wine. 

the following chapters, a few remarks may 
here be in place. 

The Greek MSS. (with the exception of 248, 
the " unus vetustus codex" cited by Nobilius) 
proceed from ch. xxx. 24 to ch. xxxiii. 16, 
*' as one that gathereth." This is continued 
till xxxvi. 11, "Gather the tribes of Israel 
together ; " after which follow xxx. 2 5 to 
xxxiii. 16, " I awaked up last of all," when the 
rest of xxxvi. 1 1 is taken up, slightly altered. 
It is evident that this must have proceeded 
from a misplacement of the sheets in the 
archetype of our Greek MSS. Such an 
accident was more likely to remain uncor- 
rected in a book like the present, than in 
any of which the matter was more strictly 
continuous. Hence it happens that a similar 
case has occurred in the Greek of the Book 
of Proverbs ; that another transposition is 
found in many of the MSS. of the Aethiopic 
version of Ecclesiasticus ; and yet another in 
a British Museum MS. of the same version. 
On a similar transposition in the ' Mostellaria' 
of Plautus see Ritschl, 'Parerga Plautina/ 
There, as here, the copyists endeavour by a 
slight alteration to conceal the abruptness of 
the transition. While the transposed order 
is found in the versions clearly derived from 
the Greek (Syr. Hexaplaris, Aethiopic, Arme- 
nian, and Coptic), with the exception of the 
Old Slavonic, the Vetus Latina and Peschitto- 
Syriac exhibit that followed by the A. V., 
and clearly shewn by internal evidence to be 
correct. This was also exhibited in the Com- 
plutensian edition. Owing doubtless to the 
authority of the Vulgate (into which the Vetus 
Latina had been received), it was followed 
in early editions of the LXX.. and in the 
versions of Castalio and Tremellius. It is a 
sign of the general neglect into which the 
book had fallen that Fritzsche (p. 169) can 
claim to be the first person who, on critical 
grounds, has adopted this as the right order. 


This chapter naturally connects itself with 
the last stanza of ch. xxx. The somewhat 
Epicurean tone of the latter is now to a 
certain extent modified, although rather by 
the moral which prudence would suggest 
than by the higher principles which true reli- 
gion would inspire. The general subject of 
the chapter is the wise use of wealth and of 
what it procures or offers. A stanza of seven 
verses in depreciation of too great a desire for 
wealth, since most serious dangers are otten 

!! Or, A 

v. i 7-] 




cir. 200. 

WATCHING for "riches con- 
sumeth the flesh, and the 
care thereof driveth away sleep. 

2 Watching care will not let a man 
slumber, as a sore disease breaketh 

3 The rich hath great labour in 
gathering riches together ; and when 
he resteth, he is filled with his deli- 

4 The poor laboureth in his poor b. c. 
estate ; and when he leaveth off, he is -1 ^ 
still needy. 

5 He that loveth gold shall not be 
justified, and he that followeth cor- 
ruption shall have enough thereof. 

6 '''Gold hath been the ruin of*ch. 8. : 
many, and their destruction was 

7 It is astumblingbloclc unto them 

involved in its acquisition Quv. 1-7), is 
followed by another of four verses (vv. 8-1 1) 
in praise of him who, while in the possession 
of wealth, has escaped its perils. The tempta- 
tions of wealth, especially in the pleasures of 
the table or else thoughts of the greed after 
wealth and the other greed to which it so 
often leads suggest stanzas 3 and 4, again 
respectively of seven and four verses (y-v. 12- 
18 and 19-22). In the first of these modera- 
tion at table is recommended, while in the 
second the wisdom of such temperance is 
shewn. Similarly, in a stanza of six verses 
(25-30), moderation in wine is enjoined. This 
stanza is prefaced and followed by what 
together forms a stanza of three verses Qw. 
23, 24 + v. 31), of which the object is not 
advice as to our own conduct in regard to 
food and drink, but as to our conduct towards 
others in these respects Qw. 23, 24), and as 
to liberality in providing banquets, and in 
v. 31 as to our bearing towards others at 

1. Watching for riches.'] Rather, "the 
sleeplessness of wealth." (Arm., Lat.), 
i.e. the sleeplessness which is caused by it. So 
Anacreon (Stobaeus, ' Flor.' iii. 241) called a 
talent a "gift which necessitates sleeplessness" 
(Siopeaz/ r/ avayKu(i dypvnvtlv}. Similarly 
the Syr., " watching consumeth the flesh of 
the rich." Apparently "iC'y and T'C'J? were 
different punctuations. 

2. The second clause in the Greek should 
be rendered: and sleep waketh up a 
sore disease; or (with a few MSS.)"and 
a sore disease waketh up sleep." The Syr. 
rendering, "rejecteth," makes it likely that 
the Heb. here was riJE> pp\ We believe the 
reading of the best MSS. to have been original. 
Probably the whole sentence was a descriptive 
clause of the dypvirvla nXovrov (or rather 
ttXovtos) which forms the subject of the last 
verse: "it is a watching care which driveth 
away sleep; a sore disease which refuseth 
slumber." We thus avoid the tautology of 
the present rendering of the first clause. The 
Syriac rendering for dypvirvia, " food," seems 
difficult to account for, except as a corruption 
of mamun, " wealth." 

3, 4. A contrast between the labours of the 
poor and rich. The parallelism suggests that 
ev crvvaycoyfj xpripdroiv ls n t " t collect 
wealth" (Syr., Fritzsche), but, "owing to 
the accumulation of his property," he 
had to pull down his barns to build greater 
ones (De Wette). Compare Marcus Aurelius, 
v. 12. The latter half of the verse represents 
the time when he says to his soul, " Eat, 
drink, and be merry." On the other hand, 
the poorlabours, " owing to the decrease 
of his living," for the opposite reason: and 
at the end, " after sparing and labouring leaves 
not even enough for his burial " (Aristophanes, 
' Plutus,' 557). The following verses are 
quoted from Ben Sira in the Talmud: "All 
the days of the poor are evil, Ben Sira says, 
even his nights. His roof is amongst the 
lowest of the rooves ; and his vineyard at the 
top of the mountains; the rain of other 
rooves [flows] down upon his ; and the soil of 
his vineyard [falls] down to other vineyards " 
(Babh.B. 146^; Sanh. ioo; Kethubh. no). 

5. he that followeth corruption shall have 
enough thereof.] For "thereof" (Alex.) the 
best MS. has "himself." "Corruption" is 
variously taken to mean "the corruptible" 
(Luther, Fritzsche), or " that which leads to 
corruption " (Baduellus, who compares Gal. 
vi. 8). In both cases the parallelism is lost. 
The Syriac has : " he that pursueth wealth 
shall be led astray thereby ; " whence Grotius 
conjectured didcpopov oAio-^/;o-erot. The 
first of these corrections (which perhaps should 
rather be dSidrpopov) we are inclined to accept. 
Instead of the second, we think it more pro- 
bable that V^W was a false reading for rut?*, 
of which, perhaps, the last letter was lost in 
the Greek translator's copy. Avtov was 
perhaps altered variously to avros and atn-r)? 
when Bmcpdopdv was written ; compare the 
Coptic rendering, " he that pursueth it shall 
be filled with corruption." 

6. Gold hath been the ruin, <&Y.] Rather, 
"many have been delivered unto ruin 
for the sake of gold, and their de- 
struction came in their face." The 
verse (as the Syriac shews) means, they 
perished for all their gold could do; it could 



[v. 8-14. 

cir. 200. 

c Luke 6. 

that sacrifice unto it, and every fool 
shall be taken therewith. 

8 'Blessed is the rich that is found 
without blemish, and hath not gone 
after oold. 

9 Who is he ? and we will call him 
blessed : for wonderful things hath he 
done among his people. 

10 Who hath been tried thereby, 
and found perfect ? then let him 
glory. Who might offend, and hath 
not offended ? or done evil, and hath 
not done it ? 

1 1 His good shall be established, 
and the congregation shall declare his 

12 If thou sit at a bountiful table, 
^"be not greedy upon it, and say not, 
There is much meat on it. 

13 Remember that c a. wicked eye 
is an evil thing : and what is created 
more wicked than an eye ? therefore 
it weepeth 'upon every occasion. 

14 Stretch not thine hand whither- 
soever it looketh, and thrust it not 
with him into the dish. 

cir. 200. 

d Ps. 141. 
Prov. 23. 

I| 2. 3- 

Ch. 37. 2Q. 

II Gr. open. 
not thy 
upon it. 

e Matt. 
6. 23. 
& 20. 15. 
II Or, 
thing that 
is pre- 

not prevent the most direct and obvious evils 
happening to them. Cp. Prov. xi. 4, 28. 

7. unto them that sacrifice unto it, <&JY.] 
"With this expression commentators compare 
Ephes. v. 5, " nor covetous man who is an 
idolater." The Syriac gives us an easier 
figure: "Riches are a stumbling-block to 
fools, and whosoever strays therein stumbles " 
(or " is overthrown thereby "). The words 
representing "them that sacrifice" and "fool" 
have changed places. It is probable that the 
Syriac order is right, and that the Hebrew 
word was "Oy, misread by the Greek 131?; 
the literal meaning would then be, "Riches 
are a stumbling-block in the way of fools, and 
every [one] that passeth by stumbles thereon." 
"Servus fit rei cui imperare debet" (Grot.). 

8. hath not gone after gold.~] Has guided 
it instead of being guided by it. 

10. then let him glory.'] Lit., let it be 
for a glory unto him. In the first clause 
the Greek seems to be more correct than the 
Syriac: "who has clung to it and hath peace?" 
The author probably used the Aramaic verb 
P"Q for " to try," misread by the Syrian \)21, 
" to cleave ; " while the rest may be explained 

from the various punctuations, DX' ; and i&'\ 

11. His good.] The possession thereof 
will be secured him. 

his alms.] Here more probably his righ- 

12. Third stanza: on moderation at table. 
The Latin has the heading de continentia. The 
author has in mind Prov. xxiii. Compare the 
precepts on eating in ' Massekheth Kallah,' 
p. 17^; 'Derekh Erets' (ed. Tawrogi), p. 29 ; 
and Musonius ap. Stobaeum, i. 369, 45. 

12-18. On temperance. 

12. bountiful.] Rather, plenteous. 

the level of it "). 

be not greedy.] Lit., open not thy 
throat. The author seems to be merely 
interpreting the phrase in Prov. /. c. 2, "put a 
knife at thy throat." The warning is probably 
not so much against greediness, as against 
making any remark. 

There is much \_meat] on it.] The ye 
is idiomatic, and represents our " What a 
lot!" (Kiihner, 'Grammar,' ii. 733.) The 
Syriac, "it is not enough for me," is charac- 
teristic. The praising of the food in Oriental 
countries is done by the host ; the mere act of 
admiration by anyone else would be regarded 
as dangerous. See Lane, ' Modern Egyp- 
tians,' i. 315: "When a person expresses 
what is considered improper or curious 
admiration of anything, he is generally re- 
proved by the individual whom he has thus 
alarmed;" and especially ibid. 183, when any 
one is invited to partake of a meal, " he must 
reply if he do not accept the invitation, 
' Heneeiin ' (' may it be productive of enjoy- 
ment '), or use some similar expression ; else 
it will be feared that an evil eye has been cast 
upon the food." Various remedies for the 
effects of such a phrase as " how pretty ! " 
QcaKov -ye) are given in the former passage. 

13. Remember that a wicked eye is an evil 
thing.] Syr., " that God hates (D'rfru SUK') 
an evil eye." The Greek text has perhaps 
toned down this powerfid expression. 

therefore it iveepeth upon every occasion.] 
Rather, of the whole countenance. 
The thought is rightly explained by Fritzsche : 
as a sign of its wickedness, or in punishment of 
it, it alone of the whole countenance weeps. 
In Greek and some other languages SaKpvu, 
k\uco are identified with being punished. 

14. whithersoever it looketh.] " Whatever 
thou seest," according to one MS. and the 
Syr. ; and this would be a more natural ex- 
pression than that in the text. It is not 
unlikely, however, that we should render 
(with Grotius) "wherever he looketh" [i.e. 
the master of the feast] ; and with this agrees 

v. i5- 




cir. 200. 

15 Judge of thy neighbour by thy- 
self: and be discreet in every point. 

16 Eat, as it becometh a man, those 
things which are set before thee; and 
devour not, lest thou be hated. 

17 Leave off first for manners' 
/ch. 37. sa fc e / an( J be not unsatiable, lest 

29. rr 

thou offend. 

18 When thou sittest among many, 
reach not thine hand out first of all. 

19 A very little is sufficient for a 
1 Or, and man we ]i nur tured, "and he fetcheth 

l tet ft not j 1 1 1 1 

puffing not his wind short upon his bed. 
"blowing. 20 Sound sleep cometh of mode- 

rate eating : he riseth early, and his B. c. 
wits are with him : but the pain of cl L^ Cfc 
watching, and choler, and pangs of 
the belly, are with an unsatiable man. 

21 And if thou hast been forced to 
eat, arise, go forth, vomit, and thou 
shalt have rest. 

22 My son, hear me, and despise 
me not, and at the last thou shalt find 
as I told thee : in all thy works be 
quick, so shall there no sickness come 
unto thee. 

23 ^ Whoso is liberal of his meat, ^Prov. 
men shall speak well of him ; and 22 ' 9 " 

the latter part of the verse : and press not 
with him [i.e. come not into conflict with 
him] in the dish (as it should be ren- 

15. Judge of thy neighbour :] Lit., the 
things of thy neighbour, i.e. his wishes. 
Compare Tob. iv. 15 (Fritzsche), and the 

phrase nan L ,V \TMH B> % n (Kallsh, /. c). 

and be discreet in every point.] Rather, on 
all occasions. The clause is omitted by the 
Syr. and Vet. Lat, but seems half-apologetic 
for the minuteness and apparent triviality of 
these precepts. 

16. as it becometh a man.] Lit., like a 
human being; but the original was pro- 
bably B^fcO, "like a man." Lat. quasi homo 
frugi ; rather, a grown man, avrjp (Bar- 
hebraeus). Aia/jLacrao-dai (devour) must refer 
to some childish and offensive way. The word 
is used by the comedian Apollophanes (Kock, 
' C. A. F.' p. 798 ; compare Aristophanes, 
'Vespae,' 780) of a prolonged mastication. 
The opposite vice would be Karaine'iv. Similar 
precepts in Kallah, /. c. : " ne comedat cunctis 
digitis ; ne ingerat manum ori suo ; ne bibat 
dum os eius plenum est." The first of these 
is to avoid the appearance of gluttony ; the 
latter two, to avoid giving offence. 

17. Leave off first for manners' sake.] A 
most successful translation. 

18. These precepts will be illustrated by 
Lane, I.e., 183: "The master of the house 
first begins to eat ; the guests or others 
immediately follow his example : . . . when only 
one dish is placed upon the tray at the time, 
each takes from it a few mouthfuls, and it is 
quickly removed to give place to another." 

19. The gloss vinum, which appears in 
the Vet. Lat. (" a little wine "), apparently at 
an early period supplanted the text; since 
Clem. Alex. ' Paed.' 2, 2, quotes the verse 
with oivos only. Comp. Prov. xiii. 24. 

20. Sound sleep. ,] Lit., sleep of health. 

of moderate eating.] Lit., upon a mode- 
rate stomach. Similar observations in 
Horace, 'Sat.' ii. 2, 81 (Fritzsche). Syr.: 
" with a man that is of moderate habit's ; " 
and the word " man " seems recommended by 
the second clause. 

21. arise, go forth, and vomit.] According 
to the better reading, rise up in the 
middle, i.e. of the banquet; fiaronopwv = 
peo-ibv, " being in the middle of a meal " (so 
Arm.). Syr., " remove thyself from the midst 
of the throng ; " and so the Vet. Lat., surge e 
medio. Which of these two was the meaning 
of the original, " Rise from the midst of the 
party " or " of the meal," is not certain ; nor 
is the difference very great. Compare Lane, 
/. c, p. 187 : " Each person as soon as he has 
finished says, ' Praise be to God,' and gets 
up without waiting till the others have done." 
Fritzsche's paraphrase, "rise up and take a 
good walk," can scarcely be a serious explana- 
tion. The addition "vomit" (248, Co., and 
Lat.) is a suggestion of the purpose for which 
any one would rise; a suggestion drawn, we 
may hope, from Roman rather than from 
Hebrew customs. Compare the well-known 
place, Cic. 'ad Att.' xiii. 52, j, of Caesar: 
/jltikov agebat ; itaque et edit et bibit ahews 
(" he intended to take an emetic after dinner," 
Watson). Yet it may be merely a ductography. 

22. quick.] Rather, active. Syr., " hum- 
ble ; " probably an improvement. Fritzsche 
connects this activity with the supposed 
advice of the last verse. 

23. liberal of his meat.] "Qui laute vivit 
seu largiter dat epula," Schleusner. Syr., "A 
good eye that is good upon bread is blest," 
perhaps " contaminating " the text from Prov. 
xxii. 9. 

men shall speak well of him.] Lit., lips 
shall bless. ' Abhoth de R. N.,' p. 68 b: 



[v. 24- 

B. C. 

cir. 200. 

* Isai. 5. 

i Judith 
13. 2, 8. 

the report of his good housekeeping 
will be believed. 

24 But against him that is a nig- 
gard of his meat the whole city shall 
murmur ; and the testimonies of his 
niggardness shall not be doubted of. 

25 Shew not thy /,; valiantness in 
wine j 'for wine hath destroyed 

26 The furnace proveth the edge 
by dipping : so doth wine the hearts 
of the proud by drunkenness. 

27* Wine is as frpod as life to a B-C. 

r 1 1 11 1 1 Clr - 2 - 

man, if it be drunk moderately : what 
life is then to a man that is without I5- s " 
wine ? for it was made to make men rov - 3- 

D, 7. 


28 Wine measurably drunk and 
in season bringeth gladness ot the 
heart, and cheerfulness of the mind : 

29 But wine drunken with excess 
maketh bitterness of the mind, with 
brawling and quarrelling. 

30 Drunkenness increaseth the rage 

" Three things endear a man to the world: an 
open hand, a spread table, and lei'itas capitis." 
of bis good housekeeping.] Rather, of his 
goodness (lit., "beauty"). Syr., "and a 
good witness," mistaking nh-10 for HZl'lD. 

24. Omitted in the Syr., owing to the 

him that is niggardly.'] Mistaken by the 
Vet. Lat. in neqaissimo pane, somewhat natu- 
rally. The verse is a reminiscence of Prov. 
xi. 25. Cp. sup. xiv. 10. 

25-31. On wine. 

25. Shew not thy t'aliantness.] From Isa. 
v. 22. 

wine hath destroyed.] Syr., " old wine ; " 
the original therefore varied the word in the 
clauses {e.g. j" and ~lE>!"l). 

26. The furnace proveth the edge by dipping.] 
The interpretation of this verse offers some 
difficulties. Commentators seem to confuse 
two processes, the testing of gold and silver 
(with which the effect of wine is compared 
by Theognis, v. 499, ed. Bergk), and the 
dipping of red-hot iron in water to give it 
temper. As described in ' Encycl. Metropol' 
viii. 408 b, in the latter process the steel is 
first heated and immersed to give it hard- 
ness, and a second time to give it temper. 
The degree of hardness attained is judged of 
(in the second process) by the colour which 
the metal takes in the several stages of the 
heating (ibid.). The verse might allude to 
this latter fact, and we might construe, " The 
furnace tests the hardness by colouring," 
with which the latter clause, "so doth wine 
the hearts of the proud by fighting " (jv. infra), 
might be brought into agreement. At the 
same time it is very improbable that any 
such technicality is alluded to ; and we have 
reason to suspect some mistranslation. The 
Syriac has : " As the furnace trieth the work 
of the goldsmith, even so is wine the provoker 
of sin." The second clause in the Greek is 
variously read, Kap8iav vnepr](puvcov (Clem. 
Alex.) ; Kcipdias iv pdxO vTreprjrpdvoiv (Vat.) ; 

iv Kap8ias Kai iv p.ayr\ (155); iv K.ap8i.q vneprj- 
cpdvav iv p.idj] (248, Co.). It would appear 
that Kap8ias and iv p-axu are various transla- 
tions of mpn (or 21p) ; and that the Syriac 
as well as the Greek versions go back to an 
original j"HT Hip j" p, "so doth wine the 
heart of the proud." As the colour of the 
steel is brought out by the furnace, so the 
inherent pride is brought out by wine. In 
'Abhoth.' p. 68 b (ed. Schechter), wine is 
mentioned as one of the three things by 
which men are tested. 

Fritzsche interprets the second clause 
(which he renders " so doth wine the hearts 
in the strife of the proud "), " according as 
the person who has drunk keeps cool or 

27. as good as life.] Syr., "like living 
water." DT! *D3 for DTI 103 ? 

what life is then.] Rather, is there. 
Similarly Panyasis (ap. Stob. ' Flor.' i. 364) 
says, " That man seems not to me to live 
who, abstaining from wine, drinks another 

These sentiments were perhaps natural at a 
period when there were practically no drinks 
known save wine and water ; comp. Virg., 
' Georg.' i. ad init. 

28. bringeth.] Lit., is. The Syriac trans- 
poses iv K.aipu> into the first clause, rendering 
it " good times." 

29. bitterness of the mind.] The Syr. has 
"pain, poverty, and headache." The verse 
should rather have been rendered, Bitter- 
ness of soul is wine that is drunk 
with excess mid brawling. The mean- 
ing of the last word, avrnrTapaTt. (" quarrel- 
ling "), is not clear; in xxxii. 30 it can be 
rendered "stumbling." Arm. (here), "op- 
position;" Fritzsche, "mutual assaults." In 
'Abhoth de R. N.,' p. 109, wine is reckoned 
among the seven things of which a little is 
good, and a large amount harmful. Compare 
Theognis, w. 509, 10. 

30. Drunkenness increaseth the rage of the 
fool till he offend^ Syriac, " Too much wine 

v. 3i- 


J 59 


cir. 200. 

of a fool till he offend : it diminisheth 
strength, and malceth wounds. 

31 Rebuke not thy neighbour at 
the wine, and despise him not in his 
mirth : give him no despiteful words, 
and press not upon him with urging 
him [to drink.] 


I Of his duty that is chief or master in a feast. 
14 Of the fear of God. 18 Of counsel. 20 Of 
a ragged and a smooth way. 23 Trust not 
to any but to thyself, and to God. 

IF thou be made the master [of a . c. 
feast,] lift not thyself up, but be C1 !lff 
among them as one of the rest ; take 
diligent care for them, and so sit down. 

2 And when thou hast done all 
thy office, take thy place, that thou 
mayest be merry with them, ana 
receive a crown for thy well ordering 
of the feast. 

3 Speak, thou that art the elder, 
for it becometh thee, but with sound 
judgment j and hinder not musick. 

maketh a stumbling to the fool." This we 
accept, supposing the Hebrew of the last words 

to have been b)V2D h'D^h nnn'y, misread 
by the Greek translator "ch ?*D3 rniiy. 

and maketh wounds.'] Lit., and addeth 
wounds (*|D*),. almost "and multiplieth 
wounds " (Syr.). 

31. at the wine!] Lit., at the wine- 

with urging him to drink.] Rather, with 
a demand for repayment (Lat., Arm.). 
Gp. xxix. 28. As, however, the Syriac has 
" before men," it would seem that we must 
accept a-navTr)(jii. (248, Co.) as the true 
reading: rendering "and wrangle not with 
him openly." 


The admonitions of ch. xxxi. in regard to 
feasts naturally lead to others concerning the 
bearing of those who either preside at a feast 
the hegemon or symposiarch or at least 
occupy a prominent position in it (to. 1-6). 
This again gives rise to admonitions as to the 
conduct of younger men (in another stanza of 
six verses: w. 7-12). The more serious 
tone which the writer has gradually adopted 
leads, in a third stanza of six verses (to. i 3-1 8), 
to the admonition to be guided by the fear of 
the Lord and the counsel of wise and expe- 
rienced men. Substantially the same is the 
subject of the last stanza (also of six verses : 
*w. 19-24), although it is presented in a more 
epigrammatic form. Thus the chapter con- 
sists of four stanzas, each of six verses. The 
transition from the First Part of the chapter 
(yv. 1-12) to the Second Part, which em- 
bodies both the more general and the more 
religious part of these admonitions, is clearly 
marked (see the note on v. 13). 

1. the master [of a feast].] Appointed by 
lot or election in the companies described by 
the Classics (e.g. Pollux, vi. n). See Wet- 
stein on St. John ii. 9, who cites from Plu- 

tarch's ' Symposiaca ' similar precepts. The 
mention of the office would seem to be rare 
in the Rabbinic writings. 

be among them as one of the rest.] The 
Syriac adds the precept " sit not down at the 
head of the rich." Perhaps thesewords are 
genuine, the last word being slightly corrupted 
in the original (^'V for b'HJ?), and meant " sit 
net down at the head of the couch." 

take diligent care for them.] This, according 
to Plutarch, /. c, would refer to the nature 
and quantity of the wine to be given to each. 

2. that thou mayest be merry with them.] 
Rather, through them. " Ut gaudeas cum 
videbis illis placere quae ordinasti," Grot. 

and receive a crown for thy well-ordering of 
the feast.] Fritzsche finds a reference to a 
supposed custom of crowning the successful 
symposiarch, a custom to which the ancients, 
perhaps, make no allusion. He seems to us 
rightly to reject the explanation of the older 
critics, who thought of the crowns which 
were worn at drinking-parties by the Greeks 
and Romans, and perhaps also by the Hebrews 
(Wisdom ii. 8 ; Isaiah xxviii. 1-5 ; Riehm, 
s. v. Kranz). The Syriac has here "that thou 
mayest receive honour at the table;" the Vet. 
Lat., " ut dignationem consequaris corrogati- 
onis." The agreement of these two important 
witnesses seems to shew that the original had 
not " crown," but only " honour ; " although, 
if the word "1X3 was used, it might reasonably 
have been construed in both senses, though 
employed only in the latter. It is rather 
more difficult to arrive at a conclusion about 
the last word, which the Latin renders so 
strangely by corrogationis ; probably = " of 
the club" (Grotius; see the last edition of 
Ducange). But the Greek (which is well 
rendered in the A. V.) gives an excellent 

3. and hinder not musick!] It is remarkable 
that Chrysostom cites this passage (xii. 395, 
Ben.) with the word " not " expressly omitted: 
ri (ttiv kcu efXTrodiaeis novatKa ; Beiicvvtrtv in 



[v. 4- 


B. C 
cir. 200. 

" Eccles. 

ch. 20. 7. 

4 a Pour not out words where there 
is a musician, and shew not forth 
wisdom out of time. 

5 A concert of musick in a ban- 
quet of wine is as a signet of car- 
buncle set in gold. 

6 As a signet of an emerald set in 
a work of gold, so is the melody of 
musick: with pleasant wine. 

7 Speak, young man, if there be 
need of thee : and yet scarcely when 
thou art twice asked. 


cir. 20c* 

8 Let thy speech be short, com- 
prehending much in few words ; be 
as one that knoweth and yet holdeth 
his tongue. 

9 b -If thou be among great men, *Job 3 2. 6J 
make not thyself equal with them ; 
and when ancient men are in place, 
use not many words. 

10 Before the thunder coeth light- 

& to 

ning ; and before a shamefaced man 
shall go favour. 

1 1 Rise up betimes, and be not 

tovtov on ovx ovrws av\6s nai Kidapa kol <tv- 
piyyes 17811 rols dxovovcriv <os Trpecrfivrov SiSatr- 
KdXia . . . Sic- teal (prjaiv (pnob[(T(is povaiKa 
tovt etrriv, ovk eacreif avra (palveo-dai, tivi- 
o-KOTicreis avrois, (rv(Tiaa<T(is avrii (" hence he 
says thou wilt hinder the music ; i.e. thou wilt 
not suffer it to appear, but wilt obscure it, 
throw it into the shade "). The same reading 
is found in 248, Co. ; and it is not impossible 
that it is right. The text has in other ways 
got into some confusion, for w. 3, 7, 8, which 
deal with the same subject, are all omitted in 
the Syriac. Clemens Alex. (173 B, ed. Potter) 
quotes the verse again in a different form, but 
more like that of Chrysostom than our text. 

4. Pour not out words.] Rather, " prattle;" 

late Heb. nrPB>. 

'where there is a musician!] Rather, an 
entertainment; since the word aKpoapa 
includes the performances of jesters, story- 
tellers, and acrobats, as well as those of 
musicians, vocal and instrumental, " all of 
whom were employed to entertain the guests 
at the end of the banquets " (Casaubon on 
Athenaeus, bk. xiv., the first half of which 
contains a lengthy description of these per- 
formances). The Latin version, "where there 
is no attention," is characteristic ; one Greek 
MS. has the same mistake; the Arm. also 
renders " attention," but is otherwise faithful. 
The Svr. renders " where wine is being 

and shew not forth wisdom out of time [Syr. 
" at all times ; " ny N73 would be less am- 
biguous than ny 733].] I.e. do not play the 
sage when others are laughing. Compare 
Athenaeus, /. c, p. 613 d. 

5. A concert of musick!] Nearly "a band." 
a signet of carbuncle set in gold.] Lit., 

upon golden ornament. Syr., "like a 
seal upon a purse of gold." On this stone, 
probably the ruby, see Riehm, 'Hdw.' s.v. 
Edelsteine, i. p. 296 b. The sentiment is very 
like Od. ix. 7 ; it is scarcely improved by the 
transformation of the " concert " into the 

" praise of God " (Syr.). Comp. Prov. 
xxv. 1 1 . 

6. As a signet of an emerald set in a work of 
gold.] Syr. " like a necklace of gold, precious 
stones, and emeralds ; " to which reading we 
are inclined to give the preference, supposing 
that the Greek is merely a second rendering 
of 5 a, which had been repeated by error in 
the translator's copy. 

so is the melody of musick.] Syr. " good 

7, 8. These verses are omitted by Syr. 

7. and yet scarcely when thou art [rather, 
hast been] twice asked.] The verse is simi- 
larly rendered in the Vet. Lat. and Arm. 
Fritzsche translates, " yet scarcely twice even 
if it be desired " (after Baduellus). 

8. comprehending.] Literally, multum in 
parvo. Compare Aeschylus, ' Suppl.' 200, 
Ka\ fxr) Tvp6\e(rxs M 7 ?^' e^oA/co? ev Xdyco yevrj : 
and for the effect described in b, Hor. ' Sat.' 
ii. 6, 57, " iurantem me scire nihil mirantur ut 
unum scilicet egregii mortalem altique silenti." 
Compare generally Riehm, /. c, s. v. Gastmahl r 
and 'Derekh Erets,' p. 10 (ed. Tawrogi). 

9. make not thyself equal with them.] Syr. 

"play not the ruler;" Heb., perhaps 7L"D]"I, 
which might be pointed so as to give either 

and when ancient men are in place.] The 
better MSS. read: when another is 
speaking. The reading of the A. V. is 
that of Co., supported by Syr., Lat., and 
Copt.; whereas 248 and Arm. represent a 
middle stage, " where there are speakers." 
To us it seems evident that the received 
reading is correct ; and a miswriting of the 
Greek will probably be the simplest account 
of the variant. 

use not many words.] Lit., prate not 

10. goeth.] Rather, hasteneth. This 
verse is omitted in the Syr., and was con- 
sidered by Bretschneider as an interpolation, 

V. 12 18.] 



.ipir. 200. 

the last ; but get thee home without 

12 There take thy pastime, and 
do what thou wilt : but sin not by 
proud speech. 

13 And for these things bless him 
that made thee, and hath replenished 
thee with his good things. 

14 Whoso feareth the Lord will 
receive his discipline ; and they that 
seek him early shall find favour. 

15 He that seeketh the law shall B.C. 
be filled therewith : but the hypo- cir jJ^- 
crite will be offended thereat. 

16 They that fear the Lord shall 
find judgment, and shall kindle justice 

a light 

17 A sinful man will not be 
reproved, but findeth an excuse ac- 
cording to his will. 

18 A man of counsel will be con- 
siderate ; but a strange and proud 

but on insufficient grounds. The meaning 
is thus given by Fritzsche (after Grot.) : " A 
modest and graceful manner precedes the 
speech of a young man, just as regularly as 
the lightning precedes the thunder." With 
this we might compare such a description as 
that in Plato's ' Charmides,' p. 158 c (Jowett's 
translation, i. p. 14) : " Charmides (there the 
model of a veavio-Kos o-co(ppu>v) blushed, and 
the blush heightened his beauty, for modesty 
is becoming in youth ; he then said very 
ingenuously," &c. We should, however, pre- 
fer to regard x^P LS as tne f avour which he 
inspires, nor do we perceive any allusion to 
his speech. 

11. Rise up betimes.'] Compare Philostratus 
v. Apollon. p. 26, ed. Kayser: oi nap' i) 
vvnTutp re Kal ovk iv a>pa dvaXvovres. 

and be not the last.] Lit., and lead 
not the rear. The Vet. Lat. has "at the 
time of rising hinder not thyself;" pointing 
Dip Dl?3 for Dip nj?3 ; and this seems to 
have been the punctuation of the Syriac, 
which, however, is slightly corrupt. Ovpdyei 
probably represents the Heb. ^DXR, which 
the Latin (if it had the Hebrew) might have 
pointed ^DXR 

without delay.] Lit, and be not idle. 
Syr. "while there is memory in thee;" Lat. 
et illic avocare. 

12. but sin not by proud speech?] " But 
not with sin and proud speech " (Lat., Arm.). 
Syr. " in the fear of God and not with loss," 
in the last words of which we recognise the 
common confusion between "lDFl and TD!"I. 
Drusius and Grotius suppose some bodily 
exercise or game referred to. 

13. for these things.] Rather, after or 
upon these things. 

replenished thee.] Lit., inebriateth 
thee. Perhaps the Heb. original had ^"2^0, 
of which the Greek translation would be a 
somewhat unfortunate rendering. Drusius 
cites an observation of Jerome that the Hebrew 
language puts " ebrietas pro satietate." 

14. The Syriac connects this paragraph 

Apoc Vol. II. 

with the last by introducing the words "in 
the fear of the God " into -v. 1 2 b. 

His discipline.] Omit " His." For the 
expression compare xviii. 1 4. Syr. " he that 
seeketh the service of God will receive in- 
struction ; and when he prayeth before Him, 
He will answer him;" omitting -v. 15. 

15. He that seeketh the law.] According 
to Fritzsche, " endeavours to fulfil it." We 
incline rather to the older view, according to 
which it means " seeketh its real meaning." 

but the hypocrite will be offended thereat.] 
The passage reminds us of St. John vii. 17, 
" If any man will do His will, he shall know 
of the doctrine whether it be of God." The 
difficulties of the purport of the Law will only 
be experienced by those who have no serious 
desire to put it in practice. See Westcott, 
ad I. c. 

16. shall find judgment?] They will dis- 
cover that true purport. 

shall kindle justice as a light.] Syr. " shall 
produce much wisdom from their heart." 
The Hebrew would seem to have been -IN"^ 


= ^^j , which the Syrian translator pointed 

IX^ ; a curious vestige of this familiar Arabic 
verb. (" From their heart " (Syr.) is probably 
therefore an explanation; compare with the 
phrase Pindar, ' N.' iv. 8, on yXcoacra (ppevos 
e'e\oi fiadeias, and the Rabbinical DWTflO 

D^O, e.g. Midr. ' Schochar-Tob,' p. 3 a.) 
Grotius thinks of their good deeds shining 
forth throughout the world ; perhaps having 
in mind the technical use of hlSD for "alms- 
giving," &c. But more probably "righteous 
sentences " are meant (Fritzsche). 

17. will not be reproved.] Lit., de- 
clines (or parries) reproof. 

but findeth an excuse.] The Greek word is 
the same which was used for "concert" in 
n). 5. It is interpreted in the Arm. version as 
"models;" i.e. cases in which others have 
acted as he ; by Grotius and Fritzsche, as 
" an interpretation," viz. of the Law. Plainly 




[v. 19 24. 

b. c. man is not daunted with fear, even 
- ' when of himself he hath done with- 
out counsel. 

19 Do nothing without advice; and 
when thou hast once done, repent not. 

20 Go not in a way wherein thou 
mayest fall, and stumble not among 
the stones. 

21 Be not confident in a plain way. 

22 And beware of thine own chil- 

23 In every good work trust thy 
own soul ; for this is the keeping of 
the commandments. 

24 He that believeth in the Lord 
taketh heed to the commandment ; 
and he that trusteth in him "shall 
fare never the worse. 

cir. 200. 

II Or, 
shall not 
be hurt. 

the "interpretation" of the dream in Dan. 
ii. 25, where the word is used by the LXX., 
would be quite different to that implied in 
the present case. We believe the sense to 
be rightly expressed by the Syriac, " and shall 
make his path according to his will." He 
will find out his own rules and take no 

18. iv'ill be considerate.] Lit., will not 
disregard an idea. There are many 
difficulties in this verse. 

(a.) " A strange and proud man " seems 
an improper expression. Gaab (followed by 
Fritzsche) writes aXXorpiov [better dWorpiov], 
and renders " will not disregard the suggestion 
of a stranger." We believe dWctrpios and 
vTreprjcfravos to be both translations of the 
same word It, which by the first translator 
was read "IT; the correction of the reviser, 
vneprjrpavos, was introduced as an addition. 

(.) " Even when of himself he hath done 
without counsel " is unsatisfactory as a render- 
ing of per avrov avev ftovhrjs, out of which no 
meaning can easily be obtained. Fritzsche sup- 
poses the original to have been i"IVy X? 10y, 
and thus evolves the thought : " The proud 
man pays no attention to the opinion of an- 
other ; and when he has acted, has no counsel, 
i.e. is completely at a loss." We believe avev 
,3ouX^9 to be a false repetition of the com- 
mencement of the next verse ; and pera. to 
noifjcrai per avrov to be a gloss upon ev ra> 
Trotrjo-ai of the second clause of v. 19. These 
conjectures are confirmed by MS. 157 and 
partly by the Armenian version, which reads 
as follows : 19. avev jSovXtjs prjdcv 7rotrjo-Tjs . . . 
ptrapeXov. 18. avev (HovXijs prj 7rap[djjs 8iavo- 
r/pa. aWorpios xa\ VTrtprjCpavos ov Karanrrjtjei 
(pofiov. The version, however, breaks off 
here. After the ejection of these there 
remains: "A man of counsel will not over- 
look an idea, and a proud man will feel no 
terror." If we compare the Syriac rendering 
of clause a, " leaves not wisdom hidden," it 

will appear probable that the original had X 1 ? 

nSJ? why (Job xlii. 3) to darken coun- 
sel." According to Gesenius, ' Thes.' s. v., 

D7J? means to censure it, to endeavour to pre- 
sent it in an unfavourable light. The second 

clause is satisfactorily Targumed by the Syriac : 
" but the wicked man hath no control over 
his tongue." Compare Prov. xii. 15. 

19. advice."] Rather, counsel, or de- 

and when thou hast once done.] " With 
deliberation," as glossed by the Greek (v. 

repent not.] I.e. thou shalt not repent. Cp. 
Ewald, ' Lehrb.' p. 602. 

20. and stumble not among the stones.] 
Rather, stony places. The Syriac ren- 
ders " lest a second time thou stumble." The 
warning conveyed, according to Fritzsche, is 
to avoid courses which may easily lead to 
difficult situations. 

21. Be not confident in a plain way.] The 
meaning of the original is not very clear. 
The usage of the Greek of this period seems 
in favour of the rendering in the A. V., which 
is also that of S. H. The warning will then 
be not to trust too much to the apparent ease 
and simplicity of a course. The Syriac, " the 
path of the wicked," and the Latin labor iosae, 
are probably bold alterations. 

22. And beware of thine own children.] An 
illustration, according to Fr.,of the last warn- 
ing : even children must not be trusted, how- 
ever natural an object of confidence they 
might seem. The sentiment, however, seems 
to us here so unnatural and inappropriate 
that we incline to the Syriac text, " and be of 
good heed in thy paths ;" supposing the Greek 
to represent the corruption of "pmmx into 
~|rV"inX, which has occurred already. 

23. trust thy own soul.] I.e. " be self- 
confident;" or we might render it "believe 
with thy soul : " but in either case the thought 
would be unsatisfactory ; for surely self- 
confidence cannot be said to be a way of keeping 
the commandments. The Syriac renders: 
" keep thy soul : " tjb>S J ")bB> = " be cautious" 
(Prov. xvi. 17, xxii. 5, &c), which not only 
gives an intelligible phrase, but also restores 
the play on the two senses of the word " keep " 
intended by the author. Illo-reve comes from 
v. 21 or v. 24. 

24. He that believeth in the Lord.] So Lat. 
and late MSS.; Vat, Alex., in the law. 

V. I 2.] 



cir. 200. 


1 The safety of him that feareth the Lord. 
2 The wise and the foolish. 7 Times and 
seasons are of God. 10 Men are in his 
hands as clay hi the hands of the potter. 
18 Chiefly regard thyself 24 Of servants. 


k HERE shall no evil happen B.C. 
unto him that feareth the l ^' 
Lord ; b but in temptation even again 2I Prov ' I2 
he will deliver him. x Pet - 3- 

2 A wise man hateth not the law ; * i p e t 



The structure of this chapter is somewhat 
difficult. It evidently treats of two different 
subjects, rather loosely strung together. 
The first section closes with v. 18. Its occa- 
sion seems to be taken from the second part 
of ch. xxxii. (see introductory remarks to it). 
As we have it in the Greek version, Part I. of 
ch. xxxiii. contains five stanzas, consisting 
respectively of three verses in the first and 
second stanza (yv. 1-3, 4-6) ; then of a third 
stanza of six verses (yv. 7-12), which is 
followed again by two stanzas, each of three 
verses (yv. 13-15 and 16-18). In this 
arrangement the central (third) stanza of six 
verses (yv. 7-12) is evidently the most im- 
portant, and contains the main theme of 
discussion. This, if we understand it rightly, 
is kindred to the problem which partly 
formed the topic of discussion in the Book of 
Ecclesiastes viz. the seeming arbitrariness 
in the dealings of Providence, the chance 
or else fatality which appears to attach to 
earthly things. A problem this, which as 
we can readily understand would naturally, 
almost inevitably, engage later Jewish thinking, 
not untinged by scepticism, when its ancestral 
religious teaching was not without the in- 
fluence of Grecianism brought face to face 
with the moral problems presented in life. 
This great question, prompted perhaps by 
the second part of ch. xxxii., the writer seeks 
to answer. He prepares for it in the two 
stanzas (w. 1-3 and 4-6) which precede its 
statement in the central stanza (vv. 7-12); 
he finds a solution for it in the stanza which 
follows (to. 13-15), and he gathers up his 
life-experience with its struggles and its vic- 
tory in the attainment of that solution, in the 
stanza with which the section concludes 
(vv. 16-18). 

Before proceeding, we mark that the Syr. 
version omits w. 2-4. To the question 
whether they really existed in the Hebrew 
original of the older Siracide and were omitted 
for dogmatic reasons by the Syriac translator 
(or his redactor), or whether they must be 
considered as a Hellenistic addition by the 
younger Siracide, it is not easy to give an 
answer. On the one hand, the stanza intro- 
ducing and preparing for the main question 
in vv. 7-12 would give good sense even if we 
were to omit (as in the Syr.) vv. 2-4. In 
that case v. 1 would set forth the general and 
comforting assurance, in view of the seeming 

prevalence of mere fate or else accident, that 
all shall be well with him who feareth the 
Lord. Verses 2 and 3 would next set forth 
in warning the influence of this great problem 
of life on the two classes differing from the 
pious servant of God : the fool on whom all 
has simply a bewildering effect (y. 5), and 
the mocking sceptic who laughs at every- 
thing, even as a stallion who neighs under 
every rider (y. 6). Thus far the argument 
in favour of the omission of vv. 2-4 in the 
Syr. But, on the other hand, there are dog- 
matic and other reasons which might prompt 
the Syr. translator to omit these verses from 
his rendering of the Hebrew original. Thus 
v. 3 might seem a dangerous and rationalistic 
depreciation of the ancient Mosaic oracle by 
the Urim. And if that verse was to be left 
out, it would be natural to omit a whole 
triplet for the sake of symmetry ; and in that 
case it must be vv. 2-4, since neither v. 1 
nor yet tod, 5 and 6 could have been omitted. 

On the whole, we are inclined to decide in 
favour of the originality and authenticity of 
the verses (2-4) omitted in the Syr., and for 
the following reasons :(i) They are requisite 
for the symmetrical structure of the whole 
section (two stanzas of three verses, one of 
six verses, and again two of three verses each) ; 
(2) they occur in the Vet. Lat. and there 
apparently not from the Greek, but either 
directly from the Hebrew or corrected by it 
(seethe notes); (3) a sentiment such as in 
v. 3 entirely accords with the theological 
standpoint of the older Siracide, however ob- 
jectionable it might seem to a later translator, 
zealous for orthodoxy as he understood it. 

No special difficulties attach to the second 
part of ch. xxxiii. (y<v. 19-end). It consists 
of three stanzas, respectively of five, five, and 
three verses. The subject is so different 
from that treated in the first part that we 
might be tempted to regard this part as dis- 
placed, if it were not that we call to mind 
that such sudden, almost capricious, transi- 
tions seem in character with the disguised 
discussion of a problem such as in the previous 
verses. The first stanza (vv. 19-23) bears 
on the favourite subject of family life; the 
second stanza (-yv. 24-28) gives advice on the 
treatment of slaves; the third (yv. 29-31) 
enjoins the cautions of religion and prudence 
in the matter. 

1. in temptation.'] Rather, trial. 

even again he will deliver him.'] Heb. (<> 

M 2 



[v. 3-8. 

B. c. but he that is an hypocrite therein is 

cir. 200. 1 

as a ship in a storm. 

3 A man of understanding trust- 

eth in the law ; and the law is faith- 

\haskme ^ unto him, " as an oracle. 

o/Urim* 4. Prepare what to say, and so 

thou shalt be heard : and bind up 

instruction, and then make answer. 

5 The " heart of the c foolish is 




like a cartwheel ; and his thoughts 
are like a rolling axletree. 

6 A stallion horse is as a mocking 
friend, he neigheth under every one 
that sitteth upon him. 

7 Why doth one day excel an- 
other, when as all the light of every 
day in the year is of the sun ? 

8 By the knowledge of the Lord 

cir. 200. 

Syr.) utal 2'C"i, " He will turn and deliver 
him ; " i.e. He will reverse what is apparently 
His present purpose : the km represents the 
Hebrew sign of the apodosis. We might 
supply " even in trials [no evil will happen to 
him but]." 

2-4. These verses are wanting in the Syr. 
(see introductory remarks). 

2. the law.] Lat. mandata et justitias. On 
the assumption that nsv. 2-4 were in the 
original Hebrew, we would suggest that the 
term rendered " the law " had been 1D-10, which 
should rather have been rendered " chasten- 
ing." The wise man does not repine at the 
Divine chastening, but " kisses the rod;" the 
half-hearted, however, is thrown out of his 
course by it. For clause b the Lat. has " and 
will not founder like a ship in a storm." The 

Heb. was probably 7K01, variously interpreted 
as bub) and ^D>1. We believe the Latin 
interpreter to have been right. 

3. as an oracle?^ See margin. For the 
readings (which do not interfere with the 
sense), see Fritzsche. 

4. bind up.] The metaphor is from provi- 
sions for a journey that are packed up. Lat. 
conservahit. The imperatives (or imperfects) 
of VI and "IVJ have perhaps been confounded 
as elsewhere. 

then make answer.] " Then " is omitted in 
the best MSS. 

5. The heart. ~\ Lit. ho we Is. 

like a cartwheel.] Syr. " like a swift wheel." 
The point of comparison, according to some, 
is their unsteadiness ; according to others, the 
fact that they move always in the same groove. 
The latter, which is Fritzsche's suggestion, 
seems to us very improbable; whereas in 
support of the former interpretation we might 
quote Virgil's comparison of the frenzied 
Amata to a top (' Aen.'vii. 378), and the well- 
known lines of Tibullus (1. v. 2): 

"Namque agor ut per plana citus sola verbere 
Quam celer adsueta versat ab arte puer." 

and his thoughts are like a rolling axle-tree.'] 

" In waggons of the kind called plaustra the 
axle-tree was not a fixture, but revolved to- 
gether with the wheels" (Rich, 'Diet, of 
Antiq.' p. 72). The same author makes axis 
-versatilis (Lat. huius loci) " a revolving cylinder, 
such as is worked by a windlass, for drawing 
up weights." In either case the point of 
comparison will be the impossibility of fixing 
it. The Syriac has "a swine:" we can 
scarcely doubt (with Linde and Bendtsen) 
that the original had a derivative of the Ara- 
maic verb ~l?n, "to revolve:" compare D*"]t$>n 
and D*j?B>0. 

6. A stallion horse."] Lat. emissarius, a low 
Latin word, on which see Ducange. Syr. "a 
ready horse ;" pointing to an original ptO, as 
in Jer. v. 8. The primum and secundum com- 
parationis are inverted. 

a mocking friend?^ Syr. " the friend of the 

wicked;" suggesting an original p^'7 3fW, 
" one that loveth mockery." 

he neigheth under every one that sitteth upon 
him.] I.e. on all occasions, whatever the cir- 
cumstances (Fritzsche). ?!"l, " to neigh," is 
used in the later Hebrew for " to giggle," 
e.g. Midrash on 'Proverbs,' p. 21a. One is 
tempted to see an allusion to the story of 
Darius' horse (Herod, iii. 87), which the 
author may have learned from some other 
source. The mockery spoken of, if it repre- 
sent the Hebrew word suggested, means 
" scoffing ;" i.e . at religion and morality (Prov. 
ix. 12, &c). He can never be serious. 

7. Why doth one day excel another.] I.e. as 
a good day, or else as a holy day. 

when as.] " This combination lasted till 
1670" ('Old and Middle English,' p. 253). 
Maetzner, ' English Grammar,' iii. 430, quotes 
Shakspere, ' 3 Henry VI.' v. 7, " So Judas 
kissed his Master and cried, ' All hail,' when 
as he meant ' All harm.' " Marlowe, 'Jew of 
Malta,' v. 2, " What boots it thee to be the 
governor when as thy life shall be at their 
command ? " 

8. The answer is, they were separated by 
a Divine decree. 

he altered.] Rather, He made divers 
seasons and feasts. 

v. 9 1 6.] 



cir. 200. 


d he 

they were distinguished 
altered seasons and feasts. 

9 Some of them hath he made 
high days, and hallowed them, and 
some of them hath he 'made ordinary 

10 And all men are from the 

I Or, 

for i/w 
of days. 

*Gen. 1. ground, and ^Adam was created of 
|7- 2 _ earth. 

11 In much knowledge the Lord 
hath divided them, and made their 
ways diverse. 

12 Some of them hath he blessed 
and exalted, and some of them hath 
he sanctified, and set near himself: 
but some of them hath he cursed and 

9. Some of them?] I.e. the days. 

he made high days.~\ Syr. " he blessed," ~]~\2. 

he made ordinary days.~] Lit. He put 
into the number of days; i.e. days 
distinguished by nothing further than their 
number (in the month or year). In this use 
of the word signifying " number," the Hebrew, 
Greek, and Latin languages agree. 

10. The Latin translator rendered the 
second clause, " and from the ground whence 
Adam was created." Cp. Job xxxi. 18. 

11. In much knowledge.] I.e. by a plan too 
deep for our comprehension. Naturally, we 
should have expected that they would all 
have been equal. 

made their 'ways diverse.] Syr. " and he 
made the inhabitants of the earth." 

12. The verse gives specimens of these 
diversities rather than a classification of them. 
The first clause may refer to worldly dignities 
(Fritzsche) ; the second, to spiritual dignities ; 
the third and fourth, to the destitute and 

and set near himself?] TlpH IvNI, accord- 
ing to Fritzsche; with which compare Jer. 
xxx. 21. The Syr., however, renders "and 
they came near to him," which reminds us of 

the far more common phrase 1 vX 1W1 ; and 
since eyyi(w is rarely transitive, rjyyta-ap may 
have been originally in the Greek text. 

brought low, and turned out of their places.~\ 
Syr. '_' overturned, and rooted out of their 
dwellings." The author has in mind Isa. xxii. 
19. For avio-Tpetyev we must read with Co. 
avirpe^ev (cp. Cobet, ' Misc. Crit.' p. 382). 

13. to fashion it at his pleasure.] The old 
Greek MSS. have, instead of this, all his 
ways are according to his pleasure. 
The reading exhibited by the A. V appears 

brought low, and turned out of their b. c. 
'places. cir ^- 

13 'As the clay is in the potter's !^,. 
hand, to fashion it at his pleasure : 'isai. 
so man is in the hand of him that |*-> 8 
made him, to render to them as liketh J er - i8 - 6 - 

, . , ' Wisd. 15. 

him best. n, z. 

14 Good is set against evil, and ^>; 9 " 
life against death : so is the godly 
against the sinner, and the sinner 
against the godly. 

15 So look upon all the works of 

the most High: and Ahere are two -/"ch. 42. 

^ . 24. 

and two, one against another. 

16 I awaked up last of all, as one 

that "gathereth after the grapegather- giea'neth. 

only in H. and seems to be a conjecture 
{jiKacrai avro for ivacrai ai oftol aiirov). The 
Syr. Version omits it altogether. 

to render to them as liketh him best.~] Lit. 
according to his judgment. Syr. "to 
set him over (?) all his works." The 

Hebrew was very likely HpS 1 ?, which would 
bear either meaning. 

14. Then follows a list of ctvo-toix^ 1 - 

so is the godly against the sinner.] Syr. " and 
against the light was created the darkness." 
The list of the <tvo-to<.x'm<- of Pythagoras given 
by Aristotle, ' Metaphys.'p. 986 (ed. Bekker), 
contains (pas nal (tkotos, ayaBov kcu Kanov, but 
not "life and death:" cp., however, Plato, 
' Phaedo,' p. 71 ; and Zeller, 'Philosophie der 
Griechen,' i. 325, 4th edit. 

15. look upon.] Syr. " has exhibited." 
Either can be supported from Eccles. vii. 14. 

16. / awaked up last of all.] Rather, I 
lay awake, or "lucubrated;" Syr. "I 
came." We suggest, to account for this 
curious difference, that the original had Tin, 
intended for *riS3, but pointed by the Greek 
translator *H3, from fiU, pernoctare, in Chald. 
and Syr. "In the feeling," says Fritzsche, 
" that he has uttered something of importance, 
the author begins to reflect upon his position, 
and to feel that, though late in time, he has 
not laboured in vain." Still, this verse strikes 
us as singularly abrupt, if we compare the 
somewhat similar thought in xxiv. 30. The 
great transposition in the Greek MSS. and 
the versions derived from the Greek occurs 
in the middle of this verse. Is it possible 
that some paragraphs have been lost ? 

as one that gathereth.] Lit. one that 
gathereth straws, tt>C?1pD, but used more 
generally in Isa. xxiv. 14, &c. 



[v. 17- 


. B - c ers : by the blessing of the Lord I 

cir 203 *- ^^ 

- ' profited, and filled my winepress like 

a gatherer of grapes, 
ch. 24. 17 s Consider that I laboured not 
for myself only, but for all them that 
seek learning. 

18 Hear me, O ye great men of 
the people, and hearken with your 
ears, ye rulers of the congregation. 

19 Give not thy son and wife, thy 
brother and friend, power over thee 
while thou livest, and give not thy 
goods to another : lest it repent thee, 
and thou intreat for the same 


sell not. 


20 As long as thou livest and hast . B - c 
breath in thee, " give not thyself over 
to any. 

2 1 For better it is that thy children 
should seek to thee, than that thou 
shouldest " stand to their courtesy. j| T > l ? ok 

11 In all thy works keep to thy- hands. 
self the preeminence ; leave not a 
stain in thine honour. 

23 At the time when thou shalt 
end thy days, and finish thy life, 
distribute thine inheritance. 

24 Fodder, a wand, and burdens, 0f . 

> > 111 servants. 

are for the ass ; and bread, correc- 
tion, and work, for a servant. 

I profited.'] Lit. I got ahead; Syr. "I 
rose;" Lat. "I hoped" (VlDg and ?fiPjJi?? 
The Lat is perhaps an error for properdin}. 
The thought that he had got before others 
(Fritzsche) is scarcely hinted. 

like a gatherer of grapes.] The whole 
verse implies that Ben Sira had predecessors 
in the class of literature to which this book 
belongs, and that he made use of or incor- 
porated a number of their sayings (comp. 
Gen. Introd. p. 19). 

17. This verse is omitted in the Syr. 

18. 19. TheSyriac transposes 19 b after 20. 
This gives a more natural order, unless indeed 
19 and 18 are parallel sentiments. 

19. power over thee.] Rather, authority 
over thee, become not their dependant. 

and thou intreat for the same again.] Com- 
pare Lysias, p. 638 (ed. Reiske): fiovkovrai 
yap ndvres vtto tcov 7tai8(ou depaTreveo-dai, fiaX- 
Xoj> rj fueivav Selo- 6ai diropovPTf s. The 
rendering in the A. V. follows the Syriac more 
nearly than the Greek, which has: lest it 
repent thee, and thou intreat for 

them. The Hebrew may have had 2-1&6. 
The meaning " repent " for this word and its 
derivatives is late; and the original may have 
meant no more than " lest afterwards thou be 
compelled to beg of them." 

20. give not thyself over to any.] The 
literal meaning may be, either "barter not 
thyself with any body " (Arm., Fritzsche), so 
that the other person assume thv place, or else 
"sell not thyself to any body.'" The Heb. 

(Fritzsche) was 1n bx, which the Syrian 
may have interpreted from the Aram. 10, a 
"lord" or "master," rendering "make no 
flesh lord over thee." 

21. stand to their courtesy.] Lit. look 

to the hands of thy sons: cp. Ps. 
cxxiii. 2. The Arm. omits crov, giving the 
meaning "that thy children should be in want." 
The same version (with Syr.) substitutes 
"their hands" for "the hands of thy sons." 
The author may have intended to emphasise 
the difference between "children" in clause a, 
and " sons " in clause b. But this is one of 
the cases in which ancient scribes allowed 
themselves considerable liberty in dealing with 
authors' texts. For the phrase compare 
Aristophanes, ' Vespae,' 6 1 3 (of an old man in 
these circumstances) : KtC p.rj p,e 8e ijo-et t\ a-e 
(rbv vlov) /3Xe'\//-tu koi tov rap-iav otvot cipicrTov 
napadrjo-ei, and 'Abhoth de R. N.,' p. 90 a : " If 
a man eat of the property of his father or of 
his mother or of his children, his mind is not 
established; much more when he eateth of 
the property of others." 

22. keep to thyself the preeminence.] We 
prefer the reading of C. and Arm., virepdvu, 

"have the upper hand ;" rbyvb. 

leave not.] Rather, set not. 

23. The substance of this verse is quoted 
in the so-called ' Second Alphabet of Ben Sira ' 
in the following form : " Hide, my son, thy 
wealth in thy life, and conceal it; and give it 
not to thy heirs to the day of thy death." 

At the time zuhen thou shalt end thy days, 
and finish thy life.] Lit. on the day of 
the completion of the days [om. Arm.] 
of thy life, and at the time of the 
end. Syr. "at the time when the number 
of thy days shall be completed, on the day 
of thy death, bequeath thy goods to thy son." 
Arab, "at the end of thy life bequeath thy 
goods to thy son ; " assuredly all that is 
required to express the thought. 

On Slaves. 

24. a <wand.] Lit. a rod. Some have 
regarded this verse as a quotation (L. D. 

v. 2531.] 




cir. 200. 

25 If thou set thy servant to la- 
bour, thou shalt find rest : but if 
thou let him go idle, he shall seek 

26 A yoke and a collar do bow 
the neck : so are tortures and tor- 
ments for an evil servant. 

27 Send him to labour, that he be 
not idle ; for idleness teacheth much 

28 Set him to work, as is fit for 

him : if he be not obedient, put on b. c 
more heavy fetters. cn%2oc 

29 But be not excessive toward 
any ; and without discretion do 

30 h If thou have a servant, let him ; * ch. 7 . . 
be unto thee as thyself, because thou 

hast bought him " with a price. " Gr. in 

Tr P , , r . blood. 

31 lr thou nave a servant, intreat 
him as a brother : for thou hast need 
of him, as of thine own soul : if 


Cramer, ' Moral der Apocryphen,' 201). 
Fritzsche finds in the proverbial form of the 
sentence the excuse for its coarseness. 

correction?^ Probably a euphemism for 
" the lash," as the Arm. renders it. Compare 
Prov. xxvii. 3, which in Gesner's ' Stobaeus,' 
p. 604, is quoted with virga servo imipienti. 

25. The Syr. is here different : " Thou 
shalt give him no rest ; and if thou raise his 
head, he desireth liberty." The Latin version 
has also a very interesting rendering : operatur 
in disciplina et quaerit requiescere : laxa manus 
illi et quaerit libertatem. The variations in the 
second clause will be explained if we suppose 

the original to have been v> Ppi"l, otherwise 

read h D"1H ; the " hands " and " head " are 
the supplements (doubtless correct ones) of 
the translators. The Greek and Latin of 
clause 1 may imply an original "DJD 12]} 
nniJO B>pn-1, of which the Greek translator 
rightly understood the first two words, while 
the Latin translation might be explained by 
pointing t?j?3-1 rather than K^l-I : " make a 
slave work, and he will seek rest ; relax his 
discipline, and he will seek liberty." The 
Syriac Version perhaps represents a guess at 
the general meaning of the passage rather than 
an accurate rendering. 

26. a collar.'] Rather, strap; referring 
to the reins. The Syriac omits this verse; 
and as the Hebrew language apparently pos- 
sesses no words for the " rack " and the 
" torture," any more than it possesses one for 
the " cross," we may hope that it is an inter- 

27. be not idle.] Syr. "that he may not 
rebel." We believe the Greek to be right. 

28. Set him to work.] Syriac, " give him 
authority in thy house," apparently deriving 

HDX7D from *]ta, and thinking of the history 
of Joseph. The point is only worthy of notice 

put on more heavy fetters.] Lit. make 
heavy; with which comp. Lament, iii. 7. 

29. But be not excessive toward any.] Lit. 
he not excessive in any flesh; ex- 
plained to mean, punish not too severely. 
The verb is used by the LXX. to represent 

the Heb. TTVin, so that inirl i?X may be 
restored with considerable certainty for the 
first words. The Syriac has : " but not so 
upon any man." The verse is apparently a 
warning against excessive ill-treatment, fir/8ev 
aviarov iroieiv. (Aeth. reads TTiuTevcrTjs?) On 
the condition of slaves among the Israelites, 
see the interesting Art. in Riehm, ' Hdw.' 

without discretion do nothing.] Rather, 
" without judgment." The Vet. Lat. rightly 
glosses, nihil facias grave. 

30, 31. The Syriac transposes 30 and 
3 1 b ; while the Lat. omits 3 1 entirely. The 
Syr. makes the sense much clearer by adding 
one: " if thou have one servant." Compare 
Prov. xii. 9. 

with a price.] Greek, in blood. The 
A. V. follows Drusius (who is followed by 
Bottcher and Fritzsche) in giving the assumed 
original the sense of the Aram. JV31, " price." 
It is, however, by no means certain that this 
is right ; for the minor premise of the argu- 
ment involved would not necessarily be true ; 
while the major can scarcely be imagined. 
The fact, too, that the Syriac and Latin agree 
in rendering in sanguine animae tuae makes it 
highly probable that the original was U12 
*1{}>BJ, The Syr. renders the whole clause: 
" and fight not with the blood of thy soul [i.e. 
thine own blood; compare Hofmann, ' Julian 
der AbtrUnnige,' 169, 3J ; because, if thou 
afflict him, he will go away and perish : and 
with what spirit [Lag. : but " by what way," 
Pol.] shalt thou find him." The thought is 
here intelligible, though the language is some- 
what strange. The Arabic translator glosses, 
"thine own blood ;" i.e. "thy goods." 

as a brother.] So Alex. C, Arm., Lat., Syr. 

for thou hast need of him, as of thine own 
soul.] The Greek should mean, for thou 
shalt need him as thine own soul 
(needeth him). Fritzsche would correct the 



c.r. 200. 

thou intreat him evil, and he run ^^HE hopes of a man void of un 
from thee, which way wilt thou go 
to seek him ? 


X derstanding are vain and false : 
and dreams lift up fools. 

2 Whoso " regardeth dreams is 
like him that catcheth at a shadow, 

Of dreams. 13 The praise and blessing of and followeth after the wind. 

cir. 200. 



I! Or, hath 
his mind 

them that fear the Lord. 18 The offer- 
ing of the ancient, and prayer of the poor 

3 The vision of dreams is the re- 
semblance of one thing to another, 

Greek eViS//o-ei? ovtov, " thou shalt bind him 
to thee " ( a conjecture apparently confirmed 
by the Copt.). But the text is sufficiently 
supported by the Syr. : " because as thou art 
thyself, so is thy want." 

The Syriac is evidently right in the trans- 
position noticed above, because by its order 
it offers some personal reason for treating a 
[single] slave as oneself, and some reason 
based upon ties of blood for treating him as a 
brother. To find out what these are we 
must attempt, at least conjecturally, to restore 
the Hebrew, as in the following two para- 
graphs : 

" If thou have one servant, let him be as 

thyself "p1Dn3 1^ 3 > for like thyself 
so is thy need of him." Perhaps we should 
correct '"p"llDn03, " in thy poverty," " he is 
like thee in thy poverty;" i.e. he is but little 
poorer than thou art; he is dependent on 
thee entirely, and thou no less upon him. 

" If thou have one servant, regard him as 

thy brother "i^SJ 0*13 Mj?n bit, be not 
jealous against thine own blood." X3pn was 
perhaps read i"Opn by the Greek translator, 
as in Prov. iii. 31, and the word " not " omitted 
arbitrarily. The reason why he is compared 
to a brother is that once lost he cannot be 
replaced; whereas other relations (e.g. hus- 
bands, sons) may be. This conceit is familiar 
to us in the story of Intaphernes (Herodotus, 
iii. 119), but it is also employed by Sophocles 
(' Antigone,' v. 905) and in Flilgel's 'Gefiihrte 
des Einsamen.' 

and he run from thee.] 
and he start to run 
take umbrage and flee." 

We should render: 
away. Arm. "he 


The religious problems referred to in the 
central part of the previous chapter are, as it 
seems to us, here once more taken up. Our 
author had travelled (v. 11), and his mind 
was greatly enlarged by what he observed and 
learned in foreign countries. In the first 
stanza of the present chapter Qw. 1-8) he 
now expresses his view of the manner in 
which heathenism attempted to solve the 
question how earthly affairs are determined 
or may be influenced. Although the Siracide 

speaks of heathenism in a liberal manner as 
it were, from a philosophical standpoint, he 
discards its views and practices without hesi- 
tation or reserve. Alike his conclusions and 
his liberality, he hastens to inform us not 
without righteous self-consciousness had 
been the result of his travels. The reference 
to this forms the introduction {yv. 9-13) to 
his own solution of these great problems (yv. 
14-17). This constitutes the subject of the 
second stanza in the chapter. Lastly, in a third 
stanza, consisting, like stanza 2, of nine verses 
(%"v. 18-26), the writer turns to another aspect 
of the subject. He had in the first stanza been 
repudiating heathenism, and in the second ex- 
pressed the assured conviction of his own 
religion. The perversion and the misunder- 
standing of that religion form the subject of 
the third stanza (w. 18-26). As before he 
had censured heathenism, so now a spurious 
Judaism a Pharisaism before the Pharisees, 
a legal literalism and zeal for outward obser- 
vances, combined with impenitence and sin. 
The glimpse which the chapter affords into 
the religious condition of the period is as 
important, as, on the other hand, it is interest- 
ing to hear the views of a travelled, enlightened, 
liberal Jew who discourses on the heathen 
and the Jewish world. 

1. The hopes of a man, &c] Rather, a 
man without understanding hath vain 
and lying hopes. Syr. "He that looks 
for vanity shall find delusion." 

and dreams lift up fools.'] Rather, elate. 
Syr. (Lag.) " and a dream is a vain delight." 

2. followeth after the wind.'] Cp. Hos. 
xii. 2. Syr. "who scareth a bird." Both 
correspond to Greek proverbs, avipovs Gr^pav 
iv SiKTvois, and SiwKeiv noravov Zpviv, doubt- 
less, however, common to most nations. The 
Syriac, however, seems to be an interpolation 
from xxvii. 18; cp. Prov. ix. 12 (LXX.). 

3. the resemblance of one thing to another, 
&c] Lit. this against this; the re- 
semblance of a face opposite a face. 
The reading in the text is not quite cer- 
tain : for tovto Kara tovtov some MSS. have 
tovto Kara tovto, which the Lat. represents. 
The Syr. and Arm. omit the first tovto, wh ch 
may be a correction of tovtov, inserted in a 
wrong place. Accepting the reading of the Syr., 




cir. 200. 

Prov. 27 

even as the a likeness of a face to a 

4 3 Of an unclean thing what can 
* Job 14. 4 . be cleansed? and from that thing 

which is false what truth can come ? 

5 Divinations, and soothsayings, 
and dreams, are vain : and the heart 
fancieth, as a woman's heart in tra- 

6 If they be not sent from the 

most High in thy visitation, "set not B.C. 
thy heart upon them. <ana* 

7 For dreams have deceived many, J^rf 
and they have failed that put their t, ' em " ot - 
trust in them. 

8 The law shall be found perfect 
without lies : and wisdom is perfec- 
tion to a faithful mouth. 

9 A man that hath travelled 
knoweth many things ; and he that 

we obtain "even so is the vision of dreams;" 
which is more intelligible than that of the 
Lat., which would mean, " dreams are each 
exactly like the other." 

the resemblance of a face opposite a 
face.] The phrase seems to be taken from 
Prov. xxvii. 19, a very obscure passage. 
Baduellus interprets our passage as an account 
of the origin of dreams ; signifying that the 
"fancy" reproduces images to the "intellect" 
in the same way as a mirror. Grotius, on the 
other hand (followed by Fritzsche), finds the 
point of comparison in the unreality of the 
image : ut imago in spectro visa nihil post se 
relinqnit, ita nee somnia. This is more probably 
right. Compare 'Julian der Abtrilnnige,' 177, 
15:" while thine eyes are on them they are 

4. Of an unclean thing what can he cleansed 7] 
The Syriac Version seems at first sight very 
different: "and over the head of his people 
he will gain the victory." This, however, 
means only that the Syrian divided the words 
before him wrongly, reading for i"10 y ; "lD 
j>"W, pTO r\by t;hn. The Arab, gives' the 
following version of the Syriac : " he that 
gives them the lie and relies not on them 
winneth the victory more than the greatest 
of his people." The Syriac Version seems 
to imply that the words " unclean " and 
" cleansed " should rather have been rendered 
" evil " and " righteous." Just as righteous- 
ness does not spring out of evil (" Do men 
gather grapes of thorns?"), so the truth 
does not come out of the false and unsub- 
stantial. The Greek text would have referred 
to the unclean thing rendering everything else 
unclean, a striking comparison, though not 
a very appropriate one. 

5. Divinations, fa'c] In this opinion the 
author is far in advance of the later Rabbinical 

and the heart fancieth, as a woman's heart 
in travail^ Syriac, " he that believeth them, 
there is his heart." Lat. et somnia malefaci- 
entium vanitas est. The Greek seems evidently 
correct. The physical phenomenon alluded 
to is sometimes mentioned bv the ancients. 

6. in thy visitation.'] Rather, as a visi- 
tation; the Vet. Lat. and Armen. : "unless 
a visitation be sent." Apparently we have not 
here the genuine words of the author. The 
Syriac has : " even though it be ordained of 
God that men go astray with the fancies of 
the night." Combining the Syr. and Greek, 
we obtain a text like 1p3n IT nXE DN, 
" even though thou be visited from God;" and 
it is almost clear that the next verse requires 
some such saying. So many have been led 
astray by dreams that it is best to distrust 
them all, even at the risk of some one being 
really inspired. The verse well illustrates the 
methods of the two translators. 

7. and they have failed, <b"c.~] Rather, 
and [many] have failed. 

8. The law shall be found perfect without 
lies.] Rather (Fritzsche), is perfected 
or realised without the help of false 
things (such as dreams). Syr. "Where 
there is no sin, God is pleased;" Lat. con- 
summabitur verbum. 

The second clause is difficult : " Wisdom 
is perfection to a faithful mouth." Syr. " the 
wisdom of the wicked is believed in the night." 
Evidently there was a word in the original 

read by the one ^v3, by the other b'b'l. 
"The wicked" of the Syriac need not be 
considered. Probably the original meant 
"wisdom is perfected in a faithful mouth;" 
i.e. wisdom when combined with sincerity is 

Arguing back from this, we may interpret 
the first clause : " By not lying, the law is 
accomplished ;" i.e. the telling of the truth is 
so important that by keeping this rule a man 
observes the whole law. The Syriac translator 
apparently was offended by this sentiment 
and diluted it. The author was led up to 
these remarks on truth by the falsehood of 

9. A man that hath travelled knoweth many 
things.] So a few MSS., S. H. and Arm. The 
best Greek MSS., however, have 7re7raiSfu/*<?- 
vos, " a man that is educated, Sec." The 
Syriac is here very different : " A wise man 
examines much." This seems to shew that 
the late Hebrew word, K'j33 e xercitatus, was 



[v. 10 17. 

cir. 200. 

hath much experience will declare 

10 He that hath no experience 
knoweth little : but he that hath 
travelled is full of prudence. 

1 1 When I travelled, I saw many 
things ; and I understand more than 
I can express. 

12 I was ofttimes in danger of 
death : yet I was delivered because of 
these things. 

13 The spirit of those that fear 
the Lord shall live ; for their hope is 
in him that saveth them. 

14 Whoso feareth the Lord shall 

cir. 200. 

not fear nor be afraid ; for he is his 

15 Blessed is the soul of him that 
feareth the Lord : to whom doth he 
look ? and who is his strength ? 

16 For c the eyes of the Lord are ^ p s . 33 . 


upon them that love him, ^he is their ^ 
mighty protection and strong stay, <t p s . 61 

34- 15- 

cover % 3 ' 4 \ . 

6c 91. 1, 2, 

a defence from heat, and a 

from the sun at noon, a preservation 3. 4 

from stumbling, and an help from 


17 He raiseth up the soul, and 
lighteneth the eyes : he giveth health, 
life, and blessing. 

used here ; the Syriac inverted the order of 
the words and read Kiph. 

he that hath much experience will declare 'wis- 
dom.'] Syr. (as rendered by Dr. Payne Smith, 
col. 1 147): qui prosperat omnia examinat 
(perhaps, however, we should correct . ^> 

for |X), obtaining some later Hebrew word 

like ?*3"1). The verse, according to the most 
probable readings, refers merely to practice in 
the arts or sciences. 

10. but he that hath travelled is full of 
prudence^] Syriac again, " he that hath had 
experience ;" perhaps misreading !"IDJ for yDJ, 
with which the author may have intended a 
jingle. Lat. qui in multis f actus [qu. iactus or 
iactatus ?] est. 

11. When I travelled, I saw many things."] 
An interesting notice of the author's personal 
experience: cp. chap. li. 13. It is much to 
be regretted that he does not enter into fuller 
details concerning his journeys. 

and I understand more than I can express.] 
Syr. " and many things have passed over me;" 
Lat. et plurimas verborum consuetudines. The 
Hebrew to which these three renderings seem 

to lead up is ^y DnXl C2T1 ; the Greek 
represents a slightly different division of the 
first words, "Q1D 311 ; while the last seems 
almost to have been interpreted from the 

Arab. *}!**>, confirming Hitzig's conjecture 

about chap. vi. 22. The true reading may 
possibly be represented by the Syriac, " and 
many things have passed over me;" which 
would fitly prepare for the next verse. At- 
tempts to obtain a satisfactory meaning from 
the Greek will be found in Fntzsche. 

12. yet I was delivered because of these 
things.] _ Syr. "on account of them." This 
phrase is obscure. The Greek might con- 

ceivably mean "for all that." Aeth. "and 
withal God saved me ; " but this the Syriac 
seems to forbid. The same difficulty applies 
to Fritzsche's explanation, " on account of the 
following things;" which is also not in the 
manner of our author. We must therefore 
follow Bretschneider in making the " things " 
his prudence and skill; unless we might 
suppose a mistranslation of the Hebrew, e.g. 
D-Qyn (read Cmp), by which the author 
had intended " when they passed over [me] ;" 
sc. the "things" mentioned in the previous 

13. The spirit of those that fear the Lord shall 
live.] Cp. Isa. xxxviii. 16: "the life of my 
spirit." Syr. " The Lord doeth the business 
of them that fear him;" perhaps *" Kt nijn 

rrnn for rvnn v " wv nn. 

for their hope is towards their Saviour.] 
Syr. " for great is his hope and he saves." 

14. This verse is omitted in Syr. It may 
be a reminiscence of such passages as Ps. 
lvi. 12. 

15. to whom doth he look'?] A question 
employed for the purpose of introducing the 
reason of the beatitude : like those at the end 
of the Twenty-fourth Psalm. 

strength.] Rather, support or stay. 
Heb. jytHD. 

16. The highly poetical metaphors of this 
verse are all diluted in the Syriac Version. 

17. Kaising up the soul, and lightening 
the eyes.] Syr. "the joy of the soul." Heb. 
probably nsb> : which the Greek trans- 
lator would seem to have interpreted from 

the Arabic * 

he giveth health, life, and blessing^] Syriac, 
"medicine of life and blessings." Perhaps 
in the original "health, life, and blessing" 

v. i8- 




cir. 200 

18 ''He that sacrificeth of a thing 

wrongfully gotten, his offering is ridi- 

t- culous ; and "the gifts of unjust men 


/ Prov. 

Or, the are not accepted. 

19 /The most High is not pleased 
with the offerings of the wicked ; 
neither is he pacified for sin by the 
multitude of sacrifices. 

20 Whoso bringeth an offering of 
the goods of the poor doeth as one 
that killeth the son before his father's 

21 The bread of the needy is their 
life : he that defraudeth him thereof 
is a man of blood. 

I 3- 
Deut. 24. 

22 He that taketh away his neigh- b. c. 
hour's living slayeth him j and he Cl !i^ " 
that ^defraudeth the labourer of his ^ Lev. 19 
hire is a bloodshedder. 

23 When one buildeth, and an- * I5 \ 
other pulleth down, what profit have 
they then but labour ? 

24 When one prayeth, and an- 
other curseth, whose voice will the 
Lord hear ? 

25 /j He that washeth himself after * Num - 
the touching of a dead body, if he 
touch it again, what availeth his 
washing; ? . _ 

,o : 2 Pet. 2 

26 'So is it with a man that fast- 20, &c. " 

were used as epithets, the word "giveth" 
being a gloss. 

18. See introductory remarks. The long 
passage which follows contains interesting 
suggestions, but displays that want of con- 
tinuous thinking, which prevented the Jewish 
Chokhmah ever developing into a system of 
philosophy. The author vacillates between 
different points of view, but follows neither 
to its legitimate consequences. 

He that sacrificeth of a thing wrongfully 
gotten, his offering is ridiculous.'] Fritzsche's 
suggestion that n2T, " a sacrifice," has been 
wrongfully read rnt, is confirmed by Syr. 
For "ridiculous" Alex., with some other 
MSS., has "culpable" or "contaminated;" 
so, too, Lat. and Cyrill. Alexandr. vi. 311, 
who quotes this passage with Job viii. 20 and 
the end of Isaiah. We believe this (last) 
reading to be right, and (comparing it with 
the Syriac) suppose that the author must have 

intended some play on the words !"6iy and 


the gifts of unjust men are not accepted."] So 
248, Co., Syr., Arm. The best Greek MSS. 
(and Lat.) have "mockeries." We venture 
to suggest that the author here has another 
play on a word: for mt, "sacrifice," he sub- 
stitutes nm ("scorn," "mockery," a Syriac 
word), DWl \-in for DW1 rQT. This 
sort of witticism has always had peculiar 
attractions for the Jewish rriind. So in the 
Qaraite- Arabic writings Mohammad is called 
Pdsul (" unclean ") for Rasul (" Apostle "), 
Mekka Makkdth (" plagues "), Sec. The sub- 
stitution of Bosheth ("shame") for Baal 
(" lord ") in the biblical text affords an early 
example of this. The Syriac, which has here 
" offerings," may have simply " corrected " 
the text. Comp. Prov. xv. 7 ; xxi. 27. 

20. that killeth.] Lit. that s laugh- 

ter eth. The point of comparison lies in 
the impossibility of conciliating the father 
with such a sacrifice. The words remind the 
reader of Virgil's Priam, " qui nati coram me 
cernere letum fecisti et patrios foedasti funere 

21. The bread of the needy is their life.] 
Rather, is the life of the poor; by no 
means a lucid sentiment. Syr. " the bread 

of mercy," *lpn Dn?, misread by the Greek, 

Ipri 6. " The bread of mercy," i.e . " the 
bread of charity;" the abuse referred to 
being the diversion of means intended for 
charitable purposes, or more properly to be 
spent in charitable objects, for more ostenta- 
tious employment in sacrifice. 

22. He that taketh away, (&c.] The original 
apparently was t?T, "takes violently away." 
The Syr. misunderstood this, and rendered 
" inherits ; " the Arabic translator improves 
this into " makes him the heir of his goods." 
2v/ij3iWi? is a very unusual expression for 
t'ictus, " substance." Either the Aeth. render- 
ing, " who separates a man from his wife," or 
Grot. " takes away social intercourse," would 
be more literal than the A. V. But in favour 
of the A. V. we have the obvious sense of the 
passage, as well as Arm. and S. H. The Lat. 
in sudore panem is remarkable, and seems to 
be an allusion to Gen. iii. 19. 

23. The order of thought is satisfactorily 
explained by Fritzsche. In the case of such 
a sacrifice as that described, while one prays 
(i.e. the sacrificer), the other (the poor man 
whom he has robbed) curses ; how then can 
such a sacrifice profit any more than the 
operation described in this verse ? 

25, 26. Those, too, who approach God 
must do so seriously; He cannot be trifled 
with. It is not exactly said that the outward 
observance of fasts can only be of meaning or 




cir. 200. 

eth for his sins, and goeth again, and 
doeth the same : who will hear his 
prayer ? or what doth his humbling 
profit him ? 


I Sacrifices pleasing to God. 14 The prayer 

of the fatherless, of the widow, and of the B. C. 
humble in spirit. 20 Acceptable mercy. c ' r - 2Q O - 

HE a that keepeth the law bring- " 'Sam. 
eth offerings enough : he that Jer. 7 . 
taketh heed to the commandment hos.6. 7 6. 
offereth a peace offering. ^g 0- 6- 6) 

2 He that requiteth a good turn Markl2 - 

1 33- 

value in so far as it is symbolic of an inward 
process, but that a fast for sin and prayer for 
its forgiveness can only attain the object 
sought, if combined with the abandonment 
of sin just as a bath of purification cannot 
avail if a dead body is immediately touched 
again. The sentiment seems almost to have 
become proverbial in Jewish theology. Thus 
we read (Taan. 16 a, line 10 from bottom) 
that a man who is guilty of a sin and con- 
fesses, but does not turn from it, is like one 
who holds an unclean reptile in his hand, 
who, even if he immersed in all the waters of 
the world, his immersion (bath of purification) 
would not profit him ; but if he casts it from 
him, when he immerses in forty Seah (the bare 
legal measure of water for such a bath), imme- 
diately his immersion profiteth (obtains the 
object of purification) the references in proof 
being to Prov. xxviii. 13 and Lam. hi. 41 
(comp. also Yalkut on the passage in Prov. 
and the Midr. R. on that in Lam.). In 'Abhoth,' 
ut sup. p. 116, constant repentance with 
constant sinning is reckoned among the five 
unpardonable offences. 


The reference in chap, xxxiv. to heathenism 
and to Judaism, whether pure or corrupt, 
leads to a farther and, in many respects, most 
interesting discussion. The main subject is 
that of sacrifices, on which the writer pro- 
pounds his own more liberal views, insinuating 
rather than stating them, artfully slipping 
them in between other sayings irreprehensible 
to Jewish orthodoxy thus finding a place 
for what he might scarcely have dared openly 
and broadly to teach. Equally interesting is 
it to notice how the Syriac translator modifies 
and alters in a Christian sense. Not only 
does he eliminate all references to sacrificing 
in the strict sense, substituting expressions 
which a Christian writer might employ, but 
his references to the words used by our Lord 
are so evident as at once to be obvious to every 
reader (comp. the notes on w. 2-9). Thus 
the chapter may be regarded as adding im- 
portant evidence on the Christian authorship 
of the Syr. Version. On the other hand, it does 
not seem likely that the Greek translation 
contains important Hellenistic alterations by 
the younger Siracide. Of such we should 
probably have had more distinct expression 

than the Greek text contains. Indeed, the 
reference to sacrifices is exactly in the spirit 
which, as we have all along observed, is cha- 
racteristic of the elder Siracide. It is the 
Grecianism of Palestine rather than of Alex- 
andria a mild Sadduceeism, before there were 
either Pharisees or Sadducees: the influence 
of Greek thinking and life upon the more 
liberal spirits of Judsea, the effect upon them 
of contact with the great world without. 

It is difficult to arrange the chapter into 
other than two sections, of which the one 
treats of sacrifices in their real import and 
value {w. 1-11), the other of sacrifices un- 
righteous and unacceptable (yv. 12-15). The 
mention of the cry of distress addressed to 
the Lord Qv. 15) leads to a more detailed 
reference to all such appeals, which assuredly 
will bring their answer in the Divine inter- 
position, whether for deliverance or for judg- 
ment. But the greatest wrong was that which 
heathen persecution inflicted on the people of 
God ; and the loudest cry for Divine judg- 
ment, that for vengeance on them and for 
smiting into fragments the sceptres of the 
unrighteous (v. 18). Thus the appeal for 
answer to prayer and for Divine interposition 
merges into a strong anti-heathen passage, 
while for Israel a season of refreshing mercy 
is asked in the interval before the judgment 
on their oppressors. We infer that the elder 
Siracide must have written in a time of 
anticipated persecution and suffering (see 
General Introduction). 

1. bringetb offerings enough.] Syr. " If thou 
doest what is written in the Law, thou hast 
multiplied service." If the Greek Version may 
be regarded as expressing the views of a Jew 
who attached not any absolute value to the 
ritual observances of the Law, the Syr. trans- 
lator seems purposely to have omitted all 
reference to sacrifices and to occupy a totally 
different (Christian) standpoint. 

he that taketh heed to the commandment 
offereth a peace offering^ Syr. " blessed be 
his spirit," alteration of text in the same 
spirit as in the first clause. 

2. He that giveth a good turn?}, I.e. " re- 
quiteth a benefit." The Syriac of this verse 
is rendered by Dr. Payne Smith, col. ii79> 
" qui donum obfert id facit quod optimam 
retributionem s. usuram sibi refert." The 



l 73 



* Dan. 4. 


c Exod. 
.23. 15- 
Deut. 16. 

offereth fine flour ; and he that giveth 
alms sacrificeth praise. 

3 *To depart from wickedness is 
a thing pleasing to the Lord ; and 
to forsake unrighteousness is a pro- 

4. c Thou shalt not appear empty- 
before the Lord. 

5 For all these things [are to be 
done] because of the command- 

6 The offering of the righteous 
maketh the altar fat, and the sweet 
savour thereof is before the most 

7 The sacrifice of a just man is 

acceptable, and the memorial thereof B. c. 
shall never be forgotten. cn-^200. 

8 ^Give the Lord his honour with 4 p rov . 
a good eye, and diminish not the 3 ' 9 " 
firstfruits of thine hands. 

9 e \w all thy gifts shew a cheerful g 2 7 Cor ' 
countenance, and "dedicate thy tithes 1 or, / 
with gladness. aparL 

10 /Give unto the most High f J obit 

D 4. 8. 

according as he hath enriched thee ; 
and as thou hast gotten, give with a 
cheerful eye. f/^ 

11 -^For the Lord recompenseth, 2 Cor. 9. 8. 
and will give thee seven times as ^^iminish 

mUCh. nothing 

12 " Do not think to corrupt with offerings. 

Hebrew was probably 7-1DJI ?D3, The Syriac 
alteration here involves a meaning almost the 
opposite of that conveyed by the Greek. The 
translator seems to have wished to convey 
some of the N. T. directions and promises 
about the gracious retribution to those who 

sacrificeth praise?] min l"DT. Syr. " keep- 
eth the law." Had he read mm for mm ? 

3. is a propitiation^] The Syr. once more 
alters in the same spirit as before: "and 
restrain thy strength that thou do what is 
abominable." If the Greek represented re- 
pentance as real propitiation, the Syr. omits all 
reference to it, and so avoids what might sound 
either Jewish or Judaising. 

4-11. Nevertheless, though the best sacri- 
fice is good conduct, still for the sake of the 
commandment, actual sacrifices must be 
offered also. This deserves special attention 
as expressive of views afterwards more fully 
developed in Hellenism. 

4. before the Lord.] Syr. " before Him." 
For the phrase (or rather quotation), see 
references in marg. 

5. For all these things are to be done.] 
Apparently not of absolute and internal neces- 
sity, but simply because ordered in the Law, 
and therefore to be observed. The Syriac 
translator once more alters the statement 
into " every one that do'eth well keepeth the 

6. maketh the altar fat.] Perhaps JBHO, 
which should have been rendered " is thought 
fat," i.e. rich, savoury, "the altar" being a 
gloss. The Syr.: "is the prayer of their 
mouth," a very significant alteration. 

and the sweet savour thereof] Syr. " and 
their works cleave open the heavens." 

7. the memorial.] Fritzsche suggests that 

this may have meant the iTDTX or memorial- 
sacrifice of Lev. ii. 2, 9, &c. But this seems 
not likely. The Syr. seems to shew that the 
word is used in our ordinary English sense. 

8. Give the Lord his honour.] Lit. glorify 
the Lord. Syr. " give to the poor," &c. 

and diminish not the firstfruits of thine hands.] 
Syr. " and vacillate not in thy gifts." He may 
have read "iyon for DJ?tDD : but the alteration 
of " firstfruits " into " gifts " can only have 
been intentional. On the "firstfruits," see 
'The Temple, its Ministry and Services,' 
ch. xix. 

9. and dedicate thy tithes^] Syr. " lend to 
him that will not pay thee." The alteration 
here is not only bold, but the reference to 
St. Luke vi. 34, 35 is so clear that we can 
scarcely doubt the Syr. intended to put 
the words of Christ into the mouth of the 
Siracide. Very significantly the Syr. next 
reverses the order of the verses that follow, 
placing v. n of the Greek in immediate 
juxtaposition to v. 9 and v. 10 after our 
Greek v. 11. The entire elimination of 
allusion to sacrifices and the reference to 
the words of our Lord seem to establish the 
Christian authorship of the Syriac Version. 

10. and as thou hast gotten, give with a 
cheerful eye.] Lit. according to the 
finding of thy hand, "]T SVDD ; Syr. 

" with an ample hand " (fi6o for KXO ?). 

11. seven times as much.] Syr. " ten thou- 
sand times." The addition in the Syr., " he 
that giveth to the poor lendeth to the Lord, 
and who shall recompense but He Himself?" 
is an interpolation from Prov. xix. 17. 

12. Do not think to corrupt with gifts.] 
Rather, Think not to bribe. For this 
the Syriac has a most interesting variant, 
putting simply " hesitate not," without further 



cir. 200. 

* Lev. 22. 
20, 21, 22. 
Deut. 15. 

Mai. 1. 
8, 13. x 4- 

10. 17. 
2 Chron. 
19. 7. 

Job 34. 19. 
Wisd. 6. 7. 
Acts 10. 


Rom. 2. 

Gal. 2. 6. 
Eph. 6. 9. 
Coloss. 3. 


1 Pet. 1. 


k Exod. 

22. 23, 27. 

gifts ; h for such he will not receive : 
and trust not to unrighteous sacri- 
fices ; for the Lord is judge, and 
with him is ' no respect of persons. 

13 He will not accept any person 
against a poor man, but ^'will hear 
the prayer of the oppressed. 

14 He will not despise the suppli- 
cation of the fatherless ; nor the 
widow, when she poureth out her 

15 Do not the tears run down the 
widow's cheeks ? and is not her cry 
against him that causeth them to fall ? 

16 He that serveth the Lord shall 
be accepted with favour, and his 
prayer shall reach unto the clouds. 

17 The prayer of the humble 
pierceth the clouds : and till it come 
nigh, he will not be comforted ; and 
will not depart, till the most High 
shall behold to judge righteously, and 
execute judgment. 

18 l For the Lord will not be slack, B.C. 

will the Mighty be patient CI Jj_^- 
them, till he have smitten ' 2 Pet - 

. .3-9' 

in sunder the loins of the unmerci- 


vengeance to the 
have taken away 

t "' Rom. 

according to his deeds, 

fill, and repayed 
heathen ; till he 
the multitude of the "proud, and " r >< : ' / 

r 1 1 oppressors. 

broken the sceptre or the unrigh- 
teous ; 

19 Till he have m rendered 
every man 

and to the works of men accord- 
ing to their devices ; till he have 
judged the cause of his people, 
and made them to rejoice in his 

20 Mercy is "seasonable in the 
time of affliction, as clouds of rain in 
the time of drought. 


I A prayer for the church against the enemies 
thereof. 1 8 A good heart and a froward. 
21 Of a good wife. 

Gr. fair. 

addition. This suits the train of alterations in 
the Syr. But possibly "inVJ* has been misread 
"init*. Whether the corruption here is in 
the Syriac or Hebrew, it is not easy to deter- 
mine, though the former seems more likely. 
We are inclined to think, however, that the 
Hebrew had some denominative of iniL". 
The Greek word SapoKondv also occurs in 
3 Mace. iv. 19: 8apoKonla is more common. 
The Lat. renders offerre munera prava. Arm. 
" bring not as a bribe;" and so Aeth. Syr. 
Hex. " labour not with offering." 

13. He ivill not accept any person^] Rather, 
respect any person, according to the 
well-known Hebraism. The Syr. has charac- 
teristically : " the prayer of the poor comes 
before him." This can scarcely be regarded 
as a paraphrase ; still less as the true reading. 
The " accepting of persons " comes in from 
the end of the previous verse. 

14. when she poureth out her complaint^] 
Lit. "prattle;" a contemptuous word, of 
which the original was doubtless purposely 
employed. Gemitus, which the Lat. adds at 
the end of the verse, seems to be a vestige of 
an old reading (which would correspond with 
the Syriac) at the commencement of the verse, 
afterwards altered to preces, to correspond 
with 'iKtreia of the Greek. 

15. The verse is omitted by the Syr. trans- 
lator, but probably genuine. 

17. /;'// it come nigh.'] Syr. " till he examine 

18. The writer rapidly passes to an antici- 
pation of judgment upon those tyrannical 
heathen rulers whose sway rested upon Israel 
with such terrible weight of persecution (see 
introductory remarks). The Syriac does not 
offer any variety of importance in this verse, 
though it renders none of the six clauses 
exactly as the Greek. Perhaps we may find 
a vestige of the old word Pi?j"ip, " a sceptre," 
in o-KTJTTTpa, for which the Syr. offers " rulers." 
The Lat., too, in v. 19 has preserved a vestige 
of the Hebrew in its rendering "according to 
the works of Adam." 

20. His mercy is seasonable.] Syr. "the 
hater will be ashamed." 

of drought.] mV2, which the Syrian in- 
terpreted from his own language. 

The verse indicates an apprehension of 
national suffering, when those under the yoke 
of the foreign rulers would long for some 
seasonable relief in the present, and earnestly 
look for the final deliverance assured to them 
in the righteous judgment of the God to 
whom they appealed. 


The same abrupt transition as in ch. 
xxxiii. (y. 19), from a subject, sublime and 
of deepest interest, to another trivial if 
not almost repulsive, appears again in this 
chapter at -y. 18. Once more we might 
be tempted to think of a misplacement in 
the text ; but of this there is not any ex- 

V. r- 




cir. 200, 

HAVE mercy upon us, O Lord 
God of all, and behold us : 
2 And send thy fear upon all the 
nations that seek not after thee. 
jer. 10. 3 a Lift up thy hand "against the 
strange nations, and let them see thv 

II Or, upon. t> ' J 

*Ezek. 20. 4 As thou wast ^sanctified in us 
&2S. 25. before them : so be thou 
I lg\ I* among them before us. 
c i Kings 5 And ^let them know thee, as we 
6.43. 6- have known thee, that there is no 

God but only thou, O God. 

6 Shew new signs, and make 

cir. 200. 


other strange wonders : glorify thy 
hand and thy right arm, that they 
may set forth thy wondrous works. 

7 Raise up indignation, and d pour d Ps. 79 . 
out wrath : take away the adversary, 

and destroy the enemy. 

8 Make the time short, remember 

the " covenant, and let them declare 1 Gr. oath. 
thy wonderful works. 

9 Let him that escapeth be con- 
sumed by the rage of the fire ; and let 
them perish that oppress the people. 

ternal evidence. The first part of the 
chapter Qvv. 1-17) connects itself with the 
concluding part of ch. xxxv. both as regards 
Israel and the Gentile world. It is a prayer, 
at times sublime, for the deliverance of Israel, 
the fulfilment of the prophetic promises, and 
the advent of the Messianic kingdom, even 
although there is not any mention of a personal 
Messiah. As points of subsidiary interest 
we note, on the one hand, the tone of sadness 
as regards the condition of Israel at the time 
the chapter was written, pointing back to a 
period of persecution and suffering ; and, on 
the other hand, the variations introduced in 
the Syriac translation, which, although some- 
times seemingly slight, are of great significance 
as regards the religious views of the translator. 
Of the second part of the chapter (w. 1 8-26) 
it is neither easy nor pleasant to speak, espe- 
cially when following on such sentiments as 
in Part I. The connexion between the verses 
is not very obvious, although the whole may 
perhaps be summed up under the general 
heading " Discernment." Possibly also v. 21 
may mark the beginning of a sub-section on 
the relation of the sexes. We can only add 
that the part as a whole descends from anti- 
thetic sayings, neither very wise nor very 
elevated, to what may be euphemistic allusions 
to the dangers threatening married life from 
the presence of unmarried acquaintances (w. 
25, 26). 

1. Have mercy upon us, <frv.] Syr. " Redeem 
us, O God, all of us." 

behold [its].] Lat. re sphere. 

2. send thy fear upon all the nations that 
seek not after thee.] The last words must 
be omitted as not found in the original MSS. 
of the Greek, but only given by the Vet. Lat. 
and Syr. The addition may be an interpola- 
tion from Jer. x. 25 or Ps. xxxix. 6. The 
Vet. Lat. and Syr. also omit " all." 

3. the strange nations.] Syr. (perhaps cor- 
ruptly) in the singular. 

4. As thou wast sanctified.] JltJHpJ, Ezek. 
xxviii. 22, &c. God is sanctified either by 
rewarding the well-doer or punishing the 
evil-doer: here the latter is indicated. 

6. Shew new signs.] The reference seems 
to the former miraculous deliverances, espe- 
cially to that from Egypt. 

and make other strange wonders.] This 
should be rendered: and do fresh won- 
ders, rUB> (Grot., Fritzsche). This is 
confirmed by the Syriac. 

glorify.] Perhaps " strengthen " (Syr.), 
P;Til, was intended. 

8. the covenant.] opKicrfiov ; Sin. Spicrfiov, 
confirmed by Syr. Lat. finis ; Arm. and S. H., 
"term." We should therefore substitute 
the end. " Bring near " (Syr.) seems a 
more suitable verb than " remember." 

and let them declare thy wonderful works.] 
Syriac, " because there is none that sayeth 
unto thee, What doest thou?" Whoever 
was the author of this phrase, it is very remark- 
able. It is intended to excuse the prayer 
" hasten on the time." The writer is repre- 
sented as pleading that, if the Divine term 
were brought somewhat nearer, no one could 
find fault with such a change. 

9. Let him that escapeth.] Syr. " In wrath 
and fire destroy the hater." We are not 
likelv to find any easier reconciliation of this 
with the Greek than JUn and K3TE7I, The 
expression is like 1 Kings xix. 17. 

and let them perish that oppress thy people.] 
Lit. find destruction. Syr. "and all the 
lords and princes of the people." Probably 

the ?31 of the original meant " and destroy " 

(nO)\ misread by both translators. The 
violence of the sentiment may have led the 
Greek to substitute for it the milder prayer 
in the text. A literal translation might have 
been dangerous to the Jewish community in 



[v. 10 18. 


cir. 200. 

' J er - 3 1 - 

f Dan. 9. 
18, 19. 

z Exod. 4. 

A 2 Chron. 
6. 41. 
Ps. 132. 

II Or, thai 
it may 

10 Smite in sunder the heads of 
the rulers of the heathen, that say, 
There is none other but we. 

II 6 ' Gather all the tribes of Jacob 
together, and inherit thou them, as 
from the beginning;. 

12 O Lord, / have mercy upon the 
people that is called by thy name, 
and upon Israel, s'whom thou hast 
named thy firstborn. 

13 O be merciful unto Jerusalem, 
thy holy city, h the place of thy rest. 

14 Fill Sion "with thine unspeak- 
able oracles, and thy people with thy 

cir. 200. 


15 Give testimony unto those that 
thou hast possessed from the begin- 
ning, and raise up "prophets that 1 Or, 
have been in thy name. 

16 Reward them that wait for 
thee, and let thy prophets be found 

17 O Lord, hear the prayer of thy 
"servants, according to the z blessing :| Or, ,/- 
of Aaron over thy people, * that all * '""*', 
they which dwell upon the earth 6.* 23 . 
may know that thou art the Lord, k l Kin s s 
the eternal God. 

18 The belly devoureth all meats, 
yet is one meat better than another. 

8. 60. 

10. the heads.~] Cp. Ps. ex. 6. Syr. " the 
crown," perhaps softening the expression. 
The verse contains a further appeal against 
the tyrannical oppressors of the people of 
God those heathen rulers referred to in 
ch. xxxv. 18. 

of the heathen.'] The better reading is 
of the enemy (best Greek MSS., Syr., 

11. and inherit thou them.'] Probably mean- 
ing " give them their inheritance." The Greek 
MSS. have "and I inherited," to adapt the 
syntax to that of xxxiii. 16 (v. supra). Lat. 
et her edit ahis eos, following the Hebrew idiom 

as from the beginning.] Syr. " and let them 
inherit, as thou saidst from the beginning." 

12. the people that is called by thy name.] 
eV ovofxari crov. Better Greek would perhaps 
be eV ovofiaros. They were the " people of 

whom thou hast named.] Best Greek MSS. 
which thou hast likened to. The other 
reading is supported by the Syr., and is pro- 
bably correct, the reference being to Ex. 
iv. 22. 

13. the place of thy rest.] The expression 
is strictly biblical (Ps. exxxii. 14), and here 
very significantly used to point to the final 
fulfilment of the good promises of God con- 
cerning Israel and Jerusalem. 

14. Fill Sion with thine unspeakable oracles.] 
Rather, with the talk of thy deeds. 
The passage has been admirably restored by 
Tischendorf from the Vat. aperaXoyias. The 
former editions had apai ra Xoyia <rov, which 
Fritzsche endeavours to construe. The Latin 
in enarrabilibus -verbis, translated in A. V., 
stands for appr/ToXoyias, which S. H. also 
represents. The Syriac seems to point to a 
Hebrew TTl1?n3. This is apparently the 

only place in Greek literature in which a 
derivative of ciperaXoyos is used with its 
original meaning. Ordinarily it means a 
"buffoon" or "jester." See Mayor on 
Juvenal xv. 16. The aperai (in Pindar espe- 
cially, " great deeds ") will in this case be real 
and not exaggerated. 

and thy peopled] Emend from the Syriac, 
and thy temple (yaov). 

15. Give testimony unto those that thou hast 
possessed.] Rather, to thy creations, 
i.e. " works from the beginning." Prove the 
truth of the record of them by doing others 
like them. But the Syr., which renders " con- 
firm the testimony of thy servants" is far 
simpler: and indeed TH^'y ( c ^ ^ cc ' es - * x - x > 
epyaalai) may mean either, but more naturally: 
" thy servants." Perhaps the phrase " which 
were of old " led the translator astray. 

and raise up prophets.] Rather, and 
raise up the prophecies uttered in 
thy name. "Raise them up "in the sense 
of waking them out of their sleep fulfil 
them. Syr. " let them come." Similarly 
Kivelv is used of waking up an obsolete story. 

16. The fulfilment of God's promises is 
described as the reward of the patience and 
faith of those who now suffer, and the con- 
firmation of the truth of prophecy. 

17. according to the blessing of Aaron.] 
Syr. "according to the will of thy people." 
The blessing of Aaron is recorded Numb. vi. 
23. With the Syriac cp. Ps. cvi. 4 (with 
Peshitto). It seems to us clear that the 
Greek is a gloss, and a remarkable one. 

the eternal God.] Syr. " that thou alone 
art God for ever." 

18-20. The general subject is that of 
" discernment " in matters relating to the 
senses, as regards the speech, and, lastly, the 
deeds of men. 



cir. 200. 

/Job 34. 3. 

19 'As the palate tasteth divers 
kinds of venison : so doth an heart of 
understanding false speeches. 

20 A froward heart causeth hea- 
viness : but a man of experience will 
recompense him. 

21 A woman will receive every 
man, yet is one daughter better than 

22 The beauty of a woman cheer- 
eth the countenance, and a man 
loveth nothing better. 

23 If there be kindness, meekness, 
and comfort, in her tongue, then is 
not her husband like "other men. 

24 He that getteth a wife begin- 

neth "a possession, '"a. help like unto B. c. 
himself, and a pillar of rest. cir^aoo. 

25 Where no hedge is, there the )^J/ tri - z , e 
possession is spoiled : and he that > Gen. 2. 
hath no wife will wander up and l8 - 
down mourning. 

26 Who will trust a thief well 
appointed, that skippeth from city 
to city ? so [who will believe] a 
man that hath no house, and 
lodgeth wheresoever the night taketh 
him ? 


I How to knoiv friends and counsellors. 12 The 
discretion and wisdom of a godly man blesseth 
him. 27 Learn to refrain thine appetite. 

18. The belly. 1 Syr. " the soul " or " appe- 
tite ;" and " sweeter " for " better." 

19. tasteth [divers kinds of] venison.'] 
Omit the words within brackets. The 
English rendering follows a different inter- 
pretation from that of Fritzsche, which is 
that the palate distinguishes venison from 
other kinds of flesh. The Hebrew expression 
(which it is hard to recover) may have signi- 
fied " high " meat. It is this which the palate 
can distinguish, whereas in v. 1 8 the differ- 
ence is discovered during digestion. 

20. A froward heart causeth heaviness.] 
Syr. " a hidden heart great is the care 

but a man of experience ivill recompense him?] 
Syr. " understands these things.' 

The difference between the two translations 
proves the original to have been obscure. 
The sentiment intended was very likely that' 
of Prov. xx. 5. 

21. Omitted by the Syriac. 

22. the countenanced] " Her husband's " 
(Vet. Lat.) ; cp. xxvi. 2. The Syriac has 
"praiseth," reading 113^0 for PISK^D, and 
makes the countenance the woman's. The 
idea is that of love being kindled by the eyes, 
often dwelt on by the Greek poets. 

a man loveth nothing better?] Lit. it 
surpasseth all human desire. Syr. 
"every desire of the eyes;" possibly an in- 
tentional sobering down of the expression. 

23. and comfort '.] Omit these words (found 
in Vet. Lat., Co., 248 ; = XS1D1 according to 

is not . . . like other men.] His lot far 
surpasses theirs, oi kot dvdpanovs is a very 
common Greek phrase, always used in the 
sense of " better " or " higher than man." 
The verse is wanting in the Syriac. 
ApOC. Vol. II. 

24. getteth.] Fritzsche, " by purchase or 

beginneth a possession?] Commences pos- 
sessing. But there is little doubt that we 
should read (following the guidance of the 
Syriac) : " As the beginning of thy possessions, 
obtain a wife," H^X HJIP pp TWVTI, a 
verse modelled on Prov. iv. 7, !"IEDn rPSWl 
HDIin n:p. The Greek translator here pointed 

nj'p for npp ; but fpdpxercu is very likely an 
error of the transcribers for iv apxii- Hesiod 
in the well-known lines makes a wife the 
second possession. 

a help like unto himself] See margin. 
and a pillar of rest.] Compare the Latin 
phrase acquiescere in aliquo. 

25. the possession^] Rather, the vine- 
yard. Cp. Syr. here, and note on xxviii. 24. 

ivill wander up and down mourning.] " Is. 
taken captive and dispersed," Syr. The 
original may have been obscure ; the A. V., 
however, suits the context sufficiently. S. 
Ephraem (' Opp. Gr.' i. 92 d) quotes this, 
verse, substituting however uiropovri, "pa- 
tience," for -yvvj]. 

26. well appointed.] Syr. "like an ante- 

that skippeth.] The better reading (Lat. 
exilicus). The Vat. has " that tumbleth." 

hath no nest.] Syr. " wife," interpreting. 

and lodgeth.] Syr. "and dieth;" but we 
should perhaps emend / otj for / nVi i . 

wheresoever the night taketh him.] Lit. 
wheresoever he happens to be at 
eventide. The verb represented is one of 
a class of Semitic verbs signifying "to be 
somewhere at a certain time." Fritzsche 
suggests 3"iJ?n (1 Sam. xvii. 16). 





cir. 200. 



VERY friend saith, I am his 3 O wicked imagination, whence 

friend also : but there is a earnest thou in 

which is only a friend in with deceit ? 
name. 4. "There is a companion, 

2 Is it not a grief unto death, when rejoiceth in the prosperity of a friend, 

a companion and friend is turned to but in the time of trouble will be 

to cover the earth 

an enemy 


against him. 

cir. 200. 

ch. 6. 


The three main divisions of the chapter are 
well marked. Advice in regard to friends 
(substantially the same as that given in c. vi.), 
whether untrustworthy or otherwise (i>v. 
1-6), is followed by directions with reference 
to counsel (yv. 7-15) when and with what 
limitations it should be sought and taken. 
This naturally leads to general remarks on 
the need of reflection and the character of real 
wisdom (yv. 16-26). The stanza is very 
artistically arranged. Three classes of wise 
men who are not really such (w. 19, 20, 22) 
are contrasted with three who are really wise 
(w. 23, 24, 26). In each case an explanatory 
verse is added after mention of the second 
class (v. 21, and again v. 25). The conclud- 
ing stanza (vv. 27-31) if here in its right 
place once more diverges, as in previous 
chapters, to a subject not worthy of treatment. 
The "counsel," " reflection," and "wisdom " 
are to discretion in the choice of food and mo- 
deration in it. The only link of connexion 
between this chapter and the first seventeen 
verses of the preceding is in v. 25. Most 
probably the last stanza forms part of the 
following chapter. 

1. Every friend saitb.~] We can here ob- 
serve that the Syriac has lost a letter at the 
beginning of the line ; for cn \~, ,. \n we 

should perhaps read |^; \\m. 

I am bis friend also.] ITinnX or TQilX, 
meaning " I love him :" cf. Bottcher, ' Lehrb.' 
948 ; Driver, ' Hebrew Tenses,' 11. For 
the expression compare Prov. xx. 9 ; and for 
the sentiment, ibid. 6. 

but there is a friend which is only a friend in 
name.'] Syr. " whose name is friend." Com- 
paring Prov. xxi. 24, it would seem that the 
Greek interpretation of this is wrong; the 
author meaning " there is a friend who deserves 
the name," i.e. out of the whole number of 
self-styled friends there are a few who really 
belong to that class. 

2. Is it not a grief unto death.] The Syriac 
(continuing the last verse), " who cometh not 

unto death." Heb.yp!) n.)0 1J? n"S~I, "Com- 
eth it not nigh unto death?" The Syrian 
therefore wrongly pointed \X?n for &6n, where- 
as the Greek read VV for Vti ; but the latter, 

by punctuating correctly, came nearer the 
sense of the original. Compare with the 
phrase Euripides, ' Heracl.' 247, kcu rdb' dy- 
Xovrjs weXas, &c. The omission of the word 
"nigh" caused the insertion of the glosses "is 
therein " (eW) and " remains " (pivei) in dif- 
ferent recensions. 

when a companion and friend is turned to an 
enemy.] Lit. (according to the better reading) 
to enmity. Syr. " a true friend should 
be to thee as thyself." The original would 
seem to have contained the word iTrO, and 
also the word p*1V, curiously interpreted in 

one of its Arabic meanings ("^>^oi\) by the 

Greek, and in another (Jiti^s^) by the 


3. The expression is so bitter that we 
might fancy the author to be speaking from his 
own experience. "O wicked imagination:" 
possibly we should take this phrase generally, 
comparing Gen. vi. 9. But it may be (as 
Fritzsche thinks) an apostrophe of the horrible 
idea of the friend becoming unfaithful. 

whence earnest thou in.] Lit. whence 
wast thou rolled in, like an unexpected 
figure on a stage by a machine; compare F. V. 
Fritzsche's note on ' Thesmophoriazusae,' 
p. 97, where phrases like diropd y i)p.ii> irpdy- 
Harci daificov tis etcrKeKVK\r]Kev are collected 
and explained. As the Syriac and Latin both 
render "wast thou created," we think the 
translator responsible for the Grecism. The 
rolling of water, however, may have been also 
in the translator's mind. 

4. There is a companion which rejoiceth in 
the prosperity of a friend.] (Cp. vi. 8-12.) 
The Greek, as Fritzsche observes, admits of 
three constructions : of which he prefers that 
by which eralpos (plXov are combined, "a com- 
panion of the friend." But this seems a very 
unnatural expression, especially if we consider 
the fondness of the ancient languages for repe- 
tition of the same word in such cases. The 
Syriac has : " Evil is the friend who approacheth 
the table." Evidently we have the same confu- 
sion between JH ar, d V~\ which was noticed in 
xiv. 9; whereas the last words in both versions 
are apparently translations of Znj3 !"in?X>2, 
nnDty in the later Hebrew meaning " a feast." 
The criticism of this verse is very closely con- 

5 io.] 


E. C. 
cir. 200. 

5 There isa companion, which help- 
eth his friend for the belly, and taketh 
uor. in up the buckler "against the enemy. 

presence of , -r? & , r . , . /' 

the enemy. o forget not thy friend in thy 
mind, and be not unmindful of him 
in thy riches. 

7 Every counsellor extolleth coun- 
sel ; but there is some that coun- 
selled for himself. 


8 Beware of a counsellor, and 
know before 'what need he hath ; 
for he will counsel for himself; lest 
he cast the lot upon thee, 

9 And say unto thee, Thy way is 
good: and afterward he stand on 
the other side, to see what shall befal 

10 Consult not with one that sus- 

b. c. 

cir. 200. 

II Or, what 
use there 
is of him. 

nected with that of the next, which commences 
with the same words in the Greek, but with 
"good is the friend" in the Syriac. The 
probability seems to us in favour of the latter 
being right, the Hebrew text before the Greek 
translator having been corrupted in a very 
common manner. Probably, however, in 
2HS and 2nx 310 should have been rendered 
" an evil friend " and " a good friend." The 
rule for the postposition of the adjective may 
be broken in the case of JH (Prov. xxix. 6 ; 
Ewald, 'Lehrb.' p. 751,- compare Noldeke, 
'Syr. Gramm.' p. 150). The translation of 
the first clause should then have been "an 
evil friend approacheth in prosperity." It is 
remarkable that the Aethiop. retains "ap- 

will be against him.'] Heb. *T3jJ0 (cp. Syr.), 
meaning rather, " will stand aloof." 

5. There is a companion which helpeth his 
friend for the belly.'] (Cp. vi. 10.) I.e. "out 
of sordid motives " (Fritzsche). If we adopt 
the corrections of the Syriac Version (see last 
note), it will be evident that the friend de- 
scribed in this verse must be the opposite of the 
former, and that the parasite cannot be referred 
to. The Syr. renders : " Good is the friend 
who fights against the enemy and takes a 
shield." It would seem that this represents the 
sense of the original. The parallelism, how- 
ever, makes it probable that some words had 
been omitted, which the Greek x d P w ya <TT P 6 s 
represent. We suggest that the Hebrew was 

Dm nys prfo ana aio, a good friend 

nghteth on behalf of a friend," the word Dm 
(by a rather violent Aramaism) being used 
for " a friend," for the sake of the assonance 

with .urbl. The Greek wrongly pointed this 
word Drn, "the belly" (cp. Ps. cix. 4), while 
the homoeoteleuton caused the omission of 
the words in the Syrian's copy. 

taketh up the buckler.] Cp. Ps. xxxv. 2. 

6. Forget not thy friend in thy mind.] Syr. 
"praise not (nat^P) ^ f or n3B J n ^) thy 
friend lightly" ("at the beginning of the 
friendship," Barhebraeus). 

and be not unmindful of him in thy riches.] 

Syr. "make him not ruler over thy house;" 
perhaps lilKETl bx, read variously with V 
and & Though the Hebrew text may be 
restored with some certainty, it is by no means 
easy to detect the original purport of the 
clauses. As, however, the tone of most of 
these precepts is that of warning rather than 
of exhortation, it is probable that the Syriac is 
nearer the truth than the Greek. We venture 
to suggest (assuming twice corrupted to a) 
that the author meant, " praise not thy friend 
above a kinsman, and exalt him not over thy 
household;" and, if so, as a corrective to a 
misapplication of Prov. xxvii. 10. The Aeth. 
translator conjectures (?) T v Xn for ^v X r h 
"forget not thy friend in thy wealth," an 
attractive suggestion, which, however, would 
be certainly misleading. 

_ 7. Every counsel/or extolleth counsel.] (Cp. 
vi. 6.) Lat. prodit ; " considers his own 
counsel best," Schleussner. Fritzsche regards 
the text as corrupt. Our simplest course will 
be to read i&pel for egaipei, though so obvious 
a suggestion can scarcely have been left to us 
to make. The verse will then apparently be 
modelled on v: 1 (rras (pfoos ipel 'Efyik'ia&a 
(lira Kaya), and the original meaning have 
been "every counsellor will say: Counsel," 
i.e. will call the course he suggests counsel, and 
therefore properly for the benefit of the person 
to whom it is given ; whereas in some cases 
the counsellor himself is the person intended 
to profit thereby. The Syriac, " Behold every 
counsellor; yet there is 'counsel that is well 
made," seems to be a loose paraphrase rather 
than a translation. Compare 'Derekh Erets,' 
p. 38: "beware of him that counselleth 
according to his own way (for his own 

8. what need he hath.] I.e. what is his real 
purpose or design. 

lest he cast the lot upon thee.] It is useless 
inquiring what this can mean, since the Syr., 
by its rendering " an evil plot," seems to have 

interpreted ?3n rightly as "a net:" "lest he 
entangle thee in his net." Fritzsche finds this 
meaning in ne forte mittat sudem in terram of 
the Lat. 

10. Examples of the persons whose advice 

N 2 



[v. ii 13. 

e. c. pecteth thee : and hide thy counsel 

:ir. 200. r , .1 

from such as envy thee. 

11 Neither consult with a woman 
touching her of whom she is jealous ; 
neither with a coward in matters of 
war ; nor with a merchant concern- 
ing exchange ; nor with a buyer of 
selling ; nor with an envious man of 
thankfulness ; nor with an unmer- 
ciful man touching kindness ; nor 
with the slothful for any work ; nor 

with an hireling for a year of finish- 
ing work ; nor with an idle servant 
of much business : hearken not unto 
these in any matter of counsel. 

12 But be continually with a godly 
man, whom thou knowest to keep 
the commandments of the Lord, 
whose mind is according to thy mind, 
and will sorrow with thee, if thou 
shalt miscarry. 

13 And let the counsel of thine 


cir. 2oo-. 

should not be taken. First, one that suspecteth 
thee; rather, one that looketh upon 
thee with ill-favour: cp. L. and S. s. v. 
vTToffKtTTU). The Syriac Version paraphrases 
this "thy enemy;" but the Lat. in some MSS. 
retains a remarkable variant, " thy father-in- 
law," which has indeed no value in itself, but 
points to an original TDn, rightly derived by 
Syr. and Greek from the Aramaic verb NDn, 
" to see," which apparently was used with the 
same specialization as the Hebrew \fy and Lat. 
invideo. This verse comes in the Vet. Lat. 
between 5 and 6 ; see on v. n. 

11. Neither consult.'] Necessary to the sense, 
but omitted in the Vet. Lat. and Syr. The 
Lat. commences with the words, " With an 
irreligious man treat about holiness, and with 
an unjust man about justice ;" probably inter- 
polated, when, owing to the transposition of 
v. 10, the sentence was left without a natural 

<with a woman touching her of whom she is 
jealous.'] dvri^r/Xof. Lagarde, 'Mittheilungen' 
(Gottingen, 1884), 133, says: "The thing to 
be ascertained by further investigation is the 
signification of dvr[(r]\os. We can only 
guess that it is fellow-wife, we do not know 
it ; from Steph. ' Thes.' i. 2, 908, it cannot be 
proved." Syr. "lest thou commit adultery 
with her;" probably through some misunder- 
standing, though even in the Greek the subject 
of deliberation here is not strictly parallel to 
the rest. Compare ' Derekh Erets,' p. 19. 

neither with a coward in matters of war.] 
Syr. " with an enemy lest thou fight." 

with a merchant concerning exchange.] I.e. 
about goods, and more particularly about his 
goods (Syr.). His advice should not be asked 
on such matters as the article to be taken. In 
all these cases the reader is warned not to ask 
counsel of any person directly interested in the 
result of the deliberation. 

with a buyer of selling.] I.e. about the price, 
as Syr. " his price," the price which he ought 
to pay. In the East it would seem that these 
precepts are by no means unnecessary. 

Then follows a class of counsellors who, 

from their character, are incapable of being 
judges of the matter to be discussed. 

with an envious man of thankfulness.] 
Rather, with an ill-natured man (cf. 
Syr. ; Lat. viro livido). 

with the slothful for any work.] The habi- 
tually timid and shrinking must not be con- 
sulted about taking any important step. 

with an hireling for a year of finishing work.] 
Lit. with a domestic servant. The 
readings, however, vary ; and Alex, has " for 
a yearly servant," which is supported by Lat. 
Syr. " with an evil hireling bind not up [i.e. 
confide not] a secret." A man hired by the 
time would be a bad counsellor concerning 
the point at which the work was finished; 
since it would be to his interest to protract 
the period as long as possible (Bretschneider). 
Since no similar disqualification can be urged 
against the " domestic servant," we prefer the 
reading eWrei'ou. 

with an idle servant of much business.] 
Rather, "work." Syr. "with a servant who 
seeks to harm his master," in which we re- 
cognize 2"Q, but scarcely anything more. 
The opinion of a lazy servant must not be 
asked on the question whether there is much 
work to be done. (Cp. Prov. xviii. 9.) 

12. The attributes of the good counsellor 

a godly man, whom thou knowest to keep the 
commandments of the Lord.] W hose advice will 
therefore be uniformly on the side of right. 

whose mind is according to thy mind.] W hose 
advice will therefore be disinterested. The 
first qualification is wanting in the second 
class of counsellors mentioned above ; the 
second in the first. 

and if thou stumhlest, will grieve 
with thee.] For this the Syr. has: "andwho, 
when thou art hurt, is hurt himself, and with 
whom it goes well when it goes well with thee." 
Both are explanations of the previous clause. 

13. Yet self-reliance is, after all, better. 
And let the counsel of thine own heart 

v. 14- 






cir. 200. 

own heart stand : for there is no man 
more faithful unto thee than it. 

14 For a man's mind is sometime 
wont to tell him more than seven 
watchmen, that sit above in an high 

15 And above all this pray to the 
most High, that he will direct thy 
way in truth. 

16 Let reason go before every en- 
terprize, and counsel before every 

17 The countenance is a sign of 
changing; of the heart. 

18 Four manner of things appear : 

good and evil, life and death : but 
the tongue ruleth over them continu- 

19 There is one that is wise and 
teacheth many, and yet is unprofit- 
able to himself. 

20 There is one that sheweth wis- 
dom in words, and is hated : he shall 
be destitute of all ' food. 

21 For grace is not given him 
from the Lord ; because he is de- 
prived of all wisdom. 

22 Another is wise to himself; and 
the fruits of understanding are com- 
mendable in his mouth. 


cir. 200. 



stand.'] Rather, And call the council of 
thine own heart; a figure curiously like 
that of Plautus, ' Mostell.' 688, "hue conces- 
sero dum mihi senatum consili in cor convoco." 
The Syrian probably had a mutilated original 
before him. 

14. And men's instinct ordinarily tells them 
what to do. A similar sentiment to that in 
the text occurs in the so-called ' first Alpha- 
bet of Ben Sira :' " Let there be to thee sixty 
counsellors ; yet desert not thine own soul." 
Syr. " the heart of a man rejoices in his way." 
Perhaps the renderings represent 13113 TJ 11 

and "13 7 I| J > respectively; and the original 
meant " tells him concerning his way." 

than seven watchmen that sit above in an 
high tower.] Syr. " than the useless wealth 
of the world." 

15. And after self-reliance, prayer is of 
primary importance. The counsellors are 
given in the inverse order of importance, 
one's friends, oneself, God. 

16. Third stanza (see introd. remarks). 
Let reason go before every enterprize.] 

Rather, perhaps, a word is the begin- 
ning of every act. The Syriac here 
Follows a mutilated original : " before all men 

and before everything," '3S?1 . . . ?3 *JS? 

im . . . ho. 

17. The countenance is a sign of changing of 
the heart.] The words " the countenance is " 
are a gloss from 155, 248, and Co., and must 
be omitted. The words remaining, " a sign 
of changing of the heart," are in apposition 
with ptpr], according to Fritzsche, " four 
things come to light as the signs of the chang- 
ing of the heart;" a sense which seems ob- 
viously inappropriate. Lat. verbum nequam 
immutavit cor. The Syriac omits the words. 
We believe them to be inexplicable in their 

present condition ; and suggest that they are 
part of xiii. 21, 22, written by some one on 
the margin. 

18. Four manner of things appear.] Lit. 
four parts. One may compare Deut. xxx. 
19, "I have set before you life and death, the 
blessing and the curse." The Syriac has: 
" the Lord created all things." 

but the tongue ruleth over them continually.] 
Compare Prov. xviii. 21. Syr. " and he that 
ruleth over his tongue shall be saved from 
evil." This reminds us very temptingly of 

the Arabic _ jo (Wright, ii. p. 1 1 3, Rem. b.). 

19. The commentators quote from Menan- 
der, fj.i<ra> cro<pi(TTTjv o<ttis ovx avru> (ro<p6s. 
The passage cannot have been understood by 
the Syr. 

20. he shall be destitute of all food.] Syr. 
" depriveth himself of all honour;" Lat. " of 
everything." The original, however, may 
have contained some vigorous phrase. 

21. This verse is omitted by Syr., and may 
be an explanation of the fact mentioned in 
v. 20. 

22. the fruits of [add his] understanding 
are commendable in his mouth.] " Commend- 
able" is an emendation of 248, Co., Lat, 
for "faithful," which, as Bretschneider and 
Fritzsche have seen, is an interpolation from 
the end of the next verse. The Syriac order 
is somewhat confused here. It would seem, 
however, that the clause corresponding to this 
is 23 , "and the fruits of his works are from 
the appearance of his face." The combination 
of these two renderings suggests an original 

like VD biptt inmy nS1, "and his own 
mouth receives the fruit of his understanding." 
The Syrian and the first Greek translator both 

took ?3DQ as a preposition, whereas ItraiveToi, 


cir. 200. 

b Prov. 

II Or, 


23 A wise man instructeth his 
people ; and the fruits of his under- 
standing fail not. 

24 A wise man shall be filled with 
blessing ; and all they that see him 
shall count him happy. 

25 The days of the life of man 
may be numbered : but the days of 
Israel are innumerable. 

26 b A wise man shall inherit ,: glo- 
ry among his people, and his name 
shall be perpetual. 

27 My son, prove thy soul in thy 
life, and see what is evil for it, and 
give not that unto it. 

28 For all things are not profitable 

for all men, neither hath every soul B. c. 

1 . . J cir. 200. 

pleasure in every thing. 

29 c Be not unsatiable in any^ c h. 31. 
dainty thing, nor too greedy upon I2 ' I7 ' 
meats : 

30 For " excess of meats bringeth n Or, 
sickness, and surfeiting will turn into v Jf% e ats. 

31 By surfeiting have many pe- 
rished ; but he that taketh heed 
prolongeth his life. 


I Honour due to the physician, and why. 
16 How to weep and mourn for the dead. 
24 The wisdom of the learned man, and 

of the labourer and artificer : with the use 
of them both. 

' praiseworthy," represents a view which made 
it a passive participle. 

23. A wise man instructeth his people.'] 
These words remind us of x. i. The Syr. 
has : " there is a wise man that is wise at all 

times," i.e. reading d?vh for Uvb (= 1DJ&), 
and V* for BK. If we consider (i) the 
parallelism, (2) the frequent omission of letters, 
we shall perhaps decide in favour of the Syriac 
reading. The division implied in these verses 
is into (1) the wise to others but not to them- 
selves; (2) neither to themselves nor others; 
(3) to themselves and not to others; (4) to 
both. The Syr. has misunderstood the second 
clause. Comp. 'Abhoth de R. Nathan,' p. 87. 

25. And that reputation will last, in spite 
of the wise man's death. This verse is omitted 
by Syr. On the second clause, see the intro- 
ductory remarks. 

26. shall inherit glory.] So 248, Co., Lat, 
Syr. The better Greek MSS. have "faith." 
The original probably meant " shall have a 
perpetual inheritance." 

27. People should find out their particular 
weaknesses, and avoid yielding to them. 

28. all things are not profitable for all men.] 
Syr. " all food is not good." There has been 

a confusion between ?3? and ?3X. We 
believe the Greek text to be right. 

neither hath every soul pleasure in everything.] 
" Pleasure in a little," Syr. This seems clearly 
corrupt; \ \ . \n for V^Vj. The Arabic trans-^' 
lator makes of this : " and a little sufficeth for 
the soul." 

29. Be not unsatiable in any dainty thing.] 

The Syriac has again ?3X for ?3. 

nor too greedy upon meats.] Lit. be not 
poured out, a very elegant Grecism : com- 

pare Aristoph. ' Vespae,' 1469. The Syr. 
should be rendered " let not thine eye be evil 
over," i.e. be not envious of. This points to 

a Hebrew inn ?X, a transposition of *ljjn ?X 
of the Hebrew (cf. Is. xxxii. 15). 

30. ivill turn into choler.] Lit. will 
approach, near to. Cp. xxxi. 20 for the 
sentiment, and -v. 2 (with note) for the 


The concluding stanza of ch. xxxvii. natu- 
rally leads to what forms the subject of the 
first twenty-three verses of this chapter. But 
when taken in connexion with the second 
part of the chapter (vv. 24-end), it seems as 
if the first part formed a portion of a larger 
train of thought. The subject of the second 
part is sufficiently set forth, or at least intro- 
duced in v. 24. It is the pre-eminence of 
"Wisdom to which Alexandrians and Pales- 
tinians would attach different ideas as that 
which alone was worthy of a man's life, but 
to which a man's whole life must be devoted 
if it was to be attained. As regards this 
general proposition, both Alexandrians and 
Palestinians would agree. But when the Son 
of Sirach proceeds to compare with such 
pursuits all other occupations as not only 
inferior to, but incompatible with the pursuit 
of wisdom, the_Palestinians would have agreed 
with him in regard to agriculture, w. 25, 26, 
but not as to handicrafts, the praise of which 
is very frequent in Talmudic writings. Indeed, 
it was a principle (Quid. iv. 14 ; comp. 29 a) r 
although not universally admitted (see in Qidd. 
iv. 14, the views of Simeon b. Elazar, but 
especially those of R. Nehorai), that every 
parent should teach his son some trade or 
craft. In accordance rather with Hellenic 
than Palestinian ideas, the writer declares all 


cir. 20c 

'. I.] 



ONOUR a physician with 
the honour due unto him for 

the uses which ye may have of him : 
a for the Lord hath created him. 



cir. 20c 



such occupations needful indeed for ordinary 
life, "w. 31, 32, but excluding a man from 
those higher distinctions and that higher 
work which are sketched in truly Palestinian 

"With this train of reasoning the subject of 
the first part of the chapter may be in this 
wise connected that it excludes t he occupation 
of a phy sician from the general disparagement 
of all other pursuits than study. For the 
physician has a direct appointment from God; 
his medicaments are directly from God ; and 
the exercise and success of his profession are 
directly dependent upon God. When we 
enter into further details, the various topics 
in the first part (vv. 1-23) appear well con- 
nected, although their connexion is rather 
that of succession of thinking than strictly 
logical, when one thought springs from the 
other. This, indeed, is the case throughout 
Ecclesiasticus we had almost said in much 
of Jewish Wisdom-literature, though certainly 
not in the canonical Ecclesiastes. The funda- 
mental position of the writer is indicated in 
the two opening verses of the chapter. It is 
twofold : the physician is to be honoured 
the physician is from God. In the first stanza 
(yv. 1-8) it is emphasised that the physician 
and his medicaments are from God ; in the 
second (iw. 9-15), that healing is from God, 
and that it implies repentance and good 
works on our part. Throughout the writer 
does not seem quite clear how to combine 
the skill of the physician with absolute 
help from God. A very curious instance of 
rationalistic interpretation of the miracle re- 
corded in Ex. xv. 23-25 occurs in v. 5, which 
seems to imply that the healing was in the 
wood. (Gomp. the same view in Philo, 'de 
vita Moys.' i. 33; and another rationalistic 
explanation of the miracle in Jos. ' Antiq.' iii. 
1, 2.) The apparent depreciation of the 
physician in <v. 15 is not inconsistent with the 
honour previously ascribed to him. It only 
presents another aspect of the subject, and 
the reference in v. 1 5 is not so much to the 
physician as to the sick who require his aid 
dangerous illness being regarded, according 
to Jewish ideas, as the judgment of the Lord. 

From such reference to dangerous sickness 
the transition in the third stanza (w. 16-23) 
to death and mourning is easy and natural. 
The" writer enjoins the duties towards the 
dead, and the usual practice of mourning, 
but tempers the latter with the caution that 
while too little of it would give offence, too 
much is unadvisable, as alike hurtful unto 
oneself and foolish. We have here that 
mixture of selfishness and Eastern world- 

wisdom with religion which forms one of the 
characteristics of the book (see General 
Introduction). Alike its philosophy and its 
theology are far from elevated a kind of 
fatalism not unmixed with a constant regard 
for self underlying all. Yet even here what 
may be designated as the " ground-tone " in 
the previous two stanzas is not changed. The 
two ideas are still present to the writer : on 
the one hand, what men will think of us; 
and, on the other, that all is from God. 

We feel tempted to note a few Rabbinic 
parallels to this chapter. In regard to the 
honour due to the physician (see note on i>. 1) 
we have the exact parallel in Aramaic in Jer. 
Taan. 66 d and in pure Hebrew (though with 
different application) in Shem. R. 21 (see our 
note on Ecclus. xviii. 19). On the other 
hand, we read also : " The best of physicians 
deserves Gehenna" (Qidd. iv. 14). The de- 
pendence of healing upon God, and the need 
of humiliation, prayer, and good works in 
such cases, were generally acknowledged 
Rabbinic principles. In connexion with 
v. 12 we might quote this: " He that suffers 
pain goes to the physician " (Babh. Q_ v 46 b) 
although the proverb has a wider and 
general application in the Talmud. In regard 
to v. 15 we read this as " a proverb " : " The 
door that is not open to charity (the poor) 
shall be open to the physician" (Bemid. R. 
9, and Midr. on Cant. vi. 11). The duties in 
reference to the dead are often insisted upon 
by the Rabbis. As regards excessive sorrow, 
referred to in -v. 18, we read: "Every one 
who mourns over the dead beyond measure 
weeps over another dead " (viz. he will himself 
die), MoedQ^2 7^. On the subject of trades 
and occupations, we have already given paral- 
lels. But as regards the infinite superiority 
of the student to all others, referred to in w. 
31-end, we recall the contemptuous answer 
of Jochanan b. Zakkai to the workman who 
claimed equality with the Rabbi, since both 
laboured for the public good, and to whom 
the Rabbi would apply Eccles. iv. 1 7 (see the 
Midrash on the passage). And although (Ber. 
1 7 a) the Rabbis are said to have placed on 
the same level the work of the labourer in the 
field and that of the student in the city, pro- 
vided only his heart be directed towards God 
by which, however, we are to understand 
that he engaged in study of the Law accord- 
ing to his ability yet the immense superiority 
of the professed student of the Law to all other 
classes of men is too well known to require 
illustration. Lastly, as regards the miracle 
recorded in Ex. xv. 25, it may be interesting 
to know that the rationalistic explanation 



[v. 28. 

cir. 200. 

II Or, 
a gift. 

2 For of the most High cometh 
healing, and he shall receive ,: honour 
of the king. 

3 The skill of the physician shall 
lift up his head : and in the sight of 
great men he shall be in admiration. 

4 The Lord hath created medi- 
cines out of the earth ; and he that is 
wise will not abhor them. 

5 h Was not the water made sweet b. c. 

with wood, that the virtue thereof 
might be known ? 

6 And he hath given men skill, 
that he might be honoured in his 
marvellous works. 

7 With such doth he heal [men,] 
and taketh away their pains. 

8 Of such doth the apothecary 

* Exod. 
*5- 25- 

given by the Son of Sirach (in v. 5) occurs 
also in the Targum Onkelos. (For the views 
of Philo and Josephus, see above.) 

1. which ye may have of him.~] These 
words must be omitted, as not in the Greek. 
Syr. " Honour a physician before thou needest 
him;" with which the quotation in the Tal- 
mud and Midrash, vhn 1J> TD&6 ">^N 
Hv "|1DVn, exactly agrees (Jer. Taan. 66 d; 
Shem. R. 21). We learn, therefore, that in 
the Greek text (1) we must emend irpo ttjs 
Xpt'ias avrov for npos ras xpeias; and (2) we 
must omit rivals. This last may be merely 
a copyist's error; or it may have been inserted 
by some one who desired a more natural con- 
nexion between clauses a and b, and imagined 
the word ripens (" his natural " or " proper 
honours") would give this. We do not think 
" honour " is here used in the sense of " pay," 
in spite of the interesting Latinism ut medico 
honos haberetur, cited by Baduellus. The sub- 
ject of ill-health probably suggested to the 
author the remarkable character of the medical 
art, which even those who are not afflicted 
with illness ought, he thinks, to appreciate. 
The sentiment, therefore, is wholly different 
from that of xviii. 19, but does not imply 
"either that people were in the habit of 
employing medical aid too seldom, nor that 
the medical profession was insufficiently re- 
spected" (Fritzsche). 

for the Lord hath created him.~\ Syr. (and 
perhaps Greek): " for him, too, the Lord hath 
created." Like the poet, nascitur, non fit. 
Even the vast advances in the science made 
since the author's time do not prevent this 
observation still holding good. Yet the mean- 
ing may be simply that God hath appointed 
the healing art, " which is as necessary to the 
human body as cultivation to plants" (Mid- 
rash on Samuel, p. 28 b). 

2. For of the most High cometh healing, <&>Y.] 
Syr. " for by God is a physician taught." It 
is probable that both translators are wrong 
in supplying a verb in the first clause. The 

original (probably tip" -f?DS1 niX31 "'" *3 
niNSn) may have meant : " For from a king 
one can receive honour ; but from God only 
the art of healing ; " the phrases being (as 

sometimes in the Proverbs) inverted probably 
to call attention to the play on the roots 1X3 
and X31; with which compare Isa. lxi. 3. 
The author. is not alluding to the custom 
of maintaining state-physicians (which is well 
attested), but to the nature of his distinction, 
which, coming from a higher source, entitles 
its recipient to higher respect than any title 
bestowed by kings. If the reading "gift" 
of the best authorities (for " honour ") be 
correct, this note will have to be modified only 
in respect of the play on words suggested. 

3. The skill of a physician shall lift up his 
head.] The author means that this eminence 
of the medical profession is as a matter of fact 
generally recognised, and that there is no 
position of honour to which a physician of 
unusual skill may not aspire. The case in 
Gen. 1. 2 (cited by Delitzsch, s. v. Arznei- 
kunst, in Riehm, 'Handwbrterbuch') is per- 
haps to be explained by the special ideas of 
the Egyptians. 

and in the sight of great men he shall be in 
admiration.] Syr. " he shall be brought." 
The latter seems a more likely expression 
than the Greek rendering. 

4. And no suspicion should attach to the 
instruments of the art. A paraphrase of the 

original is here preserved : DV2D !"l?yn rTPX 
pxn p. The word for "medicines" is 
adopted by the Syr. and S. H. 

will not abhor them.] Perhaps some sects 
then, as in our times, disliked the employment 
of natural agency in the healing of the sick. 
(See Midrash, /. c.) 

5. A scriptural argument in proof of the 
last assertion. 

that the power thereof might be known.] 
Syr. " the power of God," perhaps a religious 
emendation on the part of the Syrian trans- 
lator. Fritzsche (after Bretschneider), think- 
ing that it is the virtue of the simples which 
is here being insisted on, prefers the reference 
to the wood ; and this seems the correct view 
(see the introd. to the chapter). 

7. With such doth he heal men, and taketh 
away their pains.] Syr. " doth the physician 
relieve;" similarly Lat., in his curans mitigabit 

9-i 6.] 




cir. 200. 

; Isai. 
38. 2. 


as <s dead 


make a confection ; and of his works 
there is no end ; and from him is 
peace over all the earth. 

9 My son, in thy sickness be not 
negligent : but c pray unto the Lord, 
and he will make thee whole. 

10 Leave oft" from sin, and order 
thine hands aright, and cleanse thy 
heart from all wickedness. 

1 1 Give a sweet savour, and a 
memorial of fine flour ; and make a 
fat offering, "as not being. 

12 Then give place to the phy- 
sician, d for the Lord hath created 

him : let him not go from thee, for 
thou hast need of him. 

13 There is a time when in their 
hands there is good success. 

14 For they shall also pray unto 
the Lord, that he would prosper that, 
which they give for ease and I remedy 
to prolong life. 

15 He that sinneth before his 
Maker, let him fall into the hand of 
the physician. 

16 My son, 'let tears fall down 
over the dead, and begin to lament, 
as if thou hadst suffered great harm 

cir. 200. 

I Or, 


' ch. 22. 

1 Thess. 
4- 13- 

dolorem; and Ben Sira, KSIO NSin Dm 
!"DOn nX. The Qal participle having become 
a substantive, that of Piel is employed instead. 
The Greek original must have been corrupted. 

8. Of such doth the apothecary make a con- 
fection^ Rather, the perfumer. Heb. 
preserved as above in Ber. R. 10, npin DH3 

nnp-ion nx np-10. 

and of his works there is no end ; and from 
him is peace over all the earth.] This means, 
according to Drus., Grot., Fritzsche, that 
before the drug is made, the patient is already 
healed a hyperbolical description of the ex- 
cellence and rapidity of the effects of these 
simples. Syr. "that work may not fail, nor 
wisdom from the face of the earth ;" repre- 
senting the same text with the single alteration 
of "wisdom" for "peace." In spite of the 
ingenuity of the explanation quoted, we believe 
the Syr. rendering to be right ; for the per- 
fumer's concoction can have no such effect, 
nor were the trades of physician and chemist 
distinct in those days. Though all these 
artists are inspired by God, yet they are made 
to employ certain simple means. The reason 
for which, the philosopher thinks, is a Divine 
design to encourage science; which otherwise 
would vanish, being useless. "Miraculous" 
healing would never have suggested a study 
of botany or mineralogy. " Peace " in the 
Greek text is probably a false repetition of 

u?y (avvreXiajf) from the foregoing clause. 

9-15. Second stanza, 

See introductory 

9. be not negligent^] The word Trapdfi\e7re 
is difficult. Lat. non despicias te ipsum. 
Fritzsche, with many others (as A. V.), 
"Neglect not to pray;" but it is doubtful 
whether the word can bear the meaning. 
The Syr. omits it. May it be a marginal 
variant from the last verse representing 
W^i jj of Syr. there ? 

but pray unto the Lord, and he will make thee 

whole.'] Syriac, "because he is the healer;" 
and either this, or "that he may heal thee," 
must have been the meaning of the original. 

10. Leave off from sin, and order thy hands 
aright.] Lit. straighten thy hands. 
Bretschneider compares such phrases as 
" pure hands " (Job xvii. 9, &c.). Fritzsche 
thinks guilt is symbolized by crooked hands 
(compare with this Propertius, iii. 7, 60). The 
expression is in any case a strange one. The 
Syriac omits it. Bretschneider remarks on 
the Jewish theory that bodily pain was a 
punishment for sin. 

11. as not being.] "He who regards him- 
self as lost will assuredly give the best thing 
in his possession to God " (Fritzsche). The 
whole verse is omitted in the Syr., and the 
last clause of it in the Vet. Lat. 

12. for the Lord hath created him . . . go 
from thee.] These words are omitted in the 
Syr., and may contain an interpolation from v. 1. 

14. that he would prosper that, which they 
give for ease and remedy to prolong life.] 
Rather, for the sake of life; i.e. to 
make a living (Fritzsche). Syr. " and by his 
hand there may come healing and life." 

15. The Armenian Version here recom- 
mences. The Syr. renders : " because he that 
sinneth ... is given . . . ," which would trans- 
form what might seem an attack on physicians 
generally into a reason why prayer should be 
employed. The sentiment in the Greek form 
would seem at first sight unlike what we have 
had in the previous verses; but see the remarks 
on the subject in the introduction to this 
chapter. On the other hand, the Syriac gives 
an unnatural expression. For the language, 
comp. Prov. xxii. i\b. 

16. let tears fall down.] Cp. Jer. ix. 17. 
begin to lament.] Probably fU*p KB\ 

as if 'thou hadst suffered great harm.] The 
Hebrew (e.g. "|? SJT1) probably meant " feel 



[v. 1728. 

B.C. thyself; and then cover his body 
1 j_^' according to the custom, and neglect 
not his burial. 

17 Weep bitterly, and make great 
moan, and use lamentation, as he is 
worthy, and that a day or two, lest 
thou be evil spoken of : and then 
comfort thyself for thy heaviness, 
/ch. 30. 18 S For of heaviness cometh 
= 3 Cor. 7. death, and the heaviness of the 
I0 - s heart breaketh strength. 

j 3 P j''' 19 In affliction also sorrow re- 

& 17. 22. maineth : and the life of the poor is 
the curse of the heart. 

20 Take no heaviness to heart : 
drive it away, and remember the last 

21 Forget it not, for there is no 
turning again : thou shalt not do him 
good, but hurt thyself. 

11 Or, the 22 Remember " my judgment : for 
nj>ou him. thine also shall be so ; yesterday for 
h me, and to day for thee. 

12. 20. ' 23 * When the dead is at rest, let 

his remembrance rest; and be com- B.C. 
forted for him, when his spirit is " 
departed from him. 

24 The wisdom of a learned man 
cometh by opportunity of leisure : 
and he that hath little business shall 
become wise. 

25 How can he get wisdom that 
holdeth the plough, and that glorieth 
in the goad, that driveth oxen, and 
is occupied in their labours, and whose 

talk is :l of bullocks ? Gr. of the 

26 He giveth his mind to make bullocks* 
furrows : and is diligent to give the 

kine fodder. 

27 So every carpenter and work- 
master, that laboureth night and day; 
and they that cut and grave seals, and 
are diligent to make great varietv, 
and give themselves to counterfeit 
imagery, and watch to finish a work : 

28 The smith also sitting by the 
anvil, and considering the iron work, 
the vapour of the fire wasteth his 

that thou hast suffered," and the Greek 
implies the same. 

according to the custom.'] Rather, accord- 
ing to his due. laB'J'QS perhaps, in 
graveclothes suited to his station ; compare 
Herodotus, ii. 139. 

neglect not his burial.'] This may refer to 
some abuse of the time, but more probably is 
only a solemn injunction of what was regarded 
as a religious duty. 

17. Weep bitterly, and make great moan.] 
The Syr. has a very different sentiment : 
" Wine and refreshment for mourners ; " 
alluding to the customary funeral-feast men- 
tioned by Jer. xvi. 7, Tobit iv. 18 (Riehm, 
' Handwbrterbuch '). Yet such an allusion 
should have been made later on in the 

24-end. Part II. (see the introd.). 

24. The wisdom of a learned man cometh 
by opportunity of leisure?] Rather, of a 
scribe. The Syriac, "shall increase his 
wisdom," seems to be a wilful alteration. As 
the Atticists tell us that elicaipia is late 
Greek for o-xoAr'/, perhaps one of these 
words should be omitted. 

and he that hath little business.] And 
therefore can enjoy the leisure necessary for 
study. Drusius quotes from Hillel, "qui 
multum negotiatur non evadet sapiens ;" and 
from R. Meir, "minue occupationes et vaca 

legi." (The former is a quotation from 
Abh. ii. 5 ; the latter from Abh. iv. 10.) 

26. to make furrows.] The expression is 
a rare one. The Coptic seems to have read 
evdiivai or eKnivai, " to straighten." On the 
Syriac here, see Payne Smith, 'Thes.' p. 1891. 

to give the kine fodder.] Syr. " to finish 

his work." Heb. perhaps niSD?, derived by 
Syr. from i"l2D instead of X2D. This mis- 
take may have led to the other. 

27. So.] I.e. cannot become wise. 

that laboureth, &-r.] Rather, that spends 
the night as the day. 

and are diligent to make great variety.'] 
I.e. to invent fresh and fanciful patterns. 

to counterfeit imagery.] I.e. to make the 
image resemble the thing counterfeited. 

28. considering the iron work.] So the 
inferior MSS., Sin., and Alex., Lat., Arm., 
S. H.,Aeth., but Vat. dpya o-iSrjpu, a difficult 
phrase. Fritzsche's conjecture that this 
means unwrought iron, and that JTP was a 
false reading for ]})*, does not seem supported 
by the Syr., " considering vessels of weight." 

wasteth.] Syr. " splitteth." The Vat. 
reading is "stiffeneth." The Heb. ypT 
would correspond with the Syr., and is ren- 
dered "waste" by the LXX. of Micah i. 4. 
Both TT]$ei and irrj^ei might be used for the 



cir. 200. 

flesh, and he fighteth with 

the heat 
of the furnace : the noise of the 
hammer and the anvil is ever in his 
ears, and his eyes look still upon the 
pattern of the thing that he maketh ; 
he setteth his mind to finish his work, 
and watcheth to polish it perfectly : 
29 So doth the potter sitting at 
'jer.i8. 3 . his work, and { turning the wheel 
about with his feet, who is alway 
carefully set at his work, and maketh 
all his work by number ; 

30 He fashioneth the clay with B. c. 
his arm, and " boweth down his cv [^- 
strength before his feet ; he applieth ]^ rei& 
himself to lead it over ; and he is UwUh 
diligent to make clean the furnace : 

31 All these trust to their hands : 
and every one is wise in his 

32 Without these cannot a city 
be inhabited : and they shall not 
dwell where they will, nor go up and 
down : 

effects of fire; see Sext. Empir. p. 329, 14 
(ed. Bekker). 

and be fighteth with the heat of the furnace. ~] 
A remarkable phrase. Syr. " he burneth " or 
" is burnt with." The original was probably 
mnrp, which is almost exclusively employed 
of mental warmth, and was probably intended 
by the author to refer to the excitement pro- 
duced by the heat. 

is ever in his ears.~\ Lit. renews his 
ears, explained by Grotius as "pleases with 
its freshness;" an idea which the context as- 
suredly does not confirm. Arm. "excites" 
(!/?); S. H. "empties" (j/ot?); Aeth. 
"annoys" = KvaUt (conjectured also by Grabe), 
or rather airoKvaUi, which may be right; aivoK- 
paUiv ra. S>Ta, " to wear away the ears," is 
a Greek phrase, of which Philo in particular 
is fond, applied to persons who are for ever 
harping on the same string. No less ingeni- 
ous, however, is the conjecture of Fritzsche 
that "renews" is a translation of B^rl*, itself a 
misreading of BhfV, " deafens," a word formed 
like "VIJP. The Syriac has " towards the con- 
ception he inclines his hand ; " a remarkable 
rendering, the discussion of which would 
lead to conjectures not suitable for this place, 
but which suggests the correction (f>avf) o-cpiprjs 
K\ii>et to ovs airov. 

of the thing that he maketh.] Lit. of a 

The last clause, "he setteth his mind 
. . . perfectly," is omitted in the Syr. 

29. On the process described in this and 
the following verse, see Riehm, 'Hand- 
worterbuch,' s. v. Topferei. 

who is airway carefully set at his work.] 
Omitted in the Syr. 

and maketh all his work by number.] I.e. 
makes it to order in definite numbers. 

30. He fashioneth the clay with his arm.] 
Heb. "1^ ; the Syr. seems to have read ]'T, 

and boweth down his strength before his 

feet.] The clay is prepared by stamping : 
cp. Isa. xli. 25. The Syriac version, "before 
his death he is bowed and bent," suggests 
that they took " before his feet " as a eu- 
phemism (compare the Latin rigidas calces 
extendere), scarcely to be found elsewhere. 

he applieth himself to lead it over.] " Lead" 
must here mean to " glaze," white lead being 
employed in certain glazes. On the materials 
employed by the ancients in making glazes, 
see ' Diet, of Antiq.' s. v. Fictile. The 
Hebrew was probably \\TWp (cp. Payne 
Smith,'Thes.Syr.'p.224o, s.v. ^joo .j*a2o). 
The Syrian, who renders " his work," may 
have either confused this with \W))ft, or made 
a mere guess at the meaning, as the Aeth. r 
who also translates "work," seems to have 

and he is diligent [lit. and his sleepless- 
ness is] to make clean the furnace^] So that 
no improper materials may spoil the pottery. 
Syr. " to build " (perhaps corrupt ; cp. Arab.). 
Perhaps the phrase in Hos. vii. 4 may suggest 

that the Siracide had intended "IJH?, "to 

heat," miswritten "H??* 

31. All these trust to their hands.] Not, 
like the wise man, to their minds. Syr. " all 
these for the sake of their profit;" reading, 
perhaps, TKD T3 for TOC 1T2. (Lat. 
speraverunt.) Yet there may have been a 
play on the words JDX and JON. 

and every one is wise.] They have then 
a wisdom, which is confined to the narrow 
groove of their respective arts; unlike that 
described in xxxix. 1. Both the Greek and 
Heb. (DDfirP) mean rather "plays the 
wise man" than "is wise." 

32. These are all essential elements of a 
civilised community. 

they shall not dwell where they will.] I.e. 
men shall not establish any kind of com- 
munity (Bad., Drus., Fri.). But the interpre- 
tation of Grotius, " they shall not sojourn," 
i.e. these artisans will easily find employment 



cir. 200 

77 They shall not be sought for 

r. 200. . OJ , ,. , ' , . P. , . 

in publick counsel, nor sit high in 
the congregation : they shall not sit 
on the judges' seat, nor understand 
the sentence of judgment : they 
cannot declare justice and judgment ; 
and they shall not be found where 
parables are spoken. 

34 But they will maintain the B.C. 
state of the world, and [all] their -1^? 
desire is in the work of their craft. 


A desc7~iption of him that is truly wise. 
12 An exhortation to praise God for his 
works ; which are good to the good, and evil 
to them that are evil. 

in their native country, seems more natural. 
The Syriac renders : " and wherever they 
dwell they shall not hunger." This suggests 
that for ov in the Greek we should read ov ; 
while " they shall not walk about " (Gr.) 
and " they shall not hunger" (Syr.) probably 
represent different readings, 1"Qj)* and 12JTP, 
of which we should prefer the latter. 

33. They shall not be sought for in publick 
counsel.'] This clause is not found in any 
Greek MSS. except 248 and the second hand 
of Sin. ; into the former of which it might 
seem to have been introduced from the Syriac. 
On the other hand, MS. 248 helps us to correct 
the Syriac text (^coAj |j \^y jnVnN, 

in which n\^ n, "they shall not be wanted," 

is clearly required for " they shall not sit "), 
and also preserves apparently a trace of 
independence in the preposition iv (Sin. etr). 
The true form of the clause would seem to 
have been, " they shall not be inquired of 
(their opinion shall not be asked) for public 
counsel." That the clause forms a genuine 
and necessary part of the text is shewn by the 
context and the parallelism so forcibly, that 
even Fritzsche, ordinarily no friend of either 
Syr. or 248, admits it. 

nor sit high in the congregation^] Lit. 
" overleap." Commentators here think 
either of " septa intra quae habetur senatus " 
(Grotius) or of "their coming forward into 
the front benches " (Arm., Bretschn., Fri.). 
Syr. (followed by S. H.): "they shall not be 

exalted," perhaps representing a variant wiy 

for iy?T, the latter of which, as the more 
difficult, should be preferred ; compare also 
the uses of t ;, in Syriac (Payne Smith, 

' Thes.' p. 945), " gradatim ascendit ad 
honores, ad thronum regni promovit." 

they shall not sit on the judges' seat.] Cp. 
Riehm, s. v. Gerichtszvesen ; Job xxix. 7. 

nor understand the sentence of judgment.] 
Lit. the covenant of judgment; repre- 
senting, according to Fritzsche, DD f J>D JV"D, 
a phrase which he supposes to mean " the 
law covenant," i.e. the principles of justice. 
No doubt the moral and civil codes were not 
separated in those days. Syr. : " covenants 
and judgments." 

declare.] This requires the alteration of 
(K^avaai to ftcfpcivuMTt (Fritzsche). 
justice.] Most authorities : "discipline." 

they shall not be found where parables are 
spoken.] Lit. they shall not be found 
in parables; which Grotius interprets of 
their not being found quoted among authors 
of parables. The Syrian seems to have 
pointed "JSIkJO^ actively, " they shall not 
find ; " i.e. " they shall not attain to any por- 
tion of," which he paraphrastically renders 
they shall not " understand." This is pro- 
bably the better interpretation. The sug- 
gestion that D vtJ>0, " parables," is a mistake 

for DvE>D, " rulers " (Gaab), deserves men- 

34. But they ivill maintain the state of the 
world.] Grotius quotes the Hebrew phrase 

cbty hw 3W jm BK>, "people by whom the 
world is rendered habitable, " applied to artisans, 
Sec. Our author's words, however, would 

seem to have been W3* D*?W mn DK 3 
(Syr. irT). The following clause (in which 
their "desire" seems to represent a word 
meaning " business," rttl, Syriace) would 
appear to give a slight probability to the 
Syriac reading "they understand." 

and their desire.] The original (probably) 
" their meditation : " v. supra. 


This is, perhaps, one of the most interest- 
ing chapters in the book. It gives insight 
into the views and philosophy of the author, 
and into one of the main objects of his work. 
Perhaps more clearly than any other it con- 
nects itself with the general drift of our 
canonical Ecclesiastes in discussing the great 
problems of life and the connexion between 
the (moral) government of God and the 
events and incidents of this world. It sets 
forth, from the standpoint of the writer and 
presumably of the Chokhmah or religious 
philosophy of that period, how the Jewish 
sage the philosophic believer solved the 
great problems of religious thinking. He is 
no longer narrow, exclusively Judaic, ignor- 
ing other men and other thought, bigoted 

cir. 200. 





UT he that giveth his mind to is occupied in the meditation there- b. c. 
the law of the most High, and of, will seek out the wisdom of all cir j_^ 

and prejudiced. He has learned abroad ; he 
has made personal experience of what is 
foreign. But, above all, he has been nourished 
at the fount of his ancestral religion (t>. 1). 
And from a wider consideration of men and 
things he returns a firm believer in the God 
of Revelation, the God of Israel (yv. 8, 
14*/, 15). Alike the main object and the 
main result of his thinking and of his investi- 
gations was that which also formed the topic 
of Cbokhmab-YitereLtuve presented in Pro- 
verbs and Parables (w. 2, 3, 6, 7). This 
was the outcome of a proper understanding 
of the deeper meaning of the Law, with which 
we must here combine the history of Israel, 
as the practical application of the fundamental 
principles contained in the Law (y. 8), and of 
which the full bearing appeared in prophecy 
(yv. 1, 22, 23). The. great problem ofi 
Ch okhm ah was to vindicate the ways of God 
with man. The thesis itself (or the final 
conclusion) is propounded in v. 16 a, and 
the manner of its demonstration as well as 
its limits are indicated in v. 16 b. Nature, 
the history of the world, and the experience 
of each individual force upon us in view of 
what seems sometimes unmitigated evil, at 
other times like mere accident, or else as if 
it were fate such questions as these : " What 
means all this ? wherefore is it ? " (y. 1 7) that 
is, if there be a God, such as Revelation has 
set Him forth. The Book of Ecclesiastes 
had in part treated the same questions, though 
chiefly from the subjective standpoint (as it 
were of the laughing philosopher). And it 
had answered them by pointing from self, and 
seeming accidentalness or fate in short, away 
from moral indifferentism through eternal, 
absolute right and truth, to personal moral 
responsibility as the final solution (Eccles. xi. 
9 ; xii. 13, 14). But our writer answers them 
rather from the objective standpoint. The 
progression of thought may be thus marked. 
We accept the position that all these seem- 
ingly incongruous things, so full of difficulty 
when viewed separately, are of and from the 
Lord. And we maintain that all His works 
are exceeding good nay, we regard them as 
His commands (y. 16): for God reigneth. 
But we err and go astray when we view 
them separately : we must view them irrtheir 
nexus as integral parts of God's govern- 
menteach "in its season," v. 16 b; each 
" for their use," v. 21. And so we reach the 
conclusions expressed in w. 33, 34. This, 
in our view, will help us to understand alike 
the structure and the contents of this chapter, 
on which (as so often) the variations in the 
Syr. throw additional light. 

The praise of the sage in the previous 

chapter leads our author to describe the 
ideal representative of Hebrew Chokhmah 
(Wisdom) in f. 1. In two stanzas, each of 
three verses (to 2-4 ; 5-7), his intellectual 
and then his spiritual qualifications are de- 
scribed. [We omit as spurious the first 
clause in v. 6. The pious gloss omitted in the 
Syr. is worthy of the Greek translator.] In 
a third stanza of three verses (w. 8-10) the 
activity and final success of this sage are 
detailed, the whole appropriately closing with 
an encomium in t>. 1 1 which may well be fitted 
on to ik 1. We infer that in the view of the 
writer the main object and topic of Revela- 
tion was Chokhmah or Wisdom. This Wis- 
dom was alike based upon and the outcome 
of th e Law , as properly understood ; and it 
was also fully indicated and vindicated in 
p rophec y, v. 1. Thus Ben Sira had evi- 
dently "passed beyond the merely external 
and literal view of the Law, and occupied 
the standpoint of the Old Testament Chokh- 
wtf-literature. He continues and further 
developes that direction ; but he also imports 
into it not indeed Hellenistic ideas, but the 
results on his own mind of the influence of 
foreign, Grecian, thinking and intercourse. 
Similarly, he connects prophecy with the 
problems of Chokhmah. In his view it points 
to the full vindication of the results of Chokh- 
mah. The future kingdom of God, as set 
forth in prophecy, would be anti-heathen; 
but chiefly he regarded it as the vindication 
of the moral government of God, the restora- 
tion of moral equilibrium in the world \ 
(yv. 22-25). 

The second part of the chapter (beginning 
with v. 12) is intended fully to set forth the 
great topic which engages the thinking and 
teaching of the Hebrew sage in other 
words, the object and the results of true - 
Chokhmah. This is introduced in stanza iv. 
(wv. 10-15; six versos) by a solemn appeal, 
of which the outcome is that true Chokhmah 
will lead to the worshipful acknowledgment 
of God. Then follows in the fifth stanza, 
also of six verses (-w. 16-21), the statement 
of the theme itself (as previously described). 
Next we have an analysis of the thesis of 
Chokhmah. In stanza vi. of four verses (w. 
22-25) tne subject is: the ways of God. 
These are described in a threefold antith esis : 
w. 22 and 23, v. 24*2 and b, and v. 25 a 
and b. The seventh stanza, consisting of eight 
verses (yv. 26-33), deals with the problem 
of the order and phenomena of Nature as 
affecting man, and shews that what from 
one aspect is good (yv. 26, 27) may from 
another aspect prove evil. Yet all cometh 
from God, exhibits His wise purposes, and 





cir. 200. 

the ancient, and be occupied in 

2 He will keep the sayings of the 
renowned men : and where subtil 
parables are, he will be there also. 

3 He will seek out the secrets of 
grave sentences, and be conversant 
in dark parables. 

4 He shall serve among great men, 
and appear before princes : he will 
travel through strange countries ; 
for he hath tried the good and the 
evil among men. 

5 He will give his heart to resort 
early to the Lord that made him, 
and will pray before the most High, 
and will open his mouth in prayer, 
and make supplication for his sins. 

6 When the great Lord will, he 
shall be filled with the spirit of un- 

derstanding : he shall pour out wise b. c. 
sentences, and give thanks unto the c '!i!2 ' 
Lord in his prayer. 

7 He shall direct his counsel and 
knowledge, and in his secrets shall he 

8 He shall shew forth that which 
he hath learned, and shall glory in 
the law of the covenant of the 

9 Many shall commend his under- 
standing ; and so long as the world 
endureth, it shall not be blotted out ; 
his memorial shall not depart away, 
and his name shall live from genera- 
tion to generation. 

10 a Nations shall shew forth his"ch. 44. 
wisdom, and the congregation shall I5 ' 
declare his praise. 

11 If he die, he shall leave a 

executes His behest. The whole concludes 
with two verses (yv. 34, 35), of which the 
first returns to the original theme (yv. 16, 
1 7), while the second reiterates the acknow- 
ledgment and praise of God in all things 
on the part of true Chokhmah (comp. w. 
id, i5, b, c). 

1. But he that giveth.] The Greek means 
lit. " except him that giveth." There can, 
however, be no doubt that the A. V. render- 
ing is what the author intended. 

of all the ancient.'] Independent literary 
effort would seem to have ceased for some 
time. At the same time the writer is desirous 
of connecting the thinking of his ideal sage 
with the results of the previous development, 
of which it forms onlv another and further 

and be occupied in prophecies^] Cp. Eccles. 
i. 13. 

2. He <wi/l keep the sajings.] Treasure 
them up. Syr. " learn." 

and iv here subtil parables are, he nvill be there 
also.] The phrase in the Greek (or in the 
Hebrew) is taken from Prov. i. 3. The 
Syriac has : " and he will reflect on whatever 
is deep." We suppose that this represents an 
original CpOJJD, corrupted in the copv of the 
Greek to D^pjJO, derived from Dpy (Chald. 
and Syr.), " perverse," " crooked." For 
(TTpncfii) in this sense, a rich collection of 
parallels is given by Schleussner, j. v. 

3. the secrets of grave sentences.] I.e. the 
deeper meaning of wise sayings, which is 
secret; that is, hidden from superficial view. 

4. Further ways in which he qualifies 

He shall serve among great men.] Syr. " he 
shall go." 

and appear before princes^] Vat. "a prince." 
Syr. this time : " he shall serve among kings 
and rulers." The Greek is preferable. 

Also he must travel. 

he hath tried.] Doubtless the original 
meant " he must try," or " is sure to try." 
The opening lines of the Odyssey will occur 
to every reader. 

5. He will look for still higher guidance. 

6. And when all these conditions are ful- 
filled, a special grace is required to produce 
the result. But the words iav . . . Bek^a-rj 
are omitted by Syr. 

he shall pour out ivise sentences as showers.] 
Syr. "parables twofold;" corrected, how- 
ever, in the Arab. 

and give thanks unto the Lord in his 
prayer^] The Syriac renders it : " people will 
praise him for his thoughts." Probably the 
original was ambiguous. 

7. He shall direct his counsel.] Lit. "he 

8. that which he hath learned.] Rather, 
wise doctrine. 

9. Many shall commend.] Syr. " many shall 
learn from;" perhaps Vtf> and 1")V. The 
latter in the active could give no satisfactory 

11. If he die.] The Greek MSS. seem all 
to have the opposite order: If he persist, 

V. 12- 




b. c. greater name than a thousand : and 
cikjkjo. .j- ^ e \[ ve ^ Y\e shall " increase it. 
tor, gam I2 y et have I more to sav, which 

unto it. t i-ii 1 

I have thought upon ; for I am filled 

as the moon at the full. 

13 Hearken unto me, ye holy 

children, and bud forth as a rose 
11 Or, growing by the |; brook of the field : 
*Zfwater. x 4 -^nd give ye a sweet savour 

as frankincense, and flourish as a lily, 

send forth a smell, and sing a song 

of praise, bless the Lord in all his 


15 Magnify his name, and shew 

forth his praise with the songs of your b. c. 
lips, and with harps, and in praising cir - 2 - 
him ye shall say after this manner : 

lb h All the works of the Lord are * Gen. 1. 
exceeding good, and c whatsoever he ver. 33 . 
commandeth shall be accomplished Mark 7- 
in due season. 1 Tim. 

17 d And none may say, What is^' 
this ? wherefore is that ? for at time 23- 19. 
convenient they shall all be sought d Rom - 9- 
out : ''at his commandment the* P 
waters stood as an heap, and at the 6 > i- 
words of his mouth the receptacles 15, 18. 
of waters. 

he shall leave a greater name than a 
thousand; and if he cease, he in- 
creases it. The inversion is found very 
early, although it does not appear on what 
authority. Evidently it was introduced by 
some one who hoped thereby to render this 
extremely difficult verse easier. The Syriac 
renders : " If he will, he shall be praised 
among a thousand : and if he be silent, among 
a small people." Clearly we have to deal 
with a text that has been either corrupted or 
misunderstood, for the restoration of which 
we venture the following suggestions : (1) 
The verbs "IDJJ and *7E>n might easily be con- 
fused, owing to the indistinct pronunciation 
of the gutturals in some parts of Palestine. 
Between noy DM, "if he stand," and 1CIV DN, 
" if he desire," the preference seems to be for 
"IDy, on account of "if he cease" in the 
second clause. (2) The phrases " he shall 
leave a name " and " he shall be praised " 
perhaps represent "INK^ and "WW ; doubtless 
of the two the latter is the more appropriate. 
(3) The phrases eniroid ai and "in a small 
people " offer no obvious original which would 
account for them both ; we suggest, however, 
that the original contained words signifying 

"without number" (e.g. 13DD i& or "1BDD ^3, 

read by the Greek ">SD!? ft). The whole 
verse then, we suppose, may have meant : " If 
he remain alive, he will be praised by (or 'more 
than ') a thousand ; and if he die, by people 
without number." Omnia post obitum Jingit 
majora vetustas. 

12. / am filled as the moon at the full '.] Syr. 
" as the moon on the twelfth day;" Heb. ND3 
of Prov. vii. 20. The Latin Version has quasi 
furore, perhaps having the aeXrjviafrnevoi in 

13. The verses refer, according to Fritzsche, 
to the spiritual blooming and blossoming which 
will proceed from hearing his hymn. 

bud forth as a rose."] The Syriac, " lilies 
and cedars," seems to represent different 
attempts at rendering "PI. 

by the brook of the field.] Better, the 
water-brook, as A, C, S, Lat., Arm., S. H. 

14. send forth a smell.] Syr. " lift up your 

and sing a song of praise.] Lit. praise 
a song; compare Ps. lv. 11. As the trans- 
lator is maintaining the schema etymologicum 
of the original, he would seem to have derived 
aa/jta from ali> eco. 

15. Magnify his name.] ?*73 12H. 

17. And none may say . . . that.] These 
words are omitted in the T. R., but found in 
the Greek MSS. (cf. Nestle, p. 127). Their 
omission would necessitate the throwing out 
of the second clause ; and, as a matter of fact, 
both are omitted in the Latin, which sub- 
stitutes the second clause here for the second 
clause of v. 21. The Syriac, on the other 
hand, while omitting t. 21, has our verse in 
an enlarged form. Plainly the verse cannot 
be original in both places ; the question is 
only for which place the author is more likely 
to have intended it. Now such a sentiment 
seems more natural at the commencement of 
the following enumeration than in the middle 
of it. We believe, therefore, that the true text 
is preserved by the Syriac. 

at time convenient they shall all be sought 
out.] The Syriac (v. supra) renders: "No 
one can say, Wherefore is this and wherefore 
that ? for all are created appropriately ; nor 
can he say this is good and that evil ; for all 
shew themselves men at their time." The 
Syriac expression is peculiar, but probably 
represents the Heb. "HpC 1 (cp. Symm. 1 Sam. 
xx. 18), which might well mean "will appear 
on the muster-roll." 

at his commandment the ivaters stood as an 
heap.] I.e. at the Creation, before the sepa- 
ration of the waters into their receptacles ; so 



[v. 1 8 29. 

B.C. 18 -^At his commandment is done 

ur^oo. w j iatsoever pleaseth him ; and none 

Ps. 135. can hinder, when he will save. 

e Hebr. 19 ir The works of all flesh are 

4 - 13> before him, and nothing can be hid 

from his eyes. 

20 He seeth from everlasting to 
everlasting ; and there is nothing 
wonderful before him. 

21 A man need not to say, What 
is this ? wherefore is that ? for he 
hath made all things for their 

22 His blessing covered the dry 
land as a river, and watered it as a 

23 As he hath turned the waters 
into saltness : so shall the heathen 
inherit his wrath. 

i' 4 H 9 os ' 2 4 h As his ways are plain unto 

cir. 200. 

the holy j so are they stumblingblocks v > 
unto the wicked. 

25 For the good are good things 
created from the beginning; : 'so evil ' ch - 4- 

. . o s> io . 

things for sinners. 

ch. 29. 

26 /,; The principal things for the* 
whole use of man's life are water, 
fire, iron, and salt, flour of wheat, / 
honey, milk, and l the blood of the n. cr 
grape, and oil, and clothing. ]^ ut ' 32 ' 

27 "'All these things are for good | h - ^"H 
to the godly : so to the sinners they , Rom J 
are turned into evil. 28 

o -t-i 1 1 ilim. 4. 4, 

25 1 here be spirits that are cre- 
ated for vengeance, which in their 
fury lay on sore strokes ; in the time 
of destruction they pour out their 
force, and appease the wrath of him 
that made them. 

29 "Fire, and hail, and famine, < ch. 40.9 

Gutmann, Fritzsche. The older interpreters 
thought of the Red Sea or the Jordan. The 
Syr. has a different verse. 

18. At his commandment is done whatsoever 
pleaseth him.~\ The Greek means literally, 
in his commandment is all pleasure. 
The Syriac renders: "with joy is his will 

and none can hinder, ivhen he ivill save.] 
Syr. " and none retards his command." Here 
a question of some interest arises, which, 
owing to the Aramaising character of our 
author's Hebrew, is hard to solve. It is quite 
clear that the words ppD, " command," and 
]p~iS, " salvation," have been confused, but it 
is not clear whether that confusion took place 
in the Hebrew of the Siracide, or in the Syriac 
of the translator. "His command " seems to 
us a more natural word in this verse than 
" his salvation ;" on the other hand, we have 
some hesitation in crediting the Siracide with 
so decided an Aramaism as the first hypothesis 

20. The Syriac has a different verse : see 
also on v. 16. 

22. covered the dry land.] "The dry land" 
occurs in the second clause in the Greek. 
Lat. inundavit ; Syr. "riseth;" perhaps we 
should read eireKKvafP for inwakvtycv. 

23. As he hath turned the waters into salt- 
ness : so, <b'c] Probably Bretschn. and others 
are right in referring " so " to the previous 
verse, with the meaning " similarly," " on the 
contrary," or " as powerfully." The Syriac 
has : " so doth his wrath judge the nations." 
Clearly the author meant " his wrath " to be 

the subject of the sentence, in antithesis to 
his blessing, which is the subject of the previous 
verse. The Hebrew then was probably j3 
DM2 BTP in"l, " so doth his wrath drive out 
(exterminate) nations ;" and " his wrath " will 
also be the subject of the second clause, which 
perhaps contains a reference to the Cities of 
the Plain. Cp. Ps. cvii. 33. 

24. A favourite sentiment with our author. 

25. so evil things for sinners.'] Lat. " good 
and evil;" Syr. "for sinners also whether for 
good or evil." The agreement of these two 
versions might seem a strong argument in 
favour of this having been the original text. 
But the Greek rendering suits the context far 
better, and the Syr. and Latin reading may 
only represent a later Christian emendation. 

26. The place of iron in this list is certainly 
remarkable. The Syriac list adds " fat " and 
" raiment." 

28. The question whether these " spirits " 
are angels or winds is discussed by Fritzsche, 
who decides for the latter ; yet w. 29, 30 
seem to contain a list of these " spirits." 
Unless, therefore, it is a poetical phrase for 
" forces," we must regard it as embodying 
the same idea as in later Rabbinism, which 
personified as Angels certain natural pheno- 
mena and eventualities. 

lay on sore strokes.] Syr. " uproot moun- 
tains." The expression D^TH ~lpj? was in 
common Rabbinic usage to denote the ac- 
complishment of the seemingly impossible or 
incredible (see the passages in ' The Life and 
Times of Jesus the Messiah,' vol. ii. pp. 109, 
376, notes). 


and death, all these were created for good : and he will give every need- 
vengeance ; ful thing in due season. 

30 " Teeth of wild beasts, and 34 So that a man cannot say, This 
scorpions, t " serpents, and the sword, is worse than that : for in time they 
punishing the wicked to destruction. shall all be well approved. 

31 1 They shall rejoice in his com- 35 And therefore praise ye the 
mandment, and they shall be ready Lord with the whole heart and 
upon earth, when need is ; and when mouth, and bless the name of the 


B. C. 
cir. 200. 

" Deut. 32 

/ Wisd. 
16. 5- 

II Or, 

9 Job 38. 

Ps. 148. 3. their time is come, they shall not 

transgress his word. 

32 Therefore from the beginning 

I was resolved, and thought upon 

these things, and have left them in 

Gen. 1. writing. 

31. ^ 

ve'r. 16. 33 r All the works of the Lord are 

cir. aoo. 



Many miseries in a maris life. 12 The 
reward of unrighteousness, and the fruit of 
true dealing. 17 A virtuous wife and an 
honest friend rejoice the heart, but the fear of 
the Lord is above all. 28 A beggar's life is 

29. famine and death.] Syr. " and deadly 
stones." Here a somewhat similar difficulty 
occurs to that noticed at u 18; for clearly 
we have a confusion between P??, "stones," 
and |33, " hunger," and the confusion may 
have been either in the Hebrew or the Syriac. 
Fewest difficulties will be offered by the sup- 
position that the Greek translation is correct. 

30. Teeth of ivild beasts. .] Syr. " beasts of 
teeth," i.e. wild beasts, a very common Syriac 
phrase; and this the order of the Greek 
words makes it probable that the Siracide 
himself employed. 

32. Therefore from the beginning I ivas 
resolved.] " Against temptations which might 
shake his faith in God's providence" (Grotius). 
In that case, for " I thought " we should pro- 
bably substitute " I perceived " the true state 
of the case. The verse makes the author cite 
his words above (16, 17), which the inter- 
vening verses have proved. The Syrian, not 
seeing this reference, has a rendering which 
is very plainly wrong. 

33. he ivill gii'e,~\ 

Rather, supply or 

34. in time they shall all be ivell approved.] 
On the occasion for which they were created. 
The Syriac adds, " for they are all stored up 
in his treasuries." 


The connexion of this with the preceding 
chapter is both external and internal. As 
regards the former, the mention of the evils 
which afflict us in the world leads to the 
discussion of human sorrow and of its causes. 
This forms the first part ot the chapter, end- 
ing with v. 17; while in the second part, by 
way of contrast, t he happiness that is in th e 
- world is described^ and its real source indi- 
^ cated as in t he fea r of the Lord. The 

Apoc. VtiTTTT 

internal connexion with the previous chapter 
lies in this, that here the object is once more 
to shew that the good as well as the evil that 
befals men is from the Lord, and thus again 
to vindicate the ways of God. 

The discussion is introduced by a prefatory 
verse, of which the burden is that somehow 
sorrow seems the lot of all men. Some of 
these sorrows are caused by the conditions 
of our existence, by the evil that comes to us 
through care, or lastly by our own needless 
or foolish apprehensions. This is the theme 
of the first stanza of six verses (w. 2-7). 
But if this be the common lot of humanity, 
it falls sevenfold on the wicked, and theirs 
are also real evils and these come to them 
from God in punishment of their sins. This 
is the subject of the second stanza (comprising 
four verses: w. 8-1 1). A more detailed 
exposition of this follows in the third stanza 
(w. 1 2-1 7). The first and the last verse in 
it are antithetic, and may be regarded as 
introductory and concluding, while the inter- 
mediate four verses form two couplets: the 
first (yv. 13, 14) shewing what becomes of 
their ill-gotten goods, the second what be- 
comes of their children (w. 15, 16); these 
two property and children being the chief 
objects of desire. And the stanza appro- 
priately closes with the antithesis of v. 17. 

With v. 18 begins the second part of the 
chapter. If there be sorrow in the world 
and real sorrow is the consequence of sin 
there is also much real good and joy, and the 
truest and best is the result of fear of the 
Lord. This is beautifully set forth in a stanza 
of ten verses (w. 18-27), in eight of which the 
second clause always forms a counter-climax 
to the first, while the ninth verse leads up to 
the final conclusion, fully expressed in the 
concluding verse Qv. 27), which sets forth 
the blessedness resulting from fear of the 

The concluding stanza of three verses 





[v. i8. 


cir. 200 

c f"^ REAT " travail is created for 

1^' VJT every man, and an heavy yoke 

i 9 Gen ' 3 " 1S upon the sons of Adam, from the 

Eccies. 1. Jay tna t t h e y go out of their mother's 

womb, till the day that they return 

to the mother of all things. 

2 Their imagination of things to 
come, and the day of death, [trouble] 
their thoughts, and [cause] fear of 
heart ; 

3 From him that sitteth on a 
throne of glory, unto him that is 
humbled in earth and ashes ; 

4 From him that weareth purple 

1 Or, to and a crown, " unto him that is clothed 

the porter. ^-^ Q //w ^ frock> 

5 Wrath, and envy, trouble, and }' C. 
unquietness, fear of death, and anger, L1 Ll^ c 
and strife, and in the time of rest 
upon his bed his night sleep, do 
change his knowledge. 

6 A little or nothing is his rest, 
and afterward he is in his sleep, as 
in a day of keeping watch, troubled 
in the vision of his heart, as if he 
were escaped out of a battle. 

7 When all is safe, he awaketh, 
and marvelleth that the fear was 

8 [Such things happen] unto all 
flesh, both man and beast, and that 
is sevenfold more upon sinners. 

(yv. 28-30) is somewhat loosely connected 
with the subject-matter of the chapter, being 
apparently a practical application in the nature 
of advice how to avoid an unhappy life by 
industry, frugality, and piety. 

1. till the day that they return."] The 
Greek of the best MSS. here is difficult, and 
indeed unconstruable. Even if we render 
" till the day of their being buried into the 
mother of all things" (Lat., Aeth.), we obtain 
an unnatural expression. We should expect 
the word ?]DX or ^DXn, " their being gathered 
in," and some word meaning this we believe 
the Greek to have had originally ; e.g. 
(Tvia-rpocjiris of MS. 157 (rendered in the 
A. V.). The Syriac Version has : " and so 
long as they grasp the land of the living." 

2. Their imagination, &'c.] The text starts 
with a remarkable accusative, which the 
Lat., S. H., and Arm. versions, beneficio lin- 
guarum, faithfully represent. To Bretschn. 
is due the suggestion that the original had 
nX, " with," which the translator mistook for 
the sign of the accusative. However, the 
Syriac translation makes the words contained 
in this verse the subject of which the sub- 
stantives in v. 5 are the predicate, verses 3 
and 4 forming a parenthesis, which construc- 
tion seems obviously right. The translation 
should be emended as below. 

their thoughts.] Syr. " their glory." 

and the fear of their heart.] Syr. 

" and the occupation of their heart." 

the imagination of expectation.] 

Syr. " and the end of their words." 

the day of death.] Syr. "till the day 
of their death." 

4. a linen frock.] Syr. "the garment of 

5. According to the punctuation as altered 

in agreement with the Syr. (see -v. 2), a stop 
should be placed at " strife," and " do " altered 
to " doth." The objects of his thought 
enumerated are seven : perhaps the last two 
seem to be nearly the same as the first ; the 
first is rather passion, the sixth rankling 
hatred (Lat. furor and iracundia perseverans ; 
similarly Arm.). 

change his knowledge.] Alter his state of 

6. as in a day of keeping ivatch.] Rather, 
of watch, or of watching. Just as the 
watcher, says Fritzsche, is alarmed by every- 
thing which he sees, so is the dreamer. But 
" a day of watching " seems a very unin- 
telligible expression. It is unfortunate that 
the Syriac deserts us here. The Armenian 
Version gives two very satisfactory emenda- 
tions, evvnviois and kottm, and after that 
he toils with dreams as in the day. 
The period during which he really rests is 
short, scarcely lasting a moment ; during the 
rest of the time he is as hard at work as in 
the daytime. Had the Armenian translator 
been less faithful, it would not have been so 
easy for us to see what he read. 

the vision of his heart.] Syr. " of the 
night," the more ordinary expression. 

7. When all is safe, he awaketh.] So 
Grotius. Bretschneider renders : " at the mo- 
ment when he is rescued from this troubled 
dream." Fritzsche, "at the moment of his 
supposed rescue;" i.e. at the critical moment 
in the vision, when he fancies himself out of 
reach, he wakes up. The expression, how- 
ever, is sufficiently strange to indicate either 
corruption or mistranslation. The Syr. ren- 
ders : " according to the desire in his heart." 
It is not easy to suggest any words which 
would have given rise to both interpretations. 
Perhaps the verse began with words signi- 





b. c. g b Death, and bloodshed, strife, 

L ' and sword, calamities, famine, tribu- 
isf^fa'o. lation, and the scourge ; 

io These things are created for 
, the wicked, and for their salces came 

' Gen. 6. ' 

13. the c flood. 

ll' 1 11 d All things that are of the 

t Gen. 3. 

19. earth shall turn to the earth again : 

c 41 10. an( j t j iat w j 1 j c j 1 j s f ^e '"waters doth 


1. 7 . return into the sea. 

12 All l! bribery and injustice shall 
be blotted out : but true dealing shall 
endure for ever. 

13 The goods of the unjust shall 
be dried up like a river, and shall 
vanish with noise, like a great thunder 
in rain. 


14 While he openeth his hand he B.C. 
shall rejoice : so shall transgressors c,r j_^' 
come to nought. 

15 The children of the ungodly 
shall not bring forth many branches : 
but are as unclean roots upon a hard 

16 -^The weed growing upon every ./jobs. u. 
water and bank of a river shall be & * 8- l6- 
pulled up before all grass. 3 . 

17 Bountifulness is as "a most :i Or, 
fruitful garden, and mercifulness en- "that is' 1 
dureth for ever. Messed: 

as ver. 27. 

18 To labour, and h to be content apml 4 . 
with that a man hath, is a sweet life : ":.. , , 

' _ 1 Inn. 6. 6. 

but he that nndeth a treasure is above 
them both. 

lying " he wakes up with . . . and a cry " 
(njFUPI, misread by Greek nyi^"). The 
phrase Kiupca <rcoTr]pias occurred in iv. 22. 

8. [Stub things].'] As those about to be 

[happen] unto all flesh.] Rather, are 
with all flesh. The verse would seem 
to have been corrupted at an early period. 
The Syriac omits w. 9, 10. 

9. Fritzsche would omit as a gloss the 
word " tribulation(s)," partly with the view of 
gaining a group of seven, partly because the 
word is too general, as he thinks, to occur in 
the middle of such a list. The same diffi- 
culties may have been felt by those copyists 
who put all the words following eVayco-ycu in 
the genitive, and make them depend on it ; 
compare also Schleussner s. v. In rhetorical 
enumerations of this sort, however, we must 
not be too critical. 

11. that which is of the waters doth return 
into the sea.] Syr. " that which is from the 
height to the height," reading D10 for D*D. 
Between these variants there cannot be any 
difficulty in choosing. For the sentiment of 
the Greek not only occurs in Eccles. i. 7, 
but forms a very appropriate conclusion of 
the stanza (see introd. remarks) ; while that 
of the Syriac would scarcely be biblical. 

12. All bribery and injustice.] Syr. " every 
sinner and ungodly man," perhaps para- 
phrasing. For the general reasoning see the 
introductory remarks. 

13. shall be dried up like a river.] Like 
an nT3N or stream which fails in the summer. 

and shall vanish with noise.] Rather, 
shall roar themselves out, i.e. exhaust 
their power, like the thunder in summer ; a 

remarkable comparison. Fritzsche thinks of 
the noise of the thunder being overpowered 
by that of the rain. 

14. While he openeth his hand he shall 
rejoice.] Rather, In the opening of his 
hands one shall rejoice (Bissell) pro- 
bably in the sense of: when such an one is 
made to restore his ill-gotten gains, or is 
emptied of his riches, there is general joy. 

15. The children of the ungodly shall not 
bring forth, is'c] They will therefore be 
unable to fully enjoy their possessions. 

but are as.] Lit. "and" (i.e. nor). Syriac: 
" the root of sinners is like an ear which 
springs up on a rocky crag ; " which, because 
it hath no depth of earth, must soon wither 
away. It seems as if the Syrian were thinking 
of the familiar parable in St. Matt. xiii. 

16. The weed.] The Hebrew 1I1X is trans- 
literated as in other places of the LXX. It 
seems to us that v. \\b should be transferred 
hither. Cp. Job viii. 11, 12. 

17. is as a most fruitful garden.] Lit. a 
garden in blessings. The Syriac has: 
" the works of the just shall be blest in time." 
It is difficult to tell whether the Hebrew JTJD, 
" like Eden," was mistaken for HV^, or 
whether the error is no older than the Syriac 
Version itself. 

18. Here begins the second part of this 
chapter (see introductory remarks). The 
Syriac Version adds at the end of -v. 17, " and 
he that approacheth unto them is like one 
that findeth a treasure : " while for this verse 
it gives "majesty and honour establish the 
name ; yet better than both is he that findeth 
wisdom." The first of these clauses seems 
identical with the second in the Greek, with a 

O 2 



[v. 1928. 


cir. 200. 

19 Children and the building of a 
city continue a man's name : but a 
blameless wife is counted above them 

20 Wine and musick rejoice the 
heart : but the love of wisdom is 
above them both. 

21 The pipe and the psaltery make 
sweet melody : but a pleasant tongue 
is above them both. 

22 Thine eye desireth favour and 
beauty : but more than both corn 
while it is green. 

23 A friend and companion never 
meet amiss : but above both is a wife 
with her husband. 

24 Brethren and help are against B- c. 
time of trouble : but alms shall de- - " 
liver more than them both. 

25 Gold and silver make the foot 
stand sure : but counsel is esteemed 
above them both. 

26 Riches and strength lift up the 
heart : but the fear of the Lord is 
above them both : there is no want 
in the fear of the Lord, and it need- 
eth not to seek help. 

27 The fear of the Lord is z '"a { ver. 17. 
fruitful garden, and k covereth him " 0r > 

' a garden 

above all glory. that is 

28 My son, lead not a beggar's '**' ' 

- 00 Isai. 4. 5 

life ; for better it is to die than to beg. 

slight corruption of DlTOw-'O to some derivative 
of CJ3 ; while the remaining two bear most 
of the traces of interpolation. The Latin 
Version substitutes in ea for imep a/i0orepa. 

19. Children and the building of a city.'] 
Syr. " building and planting." The word 
PJ3 might be pointed so as to mean either 
" building " or " children." The second word 
" building " represents more than once in the 
LXX. the Hebrew rv)33, which might also 
mean " daughters." A comparison with the 
Syriac shews us that tokens is a gloss. The 
true text may therefore have been, " Sons and 
daughters continue a man's name ; but never- 
theless a blameless wife surpasses them." 
We suppose the Aramaising form suggested 
to have given rise to the error of the trans- 
lators. The S. H. Version has here a marginal 
note to prevent the misunderstanding in the 
case of the first word. 

20. Wine and musick.'] Syr. " old wine." 

the love of<tvisdo7?i.] If this be correct, the 
words must represent the Greek 4>ikocro(pia, 
and correspond with similar makeshift ren- 
derings of that word in Syriac and other 
languages. For that which rejoices the heart 
must be something acting on it objectively, 
not subjectively, corresponding therefore with 
" philosophy," but not with the " love of 
wisdom." Syr. " the love of a friend." 

2.2. favour.] Old English for "grace." Cp. 
" young though thou art, thine eye hath staid 
upon some favour that it loves " (Shakespeare, 
'Twelfth Night,' ii. 4). 

corn ivhile it is green.] Lit. the green 
of the sown-land. Compare M. Aurelius, 
x. 35: "The healthy eye must not say ra 
xXopa 6e\a, I want only green ;" Viridia enim 
oculis grata sunt visumque refciunt (Gataker). 
A mong the "ingenious sayings " of Mohammad 
(Freytag, ' Proverbia Arabum,' iii. 1, 608) is 

this : " Aspectus rerum viridium videndi facul- 
tatem auget." 

23. never meet amiss.] It might be sug- 
gested from a comparison with the Syriac 
that the Hebrew was here DO"Uft, meaning 
" greet " rather than "meet." "Greetings" 
or good wishes from friends come never 
amiss; and yet more timely are those paid 
by a wife to her husband (PIB^K J"IX ; J"IX being 
falsely interpreted as " with." This, in ac- 
cordance with a later Rabbinic exegetical 
rule. Comp. Jer. Ber. 14 , Ber. R. 1, and 
other passages). The Arm. and Aeth. agree 
with Syr. in substituting "a good wife" for 
the last words. 

24. Brethren and help are against time of 
trouble.] The Heb. ")]]}, probably employed 
in the original, should have been pointed 
(with Syr.) "lfy and rendered "ally:" "A 
brother and an ally [save] in time of trouble." 
The sentiment of the verse is common in our 
author and elsewhere (e.g. Prov. xvii. 1 7). 

25. make the foot stand sure.] Cp. Ps. 
xxxi. 9. 

counsel.] Sagacity. 

26. it needeth not.] Rather, one need- 
eth not in it: i.e. armed with it, a man 
requires no other help. 

27. a fruitful garden.] See v. 17. The 
Syriac renders similarly in both places. 

and covereth him above all glory.] The 
authorities vary between the sing, and plur. 
for "covereth." Fritzsche decides for the 
singular, on the ground that the subject must 
be " God," who covers his fear [with glory] 
more than all greatness. The original must 
have been difficult, for the Syrian hesitates 
between " is raised " and " is praised." 

28-30. Begging. Cp. xxix. 21 sqq. 

28. lead not a beggar's life.] The Syriac 




E. C. 
cir. 200. 

29 The life of him that dependeth 
on another man's table is not to be 
counted for a life ; for he polluteth 
himself with other men's meat: but 
a wise man well nurtured will beware 

30 Begging is sweet in the mouth 
of the shameless : but in his belly 
there shall burn a fire. 


I The remembrance of death. 3 Death is not to 
be feared. 5 The ungodly shall be accursed. 
II Of an evil and a good name. 14 Wisdom 
is to be tittered. 16 Of what things we should 
be ashamed. 

O DEATH, how bitter is the re- 
membrance of thee to a man 
that liveth at rest in his possessions, 
unto the man that hath nothing to 

B. C. 
cir. 200. 


entirely perverts this very simple sentiment : 
"refuse not him that asketh thee; be not 
good to kill, but be good to preserve alive." 

29. that dependeth.~] Lit. that looketh 
to. The phrase corresponds with the Rab- 
binical TO PI \rh'ch naSDH; " Three lives are 
no lives : he that looketh to the table of 
another," &c. (Bets. 32 b; Abh. de R. N. 25). 

for be polluteth himself. '."] Rather, who 
polluteth himself. Fritzsche takes this 
literally, on the ground that the meat given 
him might very well be unclean ; we prefer 
to take it figuratively. 

but a ivise man well nurtured^ I.e. well 

30. Fritzsche would understand this of 
the contrast between his sweet manner and 
his internal feeling of degradation. The 
"begging" is more frequently interpreted of 
the morsel which he receives, while Grotius 
makes the "fire" that of hunger. The 
author is apparently thinking of Job xx. 12. 


The chapter consists of two parts (the first 
ending with v. 13), which are connected by 
succession in thinking rather than by a logical 
nexus. The first part of the chapter, how- 
ever, is closely bound to the argument in the 
previous chapter. There the writer had 
treated of the evils that afflict man, among 
which " fear of death " was the most real and 
common to all (xl. 1-5). Besides, this was 
an evil the source of which must be traced to 
the Creator Himself. But in the first part 
of ch. xli. the writer endeavours to prove even 
in this respect his previous thesis by shewing 
in the first stanza (jvv. 1-4) that death is not 
such an evil as men represent or imagine it ; 
and, in the second stanza (w. 5-13), that it 
only becomes a real evil to the ungodly (comp. 
also xl. 8). Throughout we notice in the 
treatment of this subject a melancholy absence 
of the hope of another and better life. In the 
first stanza consolations are offered derived 
from the welcome release which death brings 
under certain circumstances, and from its 
general incidence, so that after all it was ulti- 
mately of little consequence how many years 

a man might have to live, while, on the other 
hand, it was right to submit to the will of 
God. Such being the case, the second stanza 
(yv. 5-13) shews that death had real terrors 
for the sinner. The three things upon which 
a man set value and which would remain, as 
reward or otherwise, after his death, are 
described in an ascending climax as property, 
c hildren, reputatio n. In all these three would 
the sinner suffer after his decease. Of these 
three the most precious and most enduring 
was a good name, after which we should 
chief! y~stnve. 

This latter statement naturally leads in the 
second part to an enumeration of the things 
which were shameful, and should therefore 
be avoided. The three introductory verses 
(vt>. 14-16) bear particular reference to this, 
that to be proud or else ashamed of a thing 
it must appear outwardly and publicly : in 
other words, that the reputation of which vye 
are to have such care depends upon this. 
Nineteen things are then enumerated of which 
we should be" ashamed. These apply to the 
various circumstances of life, and they are 
arranged in a certain order and connexion. 
We mark that, in accordance with the pur- 
pose of the writer, only such offences are 
mentioned as may permanently injure a man's 
reputation. Some difficulty may be felt as 
regards the offence mentioned in v. 19 c. We 
have little doubt that (as Fritzsche suggests) 
the expression was proverbial. Nor can we 
doubt that it referred to an unwillingness to 
give to the poor from the abundance of one's 
table (comp. St. Luke xvi. 20, 21). And here, 
indeed, we have a parallel Rabbinic saying 
(Sanh. 92 a) : "He that does not leave a piece 
of bread (P.D) upon his table shall never see 
a sign of blessing" (nZTQ ]WD = no good 
shall ever come to him). [In Jer. Teram. 
45 d it is interdicted to put bread under one's 
arm. Levy (' Neuhebr. Wbrterb.' iv. 154^) 
regards this as directed against superstition, 
but the context shews that it was forbidden 
because perspiration, except from the face, 
was regarded as poisonous.] 

1. Drusius compares Seneca's words: " O 
vita misero longa, felici brevis." 

the remembrance of thee.~] Probably the 
original had " art thou" (cf. Syr.). 



i 9 8 


[v. 29. 

B- c. vex him, and that hath prosperity in 
all things : yea, unto him that is yet 
able to receive meat ! 

2 O death, acceptable is thy sen- 
tence unto the needy, and unto him 
whose strength faileth, that is now 

\?wkom ' n tne l ast a g e 5 anc ^ ' ^ S vexe ^ with 

7hF h a ^ tnm g s > anc ^ to mm tnat despaireth, 
trouble- and hath lost patience ! 

3 Fear not the sentence of death, 
remember them that have been be- 
fore thee, and that come after ; for 
this is the sentence of the Lord over 
all flesh. 

4 And why art thou against the 
pleasure of the most High? there is 
no inquisition in the grave, whether 

thou have lived ten, or an hundred, B.C. 

.11 ' cir. 20: 

or a thousand years. 

5 The children of sinners are abo- 
minable children, and they that are 
conversant in the dwelling- of the 

6 The inheritance of sinners' chil- 
dren shall perish, and their posterity 
shall have a perpetual reproach. 

7 The children will complain of 
an ungodly father, because they shall 
be reproached for his sake. 

8 Woe be unto you, ungodly men, 
which have forsaken the law of the 
most high God ! for if ye increase, it 
shall be to your destruction : 

9 And if ye be born, ye shall be 

liveth at rest in his possessions.] Compare 
Dan. iv. 4, with which the expression in the 
text may agree. 

that hath nothing to vex him.~] The word 
in the text is condemned by the Atticists as 
late Greek. Perhaps it represents }3NE> (Job 
xii. 5). 

to receive meat.'] Compare the opening 
verses of Eccles. xii. The words perhaps 
meant rather to " enjoy the taste (of food);" 
the Heb. DJ?D being interpreted by the Greek 

after the Arab. ^l*!?. 

2. thy sentence.] Also apparently a para- 
phrase for "thou." MS. 155 further adds 
" and thy remembrance." 

that is noiv in the last age.] Fritzsche's 
proposed alteration of eV^a-royr/po) to ecr^n- 
Toytjpa would introduce an impossible accen- 
tuation ; see Kiihner, ' Ausf. Gr.' i. 249, 2nd 

is vexed ivith all things.] There is no 
reason for preferring the marginal variant. 

that despaireth.] Rather, is disbelieving, 
flDN pN. Syr. (Lag.), "without money," 
perhaps JIOO p. 

3. Fear not the sentence of death.] In the 
sense that it is the law and common lot of 
humanity. Grotius compares a fragment of 
Aristophanes, to yap (pojJe~io-6ai rbv davarov 
Xrjpos 7ro\vs tvuo-iv yap rjpiv rovr dcpeiXerai 
rradelv. The Syr. makes it probable that " the 
sentence of" is an insertion by the Greek 

remember them that have been before thee, 
and that come after.] Comp. Eccles. i. 10, 
WT\nvb DJ1 DWJTlk "Remember that 
they are in the same case with thee " (Syr.). 

4. And nvhy art thou against.] Lit. why 
dost thou decline] Evidently this clause 
belongs to the preceding verse. 

there is no inquisition in the graved] That 
question is not asked there ; it makes no dif- 
ference, as regards our condition when we are 
dead, whether our life has been short or long. 

5. and they that are conversant in the dwell- 
ing f the ungodly.] " The reason why they 
are abominable" (Fritzsche). But this ex- 
planation does not seem satisfactory. Syr. " and 
a race of misery (lit. woe to it !) is the gene- 
ration of the wicked." Compare Aeth. "and 
their houses shall be overturned." 'Avao-rpt- 
(popai is employed in Ezek. iii. 1 5 to represent 
DTX'D. It might be suggested that the 
original had here D W> 3B>1 DB>D1, " and 
the dwelling-place of the wicked is loathsome." 

6. inheritance.] Syr. "sovereignty ;" Heb. 
(perhaps) r\'C"\, which might be pointed so as 
to mean either ntjH or ]"MJh. The latter 
would indeed be a Chaldaism, but not out of 
place in our author ; while the former could 
scarcely be used in this way. We believe, 
therefore, that the Syr. version is here correct. 

7. avill complain of] I.e. will have cause 
to do so. Syr. " shall curse;" if this be right, 

the Hebrew probably contained a jingle l??p 

and )*?p\ 

8. which have forsaken the law of the most 
high God.] Syr. " to whom misery clings till 
the day of their death." 

for if ye increase, it shall be to your destruc- 
tion.] This clause must be omitted, as only 
found in 248, Co., and probably a correction 
or interpretation of the next clause, "and if 
ye be born." 

v. io 19.] 




cir. 200. 

" ch. 40. 

i> Prov. 

22. I. 

c ch. 






born to a curse : and if ye die, a 
curse shall be your portion. 

10 a All that are of the earth shall 
turn to earth again : so the ungodly 
shall go from a curse to destruction. 

1 1 The mourning of men is about 
their bodies : but an ill name of 
sinners shall be blotted out. 

12 Have regard to thy name ; for 
'' that shall continue with thee above 
a thousand great treasures of gold. 

13 A good life hath but few days : 
but a good name endureth for ever. 

14 My children, keep discipline in 
peace : for c wisdom that is hid, and 
a treasure that is not seen, what 
profit is in them both ? 

15 d A man that hideth his fool- 

ishness is better than a man that 
hideth his wisdom. 

16 Therefore be shamefaced ac- 
cording to my word : for it is not 
good to retain all shamefacedness ; 
neither is it altogether approved in 
every thing. 

17 Be ashamed of whoredom be- 
fore father and mother : and of a lie 
before a prince and a mighty man ; 

18 Of an offence before a judge 
and ruler ; of iniquity before a 
congregation and people ; of un- 
just dealing before thy partner and 
friend ; 

19 And of theft in regard of the 
place where thou sojournest, and in 
regard of the truth of God and his 

B. C. 
cir. 200. 

9. Your birth and death will both be mis- 

a curse shall be your portion.'] -Ip/nFl. 

10. The first clause occurred above (xl. 1 1) ; 
and as the Syriac omits it, there is grave 
reason for doubting its genuineness here. See 

so the ungodly shall go from a curse to 
destruction.'] In the event of the first clause 
being genuine, the application will be found 
in the sequence from that with which they 
began to that in which they end. 

11. The mourning of men is about their 
bodies.] I.e. the main object of sorrow with 
most men is that their bodies die, but there is 
a worse fate than this, which does not excite 
their apprehension the loss of their name. 
In the case of the sinner that name will 

but an ill name of sinners shall be blotted 
out.] The second hand of S has here ovo/jm 
Se ayaBbv ovk i^a\ei(p8r](TeTai, " but a good 
name shall not be blotted out." This is sup- 
ported by the Arm. Very similar is the reading 
of the Syr. " and the name of them that do 
good," and of the Copt. " and the name of 
good men." This last, <iv6p6mu>v dyadav, is 
the reading of MSS. 155, 308; apaprcoXaiv 
(which appears exclusively in Aeth. and Lat.) 
is perhaps a false interpretation of avav. 
From the agreement of the Syr. and the Greek, 
it seems probable that " the name of good 
men " was clearly expressed in the original. 

12. above.] Rather, longer than. 
From Prov. xxii. 1. The Midrash on that 
passage substitutes "a thousand Dinars of 
gold " for the " silver and gold " of the text. 

Verses 13-xlii. 8 are omitted by the Syriac, 

which substitutes for them a short and 
curious sentiment. Some of the verses before 
us look like centos or quotations from previous 
chapters in the book. 

13. A good life hath but few days.] Lit. 
a number of days, to which the Arm. 
boldly adds " hath not." 

14. in peace.] Proleptically, "and enjoy 
peace therefrom." 

The second half of this verse occurred 
word for word in xx. 30, while v. 15 occurred 
in xx. 31. 

16. Therefore be shamefaced according to 
my word.] So Fritzsche and others ; it may, 
however, mean only " be heedful of my 

it is not good to retain all shamefacedness.] 
Rather, to observe. 

neither is it altogether approved in every 
thing.] This implies the reading ov TvavTcnvao-iv 
ev travri (for iv 7n'o-ret), recorded by Hoeschel, 
and supported by the Copt. ; and this we be- 
lieve to be correct. The best Greek MSS., 
however, offer oviravra irdaiv iv nto-rei, a diffi- 
cult expression variously interpreted (" nor is 
every thing appreciated truly by all," Fritzsche). 
The' Arm. renders " nor at all to please every 
one by faith." A more intelligible explanation 
would be " nor is the rule ' everything to 
every one in confidence ' approved." 

17. The list of cases of shame now given 
amounts rather to an enumeration of the 
persons on whom one should reflect when 
tempted to commit any crime, being those 
whom the crime most deeply hurts. 

before father and mother :] " And mother " 
is omitted by the Arm., perhaps accidentally. 

19. of theft in regard of the place where 





b. c. covenant ; and to lean with thine 
1^200. e jj )OW U p 0n i-^e mea t . an( J f scorn- 
ing to give and take ; 

20 And of silence before them 
that salute thee ; and to look upon an 
harlot ; 

21 And to turn away thy face 
from thy kinsman ; or to take away 

< Matt. 5 . a portion or a gift ; or e to gaze upon . 
another man's wife ; 

22 Or to be overbusy with . his 
maid, and come not near her bed ; 
or of upbraiding speeches before 


friends; and S after thou hast given, B.C. 

... cir. 200. 

upbraid not ; 

23 Or of s iterating and speaking f 5 ch " 2 ' 
again that which thou hast heard ; f c h. 19.7. 
and of revealing of secrets. 

24 So shalt thou be truly shame- 
faced, and find favour before all 


I Whereof we should not be ashamed. 9 Be 
careful of thy daughter. 12 Beware of a 
woman. 15 The works and greatness of 

thou sojournest, and in regard of the truth of 
God and his covenant.'] It seems evident 
that a word has here dropped out, since the 
rhythm of the sentence is otherwise lost. 
Various attempts have been made to correct 
the sentence, among which we may mention 
Bretschneider's supplement " of disbelief," and 
Fritzsche's conjecture that " of the truth " 
was a translation of a false reading for " of 
the curse." Strangely, the true reading is 
here supplied by the Armenian Version, which 
gives " of lying in regard of the truth of God 
and His covenant," omitting the words "of 
a lie before a prince and a mighty man " in 
the second clause of v. 17. We believe that 
the Armenian translator cannot be conjectur- 
ing, but must have found this reading in his 
text. Besides settling the difficulty to which 
we have referred, it is recommended as 
doing away with the tautology of uptrov 
koL ap^ovTos following upon rjyovptvoi kcu 
ftwaorai. For any difference between them 
would be difficult to substantiate. Lastly, 
this reading arranges the crimes in a natural 
order, ranging from the most deadly to the 
lightest. The history of the interpolation of 
v. 17 in the Greek would be an important 
contribution to our knowledge of the vicissi- 
tudes through which the text of this book 
has passed. 

and to lean ivith thine elboiv upon the meat.] 
Lit. to fix the elbow: according to the 
commentators, holding it tight, allowing no 
one else to obtain a portion of it. (See the 
introd. to the chapter.) The Arm. adds 
nXXorpt'ous-, " the bread of others ; " and the 
Aeth. has " to approach to eat the strangers' 

of scorning to give and take.] Rather, 
of railing over giving and taking. 
Another reading is o-Kopmo-pov, " scattering," 
which the marginal annotator cf S. H. ex-" 
plains of adulteration. " From robbing the 
goods of thy neighbour entrusted to thee" 
(Aeth.). " Taking and giving," JH21 NL"E, 

is a common Rabbinical expression for " com- 

20. of silence before them that salute thee.] 
The Syriac, which, as we have noticed, omits 
the whole of the preceding passage, dwells 
on this point at some length. 

21. to turn aivay thy face from.] Rather, 
the face of. Heb. D^D nB>n (1 Kings 
ii. 16, &c.), the opposite of opaais of the 
last verse. 

take aivay a portion or a gift.] Rightly 
referred by Fritzsche to the distribution of 
goods between kinsmen. For the last word, 
JflD, it seems probable that nJD, " a share," 
should have been read ; the corruption per- 
haps occurs elsewhere in this book. 

22. overbusy.] These "maids" in the 
Greek romances and elsewhere are the ordi- 
nary go-betweens. The readings, however, 

23. 24. These verses are attached to the 
following chapter in the Greek editions. 

23. of iterating and speaking again that 
which thou hast heard.] This is apparently 
the only way in which the T. R. can be 
translated ; we should, however, read with S, 
0776 fie vT(pa>aea>s Ao-you cikotjs, of repeating 
a word which thou hast heard. The 
caution is against circulating idle rumours. 

24. Cp. xxxii. 10. 


Having in the previous chapter indicated 
what a man should be ashamed to do, the 
writer marks in the first stanza of this chapter 
(after an introductory verse) the things of 
which a man ought not, and needs not, to be 
ashamed bearing in mind that by the latter 
expression he means that they wili not really 
afiect his reputation. This is indicated in 
the last two clauses of v. 8, with which the 
stanza closes (w. 1-8). For v . 8 c (the 
wording of which should be compared with 

V. I 

-4- J 


20 1 

cir. 200. 


F these things be not thou 
ashamed, and a accept no 
person to sin thereby : 

2 Of the law of the most High, 
and his covenant ; and of judgment 

" Lev. 19 

Deut. 1. 

Prov. 24. 

ch. 20. 22. to justify the ungodly ; 

3 " Of reckoning with thy partners B. c. 
and c travellers ; or of the gift of the ci ^! 
heritage of friends ; 1: Or, 

4 Of exactness of balance 
weights ; or of getting much 
little ; 

n J Of thy 
ailU partners' 

or speech. 

1 Or, com- 
Or, of the giving 


xli. 2 4 a) seems to imply that there was a false 
feeling of shame, which might prevent a man 
from doing that which, if "truly instructed " 
and disciplined, he would not hesitate to do 
before all men. The difficulty, that w. 6, 7 
seem not to be formally included in the 
enumeration of things not to be ashamed of, 
is only apparent. The proposal to put 
v. 8 before w. 6, 7 in which case they 
should be included in the next stanza (placed 
in connexion with -v. 9) is attractive, but 
not necessary. For, although there may be 
difference in form, w. 6, 7 manifestly con- 
tain, like the other verses in the stanza, direc- 
tions concerning things which a man need not 
be ashamed to do. And possibly they may 
not have been formally connected with what 
a man should not be " ashamed of," because 
in the nature of things they would take place 
in the privacy of home and not in view of the 
public. Lastly, it is evident that with v. 9 
another train of thought begins, no longer 
referring to a man's actions, but to his 

The large number of directions needful in 
regard to domestic life naturally leads the 
writer to revert to what seems to have been 
a topic of frequent lucubration with him : 

that of danp-hrprs ;inrj wnrnpn This forms 

the subject of stanzas 2 and 3, each of three 
verses (yv. 9-1 1; w. 12-14). On each of 
these points we might adduce Rabbinic paral- 
lels. Indeed, w. 9, 10 although in a dif- 
ferent, and as it seems to us more apt form 
are quoted in t he Talmud (perhaps from 
memory), as "written in the book of Ben 
Sira" (Sanh. 100 b). With this other Tal- 
mudic sayings may be compared such as, 
" Happy he who has male children ; woe to 
him that has female children " (Sanh. u. s. ; 
Qidd. 82 ; Babha B. 16 b); "A boy comes 
into the world : his loaf comes in his hand 
a girl, nothing at all with her" (Nidd. 31 b). 
Indeed, it was h^udkally explained that the 
word mpJ for "maiden " meant n&a H"p3, 
" she cometh empty " into the world (Nidd. 
u. s.). And as regards women generally, it 
is sufficient to refer to such sayings as 
" Women are of a light mind " (Shabb. 33 b; 
Quid. Sob); "Multiply not talk with a 
woman ; they say, with one's own wife : how 
much more with the wife of one's neighbour ? 
Hence the sages say, if a man multiplies talk 
with a woman he brings evil upon himself, he 


neglects study of the Law, and his end will 
be to inherit Gehinnonv' (Ab. i. 5). 

As regards the^econd part of our chapter 
(beginning with v. 15), it might seem as if it 
were not in any way connected with what 
had preceded. But if we regard ch. xxxix. 1 6- 
xlii. 14 as so much matter intercalated, then 
ch. xlii. 15 would resume and continue the 
main subject-matter from ch. xxxix. 15. In 
that case one stanza (the fifth in the chapter, 
W. 15-20) would set forth the praises of 
God in Creation, Providence, and Revelation ; 
while another (the sixth, w. 21-25) would 
be more specially devoted to the subject of 
Creation. We note in the two concluding 
verses two Chokhmab sayings : the antithetic 
dualism in nature (similar to that formerly 
noticed in the moral world ; cp. xxxiii. 14, 15), 
as well as the permanence of nature (xlii. 24) ; 
and secondly, the higher beneficial purpose 
of every thing in nature {y. 25). 

1. accept no person to sin thereby!] Sin not 
therein out of false shame. 

2. Of the law of the most High.] I.e. to 
observe its ordinances and commandments 
in any circumstances and before any persons. 

and of judgment to justify the ungodly!] 
This clause has occasioned some difficulty. 
Baduellus thought " be not ashamed " might 
mean "be not moved by false shame." Grotius 
still more harshly supplies " obloqui sententiis 
eorum qui id agunt." Fritzsche would take 
the words literally, to justify the ungodly 
when he happens to be in the right : a very 
improbable sentiment. The MSS. and Ver- 
sions give no help. We prefer adopting the 
emendation (of Luther ?), tov evo-eftrj, " to 
justify the pious;" i.e. to give sentence in 
his favour, however unpopular such an action 
may be. Cp. Prov. xvii. 15. An interesting 
rendering (cited by Fritzsche) is " to punish 
the ungodly." Cicero tells us that (diKaia>- 
Brjcrav was the euphemistic expression for 
" they have been executed," in Sicily. 

3. Of reckoning ivith thy partners.] Versions 
and commentators are divided between this 
interpretation and " of talking with." The 
latter, although supported by Grotius (" quid 
impedit quominus quis aut sodales aut viae 
comites suavi sermone oblectet") and Fritz- 
sche,seemstootrifling forthisplace. "Reckon- 
ing with thy partners " might mean (as the 
Aeth. glosses) concerning the profits; but 



[v. 5 10. 

cir. 200. 

II Or, 



H Or, 

B Or, 


5 And of merchants' " indifFerent 
selling ; of much correction of chil- 
dren ; and to make the side of an 
evil servant to bleed. 

6 Sure keeping is good, where an 
evil wife is ; and shut up, where 
many hands are. 

7 Deliver all things in number 
and weight ; and put all in writing 
that thou " givest out, or receiv- 
est in. 

8 Be not ashamed to " inform the 
unwise and foolish, and the extreme 

aged 1 that contendeth with those 
that are young : thus shalt thou be 
truly learned, and approved of all men 

9 The father waketh for the 
daughter, when no man knoweth ; 
and the care for her taketh away 
sleep : when she is young, lest she 
pass away the flower of her age ; 
and being married, lest she should be 
hated : 

10 In her virginity, lest she should 
be defiled and gotten with child in 


cir. 200 

II Or, _ 
that is 
of forni- 

what is reckoning with travellers ? Further, 

"m ?]} (if the original of nepl \6yov) could 
scarcely mean more than " concerning the 
matter of." We therefore suggest that in 
the Heb. IV1K1 "inn 121 by, the last word 
was corrupt for nsi, and that the original 
meant "concerning the matter of a relative 
and a brother," i.e. be not ashamed to own 
brotherhood and connexion. 

or of the gift of the heritage of friends.'} 
Ordinarily interpreted as if the original had 
eraipois, i.e. of giving legacies to friends, in 
spite of the disapproval of the heirs. Perhaps 
the phrase is metaphorical, the " heritage of 
friends " meaning those privileges to which 
friends have a natural claim. A few MSS. 
and Arm. read " others " for " friends." 

4. or of getting much or Iitt/e.~] I.e. of 
acquiring wealth, whether in large quantities 
for fear of envy, or in small for fear of being 
thought mean (Grot.). 

5. of merchants' indifferent selling?} Rather, 
of the money gained by selling and 
merchants. But Fritzsche is evidently- 
right in substituting for the last word "and 
merchandise," supposing "lnD of the original 
to have been wrongly pointed. 

to make the side, <&>Y.] See xxxiii. 24. 

6. The suggestion of Gaab that w. 6, 7 
should be placed after v. 8 seems recom- 
mended on syntactic grounds ; but it is not 
necessary for the sense. (See introd.) 

Sure keeping.} Lit. a seal. The seal 
is probably to protect the goods (" vilissima 
utensilium anulo clausa," Tacitus, 'Annals,' 
ii. 2), rather than the woman. 

shut up.} Viz. the stores ; Copt, strangelv, 
" thy hand." 

(where many hands are.} Aeth. " comers." 
Rather, "servants." Compare the Latin 
fares for " slaves:" exilis domus est ubi non et 
multa super sunt et dominion fallunt et prosunt 

7. Deliver all things?} Lit. whatever 
thou deliverest, i.e. to the members of 
the household, " [let it be]." 

8. that contendeth ivith those that are young.} 
I.e. in those contests which are only suitable 
for youth. The marginal reading is found in 
three MSS., and also in the Arm., Aeth., Copt., 
and S. H. versions. Compare xxv. 2 and the 
variant there. 

9. The Syriac Version recommences here - 
The following passage repeats some of the 
matter of chaps, xxv., xxvi. Some fragments 
of the original are preserved in the Talmud 
(Sanh. 100 b). 

The father ivaketh for the daughter ivhen no 
man knozveth.} Lit. a daughter is to 
her father a hidden sleeplessness. 
But iinoicpvcpos might be taken with dvyarrjp, 
" a hidden daughter," i.e. a maiden (Grotius). 
Syr. " a daughter is very precious to (or heavy) 
upon her father." Both these renderings are 

mistranslations of the Hebrew (IVnfcO D3 
K1C n:i00). The Talmud quotes (with 
slight alterations) w. 9 and 10 as from Ben 
Sira : " A daughter is a delusive treasure to 
her father [the Heb. words as just quoted] : 
from fear he cannot sleep. When she is little, 
perhaps she may be seduced (J) ; when she is 
grown up, perhaps she will go astray [we trans- 
late not literally] ; when she is marriageable 
[the difference between this and the previous 
age being six months, according to Jer. 
Yebam. 3 a], perhaps she will not be married ; 
when she is married, perhaps she will not have 
children ; when she is old, perhaps she will 
practise magic" (Sanh. 100 b, and with only 
slight differences in the so-called ' Second 
Alphabet of Ben Sira'). 

lest she pass away the flower of her age.} 
Syr. " lest she be despised," in the sense of 
not attracting suitors. The meaning is : she 
may pass the best of her life without being 

10. The antithesis would be improved by 
transposing clauses b and c 

V. II- 




c. c. 

cir. 200. 

her father's house j and having an 
husband, lest she should misbehave 
herself; and when she is married, 
lest she should be barren. 

1 1 ^ Keep a sure watch over a 
shameless daughter, lest she make 
thee a laughingstock to thine ene- 
mies, and a byword in the city, and 
a reproach among the people, and 
make thee ashamed before the multi- 

12 Behold not everybody's c beau- 
ty, and sit not in the midst of 

13 For from garments cometh a B.C. 
moth, and ^from women wickedness. Cl ^ - 

14 Better is the 'churlishness of a Gen -3- 
man than a courteous woman, a 1 o r , 
woman, / say. which bring-eth shame wicked - 
and reproach. 

15 I will now remember the works 
of the Lord, and declare the things 
that I have seen : In the words of 
the Lord are his works. 

16 The sun that giveth light look- 
eth upon all things, and the work 
thereof is full of the glory of the 

lest she should misbehave herself, '.] = DUCTI, 
Syr. (Fritzsche). 

11. Keep a sure watch over a shameless 
daughter.'] = xxvi. 10. The Syr. omits 
" shameless," which may have been interpo- 
lated from the parallel. 

a reproach among the people!] Lit. sum- 
moned by the people (Arm.). Syr. "in 
the assembly of the people," probably correctly, 

^?7\\>1 having been misread TTIpD. 

The Syr. adds, " from the place where she 
dwells let her not go forth ; and let her not 
go about the houses." 

12. Behold not every body 's beauty .] Rather, 
look not upon any man in (= on 
account of?) beauty; but iv KaWopfj may 
be a mistranslation of rnorn, " with desire." 
The Syr. " shew not every man what is in thy 
heart," probably represents the same original 
differently pointed. 

and sit not.] Lit. sit not as counsel- 
lor. The original would appear to have 

had (cf. Syr.) TlD pTln bit, "take not 
sweet counsel," in imitation of Ps. iv. 15. 

13. wickedness."] Rather, "the wicked- 
ness of a woman." So all MSS. ; ywaiKus 
is omitted by Aid., Arm., Aeth. ; " of a man " 
is substituted by the Lat. The Syr. has : " for 
as a moth falls upon a garment, so doth 
jealousy upon a woman from the wickedness 
of her fellow," clearly endeavouring to explain 
a difficult text. It is possible that the Latin 
Version may have here preserved the truth : 
" from a woman proceeds the evil (or hurt) of 
her husband," PIE'S of the original being in- 
tended for ntP'K, but read by both Syr. and 
Greek as nt*>K. The ancients believed in 
"spontaneous generation." The moth coming 
out of the garment is used by Menander (ed. 
Meineke, p. 198) as an illustration of the fact 
that " that which cometh out of the man 
defileth the man." 

14. Ttte _misogynv of the author reaches 
its climax. 

churlishness.] The marginal rendering is 
preferable. We have already seen reason for 
thinking that t^X JT) may have meant " a 
wicked man." 

courteous.] Rather, who doeth good. 

a woman which bringeth shame and re- 
proach.] Although the Syriac fails us here, it 
seems nevertheless easy to detect a slight mis- 
translation. The context shews that some 
kind of argument a fortiori was intended; 
dyadonoios, nTOD, of the first clause being 
opposed to flB^O in the second, the latter 
meaning " who doeth evil," as in Prov. xii. 4. 
The clause will then mean: and a woman 
who doeth evil is a disgrace. 

15. and declare the things that I have seen.] 
A single experience not sufficing for all. 

In the words of the Lord are his works.] 
I.e. by His word His works were created, as 
the Syr. and Aeth. gloss. The Syr. adds, 
"and all creatures do His pleasure;" the Copt. 
" and the praise of His judgments has come to 
pass (?)." It is not improbable that a clause 
may have been lost. 

16. With v. 15 begins the second part of 
the chapter, on which see the remarks in the 

The sun that giveth light looketh upon all 
things!] The Syr. divides the verbs between 
the two clauses : " like a sun that riseth over 
all, are the mercies of the Lord revealed 
upon all H is works." It is, however, probable 
that the second clause was non )b'VD N?0, 

t -: - : " 

" His works are full of His mercy." The 
verse probably means that the whole range 
of objects on which the sun looks down are 
full of His glory, and is an explanation of the 
restriction " that I have seen " in v. 15. 

and the work thereof is full of the glory of 
the Lord.] Rather, and His work is full 
of His glory. 




[v. 17- 


b.c. 17 'The Lord hath not given 
- ' power to the saints to declare all his 
27 c # ' 43 ' marvellous works, which the Al- 
mighty Lord firmly settled, that 
whatsoever is might be established 
for his glory. 

18 He seeketh out the deep, and 
the heart, and considereth their crafty 

Or, the devices : for : ' the Lord knoweth all 
that may be known, and he beholdeth 
the signs of the world. 

19 He declareth the things that 
are past, and for to come, and 

revealeth the steps of hidden b. c. 

. . cir. 200 


20 S No thought escapeth him, /Job 42, 
neither any word is hidden from him. Isai. 29. 

21 He hath garnished the excel- 15- 
lent works of his wisdom, and he is 
from everlasting to everlasting : unto 
him may nothing be added, neither 
can he be diminished, and he hath no 
need of any counsellor. 

22 Oh how desirable are all his 
works ! and that a man may see even 
to a spark. 

17. bath not given power.'] " Hoc prae- 
fatur ne putet a se expectandum ut res verbis 
aequet " (Grotius). 

iv hie b the Almighty Lord firmly settled, that 
whatsoever is might be established for his 
glory. .] The Syriac renders, "He has given 
courage to them that fear Him to stand 
before His glory." The verb represented 
by " firmly settled " and " given courage " 
would seem to have been "V3jin (Dan. ix. 
27). The last clause is probably rightly 
rendered by the Syr. " to stand before H is 
glory" (see Isa. vi.). So far beyond all de- 
scription is that glory, that it cannot even be 
contemplated by the angels. 

18. the deep and the heart.] The two most 
inscrutable things. Comp. ch. i. 3 ; Dan. 
ii. 22. 

and considereth their crafty devices!] Pro- 
bably nisbim (Job xi. 6), "secrets" (cf. Syr.), 

perhaps read with 1 for 7 by the Greek 

all that may be knowing " Every conscience," 
a few MSS., Copt., Aeth., Arm. Heb. JTID 
of Eccles. x. 20. 

and he beholdeth the signs of the world.] 
The expression might also be rendered "the 
sign of eternity." With the former inter- 
pretation it is explained of the portents of the 
world (De Wette, Aeth.); with the latter 
(Arm.) of the signs whence the future may 
be known (Fritzsche). Neither of these views 
is satisfactory. The Syr. (in v. 20) renders: 
" there are manifest before Him all that come 

into the world;" reading cb\S nnix TO for 

a'piyn niX by. We are inclined to believe 
that this emendation is correct. 

19. He declareth.] Comp. Isa. xli. 22, Sec. 
But it may be questioned whether the ori- 
ginal should not have been pointed JTP, "he 

knoweth," rather than l?Hi\ 

and revealeth the steps of hidden things.] 
Perhaps " makes out the track," finds the 
clue to. The " hidden things" are not neces- 
sarily "the secrets of the Divine world-plan" 

21. He hath garnished the excellent works of 
his wisdom!] See xvi. 27. 

and he is from everlasting to everlasting.] 
The MSS. vary between " who is," " and 
while he is," " as he is." The first of these 
is supported by the versions, but cannot be 
right, since evidently the reference is to the 
uniformity and perpetuity of nature, not to 
the eternalness of God. Fritzsche therefore 
adopts ecos for the Hebrew "li]J, in which case 
the verse should have been rendered " and 
they are still." We believe that either the 
reading of S, as (" he has ordered them as they 
are," i.e. in that arrangement in which they 
abide), must be adopted, or else /cai eort, " and 
they exist," must be read, ews being regarded 
as having been interpolated from v. 22, of 
which wy and 6V were further corruptions. 

unto him.] More probably unto them. 

may nothing be.] Rather, has nothing 

of any counsellor.] " Ad conservandam 
earn molem" (Grotius). 

22. Oh how desirable are all his works!] 

x\va no. 

and that a man may see even to a spark.] 
Both text and interpretation are uncertain. 
The reading rendered by the A. V. is that of 
C. S. and a few other MSS. The other 
reading, ws, gives practically no meaning. 
Baduellus explains the former as signifying 
that there is nothing, however small, not even 
a spark, which does not give evidence of the 
beauty cf creation ; since, adds Grotius, a 
spark produces light and heat, both of them 
" ad vitam et artes necessariae." ' Drusius 
suggests as an alternative, " yet all a man can 
see therefore is up to a spark," i.e. human 
knowledge of creation does not extend beyond 
a minimum. We can scarcelv believe that 


cir. 200. 

ch. 33. 



23 All these things live and remain of another : and who shall be 
for ever for all uses, and they are all with beholding his glory ? 

24 s All things are double one 
against another : and he hath made 
nothing imperfect. 

25 One thing establisheth the good 



dr. 200. 


I The works of God in heaven, and in earth, 
and in the sea, are exceeding glorious and 
wonderful. 29 Yet God himself in his power 
and wisdom is above all. 

the original was rightly translated. A hint, 
however, of the true text is probably preserved 
in the alternative reading <us-, introducing an 
exclamatory clause, parallel to the first ; HJD1 

ri1X-r? DV, " and how sparkling (or 
' brilliant," Ezek. i. 7) are they to look 
upon." " Sparks " was a false punctuation of 
the second word; o-n-ivdqpes of MS. 106 is 
probably the true reading in the Greek. 

23. Cp. xxxix. 17. 

24. = xxxiii. 15. 

imperfect] Rather, failing. Heb. ^Dl 
(cp. Syr.), otiosus, in Rabbinic usage fre- 
quently in the sense of " idle," " void ;" cp. 
Lat. vacuus. 

25. One thing establisheth the good of 
another.] Syr. " this with this in pairs." 


Before giving an outline of this chapter, 
we have to remark that we can only do so in 
regard to its present Greek form. In the Syr. 
the text ceases with v. 12 (indeed, the two 
previous verses also are wanting or defective). 
We will not offer any conjecture as to the 
reason of this remarkable omission. But we 
have no hesitation in expressing our belief 
that the present Greek text does not faithfully 
represent the Hebrew original, but has been 
modified in a Hellenistic sense by the younger 
Siracide. As a special instance of this we 
refer to the purely Hellenistic sentiment in 
t\ 27 b, which is certainly a spurious addition. 

In the Greek text the chapter continues 
the previous argument, and that in a manner 
and language which almost reaches the sub- 
lime. Th e theme is Creation : heaven, earth, 
and sea, as shewing forth the glory of their 
Maker. This, in five stanzas, to which a 
sixth is added in praise of the great Creator. 
Each of the first five stanzas refers to some 
department of God's works, and closes with 
a kind of eulogy (in stanza i. v. 5 ; in stanza ii. 
v. 10; in stanza iii. v. 12 b\ in stanzas iv. 
and v., which are conjoined, v. 26). The last 
stanza (vi.) forms a great eulogy. In general 
we mark in the first five stanzas two divisions : 
things in heaven the first three stanzas ; 
and things on earth stanzas iv. and v. A 
symbolism seems to attach to the number 
of the verses in each part. The first part 

consists of 5 + 5 + 2 verses in all twelve 
(the symbolical number of Israel), and de- 
scribes things in heaven. The second part 
consists of fourteen verses ten (the number 
of the world) for earthly phenomena, and 
four verses for those in the sea, while the 
grand concluding eulogy (in stanza vi.) con- 
sists of seven verses, which is the covenant- 

The first stanza, with its concluding eulogy, 
treats of the sun (i"v. 1-5). The second 
stanza, with its eulogy {yv. 6-10), is devoted 
to moon and stars. Here we may note some 
remarkable Rabbinic parallels as set forth in 
Ber. R. (the Midrash on Gen.), par. vi. We 
mark especially the designation of the moon 
as " an indication of times " the Jews cal- 
culating the year by the moon and "the 
sign of feasts," the festal calendar being 
arranged according to the moon. Further, 
if, as we believe, the concluding words of v. 6 
(arj/jLelov aicovos) should be translated " an 
everlasting sign " (not " sign of the world "), 
we have here another Rabbinic parallel, since 
calculation by the moon was regarded as a dis- 
tinctive sign of and for Israel, whereas the sun 
served as the distinctive sign for the Gentile 
nations who calculated by it. Manifold and 
very curious is the application made of this 
notion in the Haggadah. Thus the obscura-- 
tions of sun or moon were supposed to have 
each a special significance. Similarly, as the 
sun is in the sky only by day, but the moon by 
night and day, so the Gentiles had only part in 
this world, but Israel in this and the next ; and 
again, as when the light of the sun sets that of 
the moon grows and spreads, so would it be 
in regard to the night of the Gentiles and the 
light of Israel. In fact, the constant renewal 
of the moon was an emblem of the constant 
renovation of Israel. Lastly, as regards the 
allusion in v. 8 to the attending " camps " of 
the stars (see note on that verse), we recall 
the Rabbinic legend, that because the moon 
had humbled herself to rule only by night 
God had appointed the stars to attend and 
accompany her, both when she rose and when 
she went down. 

The third is a brief stanza about the rain- 
bow (yv. 11, 12), and serves as transition 
from objects in heaven to phenomena affecting 
earth, which are referred to in stanza iv. 
(yv. 13-22), while the fifth and closely-allied 
stanza (yv. 23-26) is devoted to those pre- 





b. c. '"T^HE pride of the height, the clear 
JL firmament, the beauty of hea- 
ven, with his glorious shew ; 

2 The sun when it appeareth, de- 
claring at his rising a marvellous 


esse! "instrument, the work of the most 

3 At noon it parcheth the coun- 
try, and who can abide the burning 
heat thereof? 

4 A man blowing a furnace is in 
works of heat, but the sun burnetii 
the mountains three times more ; 


Ids course. 

breathing out fiery vapours, and B. C 
sending forth bright beams, it dim- '!l!! 
meth the eyes. 

5 Great is the Lord that made it ; 

and at his commandment !l it run- i; Or, h 
neth hastily. 

6 " He made the moon also to Gen. 1 
serve in her season for a declara- p*'_ *, 
tion of times, and a sign of the x 9- 

7 ^From the moon is the sign of * Exod. 
feasts, a light that decreaseth in her 

sented by the sea. The concluding (sixth) 
stanza (yv. 27-33) is> as already stated, a 
grand eulogy. As concluding the Chokbmah 
utterances, it appropriately closes with a 
reference to it (v. 33^). 

1. It would be difficult to improve on the 
Authorized Version here. 

The pride of the height.'] The three mem- 
bers of this verse are apparently to be regarded 
as co-ordinate, the whole sentence being 
either exclamatory, or explanatory of the 
"glory" of xlii. 25 b. Grotius and Fritzsche, 
however, make " the pride of the height " 
predicate and the rest of the verse subject. 
The Copt, renders : " the boast of the height 
of the purity of the firmament." 

2. The sun when it appeareth, declaring at 
his rising.'] Some object is wanted for ' de- 
claring," which Fritzsche re-translates "ISD'O. 
Grotius read iv ev86^<o for eV e'o8w, with 
Co., interpreting this, "telleth of the glorious 
one ; " the Aeth. seems to have had some 
similar reading, which cannot be right. 
Perhaps the original for "13DD had some 
derivative of ~)Q', meaning either " beautiful " 

or " shining," Arab, .sun and Jun\ (used 

especially of the dawn to translate PU3 by 
Jewish- Arabic commentators). 

a marvellous instrument?] " A master- 

3. At noon.] Lit. at the noon there- 
of, i.e. caused by it. 

The second clause is from Ps. xix. 7. 

4. A man blowing a furnace is in works 
of heat.] "Is" should be omitted. The 
sentence will then mean: A man blowing 
a furnace in works of heat [produces 
great heat]. But this sense is not satisfactory, 
for it is much more natural to compare the 
sun with the furnace than with the man who 
blows it. Syr. " more than the furnace which 
blows in the work of the smith ; " and this, 
there is reason to believe, represents the 

original, except that " blows " should rather 
have been rendered " which is blown," 
"fanned" (rlB3D); and "the work of the 
smith " perhaps by " in the workshop (officina) 
of the smith." Kavfiaros for ^aXicdus is 
probably due to Kavparos in v. 3. Grotius 
wished to read ivepyos KavfxciTos, " produces 
heat," which the Aeth. apparently translates. 

breathing out fiery -vapours?] Heb. perhaps 
ITD*, for which the Syr. would appear to 
have read IITQ, " his ashes." 

5. and at his commandment it runneth 
hastily.] The other reading, " it stoppeth " 
(a few Greek MSS. and S. H.), is merely a 
transcriber's error. 

6. He fnade the moon also to serve in her 
season.] The reading here translated is found 
only in 248, Go. The other MSS. read " and 
the moon in all things for her season," in 
which " in all things " has no obvious meaning. 
Syr. : " the moon, too, standeth for a time." 
From this it seems clear that Grabe rightly 
emended <rV ardcrei for iv nam, " the moon 
is at her station at her season," viz. at night 

for a declaration of times.] The calendars 
of the ancient nations were lunar; compare 
the Greek phrase Kara a-eXrjvrjv ayeiv ras 
I'lfiepas. But the special reference here is to 
the Jewish calculation of time (see introd.). 

and a sign of the world.] Compare xlii. 18. 
Rather, an everlasting sign. So also the 
Syr., S. H., Copt, Gutmann. This is the 
natural interpretation of the words. Fritz- 
sche's explanation, " a sign of the future, 
whence the future may be known," cannot be 

7. the sign of feasts.] E.g. the Passover. 

a light that decreaseth in her perfection?] 
I.e. "after the full moon" (Fritzsche). The 
expression reminds us of Job xxvi. 10, 
TC'n Dy 11K IV^ri iy. We should expect 
a different phenomenon from that men- 




B. C 
cir. 200. 

8 The month is called after her 
fl^ 1 ' name, increasing wonderfully in her 

changing, being an instrument of 
the armies above, shining in the fir- 
mament of heaven ; 

9 The beauty of heaven, the glory 
of the stars, an ornament giving light 
in the highest places of the Lord. 

10 At the commandment of the 
Holy One they will stand in their 
order, and never faint in their 

11 c Look upon the rainbow, and 

praise him that made it ; very beau- B. c. 
tiful it is in the brightness thereof. 

12 It compasseth the heaven a- 
bout with a glorious circle, and 

the d hands of the most High have d isai. 4 o. 
bended it. I2 ' &c " 

13 By his commandment he mak- 
eth the snow to fall apace, and 
sendeth swiftly the lightnings of his 
judgment. 'Deut.28. 

14 Through this ''the treasures]^ g 22 
are opened : and clouds fly forth as p s- 135- V 

r 1 Jer. 10. 13. 

fowls. & SI . l6 * 

tioned in 8 b to be described here ; and indeed 
the particular phenomenon which gave the 
sign of the feast, viz. the moon being full. 
If this was represented by the Aramaic "ID J, 
both the Greek and Syriac renderings could 
be easily accounted for. 

8. The month is called after her name, in- 
creasing wonderfully in her changing.] The 
tirst clause should be in brackets, since the 
second clearly refers to the moon, not to the 
month. The verse is thought to have referred 
to the Hebrew Uy and rTV; the latter being 
the older and more poetical word for the 
" month," whereas KH'n was the ordinary 
word. The Greek /x?)i/ and ^vq are com- 
parable ; Drusius observes that the same 
remark holds good of the Flemish and 
English words. It does not, however, apply 
to the Aramaic and Syriac languages ; whence 
the verse has been used to prove that the 
Siracide wrote in Hebrew. [Nevertheless 
the above interpretation is not free from diffi- 
culty. The original of the verse, as the 
consensus of Gr. with Svr. shews, must have 
been either \OW2 Kl n rTV or 1DBO KIM EHf"!, 
either of which would be an unnatural way 
of expressing the sentiment in the text'; 
meaning properly "the month" or "the 
moon is like its name," in some particular 
to be further explained. If the original con- 
tained the latter of the two words suggested, 
it should probably have been pointed 5>*7n 
" He (or, as we say, she) is new, as his name 
(new moon, t^Hh) implies." The last clause 
of the former verse will then have referred to 
the full moon, and this to the new moon, 
while the next clause of this verse refers to 
its divers phases.] 

an instrument of the armies above.] Rather, 
of the camps. Fritzsche accepts the in- 
terpretation of Grotius, "a beacon," i.e. a 
general signal in accordance with which the 
armies direct their movements. Comp. here 

also the Jewish legend, referred to in the 

A full stop should be placed at the end of 
this verse. The next refers to the stars. 

9. in the highest places of the Lord.] Some 
MSS. and Versions have: "in the highest 
places Lord." 

10. they will stand.] Rather, they stand. 

in their order.] Heb. Dt32ti*D3, rite. 

and never faint in their watches.] Better 
Greek would have been KaraXvo-coai ras 4>v\a- 
k6s. Syr. " and change not in their courses." 
This makes it probable that the original was 

1S?JP (Isa. li. 20; misread by the Syr. )zbw), 
with which the " courses " (DPPnXVlB ; per- 
haps misread DiTmiVO) agree better than 
the " watches " of the Greek translator. The 
"courses" of the constellations are familiar. 

The rest of this chapter is wanting in the 
Syriac Version. 

11. in the brightness thereof] Cp. Ezek. i. 2 8. 

12. have bended it.] Perhaps have 
stretched it, the metaphor having changed. 

13. By his commandment he maketh the snow 
to fall apace.] The sentence is inelegant if 
the subject be God (Grotius), but we cannot 
well supply " the sky " with Drusius. The 
Aeth. would seem to have read x i < v -> " the 
snow pours down ;" Fritzsche's suggestion 
that the verbs were used intransitively in the 
original is, however, simpler. The mention 
of snow itself in this place is rather surprising. 

the lightnings of his judgment.] Cp. Ps. 
xviii. 15, &c. 

14. Through this.] Perhaps p *?$, "for 
this purpose." 

treasures.] The storehouses in which the 
biblical poets figuratively represent hail, snow, 
&c.,as piled up; see especially Job xxxviii. 22. 

fly forth as fowls.] Compare the phrase 
of Aeschylus, XevKomtpoi. vi(pu8(s. 



!> i5- 


B. C. 

cir. 200. 

R'Or, to 
groan as 
a woman 
in her 

15 Bv his great power he malceth 
the clouds firm, and the hailstones 
are broken small. 

16 At his sight the mountains are 
shaken, and at his will the south 
wind bloweth. 

17 The noise of the thunder mak- 
eth the earth " to tremble : so doth 
the northern storm and the whirl- 
wind : as birds flying he scattereth the 
snow, and the falling down thereof 
is as the lighting of grasshoppers : 

18 The eye marvelleth at the 
beauty of the whiteness thereof, and 
the heart is astonished at the raining 
of it. 

19 The hoarfrost also as salt he J*, c. 
poureth on the earth, and being con- cir i^' 
gealed, ' it lieth on the top of sharp " 0r > 

Stakes. the point 

20 When the cold north wind "(takes. 
bloweth, and the water is congeal- 
ed into ice, it abideth upon every 
gathering together of water, and 
clotheth the water as with a breast- 

21 It devoureth the mountains, 
and burneth the wilderness, and 
consumeth the grass as fire. 

22 A present remedy of all is a 
mist coming speedily : a dew coming 
"after heat refresheth. the heat. 

15. On the one hand, the light and elastic 
particles of cloud are combined into heavy 
masses ; and, on the other, solid blocks of ice 
are splintered into hailstones. 

16, 17. These verses have become dis- 
arranged in most of the MSS.; the original 
order ija, 16 a, 16 b, 17 b must be restored 
from MSS. 23, &c, S. H., and Copt. Accord- 
ingly we arrange them as follows : 

17 a. The noise of the thunder tnaketh the 
earth to tremble.'] See margin. 

16 a. at his sight the mountains are shaken.] 
Cp. Ps. 1. 2, &c. If the original was lJJ'Sin, 
it may have signified "at its flashing " {i.e. the 
lightning): cp. Job xxxvii. 15. 

1Gb. and at his will the south wind bloweth.] 
JDTI, Ps. lxxviii. 26. 

17 b, &c. so doth the northern storm and the 
whirlwind.] Perhaps the original order was 
mjJDI H31D }1QS DJ, "so too the north wind, 
storm and whirlwind." The variation of ex- 
pression in the text is an ornament of Greek 
rather than of Semitic poetry. 

as birds flying.] Rather, "alighting;" 
deponens ad sedendum, Lat. 

he scattereth.] Heb. pyi, perhaps here used 
intransitively, as in Hos. vii. 9. This will 
.accord better with the simile. 

lighting of grasshoppers.] More probably, 
"of locusts," as the ancient versions render 
it. For " lighting " we should perhaps sub- 
stitute "encamping;" Heb. m (Ex. x. 14). 
The point of comparison lies in their " cover- 
ing the eye of the whole earth" (Ex. x. 5). 
The simile is a familiar one in Scripture. 

18. at the raining of it.] " Solent enim 
viatoribus visum adimere" (Grotius). This 
is not more probable than Fritzsche's render- 
ing, " at the moisture of it." Raining and 
snowing are, often confused by the ancients 

(see Tafel on Pindar, ' Olymp.' p. 403), but 
here some quality of the snow which occa- 
sions fear is required. Perhaps the other 
sense of the word lDCJ, " its body," i.e. nature 
(in Aramaic), was intended. 

19. it lieth on the top of sharp stakes?] The 
marginal rendering must here be substituted. 
Aeth. "it splits like sharp crystal." For 
"stakes" we should also substitute thorns. 

20. Comp. Prov. xxvii. 16, LXX. (Fritz- 


upon every gathering together?] HJpO, Isaiah 
xxii. 1 1 ; the torrents would not freeze. 

and clotheth the 'water?] Lit. and the 
water puts on as it were a breast- 
plate. A jingle may have been intended 
between }V1B> and HX* if the latter (Aramaic) 
verb was used for " resteth." QJopat- and 
lorica are frequently used of any "coating;" 
loricatio in Vitruvius is the plastering of a wall. 

21. It devoureth the mountains?] " Aufer- 
endo virorem " (Grotius). 

22. A present remedy of all is a mist coming 
speedily.] " Present " and " coming speedily " 
represent the same word. If the Hebrew was 
mriD "PDH NB*1D, it should probably have 
been rendered "a mist quickly healeth all." 

a dew coming after heat refresheth.] If the 
Greek be here correct, it is clear that a verse 
or clause must have been lost in which the 
heat was mentioned. This is practically the 
view of Gutmann and Fritzsche, who refer 
v. 21 to the effects of the hot wind. The 
language there used agrees well with the 
effects of the DHp or Kavo-av, elsewhere de- 
scribed ; see Gen. xvi. 6 (" burnt by the east 
wind"), Ezek. xvii. 10, &c. Nevertheless, 
the phrase dnavTuxra dno kciiktcovos, mpD J/JS, 
must almost necessarily have meant " coming 
from the east:" "dew" then means "rain," 

V. 2 




B. c. 23 By his counsel he appeaseth the 

or^oo. j ee p^ an j pianteth islands therein. 

f Ps. 107. 24 f They that sail on the sea tell 
of the danger thereof: and when we 
hear it with our ears, we marvel 

*Ts. 104. 25 s For therein be strange and 
wondrous works, variety of all kinds 
of beasts and whales created. 

26 By him the end of them hath 

* Col. 1. prosperous success, and h by his word 

all things consist. 
ch. 42. 27 We may speak much, and * yet 

come short : wherefore in sum, he 
is all. 

28 How shall we be able to mag- B.C. 
nify him ? for he is great above all C1 L!! 0, 
his works. 

29 k The Lord is terrible and * Ps - 96- 4- 
very great, and marvellous in his 

30 When ye glorify the Lord, exalt 
him as much as ye can ; for even 
yet will he far exceed : and when 
ye exalt him, put forth all your 
strength, and be not weary ; for ye 
can never go far enough. 

31 / Who hath seen him, that he 'Ps. 106.2 
might tell us ? and who can magnify &5. n 3 7 
him as he is? &6 * 46 - 

1 8. 

and the description is continuous from v. 20. 
" Refresheth" should rather have been: which 
refresheth. The ancients believed that 
snow must be followed by rain within a 
definite period: see Herod, ii. 22; Aristoph. 
* Vespae,' 260. 

23. he appeaseth the deep.~] "The deep 
subsideth," according to a few MSS. 

and planteth islands therein?^ This would 
seem to refer to the sudden emerging of 
islands, due to submarine motions ; of which 
it is surprising that our author should have 
known. Grotius would have altered the text, 
so as to make it mean " et si qua est in mari 
insula, plantas profert ;" plainly not a fortunate 
suggestion. The* word D ,3 V is rendered 
" islands " by the Pesh. in Ps. Ixxii. 9, and a 
similar rendering is given theword D'H'V by the 
LXX. of Isa. xlv. 16. The former word we 
believe to have been used in this place : "and 
he planteth her with ships." This, both 
on account of the next verses and because the 
appearance of ships rather than that of islands 
on the sea is the natural consequence of a 
calm. The word vi'icrovs, " islands," is here 
preserved only by some " interpolated" MSS., 
and the Lat. and S. H. versions. All the old 
MSS., with the Aeth. and Copt., shew the 
corruption 'Irjaovs, " and Jesus planted her." 

24. Cp. Ps. cvii. 

the danger thereof} It is not clear what 
the original can have been : " terror " was 
perhaps meant. 

25. 'whales created.} The words must 
rather have meant "the [marvellous] creatures, 
whales." Compare the ordinary Greek idiom 
XPW a Qrjpiov, 8cc. 

26. By him the end of them hath prosperous 
success.] The best authorities here have : 
through him prosperity is the end 
thereof. The interpretation of the clause 

ApOC Vol. II. 

will vary according as it is supposed to refer 
to the immediately preceding verses, or to 
those which follow (see the introd.). The 
former was the view of the Latin translator, 
confirmatus est itineris finis (reading bhav for 
avrov ?) ; the latter, however, is more pro- 
bable, if we compare the second clause. We 
would suggest that the clauses should be 
inverted, and that in the first euoSot should be 
read for evotiia, with MS. 248: " By his word 
all things consist ; and by it he maketh the 
extremity of them (= the totality, D"Sp) to 

27. and yet come short, .] Rather, and we 

shall never attain thereto, J*B>J \s>. 

wherefore in sum, he is all.'} Rather, and 
the sum of the matter is: He is all. 
This clause is evidently a spurious Hellenistic 
addition by the younger Siracide (see the 

28. How shall <we be able to magnify him f] 
Lit. In glorifying him how shall we 

he is great.} Lit. the one who is great. 

The original, however, VB>]7 ^>3 ^Uil, 
would probably mean " the greatest of all his 
works" (Ewald, ' Lehrb.' 313). 

29. From Ps. xcvi. 4. 

30. When ye glorify.} Rather, Glorifying. 

exalt him as much as ye can.} It is pro- 
bable that " him " was not the object of this 
clause, but " your powers " (D31X0 ?) or 
" your voices." 

be not iveary ; for ye can ne-ver go far 
enough.} Apparently a play on the words 

31. Who hath seen him.} The passage from 
St. John cited in the margin is in a very 
different context, and this question is here 




cir. 200. 

32 There are yet hid greater things 
than these be, for we have seen but 
a few of his works. 

33 For the Lord hath made all 
things ; and to the godly hath he 
given wisdom. 


cir. 200. 

I The praise of certain holy men : 16 of 'Enoch, 

17 Noah, 19 Abraham, 22 Isaac, 23 and 


LET us now praise famous men, The praise 
and our fathers that begat us. fathers. 

unnatural, if not improper 
original was HX1 
the whole of his work 

, " who 

Probably the 
hath seen," viz. 

32. Cp. xvi. 21. 

33. ivisdom.~\ I.e. only the few are privi- 
leged to obtain any insight into these things. 


From praise of the Creator the writer pro- 
ceeds to that of the most prominent and dis- 
tinguished of His people. Yet here also the 
object is not merely, nor mainly, praise of the 
heroes of Jewish history, but rather praise of 
God in them and for them. The chapter 
naturally arranges itself in four stanzas. In 
the first (yv. 1-7) the writer indicates that 
his main object is to praise the God who had 
bestowed manifold and divers gifts upon men 
for the good of His people. The description 
of these varied gifts and administrations is here 
general, the object being to shew that they all 
came from God and all served for the public 
good. In the second stanza (yv. 8-15) he 
proceeds to shew that there was another class, 
by whom also God was praised and whom 
He had raised up, although they had not 
occupied public or prominent positions, and 
their name and fame had not been preserved. 
Yet they also had their reward and their 
memorial. The latter consisted in their own 
happiness and peace unto death, and after it 
in the children and the good name which they 
left behind them. Once more we notice here 
a melancholy absence of all idea of another 
life (see especially v. 14). The stanza might 
be thus summed up: Not all can be famous, 
but all may be good ; and, if so, they will be 
useful, happy, enduring, andof blessed memory: 
useful in life and after death. 

The third stanza (yv. 16-18) begins the 
praise of individuals by name. In the Greek 
text this embraces Enoch and Noah. But it 
deserves special notice that the verse about 
Enoch {v. 16) is omitted in the Syr. Version, 
which in this is followed by the Arabic. On 
examining the Greek text, we find that it 
bears traces of Jewish tradition. On com- 
paring LXX. Gen. v. 24 with Ecclus. xlv. 16a, 
we observe that while in the main the words 
of the LXX. are retained, there are also notable 
alterations. The LXX. has [we italicise the 
words used in common in the LXX. and in 
Ecclus.] : " And Enoch pleased God [the 

Lord] well, and he was not found because 
[these words are omitted in Ecclus.] God 
translated him" where Ecclus. has: "and 
he was translated." These alterations and 
omissions are very important, as they seem to 
avoid the biblical doctrine of Enoch's trans- 
lation (to heaven) by God (Ecclus. omits " he 
was not found because," as well as the notice 
that God translated him). [We mark that 
Heb. xi. 5 reproduces the LXX. : see Delitzsch 
ad loc.~\ Nor is this modified by Ecclus. xlix. 
14 (where the Alex, however reads, not 
dveX-qtydr), as the Vat., but ^Tfrddr] as in 
xliv. 16). Now it is quite true that the 
Rabbis, chiefly in connexion with the Chris- 
tian controversy, not only controverted the 
ascension to heaven of Moses and Elijah 
(Sukk. 5 a), but that the Midrash (Ber. R. 25) 
maintains that Elijah had died [this expressly, 

and also implicitly by interpreting the np? of 
Gen. v. 24 by the use of the same word in 
Ezek. xxiv. 16]. The Targum Onkelos boldly 
puts : " because God made him to die " [so 
the correct text, ed. Berliner]. At a later 
period the Targum Pseudo- Jon., however, not 
only taught Enoch's ascension to heaven, but 
represents him there as Metatron, the highest 
of Angels, while, on the other hand, the so- 
called Jer. Targ. again omits all this. This 
latter may be regarded as the Palestinian 
current of opinion. Perhaps little intrinsic 
value attaches to the allegorisms of Philo, 
who makes the translation of Enoch the 
symbol of a change from a worse and blame- 
able to a better mode of life ('de Abrah.' 
3), or from the domination of the body to 
the rule of the soul, and at the same time also 
the forsaking of the many for the solitude of 
meditation ('de Praem. et Poen.' 3 as 
regards solitude and meditation, ' de mutat. 
nom.' 4). 

It results that Philo (like the majority of 
the Rabbis) not only ignored (if not expressly 
denied) the ascension of Enoch, but that, 
like Ecclus. xliv. 1 6 b, he represented him as 
" an example of repentance " as one who 
had changed from a worse to a better state. 
But this also accords with Rabbinic tradition. 
According to Ber. R. 25, he had been reckoned 
among sinners; was by turns wicked and 
pious 1 ; and God had said that if he continued 
in his piety, He would take him out of the 
world. Whatever, therefore, may be said 
about the ascension of Enoch (on which 

V. 24-] 



B. C. 
cir. 200. 

2 The Lord hath wrought great derstanding, and declaring prophe- 
glory by them through his great cies : 

power from the beginning. 4 Leaders of the people by their 

3 Such as did bear rule in their counsels, and by their knowledge of 
kingdoms, men renowned for their learning meet for the people, wise 
power, giving counsel by their un- and eloquent in their instructions : 


cir. 200. 

opinions varied at different times), Philo's 
idea about Enoch's repentance seems grounded 
on Jewish tradition. [It need scarcely be said 
that, with his peculiar views, Philo could not 
have believed in any real ascension of Enoch, 
any more than the Son of Sirach, who 
studiously ignores another life.] So far then 
from Ecclus. xlv. 16 being a spurious verse 
(as Frankel supposes, ' Einfl. d. Palastin. 
Exeg.' p. 44, note e), it accords alike with 
Palestinian and Alexandrian notions, and there 
is not any reason why the older Siracide should 
not have written, and the younger Siracide 
translated, this verse but quite the opposite. 
For its omission in the Syr. translation, we 
account on the ground that the verse would 
appear to the Christian translator inconsis- 
tent with Old but especially with New Testa- 
ment teaching, and that it might deprive 
Christians of a powerful argument for the 
Resurrection and Ascension of Christ. That 
it was used by Christians in that sense, is 
expressly stated in the Jewish Midrash. [We 
cannot help suspecting that similar motives 
prompted what seems to us the more emphatic 
wording of v. 2 1 b in the Syr.] Lastly, we 
notice with pleasure in the reference to Noah 
the absence of the later repulsive Rabbinic 

The fourth stanza in ch. xliv. {nrv. 19-23) 
treats of the Patriarchs : Abraham, Isaac, and 
Jacob. Here also we mark the absence of 
later Rabbinic legends. Again, it is instruc- 
tive or at least should be so that, contrary 
to the confident assertions of a certain school 
of modern critics, Gen. xxii. 18 was under- 
stood by the younger Siracide (who presum- 
ably knew Hebrew) as by the LXX. to mean : 
" in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth 
be blessed" and not "with thy seed shall 
they bless themselves." Indeed, not improb- 
ably the younger Siracide here quoted from 
the LXX. 

1. that begat us.] Rather, in their 
generation; in chronological order. 

2. The Lord hath wrought great glory by 
them.] The last two words are not found in 
the best MSS. From the Syriac we learn 

that the original had Dr6 JflJ, which the 
Syr. pointed JFIJ, "let us give," the Greek 

2HP[X] JfO; but which should have been 
pointed ]fl3, " was given." 

through his great power from the begin- 
ning^ "His great power" in the Greek is 
dependent upon " hath wrought ; " giving in 
this context no very satisfactory meaning. 
The Syr. has: " because all their greatness was 
above the generations of the world." From 
this it would appear that the original was 

D/'l? riTJE -1^*73, "they were Greater than 

t :'t ' * *~ 

the generations of the world ; " i.e. they were 
eminent, conspicuous among them. The 

first word was misread wli from ?~)} by 

both ; the Syriac, " all [their greatness]," is 
an acknowledgment that the pronominal affix 
was in the singular. 

3. First class of men of eminence. 

Such as did bear rule in their kingdoms.'] 
It is a little remarkable that the complement 
in all the other clauses in vv. 3, 4, is some 
personal quality of the individuals praised. 
Moreover the plural " kingdoms " is improper, 
since reference is made only to the kings of 
the united people, and then to those of 
Judah. The clause is omitted in the Syriac. 
Perhaps the author intended " by their coun- 
sels," using "pD in the Aramaic sense. 

giving counsel by their understanding.] From 
the variations in the MSS., the original would 
appear to have had the imperfect. 

and declaring prophecies^] Lit. and hav- 
ing declared by prophecies. The ori- 
ginal had probably the perfect -ITiin (cf. Syr.), 
and meant "they gave information by their 
prophetic power." The Syr. renders: "they 
declared signs by their prophetic power." 
" Signs " reads like a mistranslation of ni*fiV>, 
" coming events." 

4. Second class : leaders and teachers. 

Leaders of the people by their counsels^] Aeth. 
' kings of the earth in their expeditions." 

and by their knowledge of learning meet for 
the people.] The Greek is here difficult and 
certainly corrupt. For ypa/a/iarf las we should 
emend -ypa/xfiareis-, from the Aethiopic and 
Coptic versions ; and so Fritzsche sugeested. 
The same is apparently supported by the Syr. 
The original of this was either 'HOB* or *t33E?, 
"judges of the people by their prudence." 
A possible version of the uncorrected text is 
that of Grotius, "and with wisdom [= pos- 
sessed of wisdom] meet for the scribes of the 

P 2 



[v. 5- 


b. c. c Such as found out musical tunes, 

cir. 200. , , I, 

and recited verses in writing; : 
ditties. 6 Rich men furnished with abi- 

lity, living peaceably in their habita- 
tions : 

7 All these were honoured in their 
generations, and were the glory of 
their times. 

8 There be of them, that have 
left a name behind them, that their 
praises might be reported. 

q And some there be, which have 
22. no memorial; a who are perished, 

as though they had never been ; and b. c. 
are become as though they had never ^ 
been born ; and their children after 

io But these were merciful men, 
whose righteousness hath not been 

ii With their seed shall continu- 
ally remain a good inheritance, and 
their children are within the co- 

12 Their seed standeth fast, and 
their children " for their sakes. them. 

(wise and eloquent in their instructions.] 
Lit. in whose instruction were wise 

5. Third class : poets and composers. 

found out musical tunes.~\ The word signi- 
fies perhaps no more than " producing " or 
" performing." The Syriac suggests that it 
was the inventors of the instruments to 
whom allusion was made. 

and recited verses^] The difficult com- 
bination " recited in writing " seems to have 
led the Syrian to transfer "in writing" to 
the next clause. " Verses " apparently repre- 
sents DvfO ; for " recited " the comparison 
of Greek and Syriac suggests that the original 
was "HOK. Fritzsche regards this as an 
allusion to the books of Job and Canticles. 

6. furnished with ability. ,] Heb. perhaps 
^n ^lOD (cp. Gen. xxvii. 37, t"Tni pi 
VrODD), " well supplied with goods." The 
reference might be to the Patriarchs (Bret- 
schneider) ; more probably it is to the 
wealthy landowners, the Naboths and Arau- 
nahs, to whom incidental allusion is made. 

in their habitations.'] Compare Dan. iv. 1. 

7. and qvere the glory of their times .] We 
have reason for believing (cp. Syr.) that the 
original of the first clause would have been 
translated literally, " all these there was 
honour to them." The translator being unable 
to paraphrase the second clause as he had 
paraphrased the first, left it, somewhat care- 
lessly, unaltered. He should have rendered 
it, "and had boasting {i.e. magnificence) in 
their days." 

8. 9. Second stanza. Yet not all of these 
became celebrated in after-times, nor had they 
even their memorial preserved. 

8. that their praises might be reported.'] 
Lit. that [men] might recount [their] 

10. The difference is due to the use made 

by them severally of their privileges; the 
latter sui memores alios fecere merendo. 

ivhose righteousness.] Lit. righteous- 
nesses; i.e. righteous acts (Isa. lxiv. 5). 

hath not been forgotten.] Grotius (wrongly), 
" apud Deum scilicet." 

11-13. With their seed shall continually 
remain a good inheritance, <&c] There is some 
confusion in these verses, which with the help 
of the Syriac may be partly corrected, (a.) 
Syr. " With their seed remaineth their for- 
tune." We follow Fritzsche in believing that 
" good " was a substantive in the original ; 
this may have been mm or D21B. {b.) The 
Syr. continues : " their root is to their children's 
children." He read therefore DBH!? where 
the Greek read (perhaps) nE5>l*. If we com- 
bine these readings into DEn 11 , i.e. D-IEJHy these 
will inherit them," eKyova avrwv will be intel- 
ligible : " and their children shall inherit them " 
(or "have inherited them"), (c.) The Syr. 
proceeds: " In their covenant remaineth their 
seed." This can be obtained from the Greek 
by shifting a stop. The covenant which God 
made with their fathers is extended by H im 
to the sons ; and the covenant is called theirs, 
just as the " covenant of Abraham," &c. is 
spoken of. (d.) Gr.