Saturday, February 6, 2010

Sirach 1

1 All wisdom comes from the Lord
And is with Him forever+

2 Who can count the sand of the seas,
The drops of rain, and the days of eternity?

3 Who can search out the height of heaven,
The breadth of the earth, the abyss, and wisdom?

4 Wisdom was created before all things,
And the insight of prudence was from eternity.+

5 To whom has the root of wisdom been revealed?
And who has come to know her great deeds?

6 There is one who is wise and is feared exceedingly.
He who sits upon His throne.+

7 The Lord Himself created wisdom.
He saw and numbered her
And poured her out on all His works.

8 In the midst of all flesh according to His gift;
And He provided her for those who love Him.

9 The fear of the Lord is glory and boasting,
And gladness and a crown of rejoicing

10 The fear of the Lord will cheer the heart
And will give gladness, joy, and long life.+

11 For those who fear the Lord, it shall be well to the utmost,
And on the day of his death, he will be blessed.

12 The beginning of wisdom is to fear the Lord,
And she was joined with the faithful in the womb.+

13 She constructed a foundation of life among men
And will be trusted among their seed.

14 The gratification of wisdom is to fear the Lord,
And she intoxicates them with her fruits.

15 She will fill every house of theirs with objects of desire
And their storehouses with her harvest.

16 The fear of the Lord is the crown of wisdom,
Making peace and soundness of health to flourish.

17 The Lord saw and numbered her,
And poured out the power of comprehension;
And He exalted the glory of those who hold fast to her.

18 The root of wisdom is to fear the Lord,
And her branches are length of days.

19 Unjust anger cannot be justified,
For anger's decisive influence causes his fall.

20 A patient man will hold fast until the proper time,
Then afterwards gladness shall burst forth for him.

21 He shall conceal his words until the proper time,
And the lips of many will tell of his understanding.

22 In the treasures of wisdom are the parables of knowledge,
But godliness is an abomination to a sinner.

23 If you desire wisdom, keep the commandments,
And the Lord will supply it to you.+

24 For the fear of the Lord is wisdom and instruction,
And His good pleasure is faith and gentleness.

25 Do not disobey the fear of the Lord,
And do not come to him with a divided heart.

26 Do not be a hypocrite in the sight of men,
And be careful with your lips.

27 Do not exalt yourself, lest you fall
And bring dishonour to your soul.
The Lord shall reveal your secrets,
And in the midst of the assembly He will strike you down,
Because you did not come in fear of the Lord
And your heart was full of deceit.

*All notes are from my Orthodox Study Bible*

+1:1 - Forever tells us Wisdom is without beginning. He is Christ, the power and wisdom of the Father (1Cor1:24)
+1:4 - The statement Wisdom was created before all things is a prophecy concerning the Incarnation of Wisdom, who was slain from the foundation of the world (Rev 13:8); for He became incarnate for us men and our salvation (Creed). "Created" refers to his human nature which He assumed at His conception in the Ever-virgin Mary. "All things" refers to all creation, which Christ came to redeem along with the children of God (Rom 8:21-23, Eph 1:10, Col 1:15-17). From eternity also shows that Christ is without beginning.
+1:6 - This verse is left out of some ancient manuscripts but included in others. It very possibly was taken out following the Bar Kochba rebellion of AD135, when Jewish rabbis made a strong effort to purge the LXX references that could be interpreted as referring to Christ as Messiah. This was done to stem the tide of Jewish conversions to Christianity, which had brought near total destruction to the Jewish nation.
+1:7 - Again, created wisdom refers to the Incarnation (see 1:4), while wisdom poured...out on all His works reminds us the Father created all things through His Son.
+1:10, 11 The fear of the Lord brings blessing both to life and to death.
+1:12 - The capacity to fear the Lord and thus to believe in Him is joined with the infant in the womb. This would explain why the Lord Jesus Christ speaks of the special faith of nursing babes (Lk 18:15-17).
+1:23-27 - To gain wisdom we must be obedient to the commandments, maintain faithfulness and humility, and come to God with an undivided heart.


  1. Nice passage, but then I read the notes at the bottom and had to reread it. I got messed up with all the references to "her" and "she" and then found out Wisdom represented Christ. Initially I thought wisdom was referred to as wisdom just as Solomon did in Proverbs. But here Wisdom = Christ...and that's also what the pronoun "her" and "she" refers to? Or did I get totally confused??

    Either way, it's a very nice passage and I appreciate you sharing it so I can learn more about Sirach's writings.

    Obviously I was an ignoramous as far as he is concerned. *blushes*

    What's your opinion of a divided heart? What does that mean to you?

    Thanks again, Amber!

  2. Susanne maybe its both! Like it takes on a different meaning if you know its suppose to be Christ but it can have a beautiful meaning if you don't know that. Universally applicable to all monotheism :)

    It really is a beautiful passage.

  3. Susanne,

    In places, speaking of God's Wisdom and it's eternalness, it's speaking of Christ. But it also, I think, speaks of wisdom in the sense that we can acquire it, the 'normal' sense of the words. Also, the text was originally Hebrew, translated into Greek. And, I believe, the Greek word for 'wisdom' is 'sophia' which is feminine, hence the 'she' and 'her' in the passage in English. You find wisdom described in feminine terms a lot.

    Heh. There're 51 chapters to Sirach. You'll get to know his writings a little better.

    I think a divided heart refers, perhaps, to those who have 'two masters' - God and _____. You have to be willing to follow God, whole heartedly, even when it's hard, not turning back to the other things you used to 'worship'.

  4. LK,

    It's a beautiful book, actually. Very poetic language. :)

  5. Amber, I agree that it is pretty. It reminds me of Proverbs somewhat. I recall Wisdom being "she" in Proverbs, too and your explanation makes sense.

    Yes, divided heart ... I see, like God and mammon or whatever other idol we have.

    Thanks much!


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