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The New Oxford Annotated Bible New Revised Standard Study Bible that provides essential scholarship and guidance for Bible readers.

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Commentary on Sirach

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Commentary spanning earlier chapters

38.1–15 : Concerning physicians.

5 :

Water made sweet, see Ex 15.23–25 .

9–15 :

Ben Sira upholds the traditional view that illness results from sin (cf. Deut 28.21–22,27–28; Prov 3.7–8 ). Only after prayer and sacrifice (see Lev 2.1–3 ), therefore, should the ill person give the physician his place (cf. 2 Chr 16.12 ).

38.34b–39.11 : Praise of the scribe.

The highest vocation is that of the scribe, who is concerned with the law, wisdom (i.e., the Writings), and prophecies; this reflects the threefold division of the Hebrew Bible ( 39.1–3 ; see also the Prologue by Ben Sira's grandson).

34b :

Cf. Ezra 7.6,10 .

39.2–3 :

Cf. Prov 1.5–6; 25.1 .

9 :

His memory and name will live, cf. 37.26; 44.10–15 .

11 :

Greater than a thousand, cf. Job 9.3; 33.23; Eccl 7.28 .

39.12–35 : A hymn of praise

about the goodness and purposefulness of creation (vv. 16,21,33–35; cf. 16.26–29 ). Both good and bad things are used by God for the divine purpose (vv. 25–31; cf. 33.7–15 ).

16 :

Very good, Gen 1.4,10,12,18,21,25,31 .

17 :

The appointed time, cf. vv. 16,34; Eccl 3.11 . Waters stood in a heap, cf. Gen 1.9–10; Ex 15.8 .

23 :

He turned a watered land into salt; cf. Gen 19.24–26; Ps 107.34 .

26 :

The basic necessities, cf. 29.21 .

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