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The Oxford Study Bible Study Bible supplemented with commentary from scholars of various religions.

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Commentary on Ecclesiasticus or the Wisdom of Jesus Son of Sirach

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Preface.

The preface was written by the grandson of the author of Ecclesiasticus, when he translated the book into Gk. for the use of Egyptian Jews who did not know Heb. It mentions the three divisions of the Heb. Scriptures: the law, the prophets, and the other writings; this is the earliest reference to the third division of the canon, though the limits of the writings were not to be defined for another two centuries; see Lk. 24.44 . The translator, like the author, closely associates wisdom and study of Scripture. He asserts that a scholar should work not only for fellow specialists but for the world outside; the translator speaks of his grandfather but is also thinking of his own work. The thirty-eighth year of King Ptolemy Euergetes II Physcon of Egypt (one of the longest reigns in Egypt) was 132 B.C.E. This puts the original composition of Ecclus. about 180 B.C.E, shortly before the Maccabean uprising.

24.1–22 : Wisdom's praise.

A hymn to wisdom introduces the second main part of the book; compare 1.1–10 .

1 :

The people are Israel.

2 :

The assembly is the heavenly council; see Ps. 89.6–7 .

3 :

Wisdom speaks, as in Prov. 8.22–36 on which much of this section is modeled. The mist represents the creative power of wisdom, parallel to the spirit or wind of Gen. 1.2 (see Tfn. there); compare Gen. 2.6 .

4 :

High heaven: God's throne above the reservoir of waters supported by the vault of the sky; see Gen. 1.6–8; Ps. 29.10 .

7 :

Wisdom looked for a place to come to rest, but found it only in Israel (v. 8 ), which has God's law.

13–14 :

The massiveness and majesty of the cedar and cypress, the fruitfulness of the date-palm, the beauty of roses, and the fairness of the olive tree are symbolic of wisdom.

15 :

These were prized aromatic substances used in worship.

19–22 :

Wisdom's call is paralleled in 51.23–30 , where a Wisdom teacher speaks; see also Prov. 9.1–6 and Matt. 11.28–30 .

21 :

Unlike food for the stomach which satiates, the use of wisdom creates hunger for more and so brings continual enjoyment; contrast Jn. 6.35 .

24.23–29 : Wisdom and Law.

This is the author's interpretation of Wisdom's speech above.

25–27 :

The productiveness of wisdom is compared to the Jordan and the four rivers of Gen. 2.10–14 . The Gihon was identified with the Nile (but see Tfn. at 24.27 ), which is at its height in the time of vintage.

24.30–34 : The author's encounter with Wisdom.

The life-giving symbolism of water is carried forward from Wisdom ( 24.23–29 ) to the author.

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