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Apocrypha. precepts; arranged in a less desultory manner than the Proverbs of Solomon; and distributed under certain heads, which seem to have been formerly classed under different titles ; many of which are still extant in some of the Greek copies. Some learned men have pretended to discover in the book the more secret and abstruse wisdom applied to Solomon, and taught in the schools of the Jewish Doctors. But it is chiefly valuable for the familiar lessons which it affords for the direction of manners, in every circumstance and condition, and for the general precepts which it communicates towards the daily regulation of life. Its maxims are explained by much variety of illustration, and occasionally exemplified in the description of characters. The ancient writers considered it as a complete compendium of moral virtues; and perhaps no uninspired production ever displayed a morality more comprehensive, or more captivating and consistent with the revealed laws of God. The book furnishes also an instructive detail of the sentiments and opinions that prevailed in the time of the author; it shews the impatience which then prevailed for the appearance of the expected Messiah, chap. xxxvi. 1-17; and the firm confidence in the hope of a future life and judgment, which had been built upon the assurances of the Law and the Prophets. It serves likewise to prove, that as the Gospel dispensation approached, the Jews were prepared for its reception, by being more enlightened to understand the spiritual
import, and the figurative character of the Law. Dr. Gray. The excellent morality of this book, and the justness of its observations, which have stood the test, and gained
the approbation, of so many successive ages, have deservedly recommended it to general esteem. A celebrated Metropolitan in particular, one of the early lights of the reformation, (Abp. Whitgift,) had such a high opinion of its worth, and of the great usefulness of its being thoroughly understood, that he purposely engaged the learned Drusius to undertake an illustration of it, under his patronage and encouragement. Arnald.
this Prologue to Athana
HEREAF Sirachom of Jesu
A Prologue made by an uncertain | song; moreover, what benefits God
had vouchsafed his people, and what Some refer THIS Jesus was the son of Sirach,
plagues he had heaped upon their 1 and grandchild to Jesus of the
enemies. This Jesus did imitate Sosius, because
lomon, and was no less famous for it is found in same name with him: this man therehis Synopsis. fore lived in the latter times, after the
wisdom and learning, both being inpeople had been led away captive,
deed a man of great learning, and so
the son of Sirach.
readers, yes, but ble to pro
1 Or, collected.
A Prologue made by an uncertain author.] Supposed, at so late a period, he cannot be regarded as of much auas the margin states, to be written by Athanasius; but thority in any historical or chronological point. Arnald. this is thought by many to have been not the great! - and almost after all the prophets.] The son of Athanasius, but another of that name, who was bishop Sirach certainly lived after Malachi, who was the last of Alexandria, and flourished between the years 458 of the regular Hebrew Prophets. See the Preface. The and 490 of the Christian era : since therefore he lived author may perhaps mean here by “the Prophets,"
and the rest of the books, have no dom been revealed ? or who hath ** 10r, small || difference, when they are known her wise counsels?
spoken in their own language. For 7 [Unto whom hath the knowledge about 133. in the eight and thirtieth year coming of wisdom been made manifest? and
into Egypt, when Euergetes was who hath understood her great ex
king, and continuing there some time, perience?] ! Or, help of I found a || book of no small learning: 8 There is one wise and greatly to
o an end, ch in a to his gift: Jove him.he Lord
for me to bestow some diligence and throne.
11 The fear of the Lord is honour,
and glory, and gladness, and a crown
to them that love him. 12 The fear of God merry heart, and giveth joy, and
13 Whoso feareth the Lord, it shall
2 Who can number the sand of the death. sea, and the drops of rain, and the 14 To fear the Lord is the be- c Ps. 111, 10. days of eternity ?
ginning of wisdom: and it was created 3 Who can find out the height of with the faithful in the womb.
Before CHRIST about 200.
a 1 Kings 3.
Prov. 1. 7.
some holy men who lived in the interval between the viïi. 3; ix. 3. “Wisdom,” in this book, as in those of ceasing of prophecy and the advent of Christ, to whom Proverbs and Wisdom, sometimes means the Eternal Josephus gives the name of Prophets. Arnald. Wisdom of God, and sometimes religious wisdom, which
- in the eight and thirtieth year — when Euergetes was God by His infinite goodness enables men to attain. king,] There have been considerable doubts among Calmet. learned men, to what this thirty-eighth year refers; 3. Who can find out the height &c.] In the former but it probably means the thirty-eighth year of the verse, Eternal Wisdom is compared to three things reign of Ptolemy Physcon, the second of the Ptolemies that cannot be numbered; so in this it is compared to who received the surname of Euergetes or the Bene- three things that cannot be measured. Compare Job factor. The thirty-eighth year of his reign comes about xi. 7-9. Arnald. to the date given here in the margin. Abp.Usher, Calmet. 5. — and her ways are everlasting commandments.]
- I found a book of no small learning :] Rather, ac- Meaning, that the ways to arrive at her are the evercording to some copies, “I found a copy (that is, of lasting commandments of God. Junius.
Meaning, Who can fathom the depth of Infinite Wis— for them also, which in a strange country &c.] dom, and the secrets of God's judgments? The seventh Meaning, for the Jews living out of Judea, and prin- verse is omitted in many Greek copies, and by the cipally those in Egypt, who did not understand Hebrew. | Arabick and Syriack translators. It seems only to be They had already the books of Wisdom and Proverbs an explanation of this, and to have crept accidentally translated into Greek; and consequently the translator into the text from the margin. Arnald. thought he should perform a considerable service by 10. She is with all flesh] That is, The wisdom of giving a Greek edition also of this book of Ecclesiasticus. God is displayed in all His works, and especially in the Calmet.
animated creation, the most perfect of His works.
Calmet. Chap. I. ver. 1. All wisdom cometh from the Lord,] 12. - and a long life.] See notes at Prov. iii. 2, 18. Compare Prov. ii. 6; iii. 19; viii. 22; Wisd. vii. 25;' 14. — and it was created with the faithful in the womb.]
28ness are his delic and faith and
d 2 Chron. 20. 21.
Apocrypha. Beforer 15 She hath built an everlasting wisdom and instruction: and faith and Before about 200. foundation with men, and she shall meekness are his delight.
about 200. continue d with their seed.
| 28 || Distrust not the fear of the
29 Be not an hypocrite in the
30 Exalt not thyself, lest thou fall,
not in truth to the fear of the Lord, *19 Wisdom raineth down skill and but thy heart is full of deceit. knowledge of understanding, and ex
CHAP. II. alteth them to honour that hold her,
"11 God's servants must look for trouble, 7
and be patient, and trust in him. 12 For
T Y son, if a thou come to serve a Matt 4.1,
1 2 Set thy heart aright, and con-
3 Cleave unto him, and depart not
| 4 Whatsoever is brought upon thee
| 5 For gold is tried in the fire, h Wisd...
26 If thou desire wisdom, keep the thee; order thy way aright, and trust
7 Ye that fear the Lord, wait for his
Or, escape punishment.
Meaning, that the faithful often have from their earliest with affections divided between God and the world. Or infancy the fear and dread of God. Arnald.
else, Do not offer thy devotions with a doubting spiri, 15. She hath built an everlasting foundation with men, James i. 6,7. Arnald. Alluding especially to righteous men. The fear of God 30. — and so God discover thy secrets, 1 God discover takes deep root in their hearts, and in those of their the hypocrisy of thy heart, and expose thee to publes children; the good impressions which they have re- shame. The expression, “cast thee down in the mids ceived in infancy are never effaced. Calmet.
of the congregation," refers to the custom of bringing 22. - cannot be justified;] More is intended than is criminals to a publick hearing, and openly punishing here expressed; it is meant that he is highly criminal, them for their faults, Ecclus. xxii. 24; Prov. v. 14; , that he shall not “escape punishment,” as the margin xxvi. 26. Arnald. renders it. The expression in the Greek, translated “ the sway of his fury,” is a metaphor taken from the Chap. II. ver. 2. - and make not haste in tine ! balance, and means literally, that the excess or pre- trouble.] The sense is, When tribulation and angush | ponderancy of passion shall overturn a man. Arnald. are upon thee, patiently depend upon God, wait til He
23. — afterward joy shall spring up unto him.] Either graciously vouchsafes the time of deliverance, and do in this life he will receive the reward of his patience; not, through distrust of His mercy, betake thyself to (Arnald ;) or, after death, he will receive abundant joy any unlawful means of extricating thyself. Arnald.. and glory. Calmet.
3. — that thou mayest be increased at thy last end. 28. Distrust not the fear of the Lord) By “the fear That thou mayest receive at thy latter end the just reof the Lord” is meant religion. The precept is, Follow compense of thy patience. Calmet. the dictates of religion, being assured of a final reward. 7. — go not aside,] Have not recourse to any w
come not unto him with a double heart.] That is, 1 lawful means for succour. Arnald.
to / 7 He to his mothe Lord shall that is
Apocrypha. Before 8 Ye that fear the Lord, believe | U EAR me your father, O chil- Before about 200. him; and your reward shall not 11 dren, and do thereafter, that about 200. fail.
ye may be safe.
a father honour over the children, and a Exod. 20.
father honour over the children, ana, mercy. hath confirmed the || authority of the Deut. 5. 16.
Lord, and was confounded? or did maketh an atonement for his sins :
5 Whoso honoureth his father shall
6 He that honoureth his father
13 Woe unto him that is faint-! 7 He that feareth the Lord will hearted ! for he believeth not; there-honour his father, and will do service fore shall he not be defended. unto his parents, as to his masters.
14 Woe unto you that have lost 8 Honour thy father and mother b Ver. 2. patience! and what will ye do when both in word and deed, that a blessthe Lord shall visit you?
ing may come upon thee from them. 15 They that fear the Lord will 9 For the blessing of the father c Gen. 27. 27.
Deut. 33, I. d John 14. 23. not disobey his word; d and they that establisheth the houses of children; love him will keep his ways.
but the curse of the mother rooteth
is no glory unto thee.
in dishonour is a reproach to the
13 And if his understanding fail, CHAP. III.
have patience with him; and despise
him not when thou art || in thy full ! or, in all 3 Children must honour and help both their |
Thine ability. parents. 21 We may not desire to know
shall not be forgotten: and instead
12. – the sinner that goeth two ways !] See chap. should receive from them reverence and obedience. i. 28. The sinner that is insincere and hypocritical. Arnald. Arnald. The man who is unstable in his ways, im- 3. - maketh an atonement for his sins :) Many copies pelled here and there by doubt and distrust. Junius. give the words “shall expiate his sins;" shall obtain
14.- when the Lord shall visit you ?? Shall visit you remission and forgiveness of his sins when he prayeth. in His anger, and judge you according to your works. | Arnald. Calmet.
7. — will do service unto his parents, as to his masters. 18.- We will fall into the hands of the Lord, &c.] | That is, will behave himself towards them with the obeThe author evidently makes allusion to the words of dience of a servant, as well as the reverence of a child. David when he was "in a great strait,” 2 Sam. xxiv. | See Luke xv. 29. Arnald. 14. Calmet.
13. - if his understanding fail,] Implying, that no
infirmities attendant on old age can justify children in Chap. III. ver. 2.- hath given the father honour over treating a parent with contempt, and in withholding the children,] Hath enjoined honour to be paid to the from him that respect which is due to his sacred chafather by his children; has expressed His will that he racter. Calmet.
Before CHRIST about 200.
Before CHRIST about 200.
Apocrypha. c Before of sins it shall be added to build thee | light : profess not the knowledge Before
therefore that thou hast not.
27 An obstinate heart shall be
28 || In the punishment of the Or, The 17 My son, go on with thy business proud there is no remedy; for the mot frated by in meekness; so shalt thou be beloved plant of wickedness hath taken root his parist. of him that is approved.
humble thyself, and thou shalt find understand a parable; and an atten-
tive ear is the desire of a wise man. 19 Many are in high place, and of 30 8 Water will quench a flaming g Pa. 41. 1, e Ps. 25.9, renown: but e mysteries are revealed | fire; and alms maketh an atonement Dan. 4. 27. unto the meek.
come hereafter; and when he falleth,
11 but seek for wisdom, 20 and not be
ashamed of some things, nor gainsay the
truth, 30 nor be as lions in our houses.
24 For many are deceived by their needy eyes to wait long.
f Prov. 25. 27.
14. — instead of sins it shall be added to build thee up.] Greek copies, but are added from the Latin. The literal This passage has been variously interpreted. The sense sense of the Greek is, “ Hidden things are not necessary seems to be similar to that of ver. 10. “In opposition to thee.” Arnald. to sin, (that is, to the effects of sin,) thy house shall be 24. — an evil suspicion hath overthrown their judgment.] built up." Junius. In Scripture, the building of a Meaning, that an evil suspicion, founded on men's run man's house is a well known metaphor for raising up opinion, has led them into many and great mistakes. children, Gen. xvi. 2; Exod. i. 21, &c. Arnald. Arnald.
17.- so shalt thou be beloved of him that is approved.] 25. Without eyes thou shalt want light :] “Not having That is, by all worthy and good men, such as are them- | eyes, thou shalt want light.” A comparison is intended selves for their excellent qualities approved by God and between blind men, and those who, from a vain preman. Arnald.
sumption of mind, suppose themselves very clearsighted 19. — mysteries are revealed unto the meek.] See an in matters of knowledge. Junius. illustration of this at Matt. xi. 25, “Thou hast hid these 26. A stubborn heart] Alluding to that sort of stubthings (that is, the mysteries of the Gospel) from the bornness, which perseveres in a pursuit, without regard wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes ;" to decency and prudence. where babes, or those who have humility of mind, are - he that loveth danger7 The rash and foolhardy, opposed to such as are selfsufficient and wise in their who without reason exposes himself to danger. Calmet. own conceit. See Ps. xxv. 9, 14. Of Moses it was 30.- and alms maketh &c.] There is a comparison; particularly true, that, as none was more meek than he, “ So alms maketh an atonement for sins." Alms or so none received greater favours or more frequent true benevolence accompanied with sincere repentance. communications from God. Arnald. In several copies | Arnald. and versions this verse is wholly wanting.
| 31. — shall find a stay.] Shall himself receive suc22. — for it is not needful for thee to see with thine cour from others in the time of need. Arnald. eyes &c.] Implying, that there are many things which we cannot know or comprehend, and respecting which Chap. IV. ver. 2.- neither provoke a man in his distherefore it is the part of wisdom not to inquire. Calmet. tress. By treating him contemptuously and outraging The words, “to see with thine eyes,” are not in the his feelings. Calmet.