Thursday, September 15, 2011

Words of Wisdom from the Book of Sirach

A holy Jew who lived 200 years before Christ

Picture source

One of my favorite books of the Holy Bible is the Book of Sirach. Sirach: (The Wisdom of Jesus, Son of Sirach or Ecclesiasticus), was written in Hebrew by a man named Joshua (or Jesus) and later translated into the Greek by his grandson. The book includes traditional Jewish wisdom. In reading the passages I find many ways I can correct flaws in my daily relationships with others. It is a shame that this book is not included in the Protestant bible as the Protestants consider it apocryphal or not authentic. Until recently, I was reading a passage and copying down verses that I found to be worth remembering. I share some with you now:

Be Cautious:

"Before investigating, find no fault; examine first, then criticize. Before hearing, answer not, and interrupt no one in the middle of his speech. Dispute not about what is not your concern; in the strife of the arrogant take no part..." - Sirach 11:7-9

"The day of prosperity makes one forget adversity; the day of adversity makes one forget prosperity...A moment's afflictions brings forgetfulness of past delights..." 11:25-27

Faithfulness to God:

"My son, when you come to serve the Lord, prepare yourself for trials. - 2:1-18


A stubborn man will face badly in the end...A stubborn man will be burdened with sorrow; a sinner will heap sin upon sin. For the affliction of the proud man there is no cure..." 3:17-28

Sincerity and Justice:

"Use your time well. Guard yourself from evil; and bring upon yourself no shame.." - 4:20

"Even to the death fight for truth, and the Lord your God will battle for you." -4:28

Against Presumption:

"...of forgiveness be not over confident, adding sin upon sin. Say not: 'Great is His mercy; my many sins He will forgive..." Delay not your conversion to the Lord, put it not off from day to day..." - 5:1-10

Sincerity in Speech:

" swift to hear, but slow to answer...Honor and dishonor through talking! A man's tongue can be his downfall. Be not called a detractor; use not your tongue for calumny..." - 5:11-17

"Say nothing harmful, small or great...A bad name and disgrace will you acquire; that for the evil man with double tongue!" - 6:1-4

True Friendship:

"Let your acquaintances be many, but one in a thousand your confidant. When you gain a friend, first test him, and be not too ready to trust him." - 6:5-17

Conduct in Public Life:

"...Do not plot to repeat a sin; not even for one will you go unpunished."

" not impatient in prayers, and not the giving of alms..."

"Plot no mischief against your brother, nor against your friend and companion."

"Delight not in telling lie after lie, for it never results in good..."

"Do not esteem yourself better than your fellows..."

"More and more, humble your pride..."



  1. I enjoy this post.
    Thank you for sharing with us.

  2. Thank you ladies. There were many more I wanted to share, especially about honoring our parents.

  3. Oh wow! Thank you for this! The very first quote is one I seriously need to learn to live by every day.

  4. Thank you, Esther. This post was excellent and I'll have to dig into Sirach a bit more after reading this. It fits in just as well today as it did back then.

  5. Heather and Mary, you are welcome!

  6. This is great! I started my own series called "Little known Bible passages" in hopes that it catches the eyes of our protestant brothers and sister who may stop by. So far I just did one from the book of Wisdom. It's a good way to get to know these books a little more too. Thank you for posting this!

  7. One thing your post brings to mind is that Jesus, Mary, and Joseph must have lived their lives according to this Jewish wisdom. Jesus brought forth the fullness of these truths in His teachings. Devout Jews of His time must have recognized Sirach's teachings and found them underscored by the authority of Christ. Thanks for this post!

  8. If only I could remember half of these each day!

    God Bless you

  9. Great and relevant wisdom . . . .Thank you for the post!