“My grandfather Jesus
Devoted himself especially
To the reading of the Law,
To the reading of the Prophets,
To the reading of the other books of our ancestors.
After acquiring considerable proficiency in them,
He was himself also led to write something
Pertaining to instruction,
Pertaining to wisdom.
By becoming familiar with this book,
Those who love learning
Should make even greater progress
In living according to the law.”
Who is Grandpa Jesus? Obviously, he is the grandfather of this writer/translator. This ‘Jesus’ is the Anglicized form of the Greek name Ἰησοῦς or the Aramaic Yeshua. He was the son of Sirach, a Jewish scribe who had been living in Jerusalem. He then authored this work in Alexandria, Egypt, around 180–175 BCE, where he is thought to have established a school. He is sometimes referred to as Ben Sira, son of Sir, or as it has been rendered in Greek, ‘Sirach’. There are all kinds of Jewish stories about his background. This ‘Jesus’ or ‘Sirach’ was a devoted scholar of the Hebrew Law, Prophets, and the other books of the Hebrew Bible. He wanted to share some of the instruction and wisdom that he had received from these books. Thus this author, his grandson, wants those who loved learning to become familiar with this work. With that, they would be better able to follow the Law itself.