The glorious priest Simon (Sir 50:5-50:10)

“How glorious he was!

He was surrounded

By the people.

He came out

Of the inner sanctuary.

He came out

Of house of the curtain.

He was

Like the morning star

Among the clouds,

Like the full moon

At the festal season,

Like the sun shining

On the temple of the Most High,

Like the rainbow

Gleaming in splendid clouds,

Like roses

In the days of the first fruits,

Like lilies

By a spring of water,

Like a green shoot on Lebanon

On a summer day,

Like fire with incense

In the censer,

Like a vessel

Of hammered gold

Studded with all kinds

Of precious stones,

Like an olive tree

Laden with fruit,

Like a cypress

Towering in the clouds.”

Sirach has a description of how glorious the high priest Simon looked as he was surrounded by the Israelite people when he came out of the sanctuary. He was like the morning star in the clouds, like a full moon at the festivals, like the sun shining on the Lord’s Temple, like the rainbow in the clouds, like early roses, like lilies by a water stream, like green branches of Lebanon on a summer day, like fire and incense in a Temple censer, like hammered gold with precious stones, like a blossoming olive tree, and like a cypress tree reaching to the clouds. Sirach used a lot of metaphors to explain the good looks of this high priest.

The invitation to praise God (Sir 39:12-39:15)

“I have more on my mind

To express.

I am full

Like the full moon.

Listen to me!

My faithful children!

Blossom like a rose!

May it grow

By a stream of water!

Send out fragrance

Like incense!

Put forth blossoms

Like a lily!

Scatter the fragrance!

Sing a hymn of praise!

Bless the Lord

For all his works!

Ascribe majesty to his name!

Give thanks to him

With praise!

Give thanks

With songs on your lips!

Give thanks

With harps!

This is what

You shall say in thanksgiving.”

Sirach assumes the first person singular in talking to his children. He has a lot more to tell them because his mind is like a full moon. He wanted his children to be like rose blossoms and grow by a water stream. He wanted the scent of the lily blossoms to be like incense that would be scattered around. He wanted them to sing a hymn of praise to the majestic Lord. The Lord should be blessed for all his works. Praise and thanksgiving should be given to the Lord with songs and harps. He was about to tell them what they should say in their thanksgiving prayer.