Enoch (Sir 49:14-49:14)

“Few have ever been created

On earth

Like Enoch.

He was taken up

From the earth.”

Sirach ends his tribute to the honorable famous holy men by repeating what he had said about Enoch, in chapter 44, 5 chapters earlier, the first famous holy man mentioned. Enoch was the lucky 7th among the 12 patriarchs before the flood, the great grandfather of Noah. What made Enoch unique among these early patriarchs was that he does not seem to die, as he was taken up from the earth. There were also 3 apocryphal books about Enoch written from the 3rd century BCE to after the time of Jesus Christ. Thus his fascinating popularity was enormous. In fact, there are even a few mentions of Enoch in the New Testament writings.

Isaiah (Sir 48:22-48:25)

“King Hezekiah followed

What the prophet Isaiah

Had commanded.

Isaiah was great.

Isaiah was trustworthy

In his visions.

In Isaiah’s days,

The sun went backward.

He prolonged

The life of the king.

By his dauntless spirit

He saw the future.

He comforted the mourners

In Zion.

He revealed

What was to occur

To the end of time.

He revealed the hidden things

Before they happened.”

Sirach may have had 2 sources for his information about the prophet Isaiah (approximately 772-698 BCE). Besides, the mention of Isaiah in 2 Kings, chapters 17-20, there is a whole biblical Book of Isaiah with 66 chapters about and supposedly from this prophet Isaiah. He consulted with a number of kings, but especially King Hezekiah. He is generally considered one of the most important of the Israelite prophets both for age and time, because he was faithful to Yahweh. He made the sun turn around when he cured King Hezekiah, by lengthening his life. He also was a seer or predicator of things to come, but some of these visions may have been written after the events had already happened. He revealed many hidden things. Suffice it to say, his impact on Judaism and early Christianity was enormous.