Baruch explains his writing (Jer 36:17-36:19)

“Then they asked Baruch.

‘Tell us now!

How did you write

All these words?

Was it at his dictation?’

Baruch answered them.

‘He dictated

All these words to me.

I wrote them

With ink on the scroll.’

Then the officials said

To Baruch.

‘Go!

Hide!

You!

As well as Jeremiah!

Let no one know

Where you are.’”

These royal officials interrogated Baruch. They wanted to know if he wrote this himself or had someone dictated it to him. Baruch answered that Jeremiah had dictated the words to him. He wrote them down on the scroll with ink. Then the officials told Baruch to hide, both he and Jeremiah, so that no one would know where they were. They thought that the king might have an adverse reaction to this news.

The high priest Simon the builder (Sir 50:1-50:4)

“Simon the high priest,

Son of Onias,

Was the leader

Of his brothers.

He was

The pride of his people.

In his life

He repaired the house.

In his time,

He fortified the temple.

He laid the foundations

For the high double walls.

These were

The high retaining walls

For the temple enclosure.

In his days,

A water cistern was dug.

He made a reservoir

Like the sea in circumference.

He considered

How to save his people

From ruin.

He fortified the city

Against any siege.”

Sirach ends his work with a whole chapter about the high priest Simon, son of Onias. Who is this guy and why is he important? This high priest Simon is Simeon the just or the righteous one. He may have been one of the last members of the questionable Great Assembly. There is a question whether he was Simeon I (310-273) or Simeon II (220-195) since both their fathers were called Onias. The general consensus today is that it is the later which would make him a contemporary of Sirach. Maybe that is why he got so much ink. He certainly was a leader among his fellow priests and a source of pride for the people. He repaired and fortified the Temple, always a good thing to do. He put down some foundations to make the walls higher around the Temple. He helped to build a large reservoir of water for the city. He tried to save his people from ruin so that he fortified the city against any kind of siege.