Travel to Egypt (Sir 0:27-0:36)

“When I came to Egypt

In the thirty-eighth year of the reign of Euergetes,

I stayed for some time.

I found an opportunity for no little instruction.

It seemed highly necessary

That I should myself

Devote some diligence,

Devote some labor to the translation of this book.

During that time,

I applied my skill

Day and night.

Thus I was able to complete this translation.

I was able to publish the book

For those living abroad

Who wished to gain learning.

That is those

Disposed to live according to the Law.”

Now we learn about this translator.   He states that he came to Egypt in the thirty-eighth year of the reign of Euergetes. This must mean the Egyptian King Ptolemy VIII, Euergetes. He ascended the throne in the year 170 BCE, together with his brother Philometor, but he soon became sole ruler from 146 to 117 BCE. Thus this translator must have gone to Egypt in 132 BCE, 38 years after 170 BCE. So now we have an exact date. He stayed there for some time. There he labored to translate this book, day and night. He finally completed his translations and published this book as an aid for anyone seeking to live according to the Law.

Protecting the work (Neh 4:21-4:23)

“So we labored at the work. Half of them held the spears from the break of dawn until the stars came out. I also said to the people at that time. ‘Let every man and his servant pass the night inside Jerusalem. That way, there may be a guard for us by night so that we may labor by day.’ I, my brothers, my servants, and the men of the guard who followed me, never took off our clothes. Each one kept his weapon in his hand.”

There was a new plan. Half of the workers had spears all day. It must have been difficult to work with a sword. Nehemiah wanted everyone to spend the night in Jerusalem. That way, there would a guard for the night. Then in the daytime, they could do the labor work. No one ever took off their clothes. Everyone kept a weapon in their hand.