They began to rejoice (Lk 19:37-19:37)

“As Jesus was now approaching

The path

Down from

The Mount of Olives,

The whole multitude

Of the disciples

Began

To praise God joyfully

With a loud voice

For all the deeds

Of power

That they had seen.”

 

ἐγγίζοντος δὲ αὐτοῦ ἤδη πρὸς τῇ καταβάσει τοῦ ὄρους τῶν Ἐλαιῶν ἤρξαντο ἅπαν τὸ πλῆθος τῶν μαθητῶν χαίροντες αἰνεῖν τὸν Θεὸν φωνῇ μεγάλῃ περὶ πασῶν ὧν εἶδον δυνάμεων,

 

Luke said that as Jesus was now approaching the path descending down (ἐγγίζοντος δὲ αὐτοῦ ἤδη πρὸς τῇ καταβάσει) from the Mount of Olives (τοῦ ὄρους τῶν Ἐλαιῶν), the whole multitude of the disciples began (ἤρξαντο ἅπαν τὸ πλῆθος τῶν μαθητῶν) to praise God joyfully (χαίροντες αἰνεῖν τὸν Θεὸν) with a loud voice (φωνῇ μεγάλῃ) for all the deeds of power that they had seen (περὶ πασῶν ὧν εἶδον δυνάμεων).  This is a unique use of the word, καταβάσει that means descent.  Luke was the only writer who said that it was this descent of the Mount of Olives where all this took place.  He also mentioned that only his disciples who was praising Jesus for all that he had done.  Both Matthew, chapter 21:9, and Mark, chapter 11:8-9, are very similar but with slight differences.  Mark said that the crowds or the people were in front of (οἱ προάγοντες) and behind Jesus (καὶ οἱ ἀκολουθοῦντες).  They were all shouting out (ἔκραζον).  Matthew said that the crowds were in front of him and behind him (οἱ δὲ ὄχλοι οἱ προάγοντες αὐτὸν καὶ οἱ ἀκολουθοῦντες), as they were all shouting out (ἔκραζον).  John, chapter 12:13, on the other hand, simply said that they were shouting out.  Have you ever been in a crowd that was shouting out things?

The redemption of Jerusalem (Lk 2:38-2:38)

“At that moment,

Anna came there.

She began

To praise God.

She began

To speak

About the child

To all who were looking

For the redemption

Of Jerusalem.”

 

καὶ αὐτῇ τῇ ὥρᾳ ἐπιστᾶσα ἀνθωμολογεῖτο τῷ Θεῷ καὶ ἐλάλει περὶ αὐτοῦ πᾶσιν τοῖς προσδεχομένοις λύτρωσιν Ἰερουσαλήμ

 

Luke said that at that moment or hour (καὶ αὐτῇ τῇ ὥρᾳ), when Mary, Joseph, and Jesus were there in the Temple, Anna, the prophetess daughter of Phanuel came to them (ἐπιστᾶσα).  She began to praise God (ἀνθωμολογεῖτο τῷ Θεῷ), as was her custom.  However, she also spoke about this child Jesus (καὶ ἐλάλει περὶ αὐτοῦ).  He would be important for all those who were looking for or expecting the liberation or redemption of Jerusalem (πᾶσιν τοῖς προσδεχομένοις λύτρωσιν Ἰερουσαλήμ).  This old prophet lady noticed Jesus in the same way that the old righteous man Simeon had.  She came over to him and his parents.  She said that Jesus would be important for anyone concerned about the future of Jerusalem.  Notice that it was not Israel, but Jerusalem that would be saved, liberated, or redeemed.

The final blessing (Sir 51:37-51:38)

“May your soul rejoice

In God’s mercy!

May you never be ashamed

To praise him!

Do your work in good time!

In God’s own time,

He will give you your reward.

The wisdom of Jesus,

Son of Sira.

May the name of the Lord

Be blessed now and forever!”

We now have the final blessing from Sirach. In fact, he kind of signs off on this when he says that this is the wisdom of Jesus, son of Sira, Ben Sira, or Sirach. He wanted our souls to rejoice in God’s mercy. We should never be ashamed to praise God. However, we were to continue our work. God would then reward us in his time schedule. Therefore the name of the Lord should be blessed forever.

Thanks to God (Sir 51:1-51:1)

“I give you thanks!

O Lord!

O king!

I will praise you!

O God!

My Savior!

I give thanks

To your name!”

This work has a couple of appendices about giving thanks to God and the importance of wisdom. This was as if to envelop these sometimes mundane comments of Sirach within a more religious context. This author wants to give thanks to the Lord who is his king. He wants to praise God who is his savior. He wants to give thanks to his name, the unnamed Yahweh.

Praise for the Divine presence (Sir 43:27-43:33)

“We could say more.

But we could never say enough.

Let the final word be.

‘He is the all.’

Where can we find the strength

To praise him?

He is greater

Than all his works.

Awesome is the Lord.

He is very great.

His power is marvelous.

Glorify the Lord!

Exalt him as much as you can!

He surpasses even that.

When you exalt him,

Summon all your strength.

Do not grow weary!

You cannot praise him enough.

Who has seen him?

Who can describe him?

Who can extol him as he is?

Many things greater

Than these lie hidden.

I have seen

But a few of his works.

The Lord has made all things.

To the godly,

He has given wisdom.”

Sirach assumes the first person plural saying that he or we could say more, but it would never be enough. In fact, Sirach is very close to a pantheistic view when he maintains that the Lord is all things. However, he quickly corrects himself when he says that the Lord is greater than all his works, separating him from his creation. The Lord is awesome, very great, marvelous, and powerful. Where do we get the strength to praise the Lord? We should glorify him and exalt him as much as we can. We should not grow weary because we can never praise God enough. Nobody has seen him or described him. How can we extol him enough? Sirach has related what he has seen, but there are many more hidden things about the Lord, since he is the creator of all things. Luckily, he has given wisdom to the godly, so that they will experience a few of these marvels of the Lord.

Praise God (Ps 71:22-71:24)

“I will also praise you with the harp,

For your faithfulness,

O my God!

I will sing praises to you with the lyre,

O Holy One of Israel!

My lips will shout for joy,

When I sing praises to you.

My soul also will shout for joy.

You have rescued my soul.

All day long,

My tongue will talk of your righteous help.

Those who tried to do me harm

Have been put to shame.

They have been disgraced.”

This long psalm ends with the usual cry of praising God. This psalmist, like the Davidic psalms, talks about playing the harp and the lyre.   He was going to sing praises about the faithfulness of God, the holy one of Israel. His lips would shout for joy because his soul had been rescued. All day long, he would talk about the righteous help of God. He had to add the zinger that those who tried to do him harm were put to shame and disgraced.