The scribes (Sir 39:1-39:5)

“How different is

The one who devotes himself

To the study

Of the law of the Most High.

He seeks out the wisdom

Of all the ancients.

He is concerned with prophecies.

He preserves the sayings

Of the famous.

He penetrates the subtleties

Of the parables.

He seeks out the hidden meanings

Of proverbs.

He is at home

With the obscurities of parables.

He serves among the great men.

He appears before rulers.

He travels in foreign lands.

He learns what is good and evil

In the human lot.

He sets his heart to rise early.

He seeks the Lord who made him.

He petitions the Most High.

He opens his mouth in prayer.

He asks pardon for his sins.”

Sirach is more interested in the scholarly scribes. This seems like a defense of his own life, and what he is doing. He devotes himself to the study of the law of the Most High God. He seeks the wisdom of the ancients and the current prophecies. He preserves the ancient sayings or writings. He penetrates and finds the hidden meanings of the parables and the proverbs. He serves among and appears before the rulers. He even travels in foreign lands so that he can learn about good and evil among all humans. He rises early to seek the Lord. He prays with petitions and penitence to the Most High God. In other words, he is a great righteous man, fully dedicated to the law of God and living it out in his daily life. He is Sirach!

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Parental advice (Prov 2:1-2:9)

“My child!

If you accept my words,

If you treasure my commandments within you,

You will make your ear attentive to wisdom.

You will incline your heart to understanding.

If you indeed cry out for insight,

If you raise your voice for understanding,

If you seek it like silver,

If you search for it as for hidden treasures,

Then you will understand the fear of Yahweh.

You will find the knowledge of God.

Yahweh gives wisdom.

From his mouth comes knowledge.

From his mouth comes understanding.

He stores up sound wisdom for the upright.

He is a shield to those who walk blamelessly.

He guards the paths of justice.

He preserves the way of his faithful ones.

Then you will understand righteousness.

You will understand justice.

You will understand equity.

You will understand every good path.”

This chapter of Proverbs is a poem and lecture at the same time. If you search for wisdom, it will come. This is a father telling his children how to live their lives. This section used the structure of the “if” phrases. If they accept his words and treasure his commandments, then they will be attentive to wisdom and understanding. If they cry out for insight and understanding, like they were seeking money or a hidden treasure, then they will understand the fear of Yahweh. The knowledge of God brings wisdom because God gives knowledge. wisdom, and understanding. He shields those who walk blamelessly. He guards the paths of justice. He preserves the faithful ones. With wisdom, you will be able to understand righteousness, justice, equity, and every good path. First, fear God, then everything else will fall into place.