Fear of the Lord and wisdom (Sir 15:1-15:8)

“Whoever fears the Lord

Will do this.

Whoever holds to the law

Will obtain wisdom.

Wisdom will come to meet him

Like a mother.

She will be

Like a young bride.

She will welcome him.

She will feed him

With the bread of learning.

She will give him

The water of wisdom to drink.

He will lean on her.

He will not fall.

He will rely on her.

He will not be put to shame.

She will exalt him

Above his neighbors.

She will open his mouth

In the midst of the assembly.

He will find gladness.

He will find a crown of rejoicing.

He will inherit an everlasting name.

The foolish will not obtain her.

Sinners will not see her.

She is far from arrogance.

Liars will never think of her.”

Anyone who fears the Lord will have a chance at wisdom. They must hold firmly and follow the law in order to get wisdom. Then wisdom will come to meet them like a mother or a young bride. Clearly wisdom is feminine as a mother or wife. The food and drink of the wise person will be the bread of learning and the water of wisdom. These people can lean on wisdom so that they will not fall or be put to shame. They will be exalted above their neighbors because they will open their mouths in the assembly of the elders. They will find gladness with a rejoicing crown and an everlasting name. The foolish and the sinners cannot obtain or see wisdom. Wisdom stays away from arrogance. Liars never think about wisdom, since she is reserved for those who fear the Lord.

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Conduct with others (Sir 13:8-13:11)

“Take care not to be led astray.

Do not be humiliated

When you are enjoying yourself.

When an influential person invites you,

Be reserved.

He will invite you more insistently.

Do not be forward,

Otherwise you may be rebuffed.

Do not stand aloof,

Otherwise you will be forgotten.

Do not try to treat him

As an equal.

Do not trust his lengthy conversations.

He will test you by prolonged talk.

While he smiles,

He will be examining you.”

Sirach has some advice on how you are to deal with other people. You should not be lead astray or humiliated while you are enjoying yourself. If an influential powerful person invites you over, you should be reserved. Thus he will be more insistent. Do not be pushy or you might be pushed back. Do not be aloof and standoffish or you might be forgotten. However, do not treat this person like an equal. Watch out for long conversations because while he is smiling, he is actually examining you.