The holy vestments of Aaron (Sir 45:7-45:9)

“The Lord blessed Aaron with stateliness.

He put a glorious robe on him.

He clothed him in perfect splendor.

He strengthened him

With the symbols of authority.

Aaron had linen undergarments.

He had a long robe.

He had the ephod.

The Lord encircled him with pomegranates.

There were many golden bells all around.

This sent forth a sound as he walked.

Their ringing could be heard in the temple.

This was a reminder to his people.”

Next Sirach explains the holy vestments of Aaron. The problem, of course, is that Aaron never made it to the Promise Land to wear any of these vestments, since he died in the desert or wilderness, centuries before the Jerusalem Temple was built. These were the vestments of the Levitical priests, not Aaron, as described in Exodus, chapter 28. Aaron was to be stately and splendid wearing these robes of authority. He was to wear linen undergarments, a long robe, and the ephod. According to Exodus, the long robe was blue with pomegranates all around it. The bells were to remind people that he was coming into the Temple that did not yet exist. The ephod was an old cultural vestment, an embroidered garment, believed to be like an apron with shoulder straps, worn by Levitical priests in ancient Israel.

The glory of God’s creation (Sir 42:21-42:25)

“The Lord has set in order

The splendors of his wisdom.

He is

From all eternity,

One and the same.

Nothing can be added.

Nothing can be taken away.

He needs no one

To be his counselor.

How desirable are all his works!

How sparkling they are to see!

All these things live!

They remain forever!

Each creature is preserved

To meet a particular need.

All are obedient.

All things come in pairs,

One opposite the other.

He has made nothing incomplete.

Each one supplements

The virtues of the other.

Who could ever tire

Of seeing his glory?”

Sirach points out that the Lord has set everything in its splendid place so that all things might show his wisdom and glorify him. God is from eternity, one and the same, unchanging. Nothing can be added or taken away from him so that he does not need a counselor to tell him what to do. All his works are splendid and desirable. Each created thing serves a particular need since they all obey him. Everything comes in pairs as opposites, much like in the Noah’s ark story in Genesis. Nothing is incomplete. There is nothing out of place in this well ordered universe. Each one supplements the virtues of the other. Who would ever get tired seeing this eternal glory of the Lord?