Overflowing wisdom (Sir 24:24-24:29)

“It overflows

Like the Pishon,

With wisdom.

It overflows

Like the Tigris

At the time of the first fruits.

It runs over,

Like the Euphrates,

With understanding.

It is

Like the Jordan

At harvest time.

It pours forth instruction

Like the Nile.

It is

Like the Gihon

At the time of vintage.

Just as the first man

Did not know wisdom fully,

Neither will the last one

Fathom her.

Her thoughts

Are more abundant

Than the sea.

Her counsel deeper

Than the great abyss.”

Sirach goes into a section on how wisdom overflows its banks like many of the rivers in the area. Using the 4 biblical paradise rivers mentioned as surrounding the Garden of Eden, in Genesis, chapter 2, the Pishon, the Tigris, the Euphrates, and the Gihon, Sirach spoke of them individually. Wisdom overflowed each of them. He also spoke of 2 other important rivers for the Israelites, the Jordan and the Nile. Finally he mentioned that the first man did not fully understand wisdom. However, he also said that the last man would not fully understand wisdom either, because her thoughts are more abundant and deeper than the sea.