Matthew, chapter 15:32, has a similar statement about compassion, practically word for word. This is much like the earlier feeding of the 5,000 people. Mark said that Jesus had compassion on the crowd (Σπλαγχνίζομαι ἐπὶ τὸν ὄχλον), since they had been with him for 3 days (ὅτι ἤδη ἡμέραι τρεῖς προσμένουσίν μοι), without anything to eat (καὶ οὐκ ἔχουσιν τί φάγωσιν). Jesus was seriously concerned about the well being of this large crowd of people who had been with him for a couple of days.
Yahweh had a special covenant with the tribe of Levi, the priests. Yahweh had set up his life-long covenant with a command to Levi that he would bring well-being to the Levites. Yahweh had called for reverence. Thus, the Levies had revered and stood in awe of Yahweh’s name.
Sirach reminds us of the connection between keeping the law and offering the sacrificial rites. If you keep the law, you are like offering many sacrifices. If you keep the commandments, you are making the equivalent of a well-being or peace offering. When you return a kindness to someone, offer them the choice flour. If you give alms, you are like making a thanksgiving sacrifice. Whenever you keep from wickedness, you are pleasing to the Lord. When you stay away from unrighteousness, you are making an atonement for your sins. Keeping the law is like offering sacrifices.
“Early in the morning on the twenty-fifth day of the ninth month, which is the month of Chislev, in the one hundred forty-eighth year, they rose and offered sacrifice. As the law directs, they offered this on the new altar of burnt offering that they had built. At the very season and on the very day that the gentiles had profaned it, it was dedicated with songs, harps, lutes, and cymbals. All the people fell on their faces and worshiped. They blessed heaven who had prospered them. So they celebrated the dedication of the altar for eight days. They joyfully offered burnt offerings. They offered a sacrifice of well-being and a thanksgiving offering. They decorated the front of the temple with golden crowns and small shields. They restored the gates and the chambers for the priests. They fitted them with doors. There was very great joy among the people. The disgrace brought by the gentiles was removed.”
Now this took place on the 25th day of Chislev in the 148th year, December of 164 BCE, exactly 3 years after the gentiles had profaned the sanctuary with the worship of Zeus. They were very careful to point out that it was the same day, and same month, only 3 years later. They now sacrificed on their new burnt offering altar. All the people fell on their face as they worshipped. They blessed heaven. It is interesting to note that it is heaven and not explicitly God that they praise. Heaven has become more than a high place, but the place of God himself. There is a personification or divination of heaven. They celebrated for 8 days, as they offered sacrifices of well-being and thanksgiving. They decorated the front of the Temple with golden crowns and shields. They restored the gates and the chambers for the priests with new doors. There was great joy among the people because the disgrace of the gentiles had been removed.