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Douay Rheims--Ecclesiaticus


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Posted on Feb 21, 2012 6:18:00 PM PST
J. G. Lewis says:
Hello everyone! Quite a Super Bowl wasn't it? Eli Manning engineering a touchdown drive in the final minutes, again? Quite something. I grew up in the New York suburbs in the latter 70's to early 1980's, and it was a hard time for a Giant fan then, but I was patient. And all would change with the drafting of a linebacker called Lawrence Taylor, though, circa 1981.

An important word in Christendom... patience. The Lord, indeed, is very patient... with his children, and with the entirety of the human family, the sons (and daughters) of Adam, and Noah. Is there an end? Yes, and yes... however, this being an area of which I am not all too certain, it is also an area of which I cannot speculate, behond merely suggesting that we should be patient, with each other, but even additionally with Almighty God Himself. Not to say that his promises are not sure, and that we cannot rest in them, we can; but that there exist trials on the Earth, and many a great trial, in which heavenly rest may, at times, appear distant. We have seen Jesus Ben Sirach speak of such trials in the last chapter, 34:9 - 13, and in a sense, trials can be seen as a training in righteousness (as long as we abide in the word of God).

"Dune" (1985), directed (masterfully) by David Lynch, expresses this concept throughout, and towards the end, of the movie. I recommend it: however, only his own version, as opposed to the extended one, which he did not allow his name to be placed upon. Not really a Christian movie, as one may label them; notwithstanding, there does exist some concepts expressive of Christian warfare, such as what Ben Sirach was writing of in the last chapter.

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Ecclesiasticus, Chapteer 35, Comments.

This chapter, along with the last, I have found the most interesting, and pious, in the whole book, with the exception of chapter 15 (of which, I believe, I would like to go back to before we finish the book). Must remember, of course, this book is not in the canon; yet it is one of the 7 books of wisdom.

Looking back, again, to 34, and in particular 34:14 - 35:13, we see Ben Sirach looking onward, if you would, to the 'latter days', as the prophets termed them, that is, the coming of the Messiah, and the New Covenant, or perhaps more accurately, the New Testament times... Please examine 35: 1 - 9. We see Sirach equating the Legal Sacrifices with obedience; and obedience to God truly is a sacrifice... a sacrifice of our personhood: for to obey the lay, we must disobey ourselves, and our nature. See verses 5, 8 - 9.
5: "To depart from iniquity is that which pleaseth the Lord, and to depart from injustice, is an entreaty for sins....
8: The oblation of the just maketh the altar fat, and is an odour of sweetness in the sight of the most High.
9: The sacrifice of the just is acceptable, and the Lord will not forget the memorial thereof."
In these verses, Sirach is transposing significance, as the prophets of old did, from what is offered on the altar, and the mere procedure thereof, to how it is so offered, and the men doing the offering. The focus then becomes not so much the ancient, and various, offerings and oblations of the Law, and the associated intricate procedures, but rather the heart condition, and obedience, of the people, and above all, the priest himself - being the man standing for, and representing, them in front of God. We see this literally in verse 3.
3: "And to depart from injustice, is to offer a propitiatory sacrifice for injustices, and a begging of pardon for sins."

*The Atonement*, never fully described in the Old Testament, was being pointed to here, somewhat unwittingly.

_____________________________________________________

One must be careful in the use of various eschatological terms, by the way, such as "latter days", "the Day of the Lord", and the "end" or "end times", because, even though all three are biblical, they each seperately have different meanings. It was due to confusion on this, and related, prophetical issues, that John Calvin, master expositor of the Bible, would actually subtly err on occasion. (Often he would class Day of the Lord prophesies as 'latter day' events - a serious error.) Further, and if you note above, I tried to switch emphasis away from "Covenant" to "Testament", for even though, again, the use of "New" and "Old" with Covenant is Biblical (Jeremiah 31), the terms were used more accurately, I believe, to expess different manners and ways in which the Lord was to deal with his people, rather than a strict covenantal agreement, per se.
I, truthfully, need to do a little more studying on this end (I am going through the book of Jeremiah right now, with master Calvin's notes); but such is the terminology of the Bible: it is not all that simple.

So therefore, that's 34 and 35 for all; among the more important chapters, I think. I'll place up 36 soon. I believe we will finish with Ecclesiasticus by the year's end. Have a good night!

- John

Posted on Feb 22, 2012 12:13:37 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 22, 2012 12:21:30 PM PST
J. G. Lewis says:
Douay-Rheims Challoner Ecclesiasticus, Chapter 35, Comments.

I do apologize for my didactic tone (!); I'll have to work on that.... Anyway, I just wanted to place forth one additional comment or two. Ben Sirach was asking the question, in the last chapter: What makes the altar fat, or pleasing in the sight of the Lord? And the answer was not... an unblemished lamb (say, although this is a necessary element, yes) as the hypocrites of Isaiah's and Jeremiah's time may have thought, but rather obedience (v. 8).... Yet, it would be the case, only 150 years later, that both purity and obedience would be summated, in the personhood of the Lord Jesus. Sirach's spiritual insights here are, as I have suggested, going beyond the strict writings of Moses (the Pentateuch)... and anticipating the New Covenant (Jeremiah 31); similar to the writings of most of the prophets. Calvin notes often that the prophets were.... Interpreters of the Law.

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I also liked very much what was written in verses 20 - 22, this week.
20. "He that adoreth God with joy, shall be accepted, and his prayer shall approach even to the clouds.
21. The prayer of him that humbleth himself, shall pierce the clouds: and till it come nigh he will not be comforted: and he will not depart till the most High behold.
22. And the Lord will not be slack, but will judge for the just..."

I am reminded here of the author to the book of Hebrews. Heb. 2: 6-7
"... What is man, that you are mindful of him,
or the son of man, that you care for him?
You made him for a little while lower than the angels;
[yet] have crowned him with glory and honour..."
-- from Psalm 8 --

And also, Psalm 15.
1. "O Lord, who shall sojourn in your tent?
Who shall dwell on your holy hill?
2. He who walks blamelessly and does what is right,
and speaks truth in his heart."

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Those are my thoughts for this week. One interesting parallel to note additionally, was Ecclesiasticus 35: 17 with James 1:27. See everyone in a few days for Chapter 36.

- John

Posted on Mar 23, 2012 12:22:53 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 23, 2012 12:43:42 PM PDT
J. G. Lewis says:
------------DRC Ecclesiasticus Chapter 36 ----------------------------------------------------------

1. Have mercy upon us, O God of all, and behold us, and shew us the light of thy mercies:

2. And send thy fear upon all nations, that have not sought after thee: that they may know

that there is no God beside thee, and that they may shew forth thy wonders.

3. Lift up thy hand over the strange nations, that they may see thy power.

4. For as thou hast been sanctified in us in their sight, so thou shalt be magnified among

them in our presence,

5. That they may know thee, as we also have known thee, that there is no God beside thee,

O Lord.

6. Renew thy signs, and work new miracles.

7. Glorify thy hand, and thy right arm.

8. Raise up indignation, and pour out wrath.

9. Take away the adversary, and crush the enemy.

10. Hasten the time, and remember the end, that they may declare thy wonderful works.

11. Let him that escapeth be consumed by the rage of the fire: and let them perish that

oppress thy people.

12. Crush the head of the princes of the enemies that say: There is no other beside us.

13. Gather together all the tribes of Jacob: that they may know that there

is no God besides thee, [and grant them their inheritance, O Lord, as at the

beginning.]

14. Have mercy on thy people, upon whom thy name is invoked: and upon Israel, whom thou

hast raised up to be thy firstborn.

15. Have mercy on Jerusalem, the city which thou hast sanctified, the city of thy rest.

16. Fill Zion with thy unspeakable words, and thy people with thy glory.

17. Give testimony to them that are thy creatures from the beginning, and raise up the

prophecies which the former prophets spoke in thy name.

18. Reward them that patiently wait for thee, that thy prophets may be found faithful: and hear

the prayers of thy servants,

19. According to the blessing of Aaron over thy people, and direct us into the way of justice,

and let all know that dwell upon the Earth, that thou art God the beholder of all ages.

20. The belly will devour meat, yet one is better than another.

21. The palate tasteth venison and the wise heart false speaches.

22. A perverse heart will cause grief, and a man of experience will resist it.

23. A woman will receive every man: yet one daughter is better than another.

24. The beauty of a woman cheereth the countenance of her husband, and a man desireth

nothing more.

25. If she have a tongue that can cure, and likewise mitigate and shew mercy: her husband

is not like other men.

26. He that possesseth a good wife, beginneth a possession: she is a help like to himself,

and a pillar of the rest.

27. Where there is no hedge, the possession shall be spoiled: and where there is no wife,

he mourneth that is in want [of a good wife].

28. Who will trust him that hath no rest, and that lodgeth wheresoever the night taketh him,

as a robber well appointed, that skippeth from city to city.

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The first brackets are the RSV, which I believe in this instance gave a more literal interpretation. The second brackets is merely my own addition, attempting to clarify what was written by Jesus Ben Sirach.

- John

Posted on Apr 7, 2012 2:45:54 PM PDT
J. G. Lewis says:
Happy Easter! I am sure all are celebrating the Resurrection.
We plan to have a Roast here tomorrow....

I plan to place up a post for all on DRC Chapter 36 perhaps latter today. It is not quite as important a chapter as compared with the last two (34 and 35) though, imo.

Btw, I am not sure if I ever explained, but the "Times of the Gentiles" verse that I was thinking of was Luke 21: 24.

- John L.

Posted on Apr 8, 2012 12:05:40 PM PDT
J. G. Lewis says:
Greetings, and Happy Easter!

Upon second (and third) reading, this week's chapter is more important than one might perhaps initially believe. The whole chapter impresses me with it's almost Christian sense of worship, adoration, and songs. Such as:

6. Renew thy signs, and work new miracles.
7. Glorify thy hand, and thy right arm.

Nearly identical to "Glorify thy Name".
And also note, among others:

15. Have mercy on Jerusalem, the city which thou hast sanctified, the city of thy rest
16. Fill Zion with thy unspeakable words, and thy people with thy glory.

And also, let me present the DRC v. 18 - 19 in the corresponding RSV verses:
"Listen, O Lord, to the prayer of your servants,
according to the blessing of Aaron for your people,
and direct us in the way of righteousness,
and all who are on the earth will know
that you are the Lord, the God of the Ages."
{RSV, Ecclesiasticus [Sirach], Chapter 36, v. 16 - 17}

Many songs one may be reminded of. I recall "Shout to the Lord." by Darlene Zschech.

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In this time (say 150 BC), the northern 10 or so tribes had been long vanquished, leaving Judah, some of the Levites, Simeon, and some of Benjamin. Though not among the 12 settled tribes, the Tribe of Levi (one of the sons of Jacob) had no territory in Israel you will remember, as their inheritance was the Lord Himself (Numbers 18: 20), but they did have *some* property, even some cities (Joshua 21). They were Priests to the Lord, some as High Priests, as the curse of Jacob had been turned into a blessing. (Genesis 49: 5 - 7). And the curse was reversed for Simeon too, as they became entangled with Judah in the settling of the nation, and so saved from the conquering of the North by the King of Assyria (2 Kings 17: 6). [The latter part of Genesis 49: 5 - 7 (being "I will divide... and scatter them...") perhaps never actually was a curse...] Additionally, a part of Benjamin may have been left at the writing of Jesus Ben Sirach in the 2nd century BC, as their territory was very close to Jerusalem.

So the 10 tribes taken:
1. Asher
2. Naphtali
3. Zebulun
4. Issachar
5. Dan
6. Benjamin (largely)
7. Reuben
8. Gad
9 & 10 Joseph
-- Subdivided into the 2 settled tribes of Manasseh, and, Ephraim, the latter being the most significant of the 10 Northern tribes. Thus the subdivision of Joseph into 2 tribes provided a means to fill the 12th place left by the withdrawal of the Levites.

At the time of Ben Sirach, to reiterate, the Israelites that were left:
1. Judah, which would guard the faith for some 2000 years, as the Jews.
2. Simeon (they had been settled in Judah's expansive territory long ago by Joshua)
3. Some of the tribe of Levi, attending to the second Temple
4. I speculate a small part of Benjamin.

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Interesting, of course, in this chapter, that we have a call, request, or prayer, on the part of Ben Sirach, to unite all of Israel again: to bring back the lost tribes. (v.13) But it would take the appearance of the Saviour, and then another 1900 odd years for this to actually happen. I believe the Jews were not evicted from the Promised Land until 70 AD, to give the people time to accept the Gospel: to accept or reject, the Son of God.

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Going back to verse 4 and 5 momentarily:
"For as thou hast been sanctified in us in their sight, so thou shalt be magnified among them in our presence. That they may know thee, as we also have known thee, that there is no God beside thee, O Lord."
Again, we are reminded of modern worship songs.
But I wanted to point out, here, the importance of cooperating with Grace, and the Spirit, so that his Name may be magnified, and that, through us, 'sanctified'. Moses, if you recall, was reprimanded, and forbiden to cross into the holy land, because of a small, but significant, slip of his on this point, at the waters of Meribah (Numbers 20: 2 - 13). Some of the important warnings of the book of Hebrews are related to this issue too.

In the final few verses we see the importance, delight, and surety, that is given to a man in a good wife. To keep the ship in state, and to check for headings.
Perhaps some had an opportunity to watch "The Sound of Music" yesterday; I did. It was on the Family channel. A beautifully done, and at times playful, but always artistic, romantic Epic. I recommend it.

Again, I wish all a pleasant evening.
Your brother in the Faith,
John

Posted on Apr 30, 2012 5:51:20 PM PDT
J. G. Lewis says:
-------------------------DRC Ecclesiasticus Chapter 37---------------------------------------

1. Every friend will say: I also am his friend: but there is a friend, that is only a friend in name.

Is not this a grief unto death?

2. But a companion and a friend shall be turned to an enemy.

3. O wicked presumption, whence camest thou to cover the earth with thy malice,

and deceitfulness?

4. There is a companion who rejoiceth with his friend in his joys, but in the time of trouble,

he will be against him.

5. There is a companion who condoleth with his friend for his belly's sake, and he will take

up a shield against the enemy.

6. Forget not thy friend in thy mind, and be not unmindful of him in thy riches.

7. Consult not with him that layeth a snare for thee, and hide thy counsel from them that

envy thee.

8. Every counsellor giveth out counsel, but there is one that is a counsellor for himself.

9. Beware of a counsellor. And know before what need he hath: for he will devise his own mind:

10. Lest he thrust a stake into the ground, and say to thee:

11. Thy way is good; and then stand on the other side to see what shall befall thee.

12. Treat not with a man without religion concerning holiness, nor with an unjust man

concerning justice, nor with a woman touching her of whom she is jealous, nor with a

coward concerning war, nor with a merchant about traffic, nor with a buyer of selling,

nor with an envious man of giving thanks,

13. Nor with the ungodly of piety, nor with the dishonest of honesty, nor with the field laborer

of every work,

14. Nor with him that worketh by the year of the finishing of the year, nor with an idle servant

of much business: give no heed to these in any matter of counsel.

15. But be continually with a holy man, whomsoever thou shalt know to observe the fear of

God.

16. Whose soul is according to thy own soul: and who, when thou shalt stumble in the dark,

will be sorry for thee.

17. And establish within thyself a heart of good counsel: for there is no other thing of more

worth to thee than it.

18. The soul of a holy man discovereth sometimes true things, more than seven watchmen

that sit in a high place to watch.

19. But above all these things pray to the most High, that he may direct thy way in truth.

20. In all thy works let the true word go before thee, and steady counsel before every action.

21. A wicked word shall change the heart: out of which four manner of things arise: good and

evil, life and death: and the tongue is continually the ruler of them. There is a man that is subtle

and a teacher of many, and yet is unprofitable to his own soul.

22. A skilful man hath taught many, and is sweet to his own soul.

23. He that speaketh sophistically, is hateful: he shall be destitute of every thing.

24. Grace is not given him from the Lord: for he is deprived of all wisdom.

25. There is a wise man that is wise to his own soul: and the fruit of his understanding is

commendable.

26. A wise man instructeth his own people, and the fruits of his understanding are faithful.

27. A wise man shall be filled with blessings, and they that see shall praise him.

28. The life of a man is in the number of his days: but the days of Israel are innumerable.

29. A wise man shall inherit honour among his people, and his name shall live for ever.

30. My son, prove thy soul in thy life: and if it be wicked, give it no power:

31. For all things are not expedient for all, and every kind pleaseth not every soul.

32. Be not greedy in any feasting, and pour not out thyself upon any meat:

33. For in many meats there will be sickness, and greediness will turn to choler.

34. By surfeiting many have perished, but he that is temperate, shall prolong life.

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An interesting chapter! I wish all a pleasant evening.
John.

Posted on May 11, 2012 3:21:05 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 11, 2012 3:28:36 PM PDT
J. G. Lewis says:
Good evening everyone. Chapter 37.
I have a few comments for all.

In verses 12 - 14, Ben Sirach is issuing a warning concerning who to associate with, and this is very true. The meeting of church members should of course be cherished, protected, and encouraged... But remember the Lord's doubled warning to Solomon concerning the towers, or high places, devoted to subsidiary gods (in violation of the 2nd Commandment). Yes, well they were due to the fact that he had a number of different wives, and of varying nationalities, and faiths - and it was them that led Solomon's heart astray from the Living God. Solomon was accountable for his own sin, yes; but he did keep improper company, which contributed, and was probably a necessary cause of Solomon's 'fall'.

v. 20 - 29 Notes, among other things, that there may exist wise men that can edify other people... but who do not edify, or help, themselves. (see v. 21)

But my favorite part of the chapter though begins with verse 30:
"My son, prove thy soul in thy life: and if it be wicked, give it no power."
-- This is outstanding advice, especially in today's world, where wickedness is multiplying like an evil vine.... Of course, in every man and women's soul there exists evil, and wrong doing; this is man's nature as a result of the fall (Genesis 8:21). Yet the world now only aids the development of this, through godless philosophies, and materialistic inclinations and deferences. And worse: drugs, allowing pornography in the name of 'freedom', crudity, bad language, etc.
So then Jesus Ben Sirach's advice here is so apt today, and I believe really should be heard: Do not feed these desires and inclinations! Let them dry up, and conquer them. (Rev. 3:21)

The verses 31 to the end gives some examples of this conduct or practice.

- John

Posted on May 11, 2012 3:21:49 PM PDT
J. G. Lewis says:
I will put up chapter 38 soon. - JGL

Posted on May 20, 2012 4:32:59 PM PDT
J. G. Lewis says:
-------------------------------DRC Ecclesiasticus Chapter 38----------------------------------------

1. Honour the physician for the need thou hast of him: for the most High hath created him.

2. For all healing is from God, and he shall receive gifts of the king.

3. The skill of the physician shall lift up his head, and in the sight of great men he shall be

praised.

4. The most High hath created medicines out of the earth, and a wise man will not abhor them.

5. Was not bitter water made sweet with wood?

6. The virtue of these things is come to the knowledge of men, and the most High hath given

knowledge to men, that he may be honoured in his wonders.

7. By these he shall cure and shall allay their pains, and of these the apothecary shall make

sweet confections, and shall make up ointments of health, and of his works there shall be

no end.

8. For the peace of God is over all the face of the Earth.

9. My son, in thy sickness neglect not thyself, but pray to the Lord, and he shall heal thee.

10. Turn away from sin and order thy hands aright, and cleanse thy heart from all offense.

11. Give a sweet savour, and a memorial of fine flour, and make a fat offering, and then

give place to the physician.

12. For the Lord created Him: and let him not depart from thee, for his works are necessary.

13. For there is a time when thou must fall into their hands:

14. And they shall beseech the Lord, that he would prosper what they give for ease and

remedy, for their conversation.

15. He that sinneth in the sight of his Maker, shall fall into the hands of the physician.

16. My son, shed tears over the dead, and begin to lament as if thou hadst suffered some great

harm, and according to the judgement cover his body, and neglect not his burial.

17. And for fear of being ill spoken of weep bitterly for a day, and then comfort thyself in thy

sadness.

18. And make mourning for him according to his merit for a day, or two, for fear of detraction.

19. For of sadness cometh death, and it overwhelmeth the strength, and the sorrow of the heart

boweth down the neck.

20. In withdrawing aside sorrow remaineth: and the substance of the poor is according to his

heart.

21. Give not up thy heart to sadness, but drive it from thee: and remember the latter end.

22. Forget it not: for there is no returning, and thou shalt do him no good, and thou shalt

hurt thyself.

23. Remember my judgement: for thine also shall be so: yesterday for me, and to day for thee.

24. When the dead is at rest, let his remembrance rest, and comfort him in the departing of his

spirit.

25. The wisdom of a scribe cometh by his time of leisure: and he that is less in action, shall

receive wisdom.

26. With what wisdom shall he be furnished that holdeth the plough, and glorieth in the goad,

that driveth the oxen therewith, and is occupied in their labours, and his whole talk is about

the offsring of bulls?

27. He shall give his mind to turn up furrows, and his care is to give the kine fodder.

28. So every craftsman and workmaster that laboureth night and day, he who maketh graven

seals, and by his continual diligence varieth the figure: he shall give his mind to the

resemblance of the picture, and by his watching shall finish the work.

29. So doth the smith sitting by the anvil and considering the iron work. The vapour of the fire

wasteth his flesh, and he fighteth with the heat of the furnace.

30. The noise of the hammer is always in his ears, and his eye is upon the pattern of the

vessel he maketh.

31. He setteth his mind to finish his work, and his watching to polish them to perfection.

32. So doth the potter sitting at his work, turning the wheel about with his feet, who is always

carefully set to his work, and maketh all his work by number.

33. He fashioneth the clay with his arm, and boweth down his strength before his feet:

34. He shall give his mind to finish the glazing, and his watching to make clean the furnace.

35. All these trust to their hands, and every one is wise in his own art.

36. Without these a city is not built.

37. And they shall not dwell, nor walk about therein, and they shall not go up into the assembly.

38. Upon the judges' seat they shall not sit, and the ordinance of judgement they shall not

understand, neither shall they declare discipline and judgement, and they shall not be found

where parables are spoken:

39. But they shall strengthen the state of the world, and their prayer shall be in the work of

their craft, applying their soul, and searching in the law of the most High.

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Posted on May 28, 2012 4:55:04 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 28, 2012 4:55:54 PM PDT
J. G. Lewis says:
Hello everyone, and happy Memorial Day! I hope many are having a pleasant barbeque in the backyard!

I have read, and reread, chapter 38, and, as I have encountered in the past, as I let the chapter 'sit' with me, my perspective changed, and I believe I understood more. Anyway, here in this chapter we see the two faces of Jesus Ben Sirach: the one giving practical advice, and the other, more serious side, giving men and women advice concerning their immortal souls, concerning eternity, that is.

I will quote this week again from the RSV, as, at times, this is often a clearer version as compared to the Douay-Rheims Challoner and the Authorized King James, though the latter two will often have greater and more extensive meaning associated with the text. That is to say the RSV is usually more perspicuous, as with the ESV (it's younger brother) - though this can sometimes come at a price. Just as in map making, there is tension between clarity and detail or richness.

To return to the chapter, Ben Sirach begins by remarking that physicians are the Lord's instruments on Earth for the betterment of an individual's physical health. He of course recognizes that though "all healing is from God" (2), various "medicines out of the Earth", ointments and treatments, come from the good labour of doctors, who should duly be recognized, and thanked - yet primary thanks and praise should go to God, as the author of all health, and of the physicians themselves.

Note the Revised Standard Version, verses 5 - 8a:
5. Was not water made sweet with a tree
in order that His power might be known?
6. And he gave skill to men
that he may be glorified in his marvelous works.
7. By them he heals and takes away pain;
the pharmacist makes of them a compound...

Yes, Ben Sirach here remembers the miracle of Exodus 15:22 - 25. Similarily, we should recall the even more unlikely miracle of the Bronze Serpent of Numbers 21. To pick up again the RSV:

9. My son, when you are sick do not be negligent,
but pray to the Lord, and he will heal you.
10. Give up your faults and direct your hands aright,
and cleanse your heart from all sin.
11. Offer a sweet-smelling sacrifice, and a
memorial portion of fine flour,
and pour oil on your offering,
as much as you can afford.
12. And give the physician his place,
for the Lord created him;
let him not leave you,
for there is need of him.

We see here Ben Sirach's first concern is for piety and righteousness, sounding very much like John the Baptist in Luke 3:4 - 14. So indeed there is need of physicians now: it is how the Lord has arranged the world. But all authority rests in the heavens, and this is why we see Ben Sirach remarking in verse 14 of the DRC: "and they [the doctors] shall beseech the Lord, that [success will be granted in diagnosis and treatment].

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Moving onward, we come to the interesting verses, 25 - 39, where we find the reflection that *repose and leisure* are generally a necessary element for developing deep thought and theories - ideation. And the related statement: "Upon the judges seat... shall not sit" the labourers, coppersmiths, craftsmen, etc. This may seem obvious, but it is not really so in our egalitarian society. This is not at all to speak against our good workers, at all. But the Tenth Commandment should be obeyed today as it was in Israel 3400 years ago. However, we should realize that wealth, leasure, and resources are a gift from God: they are of Grace, and so are to be used wisely, and with care. "To whom is given much, much will be expected."

I know that there is an inherent sweetness inside of Egalitarianism, but as Solomon observed "there is a time for all things." The Golden Age has not yet come.

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- John G. Lewis

Posted on Jun 29, 2012 6:24:43 PM PDT
J. G. Lewis says:
-------------------------DRC Ecclesiasticus, Chapter 39-----------------------------------------

1. The wise man will seek out wisdom of all the ancients , and will be occupied in the prophets.

2. He will keep the sayings of renowned men, and will enter withal into the subtilties of parables.

3. He will search out hidden meanings of proverbs, and will be conversant in the secrets of

parables.

4. He shall serve among great men, and appear before the governor.

5. He shall pass into strange countries: for he shall try good and evil among men.

6. He will give his heart to resort early to the Lord that made him, and he will pray in the sight

of the Most High.

7. He will open his mouth in prayer, and will make supplication for his sins.

8. For if it shall please the great Lord, he will fill him with the spirit of understanding.

9. And he will pour forth the words of his wisdom as showers, and in his prayer he will confess

to the Lord.

10. And he shall direct his counsel, and his knowledge, and in his secrets shall he meditate.

11. He shall shew forth the discipline he hath learned, and shall glory in the law of the covenant

of the Lord.

12. Many shall praise his wisdom, and it shall never be forgotten.

13. The memory of him shall not depart away, and his name shall be in request from generation

to generation.

14. Nations shall declare his wisdom, and the church shall show forth his praise.

15. If he continue, he shall leave a name above a thousand: and if he rest, it shall be to his

advantage.

16. I will yet meditate that I may declare: for I am filled as with a holy transport.

17. By a voice he saith: Hear me, ye divine offspring, and bud forth as the rose planted by

the brooks of waters.

18. Give ye a sweet odour of frankincense.

19. Send forth flowers, as the lily, and yield a smell, and bring forth leaves in grace, and

praise with canticles, and bless the Lord in his works.

20. Magnify his name, and give glory to him with the voice of your lips, and with the canticles

of your mouth, and with harps, and in praising him, you shall say in this manner:

21. All the works of the Lord are exceedingly good.

22. At his word the waters stood as a heap: and at the words of his mouth the receptacles

of waters:

23. For at his commandment favour is shown, and there is no diminishing of his salvation.

24. The works of all flesh are before him, and there is nothing hid from his eyes.

25. He seeth from eternity to eternity, and there is nothing wonderful before him.

26. There is no saying: What is this, or what is that? for all things shall be sought in their time.

27. His blessing hath overflowed like a river.

28. And as a flood hath watered the earth; so shall his wrath the nations inherit, that have not

sought after him.

29. Even as he turned the waters into dry land, and the earth was made dry: and his ways

were made plain for their journey: so to sinners they are stumblingblocks in his wrath.

30. Good things were created for the good from the beginning, so for the wicked, good and

evil things.

31. The principal things necessary for the life of men, are water, fire, and iron, salt, milk, and

bread of flour, honey, the cluster of the grape, oil, and clothing.

32. All these things shall be for the good to the holy, so to the sinners and the ungodly they

shall be turned into evil.

33. There are spirits that are created for vengeance, and in their fury they lay on grievous

torments.

34. In the time of destruction they shall pour out their force: and they shall appease the

wrath of him that made them.

35. Fire, hail, famine, and death, all these were created for vengeance.

36. The teeth of beasts, scorpions, serpents, and the sword taking vengeance upon the ungodly

unto destruction.

37. In his commandments they shall feast, and they shall be ready upon earth when need is,

and when there time is come they shall not transgress his word.

38. Therefore from the beginning I was resolved, and I have meditated, and thought on these

things and left them in writing,

39. All the works of the Lord are good, and he will furnish every work in due time.

40. It is not to be said: This is worse than that: for all shall be well approved in their time.

41. Now therefore with the whole heart and mouth praise ye him, and bless the name of

the Lord.

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Posted on Jul 4, 2012 3:41:53 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 4, 2012 3:43:10 PM PDT
J. G. Lewis says:
Hello everyone; Happy Fourth.

For the first time, I find myself having a slight disagreement with Jesus Ben Sirach; yet not so much for what he wrote, as rather for what he did not. I will explain.

In this chapter, the 39th, Ben Sirach largely concerns himself with what a wise man is, and how to become wise. And in the first verse the prophets are mentioned, and that the wise man will be "occupied in the prophets". Yes, true, and was not Daniel? Sirach, a little further down, in verse 8, is quite on the mark:

8 For if it shall please the great Lord, he will fill him with the spirit of understanding.

Yes indeed, Grace and the blessing of God are involved, certainly. But this will often clothe, or sheathe (as was Elisha, from Elijah) a life lived correctly, according to the Commandments.

My point, therefore, is to tie wisdom in with piety - for if you live in darkness, in no wise should you expect understanding. Remember David's first line in the remarkable 119th Psalm:
"Blessed are those whose way is blameless,
who walk in the law of the Lord."

And again, in the Gospels:
"Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fufill them. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished." (Mathew 5:17 - 18, ESV)
"... it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away, than for one dot of the Law to become void." (Luke 16:17, ESV)

We know, from Revelation, that, one day, the orbs in the sky will vanish - or at least change to an extent. Anyway, as long as one's life endures here on the Earth, we should all hold a humble adoration for God's Law, contained in the Pentateuch. Calvin writes that much of the comprehension of the prophets of old was based upon an interpretation of the five books of Moses...
Many people speak of there being different 'Covenants'; and as this is a Biblical concept... yes there were. [A topic of interest to me.] Yet there is ultimately only one source of salvation. Surely, there are many and various ways one can attain knowledge; but high knowledge, Godly wisdom? This must come from being enlightened (as Ben Sirach mentioned, v. 8), and I would suggest that this derives, though not directly, from obedience - living to please the Lord.

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I hope all will have a fun, pleasant dinner tonight.
I'll see everyone soon, for chapter 40.
- John

Posted on Jul 5, 2012 6:37:19 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 5, 2012 6:38:32 PM PDT
J. G. Lewis says:
To sum up from yesterday, shortly: A person should study the prophets to learn wisdom, yet a person should study the Pentateuch (and wisdom literature) to become wise. This is a compression of my point. J. B. Sirach went on to speak of the wrath of God, Providence, and other matters, in the second part of the chapter; yet I thought it was relatively straightforward. So Chapter 40:

-------------------------Ecclesiasticus, Chapter 40, DRC--------------------------------------------

1. Great labour is created for all men, and a heavy yoke is upon the children of Adam

from the day of their coming out of their mother's womb, until the day of their burial into

the mother of all.

2. Their thoughts, and fears of the heart, their imaginations of things to come, and the day

of their end:

3. From him that sitteth on a glorious throne, unto him that is humbled in earth and ashes:

4. From him that weareth purple, and beareth the crown, and even to him that is covered

with rough linen: wrath, envy, trouble, unquietness, and the fear of death, continual anger,

and strife,

5. And in the time of rest upon his bed, the sleep of the night changeth his knowledge.

6. A little and as nothing is his rest, and afterward in sleep, as in the day of keeping watch.

7. He is troubled in the vision of his heart, as if he had escaped in the day of battle. In the

time of his safety he rose up, and wondereth that there is no fear.

8. Such things happen to all flesh, from man even to beast, and upon sinners are sevenfold

more.

9. Moreover, death, and bloodshed, strife, and sword, oppressions, famine, and affliction,

and scourges:

10. All these things are created for the wicked, and for their sakes came the flood.

11. All these things that are of the earth, shall return to the earth again, and all waters

shall return to the sea.

12. All bribery, and injustice shall be blotted out, and fidelity shall stand forever.

13. The riches of the unjust shall be dried up like a river, and shall pass away with a noise

like a great thunder in [the] rain.

14. While he openeth his hands he shall rejoice: but transgressors shall pine away in the end.

15. The offspring of the ungodly shall not bring forth many branches, and make a noise as

unclean roots upon the top of a rock.

16. The weed growing over every water, and at the bank of the river, shall be pulled up

before all grass.

17. Grace is like a paradise in blessings, and mercy remaineth for ever.

18. The life of a laborer that is content with what he hath, shall be sweet, and in it thou

shalt find a treasure.

19. Children, and the building of a city shall establish a name, but a blameless wife shall be

counted above them both.

20. Wine and music rejoice the heart, but the love of wisdom is above them both.

21. The flute and the psaltery make a sweet melody, but a pleasant tongue is above them

both.

22. The eye desireth favour and beauty, but more than these green sown fields.

23. A friend and companion meeting together in season, but above them both is a wife with

her husband.

24. Brethren are a help in the time of trouble, but mercy shall deliver more then they.

25. Gold and silver make the feet stand sure: but wise counsel is above them both.

26. Riches and strength lift up the heart: but above these is the fear of the Lord.

27. There is no want in the fear of the Lord, and it needeth not to seek for help.

28. The fear of the Lord is like a paradise of blessing, and they have covered it above all

glory.

29. My son, in thy lifetime be not indigent: for it is better to die than to want.

30. The life of him that looketh toward another man's table is not to be counted a life:

for he feedeth his soul with another man's meat.

31. But a man, well instructed and taught, will look to himself.

32. Begging will be sweet in the mouth of the unwise, but in his belly there shall burn a fire.

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- John G. Lewis

Posted on Jul 6, 2012 10:48:42 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 6, 2012 10:50:18 AM PDT
J. G. Lewis says:
Chapter 40 DRC Ecclesiasticus Comments.

Jesus Ben Sirach, in the beginning few verses recounts many and sundry are the stresses of life on Earth, for kings, down to paupers. Yet, in verses 10 - 16, I see him becoming more serious, more forceful, in saying that the ways of the wicked will not stand, not only in the sense of Psalm 1 (that in the congregation of the Righteous...), but that, in the future, when our Almighty Father brings human history to a close, the ungodly will be dealt with in a more of a final sense (see Rev. 11: 15 - 19).

In verses 17 - 25 Sirach recounts *the blessings* to men in the course of life now, as opposed to the curses, the greatest of these (earthly) blessings may be a "blameless wife" (19). And we have all been 'cursed' - that is, of the first man, in the Garden. Both Adam and Eve each had a twofold curse. Adam's was death, and by the "sweat of his brow" he shall bring forth sustenance from the ground; Eve: death, and pain in childbearing will be "greatly multiplied" (if it was present, indeed, to begin with). And the whole world, too, was cursed (Gen. 3: 14, 17). I believe, btw, that the Millennium will bring at least a partial repeal of the curse to the world.

Finally, Ben Sirach fittingly concludes the chapter by writing of the superiority of the fear of the Lord, the highest of the blessings, immaterial, to be exceeded only by Grace itself. This is why he states, in verse 27, "There is no want in the fear of the Lord, and it needeth not to seek for help." Meaning that there is nothing of this world - even the church itself - that is sufficient (completely) to fill this space, this void, this realization that there is a great Intelligence in this world, who I am going to be held accountable to, just as the unrighteous earlier in verses 10 - 16.

This was a well structured chapter, I think, and consistently we see Sirach exclaiming the preeminence of wisdom, the fear of the Lord, love and Mercy. When Sirach speaks of the fear of the Lord existing by itself (in a sense): this may appear an odd statement, but it is very true. Yes, the chuch is an aid, a great aid; but when one is being convicted by the Creator of the world, ultimately, only the Lord himself can answer. Note 1 John.
1 John 2: 27 "... but the anointing which you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you; as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie, just as it has taught you, abide in him."

- John G. Lewis

Posted on Jul 8, 2012 11:14:39 AM PDT
J. G. Lewis says:
-----------------------------------DRC Ecclesiasticus, Chapter 41-------------------------------------

1. O death, how bittter is the remembrance of thee to a man that hath peace in his

possessions!

2. To a man that is at rest, and whose ways are prosperious in all things, and that is yet

able to take meat!

3. O death thy sentence is welcome to the man that is in need, and to him whose strength

faileth:

4. Who is in a decrepit age, and that is in care about all things, and to the distrustful that

loseth patience!

5. Fear not the sentence of death. Remember what things have been before thee, and what

shall come after thee: this sentence is from the Lord upon all flesh.

6. And what shall come upon thee by the good pleasure of the most High? whether ten, or

a hundred, or a thousand years.

7. For among the dead there is no accusing of life.

8. The children of sinners become children of abominations, and they that converse near

the houses of the ungodly.

9. The inheritance of the children of sinners shall perish, and with their posterity shall be

a perpetual reproach.

10. The children will complain of an ungodly father, because for his sake they are in reproach.

11. Woe to you, ungodly men, who have forsaken the law of the most high Lord.

12. And if you be born, you shall be born in malediction: and if you die, in malediction shall

be your portion.

13. All things that are of the earth, shall return into to the earth, so the ungodly shall from

malediction to destruction.

14. The mourning of men is about their body, but the name of the ungodly shall be blotted out.

15. Take care of a good name: for this shall continue with thee, more than a thousand

treasures precious and great.

16. A good life hath its number of days: but a good name shall continue for ever.

17. My children, keep discipline in peace: for wisdom that is hid, and a treasure that is not

seen, what profit is there in them both?

18. Better is the man that hideth his folly, than the man that hideth his wisdom.

19. Wherefore have a shame of these things I am now going to speak of.

20. For it is not good to keep all shamefacedness: and all things do not please all men

in opinion.

21. Be ashamed of fornication before father and mother: and of a lie before a governor

and a man in power.

22. Of an offense before a prince, and a judge: of iniquity before a congregation and a people:

23. Of injustice before a companion and a friend: and in regard to the place where thou

dwellest,

24. Of theft, and of the truth of God, and the covenant: of leaning with thy elbow over

meat, and of deceit in giving and talking:

25. Of silence before them that salute thee: of looking upon a harlot: and of turning away

thy face from thy kinsman.

26. Turn not away thy face from thy neighbour, and of taking away a portion and not restoring.

27. Gaze not upon another man's wife, and be not inquisitive after his handmaid, and approach

not her bed.

28. Be ashamed of upbraiding speeches before friends: and after thou hast given, upbraid not.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Posted on Jul 8, 2012 3:15:48 PM PDT
J. G. Lewis says:
DRC Ecclesiasticus, Chapter 41, Comments.

Early in this chapter, we see J. B. Sirach mentioning that though death is unfortunate, generally, to members of the faith, we should not fear it - as the Lord promises an afterlife. This concept, btw, of an afterlife, was not fully revealed to the Israelites of old, but the new Covenant was all about this... Not sure why, but the Atonement, the Vicarious Sacrifice, had not as yet been accomplished - so there was not as yet... an afterlife provided for mankind. Though this is odd that the Bible, and the prophets of old spoke thusly; for about everything else, besides eternal life, Laws and prophecies were issued in a timeless manner, if you would: from the perspective of perpetuity, that is.

In verses 8 - 14, Sirach speaks of the general concept of the sins of the fathers being visited upon the children. And this is quite Biblical, though ultimately all will have to answer for their own sins. (Ezekiel 18: 19 -29) Supporting the first, aforementioned, concept of "visitation": are Exodus 20:4 - 5 (the Second Commandment); and Deuteronomy 23: 1 - 7, among other possible verses. How is one to reconcile both lines of thought? This is not easy, and I have read Calvin on this, although he wasn't quite clear. It is true, seemimgly, that beyond the fact that the sons of the wicked are themselves wicked... regeneration is not present in them. But regeneration is a gift from God.
John Calvin, in answering this query focused not on unrighteousness, but rather on Grace: and if it so pleases God to devolve His Grace on some children of the unrighteous... instead of being resentful (as to why all are not so regenerated - or none), we should be thankful that some are. And the same consideration should go to the children of the righteous, for that matter.

Some believe, btw, that the "Sons of Korah", mentioned heading Psalms 84, 85 and 87, are the sons (or grandsons, etc.) of the Korah mentioned in the rebellion against Moses, Numbers 16.

In ending the chapter, Jesus Ben Sirach mentions various thoughts and behaviors, especially in front of certain people, that is a disgrace, and should be so avoided. In verse 26 ("Turn not away thy face from the neighbour...") we see a reflection of the heart of the law:
Deut. 22: 1 - 4 "You shall not see your brother's ox or his sheep going astray and ignore them. You shall take them back to your brother... You shall not see your brother's donkey or his ox fallen down by the way and ignore them. You shall help him to lift them up again." (ESV)
Exodus 23: 4 - 5, 9 "If you meet your enemy's ox or his donkey going astray, you shall bring it back to him. If you see the donkey of one who hates you lying down under it's burden, you shall refrain from leaving him with it; you shall rescue it with him... You shall not oppress a sojourner. You know the heart of a sojourner, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt." (ESV)
Leviticus 19:17 - 18 "You shall not hate your brother in your heart, but you shall reason frankly with your neighbor, lest you incur sin because of him. (18) You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord."
[Leviticus 19, a wonderful chapter, anticipates the Golden Rule (commonly called) of Matthew.]
Matthew 7:12 "So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets."

Love is, according to an interpretation by T. H. L. Parker, the "summation of the Law".

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

My thoughts on Chapter 41... I'll see everyone shortly for Chapter 42.
- John

Posted on Jul 16, 2012 4:15:16 PM PDT
J. G. Lewis says:
-------------------------------DRC Ecclesiasticus Chapter 42-----------------------------------

1. Repeat not the word which thou hast heard, and disclose not the thing that is secret;

so shalt thou be truly without confusion, and shall find favour before all men: be not ashamed

of any of these things, and accept no person to sin thereby:

2. Of the law of the most High, and of his covenant, and of judgement to justify the ungodly:

3. Of the affair of companions and travellers, and of the gift of the inheritance of friends:

4. Of exactness of balance and weights, of getting much or little:

5. Of the corruption of buying, and of merchants, and of much correction of children, and

to make the side of a wicked slave to bleed.

6. Sure keeping is good over a wicked wife.

7. Where there are many hands, shut up, and deliver all things in number, and weight: and

put all in writing that thou givest out or receivest in.

8. Be not ashamed to inform the unwise and foolish, and the aged, that are judged by young

men: and thou shalt be well instructed in all things, and well approved in the sight of all men

living.

9. The father waketh for the daughter when no man knoweth, and the care for her taketh

away his sleep, when she is young, lest she pass away the flower of her age, and when she

is married, lest she should be hateful:

10. In her virginity, lest she should be corrupted, and be found with child in her father's

house: and having a husband, lest she should misbehave herself, or at the least become

barren.

11. Keep a sure watch over a shameless daughter: lest at anytime she makes thee become

a laughingstock to thy enemies, and a byword in the city, and a reproach among the people,

and she makes thee ashamed before all the multitude.

12. Behold not everybody's beauty: and tarry not among women.

13. For from the garments cometh a moth, and from a woman the iniquity of a man.

14. For better is the iniquity of a man, than a woman doing a good turn, and a woman bringing

shame and reproach.

15. I will now remember the works of the Lord, and will declare the things I have seen. By

the words of the Lord are his works.

16. The sun giving light hath looked upon all things, and full of the glory of the Lord is his

work.

17. Hath not the Lord made the saints to declare all his wonderful works, which the Lord

Almighty hath firmly settled to be established for his glory?

18. He hath searched out the deep, and the heart of men: and considered their crafty

devices.

19. For the Lord knoweth all knowledge, and hath beheld the signs of the world, he declareth

the things that are past, and the things that are to come, and revealeth the traces of hidden

things.

20. No thought escapeth him, and no word can hide itself from him.

21. He hath beautified the glorious works of his wisdom: and he is from eternity to eternity,

and to him nothing can be added.

22. Nor can he be diminished, and he hath no need of any counsellor.

23. O how desirable are all his works, and what we can know is but as a spark!

24. All these things live, and remain for ever, and for every use all things obey him.

25. All things are double, one against another, and he hath made nothing defective.

26. He hath established the good things of every one. And who shall be filled with

beholding his glory?

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Posted on Jul 29, 2012 3:54:12 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 29, 2012 3:59:30 PM PDT
J. G. Lewis says:
Chapter 42 Comments.

I do not have too many observations this week, myself. Jesus Ben Sirach is beginning to draw the book to a close, in verse 15.

The first 8 verses, we see a short digression concerning one's legal and moral handling of public events and transactions. {Interestingly, just this week, I have concerned myself with a transaction with a friend, 25 years ago, and on which we have a disagreement.} I believe it is written, in the Old Testament, probably in the Law, and in conjunction with Proverbs, not to show partiality to the Rich against the poor and meek, but additionally, not to show undue or unjust regard to *the poor* against the complaints of the rich. Therefore (if I recollect correctly) there was a balance in scripture itself, on this point. Sirach here (a man I believe to have been among the wealthy Jews) concurs, or at least is consistent with, in this particular (short) listing of his aphorisms.

In verses 9 - 11 Sirach writes that a father should be protectful of a daughters virginity: for her sake, and his own. That she "pass... the flower of her age" uncorrupted. So true it is, to maintain the sanctity and primacy of the marraige bed, and marraige vows... Nearly all of this is contained in the Law. Not all; but all by means of generality, metaphors, figures of speech (such as synecdoche: "One shall not look upon a young women..."), actions of the patriarchs, etc., all may be said to be in the Law and the Prophets. Laws of this type are to be obeyed (be it in the Bible), be they of a somewhat vague sort, or not, though the Spirit will testify to truth and righteousness. And whether we do truly understand them at the time, and their meaning (which is difficult), or otherwise: but as they are the laws of the most High, what is written, is truthful, and for one's (if only ultimate, but usually also earthly) benefit.

From the fifteenth verse onwards, we see J. B. Sirach beginning to conclude his work. In these few verses, extolling the Lord and His works, he writes of His Omnipresence (16 - 17), His Omniscience (18 - 20), and His Omnipotence (21 - 26).

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Have a pleasant Sunday afternoon, and night; enjoy watching the Olympics. Myself, I am interested to see if the women's beach volleyball team can pull out a third consecutive Gold.
I'll post Chapter 43 soon.

- John

Posted on Aug 2, 2012 4:39:30 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 2, 2012 4:40:19 PM PDT
J. G. Lewis says:
---------------------------DRC Ecclesiasticus, Chapter 43---------------------------------

1. The firmament on high is his beauty, the beauty of heaven with its glorious shew.

2. The sun when he appeareth shewing forth at his rising, an admirable instrument, the work of

the most High.

3. At noon he burneth the earth, and who can abide his burning heat? As one keeping a furnace

in the works of heat:

4. The sun three times as much, burneth the mountains, breathing out fiery vapours, and shining

with his beams, he blindeth the eyes.

5. Great is the Lord that made him, and at his words he hath hastened his course.

6. And the moon in all her season, is for a declaration of times and a sign [to] the world.

7. From the moon is the sign of the festival day, a light that decreaseth in her perfection.

8. The month is called after her name, increasing wonderfully in her perfection.

9. Being an instrument off the armies on high, shining gloriously in the firmament of heaven.

10. The glory of the stars is the beauty of heaven; the Lord enlighteneth the world on high.

11. By the words of the holy one they stand in judgement, and shall never fall in their watches.

12. Look upon the rainbow, and bless him that made it: it is very beautiful in it's brightness.

13. It encompasseth the heaven about with the circle of its glory, the hands of the most High

have displayed it.

14. By his commandment he maketh the snow to fall apace, and sendeth forth swiftly the

lightnings of his judgment.

15. Through this are the treasures opened, and the clouds fly out like birds.

16. By his greatness he hath fixed the clouds, and the hailstones are broken.

17. At his sight shall the mountains be shaken, and at his will the south wind shall blow.

18. The noise of his thunder shall strike the earth, so doth the northern storm, and the

whirlwind:

19. And as the birds lighting upon the earth, he scattereth snow, and the falling thereof,

is as the coming down of locusts.

20. The eye admireth at the beauty of the whiteness thereof, and the heart is astonished at

the shower thereof.

21. He shall pour frost as salt upon the earth: and when it freezeth, it shall become like the

top of thistles.

22. The cold north wind bloweth, and the water is congealed into crystal; upon every gathering

together of waters it shall rest, and clothe the waters as a breastplate.

23. And it shall devour the mountains, and burn the wilderness, and consume all that is green

as with fire.

24. A present remedy of all is the speedy coming of a cloud, and a dew that meeteth it, by the

heat that cometh, shall overpower it.

25. At his word the wind is still, and with his thought he appeaseth the deep, and the Lord

hath planted islands therein.

26. Let them that sail on the sea, tell the dangers thereof: and when we hear with our ears,

we shall admire.

27. There are great and wonderful works: a variety of beasts, and of all living things, and the

monstrous creatures of whales.

28. Through him is established the end of their journey, and by his word all things are

regulated.

29. We shall say much, and yet shall want words: but the sum of our words is, He is all.

30. What shall we be able to do to glorify him? for the Almighty himself is above all his works.

31. The Lord is terrible, and exceeding[ly] great, and his power is [unapproachable].

[Terrible is the Lord and very great, and marvelous is his power. - RSV]

32. Glorify the Lord as much as ever you can, for he will far exceed, and his magnificence is

wonderful.

33. Blessing the Lord, exalt him as much as you can, for he is above all praise.

34. When you exalt him put forth all your strength, and be not weary: for you can never go

far enough.

35. Who shall see him, and declare him? and who shall magnify him as he is from the

beginning?

36. There are many things hidden from us that are greater than these: for we have seen

but a few of his works.

37. But the Lord has made all things, and to the godly he hath given wisdom.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I have made some small adjustments in this week's chapter, as I thought it was necessary. Note especially verse 31, where I have included the RSV translation, in addition to my substitution of the DRC "admirable" for "unapproachable". [Admirable, I see as too weak a translation, in all likelyhood.]

- John

Posted on Aug 11, 2012 12:01:44 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 11, 2012 12:02:31 PM PDT
J. G. Lewis says:
DRC Chapter 43, Comments.

Here we see Jesus Ben Sirach continuing his summary of the Lord's greatness and majesty in Creation. The sun, moon, stars are mentioned along with the rainbow, and snow.

"[These] are great and wonderful works... [27]; [but] there are many things hidden from us that are greater than these; for we have seen but a few of his works. [36]"

I thought it proper to, when, in verse 30a, he commented "What shall we be able to do to glorify him?" Indeed, yes, seeing the greatness of His works, and His salvation. And in verse 30b Ben Sirach states "the Almighty himself is above all his works."

In chapter 44, JBS will begin a sort of Hall of Fame of the Israelite faith, that may have given the writer of Hebrews an idea for his chapter 11.

- John

Posted on Aug 12, 2012 7:29:24 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 12, 2012 7:29:54 PM PDT
J. G. Lewis says:
------------------------------DRC Ecclesiasticus, Chapter 44-------------------------------

1. Let us now praise men of renown and our fathers in their generation.

2. The Lord hath wrought great glory through his magnificence from the beginning.

3. Such as have borne rule in their dominions, men of great power, and endued with their

wisdom shewing forth in the prophets the dignity of prophets.

4. And ruling over the present people, and by the strength of wisdom instructing the people

in most holy words.

5. Such as by their skill sought out musical tunes, and published canticles of the scriptures.

6. Rich men in virtue, studying beautifulness: living at peace in their houses.

7. All these have gained glory in their generations, and were praised in their days.

8. They that were born of them have left a name behind them, that their praises might be

related:

9. And there are some, of whom there is no memorial: who are perished, as if they have

never been: and are become as if they have never been born, and their children with them.

10. But these were men of mercy, whose godly deeds have not failed:

11. Good things continue with their seed.

12. Their posterity are a holy inheritance, and their seed hath stood in the covenants.

13. And their children for their sakes remain for ever: their seed and their glory shall not

be forsaken.

14. Their bodies are buried in peace, and their name liveth unto generation and generation.

15. Let the people shew forth their wisdom, and the church declare their praise.

16. [Enoch] pleased God, and was translated into paradise, that he may give repentance

to the nations.

17. [Noah] was found perfect, just, and in the time of wrath he made reconciliation.

18. Therefore there was a remnant left to the earth, when the flood came.

19. The covenants of the world were made with him, that all flesh should no more be

destroyed with the flood.

20. Abraham was the great father of a multitude of nations, and their was not found

the like to him in glory, who kept the law of the most High, and was in covenant with him.

21. In his flesh he established the covenant, and in temptation he was found faithful.

22. Therefore by an oath he gave him glory in his posterity, that he should increase as

the dust of the earth,

23. And that he would exalt his seed as the stars, and they should inherit from sea to sea,

and from the river to the ends of the earth.

24. And he did in like manner with Isaac for the sake of Abraham his father.

25. The Lord gave him the blessing of all nations, and confirmed his covenant upon the

head of Jacob.

26. He acknowledged him in his blessings, and gave him an inheritance, and divided him his

portion in twelve tribes.

27. And he preserved for him men of mercy, that found grace in the eyes of all flesh.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Posted on Aug 23, 2012 12:50:24 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 23, 2012 12:51:04 PM PDT
J. G. Lewis says:
DRC Chapter 44, comments

Not too many comments this week, myself. We see Jesus Ben Sirach continue the heroes of the Faith theme, mentioning Enoch, Noah, Abraham. Btw, in Ezekiel [And I still have not of yet read through this with Calvin - I'm on Jeremiah (still).], the Lord said to the prophet that "Noah, Daniel and Job" were held in esteem for their righteous acts (Ezekiel 14). But if the Lord's own righteousness is the way we get into heaven, the manner in which we are saved and justified, why would he mention anyone in particular? There are differences among us... and due, most often, to our own acts, and efforts, to righteousness. Did not Moses recommend to all Israel that *they* should circumcise their own hearts? (Deut. 10: 16) It is very true that it takes a strong effort from the individual to find the Lord, and to prepare oneself for righteousness. This may take acts and thoughts of devotion, withdrawal from the world, studying of scripture, time. People vary, true, and it certainly does help if one is born into the family of Faith. This may sound somewhat Catholic, but they have good doctrine too, in some areas possibly better than the Reformed church.

I believe the most important verses, this week, are DRC 10 - 15. [Perhaps people of the Israelite faith should take note here, and the words of Gamaliel (Acts 5:33 - 39)!]

Anyway, I say show yourself approved of the Lord. In some ways, faith is a challenge: to prove your own worthiness, to the world, to the Church, and to the Lord. If you do this, successfully, Almighty God will be one step ahead of you all the way, with the reward and crown of eternal life.

- John G. Lewis

Posted on Aug 23, 2012 3:38:21 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 24, 2012 7:45:48 AM PDT
J. G. Lewis says:
----------------------------------DRC Ecclesiasticus Chapter 45----------------------------------

1. Moses was beloved of God, and men: whose memory is in benediction.

2. He made him like the saints in glory, and magnified him in the fear of his enemies,

and with his words he made prodigies to cease.

3. He glorified him in the sight of kings, and gave him commandments in the sight of his

people, and showed him his glory.

4. He sanctified him in his faith, and meekness, and chose him out of all flesh.

5. For he heard him, and his voice, and brought him into a cloud.

6. And he gave him commandments before his face, and a law of life and instruction,

that he might teach Jacob his covenant, and Israel his judgements.

7. He exalted Aaron his brother, and like to himself of the tribe of Levi:

8. He made an everlasting covenant with him, and gve him the priesthood of the nation,

and made him blessed in glory.

9. And he girded him about with a glorious gidle, and clothed him with a robe of glory,

and crowned him with majestic attire.

10. He put upon him a garment to the feet, and breeches, and an ephod, and he

encompassed him with many little bells of gold all round about,

11. That as he went there might be a sound, and a noise that might be heard in the temple,

for a memorial to the children of his people.

12. He gave him a holy robe of gold, and blue, and purple, a woven work of a wise man,

endued with a judgement and truth:

13. Of twisted scarlet the work of an artist, with precious stones cut and set in gold, and

graven by the work of a lapidary for a memorial, according to the number of the tribes of

Israel.

14. And a crown of gold upon his mitre wherein was engraved Holiness, an ornament of

honour: a work of power, and delightful to the eyes for its beauty.

15. Before him there was none so beautiful, even from the beginning.

16. No stranger was ever clothed with them, but only his children alone, and his

grandchildren for ever.

17. His sacrifices were consumed with fire every day.

18. Moses filled his hands and anointed him with holy oil.

19. This was made to him for an everlasting testament, and to his seed as the days of

heaven, to execute the office of the priesthood, and to have praise, and to glorify his

people in his name.

20. He chose him out of all men living, to offer sacrifice to God, incense, and a good

savour, for a memorial to make reconciliation for his people:

21. And he gave him power in his commandments, in the covenant of his judgments,

that he should teach Jacob his testimonies, and give light to Israel in his law.

22. And strangers stood up against him, and through envy the men that were with Dathan

and Abiron, compassed him about in the wilderness, and the congregation of Core in their

wrath.

23. The Lord God saw it and it pleased him not, and they were consumed in his wrathful

indignation.

24. He wrought wonders upon them, and consumed them with a flame of fire.

25. And he added glory to Aaron, and gave him an inheritance, and divided unto him the

firstfruits of the increase of the Earth.

26. He prepared them bread in the first place unto fulness: for the sacrifices also of the Lord

they shall eat, which he gave to him and to his seed.

27. But he shall not inherit among the people in the land, and he hath no portion among the

people: for [the Lord himself] is his portion and inheritance.

28. Phinees the son of Eleazar is the third in glory, by imitating him in the fear of the Lord:

29. And he stood up in the shameful fall of the people: in the goodness and readiness of

his soul he appeased God for Israel.

30. Therefore he made to him a covenant of peace, to be the prince of the sanctuary, and

of his people, that the dignity of priesthood should be to him and to his seed for ever.

31. And a covenant to David the king, the son of Jesse of the tribe of Judah, an inheritance

to him and to his seed, that he might give wisdom into our heart to judge his people in

justice, that their good things might not be abolished, and he made their glory in the nation

everlasting.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Posted on Aug 24, 2012 7:50:19 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 24, 2012 7:51:29 AM PDT
J. G. Lewis says:
I may have mentioned this before, but it bears repeating, if so. We are saved by the Lord's Righteousness, which cannot be merited or deserved. There is nothing we have done, can do, or ever will do, that can so merit the reward. But as I was perusing through a book, 16 years ago, and that I would later give to my (beloved) first pastor, I happened to read a paragraph, and inside that, there was this key thought: Even though there may not be *sufficient* reason why the Lord so acts to save an individual (sufficient, that is, on our part).... this does not mean *there is no reason* why He so acted.

- John

Posted on Aug 25, 2012 4:34:49 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 25, 2012 4:35:51 PM PDT
J. G. Lewis says:
DRC Ecclesiasticus Chapter 45, Comments

Again... I think this chapter is relatively straightforward. We see in verse 7 - 8 a mentioning of the tribe of Levi, and the Lord's "everlasting covenant" with them. It was so, and still is, but capable of eclipse at times due to the unfaithfulness of the tribe. In verse 27 we see the famous statement... "You shall not inherit among the people in the land, for the Lord your God is your portion and inheritance." The Levites did have cities of course (Numbers 35, Leviticus 25: 32 - 34) but I presume no agricultural land. It's hard to say which, if any, were the chief tribes of Israel, beyond the obvious Judah; but even so, I'm not sure that even the latter tribe has any eternal memorial or significance above the others... I'll try to post chapter 46 tomorrow.

- John
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