The Wisdom of Jesus, Son of Sirach, also known as Ecclesiasticus, was written in Hebrew by a man named Joshua (or Jesus) and was later translated into Greek by his grandson. The book includes traditional Jewish wisdom material and makes a defence of Judaism by showing that God has given true wisdom to his people. Many subjects of a religious, moral, and practical nature are presented, sometimes at length and sometimes in short proverbial sayings.
Outline of Contents
In praise of wisdom (Part 1) 1.1—23.27
a. Duty, reward and practical advice 1.1—16.23
b. God's wisdom and human response 16.24—23.27
In praise of wisdom (Part 2) 24.1—50.21
a. Wisdom and virtue 24.1—32.13
b. God's wisdom and man's worship and work 32.14—42.14
c. God's glory in nature 42.15—43.33
d. In praise of ancestors 44.1—50.21
Epilogue and Appendices 50.22—51.30
The Law, the Prophets, and the later writers have left us a wealth of valuable teachings, and we should praise Israel for the instruction and wisdom they provide. But it is not enough that those who read them should gain understanding for themselves. Anyone who values learning should be able to help others by what he himself says and writes. That is why my grandfather Jesus devoted himself to reading the Law, the Prophets, and the other books of our ancestors. After he had mastered them, he was led to write a book of his own in order to share his wisdom and learning with others, so that anyone who shared his love for learning should have his book available as well, and be all the more able to live according to the Law.
Let me urge you, then, to read this book carefully and with an open mind. And please be patient in those places where, in spite of all my diligent efforts, I may not have translated some phrases very well. What was originally written in Hebrew does not always have exactly the same sense when it is translated into another language.#Foreword The book of Sirach was written in Hebrew, but the writer of this foreword translated it into Greek. That is true not only of this book, but even of the Law itself, the Prophets, and the other books. The translations differ quite a bit from the original.
I came to Egypt in the 38th year of King Euergetes' reign and stayed for some time. While I was there, I had the opportunity for a good deal of study and felt the necessity of translating the following book. I wanted to use all my diligence and skill to complete it and make it available for all those living in foreign lands who wish to learn and who have the strength of character to live by the Law of Moses.