Sirach chapter 4

We are to give money to poor people. Wisdom rewards people who learn from her. Strive for the truth.

 


 

The Book of Sirach is recognized as Deuterocanonical Scripture by the Greek Orthodox, Russian Orthodox, and Catholic Churches

 


 

WE ARE TO GIVE MONEY TO POOR PEOPLE, CONTINUED

 

VERSE 1. My son, deprive not the poor of his living, And make not the needy eyes to wait long.

deprive not the poor. We must give money to poor people. We are forbidden from withholding.

his living. For some people, their only possible livelihood is to beg.

needy eyes. Poor people look to us for help.

 

VERSE 2. Make not a hungry soul sorrowful; Neither provoke a man in his distress.

a hungry soul. That is, “a hungry man.” We may not ignore a person who is without food.

a man in his distress. That is, “a needy man.” We may not ignore a person in need.

 

VERSE 3. To a heart that is provoked add not more trouble; And defer not to give to him that is in need.

 

VERSE 4. Reject not a suppliant in his affliction; And turn not away your face from a poor man.

turn not away your face from a poor man. When we see a poor person, many of us look the other way.

 

VERSE 5. Turn not away your eye from one that asks of you, And give none occasion to a man to curse you:

give none occasion … to curse you. Many Christians are obnoxious to poor people. In return, the poor person might curse them. If so, the Christian has earned it:

Galatians 6:7. Don’t be deceived. God is not mocked, for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.

 

VERSE 6. For if he curse you in the bitterness of his soul, He that made him will hear his supplication.

 

VERSE 7. Get yourself the love of the congregation; And to a great man bow your head.

NAB translation. Endear yourself to the assembly; before a ruler bow your head.

This verse is fantastic! Would you consider memorizing it? More great verses to memorize from the Book of Sirach and from the entire Bible.

Endear yourself to the assembly. The minister of Jesus Christ needs to endear himself / herself to the people being ministered to.

How can you endear yourself to the people in your life? How can you endear yourself to the people you might be speaking with about Jesus Christ?

 

VERSE 8. Incline your ear to a poor man, And answer him with peaceful words in meekness.

Incline your ear to a poor man. We must listen to poor people.

answer him with peaceful words. That is, “return his greeting with courtesy.”

 

VERSE 9. Deliver him that is wronged from the hand of him that wrongs him; And be not faint-hearted in giving judgement.

Deliver him that is wronged. We are to deliver people from oppression.

be not faint-hearted in giving judgement. Delivering people from oppression  can be a real challenge. We cannot let it be repugnant to us.

 

VERSE 10. Be as a father to the fatherless, And instead of a husband to their mother: So will you be as a son of the Most High, And he will love you more than your mother does.

instead of a husband to their mother. That is, “help their mother as a husband would.”

 

WISDOM REWARDS PEOPLE WHO LEARN FROM HER

 

VERSE 11. Wisdom exalts her sons, And takes hold of those who seek her.

Wisdom exalts her sons. In this section, the author presents wisdom as a sentient being that interacts with us.

 

VERSE 12. He that loves her loves life; And those who seek to her early will be filled with gladness.

loves life. If we have wisdom, we will love life. All of life becomes precious.

 

VERSE 13. He that holds her fast will inherit glory; And where he enters, the Lord will bless.

he. Or “she.”

 

VERSE 14. They that do her service will minister to the Holy One; And those who love her the Lord does love.

minister to the Holy One. Students of wisdom are serving the Most High God.

 

VERSE 15. He that gives ear to her will judge the nations; And he that gives heed to her will dwell securely.

 

VERSE 16. If he trust her, he will inherit her; And his generations will have her in possession.

If he trust her. We need to trust the path of wisdom. In any situation, we can ask,” What is the wise thing to do?”

he will inherit her. The more we trust wisdom, the more securely our lives will be established on her. To do this is to build our house on a rock foundation:

Matthew 7:24. Everyone therefore who hears these words of mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man, who built his house on a rock.

 

VERSE 17. For at the first she will walk with him in crooked ways, And will bring fear and dread upon him, And torment him with her discipline, Until she may trust his soul, and try him by her judgments:

try him by her judgments. For many of us, our own lives are not based on wisdom. Then as we encounter wisdom, she will challenge us. Wisdom will call us to change our presuppositions, our actions, our worldview.

 

VERSE 18. Then she will return again the straight way to him, And will gladden him, and reveal to him her secrets.

 

VERSE 19. If he go astray, she will forsake him, And give him over to his fall.

 

STRIVE FOR THE TRUTH

 

VERSE 20. Observe the opportunity, and beware of evil; And be not ashamed concerning your soul.

Observe the opportunity. That is, “use your time well.” Many of us squander our time. God calls us to use it well.

beware of evil. Or “beware an evil man.”

 

VERSE 21. For there is a shame that brings sin; And there is a shame that is glory and grace.

 

VERSE 22. Accept not the person of any against your soul; And reverence no man to your falling.

Accept not the person of any against your soul. That is, “show no favoritism.”

 

VERSE 23. Refrain not speech, when it tends to safety; And hide not your wisdom for the sake of fair-seeming.

NAB translation. Refrain not from speaking at the proper time, and hide not away your wisdom.

hide not away your wisdom. Quiet people need to speak up and share from their rich internal life. Otherwise, they are “hiding away” their wisdom.

Talkative people, on the other hand, need to become quieter, in order to grow in holiness. They need to learn to listen to others.

 

VERSE 24. For by speech wisdom will be known; And instruction by the word of the tongue.

by speech wisdom will be known. We learn wisdom through the words of other people. We listen to our elders. We listen to great preaching and teaching. We seek wise counsel.

 

VERSE 25. Speak not against the truth; And be abashed for your ignorance.

 

VERSE 26. Be not ashamed to make confession of your sins; And force not the current of the river.

 

VERSE 27. Lay not yourself down for a fool to tread upon; And accept not the person of one that is mighty.

 

VERSE 28. Strive for the truth to death, and the Lord God will fight for you.

Strive for the truth. We are to fight for the truth,

to death. Our fight for the truth must continue, even if it leads us to our own death. That is what happened with martyrs and other heroes of the faith.

 

VERSE 29. Be not hasty in your tongue, And in your deeds slack and remiss.

 

VERSE 30. Be not as a lion in your house, Nor fanciful among your servants.

 

VERSE 31. Let not your hand be stretched out to receive, and closed when you should repay.

 


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