Ben Sira 36
New American Bible (Revised Edition)
A Prayer for God’s People[a]
1 Come to our aid, O God of the universe,
2 and put all the nations in dread of you!
3 Raise your hand against the foreign people,
that they may see your mighty deeds.
4 As you have used us to show them your holiness,[b]
so now use them to show us your glory.
5 Thus they will know, as we know,
that there is no God but you.
6 Give new signs and work new wonders;
7 show forth the splendor of your right hand and arm.
8 Rouse your anger, pour out wrath;
9 humble the enemy, scatter the foe.(A)
10 Hasten the ending, appoint the time,
and let people proclaim your mighty deeds.
11 Let raging fire consume the fugitive,
and your people’s oppressors meet destruction.
12 Crush the heads of the hostile rulers
who say, “There is no one besides me.”
13 Gather all the tribes of Jacob,[c]
16 that they may inherit the land as in days of old.
17 Show mercy to the people called by your name:
Israel, whom you named your firstborn.(B)
18 Take pity on your holy city:
Jerusalem, your dwelling place.(C)
19 Fill Zion with your majesty,
your temple with your glory.
20 Give evidence of your deeds of old;
fulfill the prophecies spoken in your name.
21 Reward those who have hoped in you,
and let your prophets be proved true.
22 Hear the prayer of your servants,
according to your good will toward your people.
Thus all the ends of the earth will know
that you are the eternal God.
Choice of Associates[d]
23 The throat can swallow any food,
yet some foods are more agreeable than others.
24 The palate tests delicacies put forward as gifts,
so does a keen mind test deceitful tidbits.
25 One with a tortuous heart brings about grief,
but an experienced person can turn the tables on him.
26 A woman will accept any man as husband,
but one woman will be preferable to another.
27 A woman’s beauty makes her husband’s face light up,
for it surpasses all else that delights the eye.(D)
28 And if, besides, her speech is soothing,
her husband’s lot is beyond that of mortal men.
29 A wife is her husband’s richest treasure,
a help like himself and a staunch support.(E)
30 A vineyard with no hedge will be overrun;
and a man with no wife becomes a homeless wanderer.
31 Who will trust an armed band
that shifts from city to city?
Or a man who has no nest,
who lodges wherever night overtakes him?(F)
- 36:1–22 A prayer that God hasten the day for the gathering of the tribes of Israel, and Zion once more be filled with the divine glory. All the earth will then know that the Lord is the eternal God.
- 36:4 Show…holiness: this cultic language is used to indicate God’s liberation of his people; cf. Ez 20:41; 28:25.
- 36:13 This verse marks the end of a major dislocation in the Greek text of Sirach (which is followed here) at the head of chap. 33. The verse numbers 1–13 come from the placement of these verses in Greek. Verse 13 here is the first half of a bicolon, the matching half of which is numbered in the Greek 36:16b. Thus although the numbering for vv. 14–15 is not used, none of the text is missing.
- 36:23–37:15 In the choice of wife, friend, or associate, experience is a discerner of character (36:23–26). Beauty and soothing speech make a woman desirable as wife (36:27–28). The good wife becomes her husband’s richest treasure, his help in establishing his household (36:29–31). Good friends fight for comrades and share the spoils with them (37:5–6); false friends deceive and abandon in time of need (37:1–4). A true counselor and associate should be sought among those who keep the commandments, not among those who break them and seek their own advantage (37:7–12). In all things one should pray to God for light and follow conscience (37:13–15).