Ben Sira 46
New American Bible (Revised Edition)
Joshua, Caleb, the Judges, and Samuel
1 Valiant warrior was Joshua,[a] son of Nun,
aide to Moses in the prophetic office,
Formed to be, as his name implies,
the great savior of God’s chosen ones,
To punish the enemy
and to give to Israel their heritage.(A)
2 What glory was his when he raised his hand,
to brandish his sword against the city!(B)
3 Who could withstand him
when he fought the battles of the Lord?[b]
4 Was it not by that same hand the sun stopped,
so that one day became two?(C)
5 He called upon the Most High God
when his enemies beset him on all sides,
And God Most High answered him
with hailstones of tremendous power,
6 That rained down upon the hostile army
till on the slope he destroyed the foe;
That all the doomed nations might know
the Lord was watching over his people’s battles.
He was indeed a devoted follower of God
7 and showed himself loyal in Moses’ lifetime.
He and Caleb,[c] son of Jephunneh,
when they opposed the rebel assembly,
Averted God’s anger from the people
and suppressed the wicked complaint.(D)
8 Because of this, these two alone were spared
from the six hundred thousand infantry,
To lead the people into their heritage,
the land flowing with milk and honey.(E)
9 The strength God gave to Caleb
remained with him even in old age
Till he won his way onto the summits of the land;
his family too received a heritage,(F)
10 That all the offspring of Jacob might know
how good it is to be a devoted follower of the Lord.
11 The Judges,[d] each one of them,
whose hearts were not deceived,
Who did not abandon God—
may their memory be ever blessed!(G)
12 May their bones flourish with new life where they lie,
and their names receive fresh luster in their children!
13 Beloved of his people, dear to his Maker,
pledged in a vow from his mother’s womb,
As one consecrated to the Lord in the prophetic office,
was Samuel, the judge who offered sacrifice.
At God’s word he established the kingdom
and anointed princes to rule the people.(H)
14 By the law of the Lord he judged the congregation,
and visited the encampments of Jacob.
15 As a trustworthy prophet he was sought out
and his words proved him to be a true seer.
16 He, too, called upon the mighty Lord
when his enemies pressed him on every side,
and offered up a suckling lamb.(I)
17 Then the Lord thundered from heaven,
and the tremendous roar of his voice was heard.(J)
18 He brought low the rulers of the enemy
and destroyed all the lords of the Philistines.
19 When Samuel neared the end of life,
he testified before the Lord and his anointed prince,
“No bribe or secret gift have I taken from anyone!”
and no one could accuse him.(K)
20 Even after death his guidance was sought;
he made known to the king his fate.
From the grave he spoke in prophecy
to put an end to wickedness.(L)
- 46:1–6 Joshua: whose name means “the Lord is savior” (v. 1), was the instrument through which God delivered his people in marvelous ways (vv. 2–6) by destroying their enemies, whose land he gave to the Israelites as a heritage (v. 1).
- 46:3 The battles of the Lord: cf. Jos 6–11.
- 46:7–10 Caleb: with Joshua he advised Moses to enter Canaan, despite the counsel of their companion scouts and the rebellion of the people. He led the next generation of Israelites into the promised land. He received a portion of land which he himself had conquered; cf. Jos 15:13–14.
- 46:11–20 Of the judges praised and blessed for their fidelity to God in opposing idolatry, Samuel was the greatest (vv. 11–13, 19). He was judge, prophet, and priest. Through his sacrificial offering he obtained victory over the Philistines. He established the kingdom, anointed kings (vv. 13–18), and even after his death foretold the king’s fate (v. 20).