Ben Sira 47
New American Bible (Revised Edition)
Nathan, David, and Solomon
1 After him came Nathan[a]
who served in David’s presence.(A)
2 Like the choice fat of sacred offerings,
so was David in Israel.(B)
3 He played with lions as though they were young goats,
and with bears, like lambs of the flock.(C)
4 As a youth he struck down the giant
and wiped out the people’s disgrace;
His hand let fly the slingstone
that shattered the pride of Goliath.(D)
5 For he had called upon the Most High God,
who gave strength to his right arm
To defeat the skilled warrior
and establish the might of his people.
6 Therefore the women sang his praises
and honored him for “the tens of thousands.”
When he received the royal crown, he battled(E)
7 and subdued the enemy on every side.
He campaigned against the hostile Philistines
and shattered their power till our own day.(F)
8 With his every deed he offered thanks
to God Most High, in words of praise.
With his whole heart he loved his Maker
9 and daily had his praises sung;
10 He added beauty to the feasts
and solemnized the seasons of each year
09 With string music before the altar,
providing sweet melody for the psalms(G)
10 So that when the Holy Name was praised,
before daybreak the sanctuary would resound.
11 The Lord forgave him his sins
and exalted his strength forever;
He conferred on him the rights of royalty
and established his throne in Israel.(H)
12 Because of his merits he had as successor[b]
a wise son, who lived in security:(I)
13 Solomon reigned during an era of peace,
for God brought rest to all his borders.
He built a house to the name of God,
and established a lasting sanctuary.(J)
14 How wise you were when you were young,
overflowing with instruction, like the Nile in flood!(K)
15 Your understanding covered the whole earth,
and, like a sea, filled it with knowledge.
16 Your fame reached distant coasts,
and you were beloved for your peaceful reign.
17 With song and proverb and riddle,
and with your answers, you astounded the nations.
18 You were called by that glorious name
which was conferred upon Israel.[c]
Gold you gathered like so much iron;
you heaped up silver as though it were lead.
19 But you abandoned yourself to women
and gave them dominion over your body.(L)
20 You brought a stain upon your glory,
shame upon your marriage bed,
Wrath upon your descendants,
and groaning upon your deathbed.
21 Thus two governments came into being,
when in Ephraim kingship was usurped.(M)
22 But God does not withdraw his mercy,
nor permit even one of his promises to fail.
He does not uproot the posterity of the chosen,
nor destroy the offspring of his friends.
So he gave to Jacob a remnant,
to David a root from his own family.(N)
Rehoboam and Jeroboam
23 Solomon finally slept with his ancestors,
and left behind him one of his sons,
Broad[d] in folly, narrow in sense,
whose policy made the people rebel.
Then arose the one who should not be remembered,
the sinner who led Israel into sin,(O)
Who brought ruin to Ephraim
24 and caused them to be exiled from their land.
Elijah and Elisha
25 Their sinfulness grew more and more,
and they gave themselves to every evil[e]
- 47:1–11 An idealized portrait of David; cf. 1 Chronicles.
- 47:12–24 The standard view of Solomon is echoed by Ben Sira, but he affirms the divine promise (v. 22) to David’s line.
- 47:18 Cf. 2 Sm 12:25, where Solomon is called Jedidiah, “beloved of the Lord.” A similar term is used of Israel in Jer 11:15.
- 47:23 Broad: the name Rehoboam means “the people is broad, or expansive,” that is, widespread. The sinner: Jeroboam; cf. 1 Kgs 12:1, 20, 26–32.
- 47:25–48:11 The prophetic ministry of Elijah amid widespread idolatry is here described as a judgment by fire (48:1). Through his preaching, marvels, and acts of vengeance against God’s enemies, he succeeded for a time in restoring faith in and worship of the Lord (vv. 2–8). His mysterious departure from this life gave rise to the belief that he did not die but would return before the day of the Lord. Cf. Mal 3:23–24; Mt 17:9–13.