Ben Sira 48
New American Bible (Revised Edition)
1 Until like fire a prophet appeared,
his words a flaming furnace.(A)
2 The staff of life, their bread, he shattered,
and in his zeal he made them few in number.
3 By God’s word he shut up the heavens
and three times brought down fire.(B)
4 How awesome are you, Elijah!
Whose glory is equal to yours?
5 You brought a dead body back to life
from Sheol, by the will of the Lord.(C)
6 You sent kings down to destruction,
and nobles, from their beds of sickness.(D)
7 You heard threats at Sinai,
at Horeb avenging judgments.(E)
8 You anointed the agent of these punishments,
the prophet to succeed in your place.(F)
9 You were taken aloft in a whirlwind,
in a chariot with fiery horses.(G)
10 You are destined, it is written, in time to come
to put an end to wrath before the day of the Lord,
To turn back the hearts of parents toward their children,
and to re-establish the tribes of Israel.(H)
11 Blessed is the one who shall have seen you before he dies![a]
12 When Elijah was enveloped in the whirlwind,
Elisha was filled with his spirit;[b]
He worked twice as many marvels,(I)
and every utterance of his mouth was wonderful.
During his lifetime he feared no one,
nor was anyone able to intimidate his will.
13 Nothing was beyond his power;(J)
and from where he lay buried, his body prophesied.[c]
14 In life he performed wonders,
and after death, marvelous deeds.
15 Despite all this the people did not repent,
nor did they give up their sins,
Until they were uprooted from their land
and scattered all over the earth.
But Judah remained, a tiny people,
with its ruler from the house of David.(K)
16 Some of them did what was right,
but others were extremely sinful.
Hezekiah and Isaiah[d]
17 Hezekiah fortified his city
and had water brought into it;(L)
With bronze tools he cut through the rocks
and dammed up a mountain site for water.[e]
18 During his reign Sennacherib led an invasion
and sent his adjutant;
He shook his fist at Zion
and blasphemed God in his pride.(M)
19 The people’s hearts melted within them,
and they were in anguish like that of childbirth.
20 But they called upon the Most High God
and lifted up their hands to him;
He heard the prayer they uttered,
and saved them through Isaiah.(N)
21 God struck the camp of the Assyrians
and routed them with a plague.(O)
22 For Hezekiah did what was right
and held fast to the paths of David,
As ordered by the illustrious prophet
Isaiah, who saw truth in visions.
23 In his lifetime he turned back the sun
and prolonged the life of the king.(P)
24 By his powerful spirit he looked into the future(Q)
and consoled the mourners of Zion;
25 He foretold what would happen till the end of time,
hidden things yet to be fulfilled.
- 48:11 Verse 11b is not extant in the Hebrew; it is represented in the Greek tradition by “for we too shall certainly live.” But this can hardly be the original reading.
- 48:12–16 Elisha continued Elijah’s work (vv. 12–14), but the obstinacy of the people eventually brought on the destruction of the kingdom of Israel and the dispersion of its subjects. Judah, however, survived under the rule of Davidic kings, both good and bad (vv. 15–16).
- 48:13 The reference in v. 13b seems to be to 2 Kgs 13:21 where it is related that a dead man, thrown into Elisha’s grave, came back to life.
- 48:17–25 The fidelity of King Hezekiah (vv. 17, 22), the zeal of the prophet Isaiah, and the prayer of the people (v. 20) were effective. The Assyrian oppressors under Sennacherib withdrew (vv. 18–19, 21). The king’s life was prolonged. The people were consoled by Isaiah’s words about the future (vv. 23–25); the “consolations” refer to Is 40–66.
- 48:17 The reference is to the famous Siloam tunnel in present-day Jerusalem.