The book of Sirach, also called Ecclesiasticus (not to be confused with Ecclesiastes), is another piece of wisdom literature. It is a compilation of sayings similar in style and content to Proverbs. As such, it’s a valuable collection of practical advice and wise sayings. It’s concluding chapters (44 through 50) pay tribute to some of the notable figures in Jewish history, providing additional insight into each one.
The author is a sage named Jesus (not to be confused with Jesus the Christ). This Jesus is the son (or perhaps grandson) of Sirach (Sira), hence the name of the book. The alternate title, Ecclesiasticus, means Church Book.
The book of Sirach was probably familiar to the early Christian church, being read in church gatherings. The original version was assumedly lost, with this being a translation made by the author’s grandson; the book opens with his notes and comments.
Sirach is an Apocrypha book and not included in all versions of the Bible. The New Jerusalem Bible, Revised Standard Version (RSV), New American Bible (NABRE), Wycliffe Bible (WYC), Common English Bible (CEB), Good News Translation (GNT), and Douay-Rheims (DRA) all include Sirach. Interestingly, the original Authorized King James Version (KJV) contains Sirach, but the text was removed almost two centuries later. The Septuagint, an ancient Greek translation of the Jewish scriptures, which was widely used in Jesus’s day, also includes the book of Sirach.
For more information, see why “Christians Should Consider the Entire Bible.”
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