The Bible in Its Traditions

Sirach 50:1–21


Simon, the high priest, son of Onias: in his life, he propped up the house, and in his days, he strengthened the temple.

Simon the high priest, the son of Onias, who in his life repaired the house again, and in his days fortified the temple

Even the height of the temple was established by him: the double building and the high walls of the temple.

And by him was built from the foundation the double height, the high fortress of the wall about the temple

In his days, waters flowed out from the wells, and these were full beyond measure, like the sea.

In his days the cistern to receive water, being in compass as the sea, was covered with plates of brass

He cared for his nation, and he freed it from perdition.

He took care of the temple that it should not fall, and fortified the city against besieging

He prevailed, so as to enlarge the city. And he obtained glory by his behavior among the people. And he enlarged the entrance of the house and of the atrium.

How was he honoured in the midst of the people in his coming out of the sanctuary!

He shined in his days like the morning star through the midst of a cloud, and like the full moon.

He was as the morning star in the midst of a cloud, and as the moon at the full

And he shined forth in the temple of God in this manner: like the sun when it shines brightly,

As the sun shining upon the temple of the most High, and as the rainbow giving light in the bright clouds

and like a rainbow shining amid clouds of glory, and like flowering roses in the days of spring, and like lilies along the water’s edge, and like sweet smelling frankincense in the days of summer,

And as the flower of roses in the spring of the year, as lilies by the rivers of waters, and as the branches of the frankincense tree in the time of summer

like a fire shining brightly, and like frankincense burning within a fire,

As fire and incense in the censer, and as a vessel of beaten gold set with all manner of precious stones


10  like a vessel of solid gold, adorned with every precious stone,


11  like an olive tree producing buds, and like a cypress tree lifting itself on high, when he received the robe of glory and was vested with the consummation of virtue.

Sir50:10  And as a fair olive tree budding forth fruit, and as a cypress tree which groweth up to the clouds.

12  He gave glory to the vestment of sanctity, when he ascended to the holy altar.

Sir50:11  When he put on the robe of honour, and was clothed with the perfection of glory, when he went up to the holy altar, he made the garment of holiness honourable.

13  Then, when he received the portions from the hands of the priests, he himself stood next to the altar. And around him was the crown of his brethren, like a cedar planted on a mountain of Lebanon.

Sir50:12  When he took the portions out of the priests’ hands, he himself stood by the hearth of the altar, compassed about, as a young cedar in Libanus; and as palm trees compassed they him round about.

14  And they stood around him like palm branches, and all were sons of Aaron in their glory.

Sir50:13  So were all the sons of Aaron in their glory, and the oblations of the Lord in their hands, before all the congregation of Israel.

15  Then the oblation of the Lord was in their hands, in the sight of the entire synagogue of Israel. And completing his service at the altar, so as to magnify the offering to the Most High King,

Sir50:14  And finishing the service at the altar, that he might adorn the offering of the most high Almighty,

16  he extended his hand to make a libation, and he offered from the blood of the grape.

Sir50:15  He stretched out his hand to the cup, and poured of the blood of the grape, he poured out at the foot of the altar a sweetsmelling savour unto the most high King of all.


17  At the base of the altar, he poured out a divine fragrance to the Most High Prince.


18  Then the sons of Aaron shouted; they sounded finely-made trumpets, and they made a great noise, as a memorial in the sight of God.

Sir50:16  Then shouted the sons of Aaron, and sounded the silver trumpets, and made a great noise to be heard, for a remembrance before the most High.

19  Then all the people at once hurried forward, and they fell to the ground on their faces, to adore the Lord their God, and to offer prayers to Almighty God Most High.

Sir50:17  Then all the people together hasted, and fell down to the earth upon their faces to worship their Lord God Almighty, the most High.

20  And the singers of Psalms raised their voices, and a full sweet sound increased in the great house.

Sir50:18  The singers also sang praises with their voices, with great variety of sounds was there made sweet melody.

21  And the people petitioned the Most High Lord in prayer, even until the honor of the Lord was completed, and they finished offering their gifts.

Sir50:19  And the people besought the Lord, the most High, by prayer before him that is merciful, till the solemnity of the Lord was ended, and they had finished his service.