19:8. Through which all the nation passed which was protected with thy hand, seeing thy miracles and wonders.
19:9. For they fed on their food like horses, and they skipped like lambs, praising thee, O Lord, who hadst delivered them.
19:10. For they were yet mindful of those things which had been done in the time of their sojourning, how the ground brought forth flies instead of cattle, and how the river cast up a multitude of frogs instead of fishes.
19:11. And at length they saw a new generation of birds, when being led by their appetite, they asked for delicate meats.
19:12. For to satisfy their desire, the quail came up to them from the sea: and punishments came upon the sinners, not without foregoing signs by the force of thunders: for they suffered justly according to their own wickedness.
19:13. For they exercised a more detestable inhospitality than any: others indeed received not strangers unknown to them, but these brought their guests into bondage that had deserved well of them.
19:14. And not only so, but in another respect also they were worse: for the others against their will received the strangers.
19:15. But these grievously afflicted them whom they had received with joy, and who lived under the same laws.
19:16. But they were struck with blindness: as those others were at the doors of the just man, when they were covered with sudden darkness, and every one sought the passage of his own door.
19:17. For while the elements are changed in themselves, as in an instrument the sound of the quality is changed, yet all keep their sound: which may clearly be perceived by the very sight.
Elements are changed, etc... The meaning is, that whatever changes God wrought in the elements by miracles in favour of his people, they still kept their harmony by obeying his will.
19:18. For the things of the land were turned into things of the water: and the things that before swam in the water passed upon the land.
19:19. The fire had power in water above its own virtue, and the water forgot its quenching nature.
19:20. On the other side, the flames wasted not the flesh of corruptible animals walking therein, neither did they melt that good food, which was apt to melt as ice. For in all things thou didst magnify thy people, O Lord, and didst honour them, and didst not despise them, but didst assist them at all times, and in every place.
That good food... The manna.
This Book is so called from a Greek word that signifies a preacher: because, like an excellent preacher, it gives admirable lessons of all virtues. The author was Jesus the son of Sirach of Jerusalem, who flourished about two hundred years before Christ. As it was written after the time of Esdras, it is not in the Jewish canon; but is received as canonical and divine by the Catholic Church, instructed by apostolical tradition, and directed by the spirit of God. It was first written in the Hebrew, but afterwards translated into Greek, by another Jesus, the grandson of the author, whose prologue to this book is the following:
The knowledge of many and great things hath been shewn us by the law, and the prophets, and others that have followed them: for which things Israel is to be commended for doctrine and wisdom, because not only they that speak must needs be skilful, but strangers also, both speaking and writing, may by their means become most learned. My grandfather Jesus, after he had much given himself to a diligent reading of the law, and the prophets, and other books, that were delivered to us from our fathers, had a mind also to write something himself, pertaining to doctrine and wisdom; that such as are desirous to learn, and are made knowing in these things, may be more and more attentive in mind, and be strengthened to live according to the law. I entreat you therefore to come with benevolence, and to read with attention, and to pardon us for those things wherein we may seem, while we follow the image of wisdom, to come short in the composition of words; for the Hebrew words have not the same force in them when translated into another tongue. And not only these, but the law also itself, and the prophets, and the rest of the books, have no small difference, when they are spoken in their own language. For in the eight and thirtieth year coming into Egypt, when Ptolemy Evergetes was king, and continuing there a long time, I found there books left, of no small nor contemptible learning. Therefore I thought it good, and necessary for me to bestow some diligence and labour to interpret this book; and with much watching and study in some space of time, I brought the book to an end, and set it forth for the service of them that are willing to apply their mind, and to learn how they ought to conduct themselves, who purpose to lead their life according to the law of the Lord.
Ecclesiasticus Chapter 1
All wisdom is from God, and is given to them that fear and love God.
1:1. All wisdom is from the Lord God, and hath been always with him, and is before all time.
1:2. Who hath numbered the sand of the sea, and the drops of rain, and the days of the world? Who hath measured the height of heaven, and the breadth of the earth, and the depth of the abyss?
1:3. Who hath searched out the wisdom of God that goeth before all things?
1:4. Wisdom hath been created before all things, and the understanding of prudence from everlasting.
1:5. The word of God on high is the fountain of wisdom, and her ways are everlasting commandments.
1:6. To whom hath the root of wisdom been revealed, and who hath known her wise counsels?
1:7. To whom hath the discipline of wisdom been revealed and made manifest? and who hath understood the multiplicity of her steps?
1:8. There is one most high Creator Almighty, and a powerful king, and greatly to be feared, who sitteth upon his throne, and is the God of dominion.
1:9. He created her in the Holy Ghost, and saw her, and numbered her, and measured her.
1:10. And he poured her out upon all his works, and upon all flesh according to his gift, and hath given her to them that love him.
1:11. The fear of the Lord is honour, and glory, and gladness, and a crown of joy.
1:12. The fear of the Lord shall delight the heart, and shall give joy, and gladness, and length of days.
1:13. With him that feareth the Lord, it shall go well in the latter end, and in the day of his death he shall be blessed.
1:14. The love of God is honourable wisdom.
1:15. And they to whom she shall shew herself love her by the sight, and by the knowledge of her great works.
1:16. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and was created with the faithful in the womb, it walketh with chosen women, and is known with the just and faithful.
1:17. The fear of the Lord is the religiousness of knowledge.
1:18. Religiousness shall keep and justify the heart, it shall give joy and gladness.
1:19. It shall go well with him that feareth the Lord, and in the days of his end he shall be blessed.
1:20. To fear God is the fulness of wisdom, and fulness is from the fruits thereof.
1:21. She shall fill all her house with her increase, and the storehouses with her treasures.
1:22. The fear of the Lord is a crown of wisdom, filling up peace and the fruit of salvation:
1:23. And it hath seen, and numbered her: but both are the gifts of God.
1:24. Wisdom shall distribute knowledge, and understanding of prudence: and exalteth the glory of them that hold her.
1:25. The root of wisdom is to fear the Lord: and the branches thereof are long-lived.
1:26. In the treasures of wisdom is understanding, and religiousness of knowledge: but to sinners wisdom is an abomination.