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Literary structure (chiasmus, chiasm) of Book of Sirach

Chiasmus and Concentric Structure of divided by 4


4-1

1 Praise of wisdom (1:1-30)
  2 Person who fear the LORD (2:1-18)
    3 Commandments to the child (3:1-4:10)
      4 Trust in wisdom (4:11-5:15)
        5 Friendship (6:1-17)
          6 Blessings of wisdom (6:18-37)
            7 Avoid evils (7:1-8:7)
          8 Wise man (8:8-9:18)
        9 Rulers (10:1-27)
      10 Wealth and poverty (10:28-11:28)
    11 True friend (11:29-12:18)
  12 Rich man and rulers (13:1-26)
13 Person who is happy (14:1-27)
Former halfRelationLatter half
1 Praise of wisdom (1:1-30)
1:26 If you desire wisdom, keep the commandments, and the Lord will bestow it on you.(1:26)
Seeking for wisdom13 Person who is happy (14:1-27)
14:20 Blessed is anyone who meditates on wisdom, and reasons with intelligence,(14:20)
2 Person who fear the LORD (2:1-18)
2:17 Those who fear the Lord keep their hearts prepared and humble themselves in his presence.(2:17)
Humility / Pride12 Rich man and rulers (13:1-26)
13:1 Whoever touches pitch will be defiled, and anyone who associates with the proud will come to be like them.(13:1)
3 Commandments to the child (3:1-4:10)
3:27 A stubborn heart is weighed down with troubles, the sinner heaps sin on sin.(3:27)
Rewards of evils11 True friend (11:29-12:18)
12:3 No good will come to one who persists in evil, or who refuses to give alms.(12:3)
4 Trust in wisdom (4:11-5:15)
4:20 Take circumstances into account and beware of evil, and have no cause to be ashamed of yourself;(4:20)
Evaluate oneself10 Wealth and poverty (10:28-11:28)
10:28 My child, be modest in your self-esteem, and value yourself at your proper worth.(10:28)
5 Friendship (6:1-17)
6:4 For contumacious desire destroys its owner and makes him the sport of his enemies (6:4)
Stubborn anger9 Rulers (10:1-27)
10:18 Insolence is not allotted to a man, nor stubborn anger to one born of woman. (10:18)
6 Blessings of wisdom (6:18-37)
6:23 Listen, my child, and take my advice, do not reject my counsel:(6:23)
Listening to8 Wise man (8:8-9:18)
8:8 Do not scorn the discourse of the wise, but make yourself familiar with their maxims, since from these you will learn the theory and the art of serving the great.(8:8)

4-1-1

1 Praise of wisdom (1:1-30)
  2 Person who fear the LORD (2:1-18)
    3 Commandments to the child (3:1-4:10)
      4 Trust in wisdom (4:11-5:15)
    5 Friendship (6:1-17)
  6 Blessings of wisdom (6:18-37)
7 Avoid evils (7:1-8:7)
Former halfRelationLatter half
1 Praise of wisdom (1:1-30)
1:11 The fear of the Lord is glory and pride, happiness and a crown of joyfulness.(1:11)
Fearing the LORD7 Avoid evils (7:1-8:7)
7:31 Fear the Lord and honour the priest and give him the portion enjoined on you: first-fruits, sacrifice of reparation, shoulder-gift, sanctification sacrifice, first-fruits of the holy things.(7:31)
2 Person who fear the LORD (2:1-18)
2:1 My child, if you aspire to serve the Lord, prepare yourself for an ordeal.(2:1)
Expostulation to a child6 Blessings of wisdom (6:18-37)
6:18 My child, from your earliest youth choose instruction, and till your hair is white you will keep finding wisdom.(6:18)
3 Commandments to the child (3:1-4:10)
4:1 My child, do not refuse the poor a livelihood, do not tantalise the needy.(4:1)
Charity5 Friendship (6:1-17)
6:1 for a bad name will earn you shame and reproach, as happens to the double-talking sinner.(6:1)

4-1-2

7 Avoid evils (7:1-8:7)
  8 Wise man (8:8-9:18)
    9 Rulers (10:1-27)
      10 Wealth and poverty (10:28-11:28)
    11 True friend (11:29-12:18)
  12 Rich man and rulers (13:1-26)
13 Person who is happy (14:1-27)
Former halfRelationLatter half
7 Avoid evils (7:1-8:7)
7:18 Do not barter a friend away for the sake of profit, nor a true brother for the gold of Ophir.(7:18)
Greedy for money13 Person who is happy (14:1-27)
14:8 Wicked the person who has an envious eye, averting his face, and careless of others' lives.(14:8)
8 Wise man (8:8-9:18)
8:12 Do not lend to anyone who is stronger than you are -- if you do lend, resign yourself to loss.(8:12)
Deprive of money12 Rich man and rulers (13:1-26)
13:5 Are you well off? - he will live with you, he will clean you out without a single qualm.(13:5)
9 Rulers (10:1-27)
10:7 Pride is hateful to God and humanity, and injustice is abhorrent to both.(10:7)
Pride11 True friend (11:29-12:18)
11:30 Like a captive partridge in a cage, so is the heart of the proud: like a spy he watches for your downfall,(11:30)

4-2

13 Person who is happy (14:1-27)
  14 Seeking wisdom (15:1-20)
    15 Punishment of sinners (16:1-25)
      16 The creation (16:26-17:24)
        17 Judgement of the LORD (17:25-18:14)
          18 Cautiously (18:15-19:3)
            19 Against loose talk (19:4-30)
          20 Gifts (20:1-32)
        21 Wisdom and foolishness (21:1-22:26)
      22 Prayer for help against sin (22:27-23:6)
    23 Foul language (23:7-15)
  24 Concerning sexual sins (23:16-28)
25 Praise of wisdom (24:1-34)
Former halfRelationLatter half
13 Person who is happy (14:1-27)
14:20 Blessed is anyone who meditates on wisdom, and reasons with intelligence,(14:20)
Quest for wisdom25 Praise of wisdom (24:1-34)
24:28 The first man did not finish discovering about her, nor has the most recent tracked her down;(24:28)
14 Seeking wisdom (15:1-20)
15:7 Fools will not gain possession of her, nor will sinners set eyes on her.(15:7)
Sinners24 Concerning sexual sins (23:16-28)
23:16 There are two types of people who commit sin after sin and a third who attracts retribution-(23:16)
15 Punishment of sinners (16:1-25)
16:17 Do not say, 'I shall hide from the Lord; who is going to remember me up there? I shall not be noticed among so many people; what am I in the immensity of creation?'(16:17)
How to speak23 Foul language (23:7-15)
23:7 Children, listen to what I teach, no one who keeps it will be caught out.(23:7)
16 The creation (16:26-17:24)
17:14 He said to them, Beware of all wrong-doing; he gave each a commandment concerning his neighbour.(17:14)
Avoiding sins22 Prayer for help against sin (22:27-23:6)
23:2 Who will lay whips to my thoughts, and the discipline of wisdom to my heart, to be merciless to my errors and not let my sins go unchecked,(23:2)
17 Judgement of the LORD (17:25-18:14)
17:25 Return to the Lord and renounce your sins, plead before his face, stop offending him.(17:25)
Avoiding sins21 Wisdom and foolishness (21:1-22:26)
21:1 My child, have you sinned? Do so no more, and ask forgiveness for your previous faults.(21:1)
18 Cautiously (18:15-19:3)
18:19 Learn before you speak, take care of yourself before you fall ill.(18:19)
Woe of mouth20 Gifts (20:1-32)
20:18 Better a slip on the pavement than a slip of the tongue; this is how ruin takes the wicked by surprise.(20:18)

4-2-1

13 Person who is happy (14:1-27)
  14 Seeking wisdom (15:1-20)
    15 Punishment of sinners (16:1-25)
      16 The creation (16:26-17:24)
    17 Judgement of the LORD (17:25-18:14)
  18 Cautiously (18:15-19:3)
19 Against loose talk (19:4-30)
Former halfRelationLatter half
13 Person who is happy (14:1-27)
14:1 Blessed is anyone who has not sinned in speech and who needs feel no remorse for sins.(14:1)
Woe of mouth19 Against loose talk (19:4-30)
19:8 whether to friend or foe, do not talk about it, unless it would be sinful not to, do not reveal it;(19:8)
14 Seeking wisdom (15:1-20)
15:7 Fools will not gain possession of her, nor will sinners set eyes on her.(15:7)
Fools18 Cautiously (18:15-19:3)
18:18 A fool will offer nothing but insult, and a grudging gift makes the eyes smart.(18:18)
15 Punishment of sinners (16:1-25)
16:11 For mercy and anger alike are with him who remits and forgives, though on the wicked alights his wrath. (16:11)
Mercy and forgiveness17 Judgement of the LORD (17:25-18:14)
17:29 How great the mercy of the LORD, his forgiveness of those who return to him (17:24)

4-2-2

19 Against loose talk (19:4-30)
  20 Gifts (20:1-32)
    21 Wisdom and foolishness (21:1-22:26)
      22 Prayer for help against sin (22:27-23:6)
    23 Foul language (23:7-15)
  24 Concerning sexual sins (23:16-28)
25 Praise of wisdom (24:1-34)
Former halfRelationLatter half
19 Against loose talk (19:4-30)
19:20 Wisdom consists entirely in fearing the Lord, and wisdom is entirely constituted by the fulfilling of the Law.(19:20)
Torah25 Praise of wisdom (24:1-34)
24:23 All this is no other than the Book of the Covenant of the Most High God, the Law that Moses enjoined on us, an inheritance for the communities of Jacob.(24:23)
20 Gifts (20:1-32)
20:26 Lying is an abominable habit, the liar's disgrace lasts for ever.(20:26)
Shame24 Concerning sexual sins (23:16-28)
23:26 She will leave an accursed memory behind her, her shame will never be wiped out.(23:26)
21 Wisdom and foolishness (21:1-22:26)
21:1 My child, have you sinned? Do so no more, and ask forgiveness for your previous faults.(21:1)
Expostulation to a child23 Foul language (23:7-15)
23:7 Children, listen to what I teach, no one who keeps it will be caught out.(23:7)

4-3

25 Praise of wisdom (24:1-34)
  26 Good wife and evil wife (25:1-27:3)
    27 Revelation of a secret (27:4-21)
      28 Hypocrisy (27:22-28:7)
        29 Backbiting (28:8-26)
          30 Aid of neighbors (29:1-28)
            31 Upbringing of a child (30:1-13)
          32 Health and wealth (30:14-31:11)
        33 Table etiquette (31:12-32:13)
      34 Torah (32:14-33:6)
    35 Believer and sinner (33:7-33)
  36 Dreams and experiences (34:1-12)
37 Offerings (34:13-35:26)
Former halfRelationLatter half
25 Praise of wisdom (24:1-34)
24:23 All this is no other than the Book of the Covenant of the Most High God, the Law that Moses enjoined on us, an inheritance for the communities of Jacob.(24:23)
Torah37 Offerings (34:13-35:26)
35:1 One who keeps the Law multiplies offerings; one who follows the commandments offers communion sacrifices.(35:1)
26 Good wife and evil wife (25:1-27:3)
25:5 How fine a thing: wisdom in the aged, and considered advice coming from people of distinction!(25:5)
Wisdom through experiences36 Dreams and experiences (34:1-12)
34:9 A much travelled man knows many things, and a man of great experience will talk sound sense.(34:9)
27 Revelation of a secret (27:4-21)
27:5 The kiln tests the work of the potter, the test of a person is in conversation.(27:5)
A pottery35 Believer and sinner (33:7-33)
33:13 Like clay in the hands of the potter to mould as it pleases him, so are human beings in the hands of their Maker to reward as he judges right.(33:13)
28 Hypocrisy (27:22-28:7)
28:6 Remember the last things, and stop hating, corruption and death, and be faithful to the commandments.(28:6)
Commandments of the LORD34 Torah (32:14-33:6)
32:24 Anyone who trusts in the Law obeys its precepts, no one who has confidence in the Lord will come to harm.(32:24)
29 Backbiting (28:8-26)
28:8 Avoid quarrelling and you will sin less; for the hot-tempered provokes quarrels,(28:8)
How to speak33 Table etiquette (31:12-32:13)
32:7 Speak, young man, when you must, but twice at most, and then only if questioned.(32:7)
30 Aid of neighbors (29:1-28)
29:8 Nevertheless, be patient with those who are badly off, do not keep them waiting on your generosity.(29:8)
Charity32 Health and wealth (30:14-31:11)
31:11 His fortune will be firmly based and the assembly will acclaim his generosity.(31:11)

4-3-1

25 Praise of wisdom (24:1-34)
  26 Good wife and evil wife (25:1-27:3)
    27 Revelation of a secret (27:4-21)
      28 Hypocrisy (27:22-28:7)
    29 Backbiting (28:8-26)
  30 Aid of neighbors (29:1-28)
31 Upbringing of a child (30:1-13)
Former halfRelationLatter half
25 Praise of wisdom (24:1-34)
24:33 I shall pour out teaching like prophecy, as a legacy to all future generations.(24:33)
Education of children31 Upbringing of a child (30:1-13)
30:3 Whoever educates his son will be the envy of his enemy, and will be proud of him among his friends.(30:3)
26 Good wife and evil wife (25:1-27:3)
25:2 There are three sorts of people my soul hates, and whose existence I consider an outrage: the poor swollen with pride, the rich who is a liar and an adulterous old man who has no sense.(25:2)
Rich and poor30 Aid of neighbors (29:1-28)
29:8 Nevertheless, be patient with those who are badly off, do not keep them waiting on your generosity.(29:8)
27 Revelation of a secret (27:4-21)
27:4 In a shaken sieve the rubbish is left behind, so too the defects of a person appear in speech.(27:4)
How to speak29 Backbiting (28:8-26)
28:8 Avoid quarrelling and you will sin less; for the hot-tempered provokes quarrels,(28:8)

4-3-2

31 Upbringing of a child (30:1-13)
  32 Health and wealth (30:14-31:11)
    33 Table etiquette (31:12-32:13)
      34 Torah (32:14-33:6)
    35 Believer and sinner (33:7-33)
  36 Dreams and experiences (34:1-12)
37 Offerings (34:13-35:26)
Former halfRelationLatter half
31 Upbringing of a child (30:1-13)
30:4 Even when the father dies, he might well not be dead, since he leaves his likeness behind him.(30:4)
Father and children37 Offerings (34:13-35:26)
34:20 Offering sacrifice from the property of the poor is as bad as slaughtering a son before his father's eyes. (34:20)
32 Health and wealth (30:14-31:11)
31:7 since it is a snare for those who sacrifice to it and stupid people all get caught in it.(31:7)
Being astray36 Dreams and experiences (34:1-12)
34:7 for dreams have led many astray, and those who relied on them have come to grief.(34:7)
33 Table etiquette (31:12-32:13)
31:19 A little is quite enough for a well-bred person; his breathing is easy when he lies in bed.(31:19)
Upbringing35 Believer and sinner (33:7-33)
33:25 Fodder, the stick and burdens for a donkey, bread, discipline and work for a slave.(33:25)

4-4

37 Offerings (34:13-35:26)
  38 A Prayer for God's people (36:1-17)
    39 Concerning Advice (36:18-37:12)
      40 Investigation of oneself (37:13-31)
        41 Doctor (38:1-23)
          42 Scholar (38:24-39:11)
            43 The works of the LORD (39:12-35)
          44 Hardships of life (40:1-17)
        45 Concerning death (40:18-41:13)
      46 Concerning Shame (41:14-42:14)
    47 Creation of all things (42:15-43:33)
  48 Ancestors (44:1-50:26)
49 Conclusion (50:27-29)
Former halfRelationLatter half
37 Offerings (34:13-35:26)
34:15 Happy the soul of one who fears the Lord. (34:15)
A happy person49 Conclusion (50:27-29)
50:28 Blessed is he who devotes his time to these and grows wise by taking them to heart!(50:28)
38 A Prayer for God's people (36:1-17)
36:3 As, in their sight, you have proved yourself holy to us, so now, in our sight, prove yourself great to them.(36:3)
Showing the power of the LORD48 Ancestors (44:1-50:26)
44:2 The Lord has created an abundance of glory, and displayed his greatness from earliest times.(44:2)
39 Concerning Advice (36:18-37:12)
37:12 But have constant recourse to some devout person, whom you know to be a keeper of the commandments, whose soul matches your own, and who, if you go wrong, will be sympathetic.(37:12)
Devout person47 Creation of all things (42:15-43:33)
43:33 the Lord himself having created all things and given wisdom to those who are devout.(43:33)
40 Investigation of oneself (37:13-31)
37:23 But the truly wise instructs his people and his intellectual conclusions are certainties.(37:23)
Showing wisdom46 Concerning Shame (41:14-42:14)
41:15 Better someone who hides his folly than one who hides his wisdom.(41:15)
41 Doctor (38:1-23)
38:16 My child, shed tears over the dead, lament for the dead to show your sorrow, then bury the body with due ceremony and do not fail to honour the grave.(38:16)
Mourning45 Concerning death (40:18-41:13)
41:11 Mourning concerns only the bodies of the dead, but the worthless name of sinners will be blotted out.(41:11)
42 Scholar (38:24-39:11)
39:11 If he lives long, his name will be more glorious than a thousand others, and if he dies, that will satisfy him just as well.(39:11)
Death44 Hardships of life (40:1-17)
40:2 What fills them with foreboding and their hearts with fear is dread of the day of death.(40:2)

4-4-1

37 Offerings (34:13-35:26)
  38 A Prayer for God's people (36:1-17)
    39 Concerning Advice (36:18-37:12)
      40 Investigation of oneself (37:13-31)
    41 Doctor (38:1-23)
  42 Scholar (38:24-39:11)
43 The works of the LORD (39:12-35)
Former halfRelationLatter half
37 Offerings (34:13-35:26)
35:7 Honour the Lord with generosity, do not stint the first-fruits you bring. (35:7)
Praise for the LORD43 The works of the LORD (39:12-35)
39:35 So now, sing with all your heart and voice, and bless the name of the Lord!'(39:35)
38 A Prayer for God's people (36:1-17)
36:4 Let them acknowledge you, just as we have acknowledged that there is no God but you, Lord. (36:4)
Spreading faith42 Scholar (38:24-39:11)
39:9 Many will praise his intelligence and it will never be forgotten. His memory will not disappear, generation after generation his name will live.(39:9)
39 Concerning Advice (36:18-37:12)
37:7 Any adviser will offer advice, but some are governed by self-interest.(37:7)
Helper41 Doctor (38:1-23)
38:12 Then let the doctor take over -- the Lord created him too -- do not let him leave you, for you need him.(38:12)

4-4-2

43 The works of the LORD (39:12-35)
  44 Hardships of life (40:1-17)
    45 Concerning death (40:18-41:13)
      46 Concerning Shame (41:14-42:14)
    47 Creation of all things (42:15-43:33)
  48 Ancestors (44:1-50:26)
49 Conclusion (50:27-29)
Former halfRelationLatter half
43 The works of the LORD (39:12-35)
39:32 That is why I was determined from the outset, why I have pondered and why I have written,(39:32)
Writings49 Conclusion (50:27-29)
50:27 Instruction in wisdom and knowledge is what has been written in this book by Jesus son of Sira Eleazar of Jerusalem, who has poured a rain of wisdom from his heart.(50:27)
44 Hardships of life (40:1-17)
40:1 A hard lot has been created for human beings, a heavy yoke lies on the children of Adam from the day they come out of their mother's womb, till the day they return to the mother of them all.(40:1)
Descendants48 Ancestors (44:1-50:26)
44:12 Their descendants stand by the commandments and, thanks to them, so do their children's children.(44:12)
45 Concerning death (40:18-41:13)
41:13 A good life lasts a certain number of days, but a good reputation lasts for ever.(41:13)
Eternal47 Creation of all things (42:15-43:33)
42:21 He has embellished the magnificent works of his wisdom, he is from everlasting to everlasting, nothing can be added to him, nothing taken away, he needs no ones advice.(42:21)

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