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Literary structure (chiasmus, chiasm) of Book of Sirach

Chiasmus and Concentric Structure of divided by 7


7-1

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)
see 4-1-1
see 4-1-17 Avoid evils (7:1-8:7)
see 4-1-1
2 Person who fear the LORD (2:1-18)
see 4-1-1
see 4-1-16 Blessings of wisdom (6:18-37)
see 4-1-1
3 Commandments to the child (3:1-4:10)
see 4-1-1
see 4-1-15 Friendship (6:1-17)
see 4-1-1

7-1-1

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)
Former halfRelationLatter half
1 Praise of wisdom (1:1-30)
1:1 All wisdom comes from the Lord, she is with him for ever.(1:1)
Wisdom4 Trust in wisdom (4:11-5:15)
4:11 Wisdom brings up her own children and cares for those who seek her.(4:11)
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 child3 Commandments to the child (3:1-4:10)
3:1 Children, listen to me for I am your father: do what I tell you, and so be safe;(3:1)

7-1-2

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
4 Trust in wisdom (4:11-5:15)
5:5 Do not be so sure of forgiveness that you add sin to sin.(5:5)
Avoiding sins7 Avoid evils (7:1-8:7)
7:1 Do no evil, and evil will not befall you;(7:1)
5 Friendship (6:1-17)
6:14 A faithful friend is a sturdy shelter; he who finds one finds a treasure. (6:14)
Shelter6 Blessings of wisdom (6:18-37)
6:29 Thus will you afterward find rest in her, and she will become your joy. (6:29)

7-2

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)
14 Seeking wisdom (15:1-20)
Former halfRelationLatter half
8 Wise man (8:8-9:18)
9:16 Have the upright for your table companions, and let your pride be in fearing the Lord.(9:16)
Fearing the LORD14 Seeking wisdom (15:1-20)
15:1 Whoever fears the Lord will act like this, and whoever grasps the Law will obtain wisdom.(15:1)
9 Rulers (10:1-27)
10:14 The Lord has turned mighty princes off their thrones and seated the humble there instead.(10:14)
Losing a power / wealth13 Person who is happy (14:1-27)
14:15 Will you not have to leave your fortune to another, and the fruit of your labour to be divided by lot?(14:15)
10 Wealth and poverty (10:28-11:28)
10:30 The poor is honoured for wit, and the rich for wealth.(10:30)
Rich and poor12 Rich man and rulers (13:1-26)
13:3 The rich does wrong and takes a high line; the poor is wronged and has to beg for pardon.(13:3)

7-2-1

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)
Former halfRelationLatter half
8 Wise man (8:8-9:18)
9:14 Cultivate your neighbours to the best of your ability, and consult with the wise.(9:14)
Discerning neighbors11 True friend (11:29-12:18)
12:1 If you mean to do a kindness, choose the right person, then your good deeds will not be wasted.(12:1)
9 Rulers (10:1-27)
10:22 The rich, the noble, the poor, let them pride themselves on fearing the Lord.(10:22)
Poor10 Wealth and poverty (10:28-11:28)
10:30 The poor is honoured for wit, and the rich for wealth.(10:30)

7-2-2

11 True friend (11:29-12:18)
  12 Rich man and rulers (13:1-26)
  13 Person who is happy (14:1-27)
14 Seeking wisdom (15:1-20)
Former halfRelationLatter half
11 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)
Pride14 Seeking wisdom (15:1-20)
15:8 She stands remote from pride, and liars cannot call her to mind.(15:8)
12 Rich man and rulers (13:1-26)
13:4 If you are useful the rich will exploit you, if you go bankrupt he will desert you.(13:4)
Greed13 Person who is happy (14:1-27)
14:3 Wealth is not the right thing for the niggardly, and what use are possessions to the covetous?(14:3)

7-3

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)
Former halfRelationLatter half
15 Punishment of sinners (16:1-25)
16:6 Fire is kindled in a sinful society, Retribution blazes in a rebellious nation.(16:6)
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)
16 The creation (16:26-17:24)
17:20 Their iniquities are not hidden from him, all their sins are before the Lord.(17:20)
iniquities20 Gifts (20:1-32)
20:28 Whoever tills the soil will have a full harvest, whoever wins favour from the great will secure pardon for offences.(20:28)
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 sins19 Against loose talk (19:4-30)
19:22 Being learned in evil, however, is not wisdom, there is no prudence in the advice of sinners.(19:22)

7-3-1

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)
Former halfRelationLatter half
15 Punishment of sinners (16:1-25)
16:24 Listen to me, my child, and learn knowledge, and give your whole mind to my words.(16:24)
Expostulation to a child18 Cautiously (18:15-19:3)
18:15 My child, do not temper your favours with blame nor any of your gifts with words that hurt.(18:15)
16 The creation (16:26-17:24)
17:12 He established an eternal covenant with them, and revealed his judgements to them.(17:12)
Judgement of the LORD17 Judgement of the LORD (17:25-18:14)
18:14 He has compassion on those who accept correction, and who fervently search for his judgements.(18:14)

7-3-2

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)
Former halfRelationLatter half
18 Cautiously (18:15-19:3)
18:15 My child, do not temper your favours with blame nor any of your gifts with words that hurt.(18:15)
Expostulation to a child21 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)
19 Against loose talk (19:4-30)
19:16 People sometimes make a slip, without meaning what they say; and which of us has never sinned by speech?(19:16)
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)

7-4

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)
    26 Good wife and evil wife (25:1-27:3)
  27 Revelation of a secret (27:4-21)
28 Hypocrisy (27:22-28:7)
Former halfRelationLatter half
22 Prayer for help against sin (22:27-23:6)
see 1-1
see 1-128 Hypocrisy (27:22-28:7)
see 1-1
23 Foul language (23:7-15)
see 1-1
see 1-127 Revelation of a secret (27:4-21)
see 1-1
24 Concerning sexual sins (23:16-28)
see 1-1
see 1-126 Good wife and evil wife (25:1-27:3)
see 1-1

7-4-1

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
22 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)
Avoiding sins25 Praise of wisdom (24:1-34)
24:22 No one who obeys me will ever have to blush, no one who acts as I dictate will ever sin.'(24:22)
23 Foul language (23:7-15)
23:13 Do not get into the habit of using coarse and foul language since this involves sinful words.(23:13)
Foul person24 Concerning sexual sins (23:16-28)
23:17 desire, blazing like a furnace, will not die down until it has been sated (23:17)

7-4-2

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)
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)
The covenant28 Hypocrisy (27:22-28:7)
28:7 Remember the commandments, and do not bear your fellow ill-will, remember the covenant of the Most High, and ignore the offence.(28:7)
26 Good wife and evil wife (25:1-27:3)
25:8 happy is he who keeps house with a sensible wife; he who does not toil with ox and donkey; he who has never sinned with his tongue; he who does not serve a man less worthy than himself;(25:8)
Woe of mouth27 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)

7-5

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)
Former halfRelationLatter half
29 Backbiting (28:8-26)
28:17 A stroke of the whip raises a weal, but a stroke of the tongue breaks bones.(28:17)
Whip35 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)
30 Aid of neighbors (29:1-28)
29:9 In obedience to the commandment, help the poor; do not turn the poor away empty-handed in their need.(29:9)
Commandment34 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)
31 Upbringing of a child (30:1-13)
30:2 Whoever is strict with his son will reap the benefit, and be able to boast of him to his acquaintances.(30:2)
Upbringing33 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)

7-5-1

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)
Former halfRelationLatter half
29 Backbiting (28:8-26)
28:16 No one who listens to it will ever know peace of mind, will ever live in peace again.(28:16)
Unnecessary concern32 Health and wealth (30:14-31:11)
31:1 The sleeplessness brought by wealth makes a person lose weight, the worry it causes drives away sleep.(31:1)
30 Aid of neighbors (29:1-28)
29:13 Better than sturdy shield or weighty spear, this will fight for you against the enemy.(29:13)
Fighting with enemies31 Upbringing of a child (30:1-13)
30:6 He leaves an avenger against his enemies and a rewarder of favours for his friends.(30:6)

7-5-2

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)
Former halfRelationLatter half
32 Health and wealth (30:14-31:11)
31:11 His fortune will be firmly based and the assembly will acclaim his generosity.(31:11)
Giving a heritage35 Believer and sinner (33:7-33)
33:24 The day your life draws to a close, at the hour of death, then distribute your heritage.(33:24)
33 Table etiquette (31:12-32:13)
32:8 Keep to the point, say much in few words; give the impression of knowing but not wanting to speak.(32:8)
Speaking briefly34 Torah (32:14-33:6)
33:4 Prepare what you have to say and you will get a hearing, marshal your information before you answer.(33:4)

7-6

36 Dreams and experiences (34:1-12)
  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)
Former halfRelationLatter half
36 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)
Obtaining wisdom42 Scholar (38:24-39:11)
39:1 Not so with one who concentrates his mind and his meditation on the Law of the Most High. He researches into the wisdom of all the Ancients, he occupies his time with the prophecies.(39:1)
37 Offerings (34:13-35:26)
34:15 Happy the soul of one who fears the Lord. On whom does he rely? Who supports him?(34:15)
The LORD saves41 Doctor (38:1-23)
38:9 My child, when you are ill, do not rebel, but pray to the Lord and he will heal you.(38:9)
38 A Prayer for God's people (36:1-17)
36:11 Take pity, Lord, on the people called by your name, on Israel whom you have made your first-born ( 36:11)
Israel40 Investigation of oneself (37:13-31)
37:25 Human life lasts a number of days, but the days of Israel are beyond counting.(37:25)

7-6-1

36 Dreams and experiences (34:1-12)
  37 Offerings (34:13-35:26)
  38 A Prayer for God's people (36:1-17)
39 Concerning Advice (36:18-37:12)
Former halfRelationLatter half
36 Dreams and experiences (34:1-12)
34:8 Fulfilling the Law requires no such falsehood, and wisdom is perfected in veracity.(34:8)
Falsehood39 Concerning Advice (36:18-37:12)
36:19 As the palate discerns the flavour of game, so a shrewd listener detects lying words. (36:19)
37 Offerings (34:13-35:26)
35:24 Mercy is welcome in time of trouble, like rain clouds in time of drought. (35:24)
Pity of the LORD38 A Prayer for God's people (36:1-17)
36:1 Take pity on us, Master, Lord of the universe, look at us, spread fear of yourself throughout all other nations.(36:1)

7-6-2

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)
Former halfRelationLatter half
39 Concerning Advice (36:18-37:12)
37:11 Do not consult a woman about her rival, or a coward about war, a merchant about prices, or a buyer about selling, anyone mean about gratitude, or anyone selfish about kindness, a lazy fellow about any sort of work, or a casual worker about finishing a job, an idle servant about a major undertaking -- do not rely on these for any advice.(37:11)
Persons who are not suitable42 Scholar (38:24-39:11)
38:25 How can the ploughman become wise, whose sole ambition is to wield the goad, driving his oxen, engrossed in their work, his conversation limited to bullocks,(38:25)
40 Investigation of oneself (37:13-31)
37:22 Another considers himself wise and proclaims his intellectual conclusions as certainties.(37:22)
Wise man41 Doctor (38:1-23)
38:1 Treat the doctor with the honour that is his due, in consideration of his services; for he too has been created by the Lord.(38:1)

7-7

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)
see 4-4-2
see 4-4-249 Conclusion (50:27-29)
see 4-4-2
44 Hardships of life (40:1-17)
see 4-4-2
see 4-4-248 Ancestors (44:1-50:26)
see 4-4-2
45 Concerning death (40:18-41:13)
see 4-4-2
see 4-4-247 Creation of all things (42:15-43:33)
see 4-4-2

7-7-1

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)
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)
Clarifying46 Concerning Shame (41:14-42:14)
41:15 Better someone who hides his folly than one who hides his wisdom.(41:15)
44 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)
Anxiety of death45 Concerning death (40:18-41:13)
41:1 O death, how bitter it is to remember you for someone peacefully living with his possessions, for someone with no worries and everything going well and who can still enjoy his food!(41:1)

7-7-2

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
46 Concerning Shame (41:14-42:14)
41:14 Keep my instructions and be at peace, my children. Wisdom hidden away and treasure undisplayed, what use is either of these?(41:14)
Instructions49 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)
47 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)
Devout person48 Ancestors (44:1-50:26)
44:1 Next let us praise illustrious men, our ancestors in their successive generations.(44:1)

Citations of the Bible are from New American Bible, New Revised Standard Version and New Jerusalem Bible.

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Literary Structure of the Bible by Hajime Murai is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
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