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Literary structure (chiasm, chiasmus) of Book of Sirach

Chiastic Structure and Concentric Structure and Parallel of each pericope

[1]Praise of wisdom  (Si1:1-30)
  A(1:1-10)  1:1 All wisdom comes from the Lord, she is with him for ever.(1:1)
    B(1:11-21)    1:11 The fear of the Lord is glory and pride, happiness and a crown of joyfulness.(1:11)
  A'(1:22-26)  1:26 If you desire wisdom, keep the commandments, and the Lord will bestow it on you.(1:26)
    B'(1:27-30)    1:27 For the fear of the Lord is wisdom and instruction, and what pleases him is faithfulness and gentleness.(1:27)
   A: Wisdom. B: The fear of the Lord.

[2]Person who fear the LORD  (Si2:1-18)
  A(2:1-5)  2:2 Be sincere of heart, be steadfast, and do not be alarmed when disaster comes.(2:2)
    B(2:6-9)    2:7 You who fear the Lord, wait for his mercy; do not turn aside, for fear you fall.(2:7)
  A'(2:10-14)  2:14 Woe to you who have lost the strength to endure; what will you do at the Lord's visitation?(2:14)
    B'(2:15-18)    2:15 Those who fear the Lord do not disdain his words, and those who love him keep his ways.(2:15)
   A: Trials. B: The fear of the Lord.

[3]Commandments to the child  (Si3:1-4:10)
  A(3:1-11)  3:1 Children, listen to me for I am your father: do what I tell you, and so be safe;(3:1)
    B(3:12-16)    3:12 My child, support your father in his old age, do not grieve him during his life.(3:12)
  A'(3:17-31)  3:17 My child, be gentle in carrying out your business, and you will be better loved than a lavish giver.(3:17)
    B'(4:1-10)    4:1 My child, do not refuse the poor a livelihood, do not tantalise the needy.(4:1)
   A: Humility. B: Salvation for the weak.

[4]Trust in wisdom  (Si4:11-5:15)
  A(4:11-19)  4:19 if he fails her, she will abandon him and deliver him into the hands of despoilers (4:19)
    B(4:20-29)    4:24 For it is through speech that wisdom becomes known, and knowledge through the tongue's rejoinder (4:24)
  A'(4:30-5:8)  5:7 For suddenly his wrath flames forth; at the time of vengeance, you will be destroyed (5:7)
    B'(5:9-15)    5:11 Be swift to hear, but slow to answer. (5:13)
   A: Destruction. B: Words.

[5]Friendship  (Si6:1-17)
  A(6:1-4)  Dishonest friend
    B(6:5-7)    Honest friend
  A'(6:8-13)  Dishonest friend
    B'(6:14-17)    Honest friend
   A: Dishonest friend. B: Honest friend.

[6]Blessings of wisdom  (Si6:18-37)
  A1(6:18-22)  6:18 My child, from your earliest youth choose instruction, and till your hair is white you will keep finding wisdom.(6:18)
  A2(6:23-31)  6:23 Listen, my child, and take my advice, do not reject my counsel:(6:23)
  A3(6:32-37)  6:32 If you wish it, my child, you can be taught; apply yourself, and you will become intelligent.(6:32)
   A: Calling to the child.

[7]Avoid evils  (Si7:1-8:7)
  A(7:1-6)  Authority
    B(7:7-13)    Weak
      C(7:14-17)      Elder
        D(7:18-26)        Neighbor
      C'(7:27-31)      Elder
    B'(7:32-36)    Weak
  A'(8:1-7)  Authority
   A: Authority. B: Weak. C: Elder. D: Neighbor.

[8]Wise man  (Si8:8-9:18)
  A(8:8-9)  8:8 Do not scorn the discourse of the wise, but make yourself familiar with their maxims (8:8)
    B(8:10-19)    8:10 Do not kindle the coals of the sinner (8:10)
      C(9:1-9)      9:1 Do not be jealous of the wife you love, do not teach her lessons in how to harm you.(9:1)
    B'(9:10-13)    9:11 Do not envy the sinner his success(9:11)
  A'(9:14-18)  9:14 consult with the wise.(9:14)
   A: The wise. B: The sinner. C: Women.

[9]Rulers  (Si10:1-27)
  A(10:1-5)  10:1 A sagacious ruler educates his people, and he makes his subjects understand order.(10:1)
    B(10:6-13)    10:7 Pride is hateful to God and humanity, and injustice is abhorrent to both.(10:7)
      C(10:14-17)      10:14 The Lord has turned mighty princes off their thrones and seated the humble there instead.(10:14)
    B'(10:18-22)    10:18 Pride was not created for human beings, nor furious rage for those born of woman (10:18)
  A'(10:23-27)  10:24 Magnate, magistrate, potentate, all are to be honoured (10:24)
   A: Authority. B: Pride. C: Judgement of the LORD.

[10]Wealth and poverty  (Si10:28-11:28)
  A(10:28-29)  10:28 My child, be modest in your self-esteem, and value yourself at your proper worth.(10:28)
    B(10:30-11:6)    10:30 The poor is honoured for wit, and the rich for wealth.(10:30)
      C(11:7-9)      11:7 Do not find fault before making thorough enquiry; first reflect, then give a reprimand.(11:7)
  A'(11:10-11)  11:10 My child, do not take on a great amount of business; if you multiply your interests, you are bound to suffer for it; hurry as fast as you can, yet you will never arrive, nor will you escape by running away.(11:10)
    B'(11:12-22)    11:14 Good and bad, life and death, poverty and wealth, all come from the Lord.(11:14)
      C'(11:23-28)      11:23 Do not say, 'What are my needs, how much shall I have in the future?'(11:23)
   A: Calling for the child. B: Poverty and wealth. C: Exhortation.

[11]True friend  (Si11:29-12:18)
  A(11:29-34)  11:33 Beware of a scoundrel and his evil contrivances, in case he puts a smear on you for ever.(11:33)
    B(12:1-7)    12:1 If you mean to do a kindness, choose the right person, then your good deeds will not be wasted.(12:1)
  A'(12:8-18)  12:8 In prosperity you cannot always tell a true friend, but in adversity you cannot mistake an enemy.(12:8)
   A: To avoid the wicked. B: When doing a kindness.

[12]Rich man and rulers  (Si13:1-26)
  A(13:1-2)  13:2 do not associate with someone more powerful and wealthy than yourself (13:2)
    B(13:3-7)    13:3 The rich does wrong and takes a high line; the poor is wronged and has to beg for pardon.(13:3)
      C(13:8-14)      13:11 since all this talking is expressly meant to test you, under cover of geniality he will be weighing you up.(13:11)
  A'(13:15-20)  13:15 Every living thing loves its own sort, and every man his fellow.(13:15)
    B'(13:21-23)    13:21 When the rich stumbles he is supported by friends; when the poor falls, his friends push him away.(13:21)
      C'(13:24-26)      13:25 The heart moulds a person's expression whether for better or worse. (13:25)
   A: Homogeneous. B: Difference between the riches. C: Facial expression.

[13]Person who is happy  (Si14:1-27)
  A(14:1-10)  14:1 Blessed is anyone who has not sinned in speech and who needs feel no remorse for sins.(14:1)
    B(14:3-10)    14:3 Wealth is not the right thing for the niggardly, and what use are possessions to the covetous? (14:3)
    B'(14:11-19)    14:11 My child, treat yourself as well as you can afford, and bring worthy offerings to the Lord.(14:11)
  A'(14:20-27)  14:20 Blessed is anyone who meditates on wisdom, and reasons with intelligence,(14:20)
   A: Blessed. B: To spend money.

[14]Seeking wisdom  (Si15:1-20)
  A(15:1-6)  15:1 Whoever fears the Lord will act like this, and whoever grasps the Law will obtain wisdom.(15:1)
    B(15:7-12)    15:7 Fools will not gain possession of her, nor will sinners set eyes on her.(15:7)
  A'(15:13-20)  15:13 The Lord hates all that is foul, and no one who fears him will love it either.(15:13)
   A: Whoever fears the Lord. B: Sinners.

[15]Punishment of sinners  (Si16:1-25)
  A(16:1-4)  16:1 Do not long for a brood of worthless children, and do not take pleasure in godless sons.(16:1)
    B(16:5-10)    16:6 Fire is kindled in a sinful society, Retribution blazes in a rebellious nation.(16:6)
      C(16:11-16)      16:12 As great as his mercy, so is his severity; he judges each person as his deeds deserve:(16:12)
    B'(16:17-23)    16:19 The mountains and earth's foundations alike quail and tremble when he looks at them.(16:19)
  A'(16:24-25)  16:24 Listen to me, my child, and learn knowledge, and give your whole mind to my words.(16:24)
   A: Children. B: Judgement. C: Mercy and severity.

[16]The creation  (Si16:26-17:24)
  A(16:26-28)  16:26 When God created his works in the beginning, he assigned them their places as soon as they were made (16:26)
    B(16:29-17:1)    16:29 the Lord looked at the earth (16:29)
      C(17:2-8)      The LORD gives to the people
        D(17:9-10)        17:10 they would praise his holy name (17:10)
      C'(17:11-18)      The LORD gives to the people
    B'(17:19-17:22)    17:19 his eyes rest constantly on their conduct (17:19)
  A'(17:23-24)  17:23 One day he will rise and reward them, he will repay their deserts on their own heads (17:23)
   A: Judgement of the LORD. B: The LORD sees. C: The LORD gives to the people. D: They would praise his holy name.

[17]Judgement of the LORD  (Si17:25-18:14)
  A(17:25-29)  17:29 How great is the mercy of the Lord, his pardon for those who turn to him! (17:29)
    B(17:30-32)    17:30 For we cannot have everything, human beings are not immortal. (17:30)
      C(18:1-6)      18:1 He who lives for ever has created the sum of things.(18:1)
    B'(18:7-10)    18:7 When someone finishes he is only beginning, and when he stops he is as puzzled as ever. (18:7)
  A'(18:11-14)  18:11 This is why the Lord is patient with them and pours out his mercy on them. (18:11)
   A: Mercy. B: Limit of human being. C: Creator.

[18]Cautiously  (Si18:15-19:3)
  A(18:15-18)  18:15 My child, do not temper your favours with blame nor any of your gifts with words that hurt.(18:15)
    B(18:19-21)    18:19 Learn before you speak, take care of yourself before you fall ill. (18:19)
      C(19:22-26)      18:25 In a time of plenty remember times of famine, think of poverty and want when you are rich.(18:25)
    B'(18:27-29)    18:27 The wise will be cautious in everything, in sinful times will take care not to offend.(18:27)
  A'(18:30-19:3)  18:32 Do not indulge in luxurious living, do not get involved in such society.(18:32)
   A: Expenses. B: Prudence. C: To remind about time of sufferings.

[19]Against loose talk  (Si19:4-30)
  A(19:4-12)  19:4 Being too ready to trust shows shallowness of mind, and sinning harms the sinner.(19:4)
    B(19:13-17)    19:13 Question your friend, he may have done nothing at all; and if he has done anything, he will not do it again.(19:13)
  A'(19:18-30)  19:26 There is the person who will walk bowed down with grief, when inwardly this is nothing but deceit:(19:26)
   A: Evaluation of others. B: Question.

[20]Gifts  (Si20:1-32)
  A(20:1-8)  20:1 There is the rebuke that is untimely, and there is the person who keeps quiet, and he is the shrewd one. (20:1)
    B(20:9-17)    20:9 There is the person who finds misfortune a boon, and the piece of luck that turns to loss.(20:9)
  A'(20:18-26)  20:18 Better a slip on the pavement than a slip of the tongue (20:18)
    B'(20:27-32)    20:27 The wise gains advancement by words, the shrewd wins favour from the great.(20:27)
   A: How to speak. B: Luck and bad luck.

[21]Wisdom and foolishness  (Si21:1-22:26)
  A(21:1-10)  21:1 My child, have you sinned? Do so no more, and ask forgiveness for your previous faults.(21:1)
    B(21:11-28)    21:14 The heart of a fool is like a broken jar, it will not hold any knowledge.(21:14)
      C(22:1-8)      22:1 An idler is like a stone covered in filth, everyone whistles at his disgrace.(22:1)
    B'(22:9-18)    22:9 Teaching a fool is like gluing bits of pottery together -- you are rousing someone who is besotted with sleep.(22:9)
  A'(22:19-26)  22:21 If you have drawn your sword on a friend, do not despair; there is a way back.(22:21)
   A: Sins and forgiveness. B: A fool. C: An idler.

[22]Prayer for help against sin  (Si22:27-23:6)
  A(22:27)  22:27 Who will set a guard on my mouth, and an efficient seal on my lips (22:27)
    B(23:1)    23:1 Lord, father and master of my life (23:1)
  A'(23:2-3)  23:2 Who will lay whips to my thoughts, and the discipline of wisdom to my heart (23:2)
    B'(23:4-5)    23:4 Lord, father and God of my life (23:4)
   A: Who. B: Lord, father.

[23]Foul language  (Si23:7-15)
  A(23:7-11)  Swearing
  A'(23:12-15)  Coarse and foul language
   A: Problems about language.

[24]Concerning sexual sins  (Si23:16-28)
  A(23:16-21)  Man of adultery
  A'(23:22-28)  Woman of adultery
   A: Adultery.

[25]Praise of wisdom  (Si24:1-34)
  A(24:1-7)  24:1 Wisdom speaks her own praises, in the midst of her people she glories in herself.(24:1)
    B(24:8-18)    24:13 I have grown tall as a cedar on Lebanon, as a cypress on Mount Hermon;(24:13)
      C(24:19-22)      24:19 Approach me, you who desire me, and take your fill of my fruits (24:19)
    B'(24:23-27)    24:25 This is what makes wisdom brim over like the Pishon, like the Tigris in the season of fruit,(24:25)
  A'(24:28-34)  24:29 for her thoughts are wider than the sea, and her designs more profound than the abyss.(24:29)
   A: Wisdom. B: Metaphor. C: Fruits.

[26]Good wife and evil wife  (Si25:1-27:3)
  A(25:1-6)  25:2 the poor swollen with pride, the rich who is a liar (25:2)
    B(25:7-26:4)    Wife
    B'(26:5-27)    Wife
  A'(26:28-27:3)  27:1 Many have sinned for the sake of profit, one who hopes to be rich must turn a blind eye (27:1)
   A: Evils of riches. B: Wife.

[27]Revelation of a secret  (Si27:4-21)
  A(27:4-10)  27:4 In a shaken sieve the rubbish is left behind, so too the defects of a person appear in speech.(27:4)
    B(27:11-15)    27:11 The conversation of the devout is wisdom at all times, but the fool is as changeable as the moon.(27:11)
  A'(27:16-21)  27:16 A betrayer of secrets forfeits all trust and will never find the kind of friend he wants.(27:16)
   A: Words clarify. B: Words of the devout and words of the fool.

[28]Hypocrisy  (Si27:22-28:7)
  A(27:22-24)  27:22 Someone with a sly wink is plotting mischief, no one can dissuade him from it.(27:22)
    B(27:25-28:1)    27:25 Whoever throws a stone in the air, throws it on to his own head; a treacherous blow cuts both ways.(27:25)
  A'(28:2-7)  28:2 Pardon your neighbour any wrongs done to you, and when you pray, your sins will be forgiven.(28:2)
   A: Evild of neighbirs. B: Suffering the consequences.

[29]Backbiting  (Si28:8-26)
  A(28:8-12)  28:8 Avoid quarrelling and you will sin less; for the hot-tempered provokes quarrels,(28:8)
    B(28:13-16)    28:14 That third tongue has shattered the peace of many and driven them from nation to nation; it has pulled down fortified cities, and overthrown the houses of the great.(28:14)
    B'(28:17-23)    28:17 A stroke of the whip raises a weal, but a stroke of the tongue breaks bones (28:17)
  A'(28:24-26)  28:26 Take care you take no false step through it, in case you fall a prey to him who lies in wait.(28:26)
   A: Silence. B: Attack by words.

[30]Aid of neighbors  (Si29:1-28)
  A(29:1-13)  To borrow a money
    B(29:14-20)    Surety
  A'(29:21-28)  To borrow a house
   A: To borrow. B: Surety.

[31]Upbringing of a child  (Si30:1-13)
  A(30:1-6)  30:1 Whoever loves his son will beat him frequently so that in after years the son may be his comfort.(30:1)
  A'(30:7-13)  30:7 Whoever coddles his son will bandage his wounds, his heart will turn over at every cry.(30:7)
   A: Upbringing of a child.

[32]Health and wealth  (Si30:14-31:11)
  A(30:14-20)  30:15 Health and strength are better than any gold, a robust body than untold wealth.(30:15)
    B(30:21-25)    30:21 Do not abandon yourself to sorrow, do not torment yourself with brooding.(30:21)
  A'(31:1-11)  31:1 The sleeplessness brought by wealth makes a person lose weight, the worry it causes drives away sleep.(31:1)
   A: Wealth and health. B: Sorrow.

[33]Table etiquette  (Si31:12-32:13)
  A1(31:12-24)  Manner of eating
  A2(31:25-31)  Manner of drinking
  A3(32:1-13)  Manner of speaking
   Manner at a feast

[34]Torah  (Si32:14-33:6)
  A(32:14-18)  To fear the Lord
    B(32:19-22)    32:19 Never act without reflection, and you will not regret your actions.(32:19)
  A'(32:23-33:3)  To fear the Lord
    B'(33:4-6)    33:4 Prepare what you have to say and you will get a hearing, marshal your information before you answer.(33:4)
   A: To fear the Lord. B: Preparation.

[35]Believer and sinner  (Si33:7-33)
  A(33:7-15)  Discrimination in the creation
    B(33:16-19)    33:19 Listen to me, important public figures, presidents of the assembly, give ear! (33:19)
  A'(33:20-33)  Discrimination in human relationship
   A: Discrimination. B: Listen to me.

[36]Dreams and experiences  (Si34:1-12)
  A(34:1-7)  34:1 Vain and deceptive hopes are for the foolish, and dreams lend wings to fools.(34:1)
    B(34:8)    34:8 Fulfilling the Law requires no such falsehood, and wisdom is perfected in veracity.(34:8)
  A'(34:9-12)  34:9 A much travelled man knows many things, and a man of great experience will talk sound sense.(34:9)
   A: Fantasy and experience. B: The Law and wisdom.

[37]Offerings  (Si34:13-35:24)
  A(34:13-17*)  34:13 the spirit of those who fear the Lord can survive (34:13)
    B(34:18-26*)    34:18 The sacrifice of an offering unjustly acquired is a mockery; the gifts of the impious are unacceptable. (34:18)
      C(35:1-3*)      35:1 One who keeps the Law multiplies offerings; one who follows the commandments offers communion sacrifices.(35:1)
    B'(35:4-12*)    35:7 Honour the Lord with generosity, do not stint the first-fruits you bring (35:7)
  A'(35:13-24*)  35:16 Whoever wholeheartedly serves God will be accepted, his petitions will carry to the clouds. (35:16)
   A: A person who fears the Lord. B: Sacrifices. C: To keep the Law.

[38]A Prayer for God's people  (Si36:1-17)
  A(36:1-5*)  36:1 Take pity on us, Master, Lord of the universe, look at us, spread fear of yourself throughout all other nations.(36:1)
    B(36:6*)    36:6 Rouse your fury, pour out your rage, destroy the opponent, annihilate the enemy.(36:6)
      C(36:7*)      36:7 Hasten the day, remember the oath, and let people tell of your mighty deeds. (36:7)
    B'(36:8-11*)    36:8 Let fiery wrath swallow up the survivor, and destruction overtake those who oppress your people.(36:8)
  A'(36:10-17*)  36:11 Take pity, Lord, on the people called by your name (36:11)
   A: Mercy. B: Punishment. C: Hasten the day.

[39]Concerning Advice  (Si36:18-37:12)
  A(36:18-27*)  36:24 The man who takes a wife has the makings of a fortune (36:24)
    B(37:1-6)    Friend
    B'(37:7-9)    Adviser
  A'(37:10-12)  37:11 Do not consult a woman about her rival (37:11)
   A: Wife. B: Ally.

[40]Investigation of oneself  (Si37:13-31)
  A(37:13-18)  37:16 Reason should be the basis for every activity, reflection must come before any undertaking (37:16)
    B(37:19-21)    37:19 One kind of person is clever at teaching others, yet is no good whatever to himself;(37:19)
    B'(37:22-26)    37:22 Another considers himself wise and proclaims his intellectual conclusions as certainties.(37:22)
  A'(37:27-31)  37:27 During your life, my child, see what suits your constitution, do not give it what you find disagrees with it;(37:27)
   A: Contemplation. B: Oneself.

[41]Doctor  (Si38:1-23)
  A(38:1-8)  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)
    B(38:9-11)    38:9 My child, when you are ill, do not rebel, but pray to the Lord and he will heal you.(38:9)
  A'(38:12-15)  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)
    B'(38:16-23)    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)
   A: Doctor. B: Calling to a child.

[42]Scholar  (Si38:24-39:11)
  A(38:24-34)  Craftsman
  A'(39:1-11)  Scholar
   A: Occupations.

[43]The works of the LORD  (Si39:12-35)
  A(39:12-16a)  39:12 And here are some more of my reflections: yes, I am as full as the moon at the full!(39:12)
    B(39:16b-23)    39:16 You must not say, 'What is this? Why is that?' (39:16)
    B'(39:24-31)    39:25 Good things were created from the beginning for good people, as bad ones were for sinners (39:25)
  A'(39:32-35)  39:32 That is why I was determined from the outset, why I have pondered and why I have written,(39:32)
   A: Reflaction. B: The reason of Creation.

[44]Hardships of life  (Si40:1-17)
  A(40:1-7)  40:1 till the day they return to the mother of them all.(40:1)
    B(40:8-10)    40:10 These things were all created for the wicked, and the Flood came because of them.(40:10)
  A'(40:11-17)  40:11 All that comes from the earth returns to the earth, and what comes from the water returns to the sea.(40:11)
   A: To return. B: Disasters.

[45]Concerning death  (Si40:18-41:13)
  A(40:18-30)  40:27 Fear of the Lord is a paradise of blessing (40:27)
    B(41:1-4)    41:3 Do not dread death's sentence; remember those who came before you and those who will come after.(41:3)
  A'(41:5-13)  41:8 A bad outlook for you, godless people (41:8)
   A: Faith and unbelief. B: Death.

[46]Concerning Shame  (Si41:14-42:14)
  A(41:14-16)  41:16 for not every kind of shame is right to harbour (41:16)
    B(41:17-42:1a)    41:17 Be ashamed, before father and mother, of depraved behaviour (41:17)
  A'(42:1b-8)  42:1 The following things you should not be ashamed of (42:1)
    B'(42:9-14)    42:11 Keep a close watch on your daughter, lest she make you the sport of your enemies, A byword in the city, a reproach among the people, an object of derision in public gatherings. (42:11)
   A: Not to be ashamed. B: To be ashamed.

[47]Creation of all things  (Si42:15-43:33)
  A(42:15-25)  42:15 Next, I shall remind you of the works of the Lord, and tell of what I have seen. By the words of the Lord his works come into being and all creation obeys his will.(42:15)
    B(43:1-26)    Creatures
  A'(43:27-33)  43:27 We could say much more and still fall short (43:27)
   A: To speak about the works of the Lord. B: Creatures.

[48]Ancestors  (Si44:1-50:26)
  A(44:1-15)  44:1 Next let us praise illustrious men, our ancestors in their successive generations.(44:1)
    B(44:16-49:13)    The righteous people
      C(49:14-16)      49:14 No one else has ever been created on earth to equal Enoch, for he was taken up from earth.(49:14)
    B'(50:1-21)    High Priest Simon
  A'(50:22-26)  50:22 And now bless the God of all things, the doer of great deeds everywhere, who has exalted our days from the womb and has acted mercifully towards us.(50:22)
   A: Praise. B: The righteous people. C: Excellent person.

[49]Conclusion  (Si50:27-29)

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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