The wisdom of Jesus ben Sira (Sirach) is contained in the book commonly called Ecclesiasticus.
By about the beginning of our era the Jews had given up Hebrew and wrote in Aramaic; the process of expulsion had been going on, doubtless, for some time; but comparison with the later extant literature (Chronicles, the Hebrew Ecclesiasticus or Ben-Sira, Esther) makes it improbable that such Hebrew as that of Koheleth would have been written earlier than the 2nd century B.C. (for details see Driver's Introduction).
So also the coincidences of thought with Ben-Sira (Ecclesiasticus) are not decisive: cf.
In any case, since Ben-Sira belongs to about 180 B.C., the date of' Koheleth, so far as these coincidences indicate it, would not be far from 200 B.C. The contrast made in x.
Scholars were held in honour in those days by princes and people, and Ben-Sira frankly adduces this fact as one of the great advantages of the pursuit of wisdom.
The extant writings of the Jewish sages are contained in the books of Job, Proverbs, Psalms, Ben-Sira, Tobit, Ecclesiastes, Wisdom of Solomon, 4th Maccabees, to which may be added the first chapter of Pirke Aboth (a Talmudic tract giving, probably, pre-Christian material).
S.) But there is absolutely no necessity for supposing that when the grandson of Ben Sira reached Egypt the Psalter had been translated into Greek.
Ben Sira indeed in his list of worthies mentions Zerubbabel, Joshua and Nehemiah; but Zerubbabel and Joshua he must have known from the books of Haggai and Zechariah, and he may well have been acquainted with that document relating to Nehemiah which the Chronicler incorporated with his book.
Of the large number of Apocryphal books existing in Syriac8 the majority have been translated from Greek, one or two (such as Bar Sira or Ecclesiasticus) from Hebrew, while some (like the Doctrine of Addai above referred to) are original Syriac documents.
The contemptuous hatred of Ben Sira, Ecclesiasticus 1.26, and the author of Jubilees xxiv.
The hymn of praise by Ben Sira (Ecclesiasticus xlix.
The whole name is shortened sometimes to "Son of Sira," Ben Sira in Hebrew, Bar Sira in Aramaic, and sometimes (as in the title prefixed in the Greek cod.
Text), the Book (Talmud), the Proverbs (Jerome), or the Wisdom of the son of Sira (or Sirach).
Occasionally, again, Ben Sira touches the highest themes, and speaks of the nature of God: "He is All" (xliii.
In spite, however, of the words just quoted it cannot be said that Ben Sira preaches a hopeful religion.
Even in the beginning of the 2nd century B.C., when Ben Sira praises notable figures of the exilic and post-exilic age (Zerubbabel, Jeshua and Nehemiah), Ezra is passed over (Ecclesiasticus xlix.
Since, however, we find elsewhere one name appearing as both Sirach and Sira (ch = tt), Aceldamach may be another form of an original Aceldama (xn" t Ypr), the " field of blood."
What is certain is that the definite assumption of monogamy is found only in such late books as Ben-Sira (Ecclesiasticus), Tobit and Judith.
The picture of society given in Ben-Sira (ix.