Ecclesiasticus iii.

Notes & Commentary:

Ver. 1. Love. The progeny of God’s children brings forth the fruits of obedience and love. (Worthington) — Wisdom teaches every virtue. (Calmet) — This verse is not in Greek.

Ver. 3. Seeking. Greek, “and hath confirmed the judgment,” &c. (Haydock) — God will revenge any disrespect shewn to parents. (Menochius)

Ver. 7. Father. Greek, “Lord….mother (8.) and will serve them,” &c. (Haydock) — Though you may feed your parents, you are still much in their debt. (St. Ambrose in Luke ii., and xviii.; Exodus xx. 12., and Job iv. 3.)

Ver. 9. Father. Greek adds, “and thy mother.” (Calmet) — Grabe marks this in another character, and substitutes “them” for him, ver. 10. — And his, &c., is wholly omitted. (Haydock)

Ver. 11. Foundations. St. Augustine (City of God xxii. 8.) gives a memorable instance. The pagans deemed such curses most terrible. (Orpheus) (Genesis ix. 25.) — They are executed upon the wicked.

Ver. 12. Thee. Boast not of thy superior talents, nor say any thing disrespectful.

Ver. 13. A father. Greek, “mother.” Alexander [the Great] was ashamed of having Philip for his father, pretending that he was the son of Jupiter Ammon. His mother Olympias, with much ingenuity, wrote to him, that he would thus make Juno her powerful rival!

Ver. 15. Fail. Bis pueri senes. They do not lose the character of fathers, how infirm soever, (Calmet) and those can never truly serve the invisible Deity, who despise their fathers, his visible images on the earth. (Philo; Decal.)

Ver. 16. Sin. Or ill-nature. Greek, “instead of sins, (17.) a house shall be built up for thee.” (Haydock) — Thy family shall increase, Exodus i. 21. (Calmet) — Alms, prayer, and sacrifice for parents merit reward. (Worthington)

Ver. 18. Of. Greek, “Like a blasphemer is,” &c. (Calmet) — He who reviles his father, meditates blasphemy against the Deity. (Menander)

Ver. 19. Meekness. Here a new subject begins. Goodness begets love. (St. Ambrose, Off. ii. 7.)

Ver. 20. Greater. The dignity of a person should be the measure of his humility, (St. Ambrose, de virg. 31.) as the most elevated are the most exposed to pride. Humility is taught only by true wisdom and the gospel, Matthew xi. 29. Philosophy may inspire us with the contempt of riches, &c. (Calmet) — Yet humility is the most indispensable duty, and no less essential than delivery to an orator. (St. Augustine, ep. 118. ad Diosc.) — All human greatness comes from God, who requires us to shew our gratitude by humility. (Worthington)

Ver. 22. In, &c. The mysterious nature of God and providence, cannot be comprehended: and in many things we must confess our ignorance. Life is often spent in idle researches.

Ver. 26. Suspicion. Greek Complutensian, “their vain suspicion hath deceived many and their wicked thought has ruined their judgment. Not having the apples of the eye, thou wilt be deprived of light; and being ignorant, do not speak.” The latter sentence is marked by Grabe as wanting in his copy, as it is in the Vatican, if we may believe the London edition, (Haydock) which, however, is not an exact copy, no more than any of the other editions, of that famous manuscript. (Grabe)

Ver. 27. Heart. Which fears neither God nor man. (St. Bernard, cons. 1.) — Those who have not shewn mercy, can expect none. (Haydock) — The impenitent see their folly, like Antiochus, when it is too late. (Calmet) — They have loved the danger, which shall overtake them, Proverbs i. 26. He seems to refute those who believed in fate, and would take no precautions. (Calmet) — Those who live in sin, tempting God to the last hour, generally perish. (Worthington)

Ver. 29. Wicked. Greek, “hard,” obdurate in sin, like Pharao, Romans ii. 5. (Haydock) — Sorrows. Or crimes, as the word often implies, and the punishment thereof. (Calmet) — “Sin, by its own weight, leads to another, (St. Gregory, Mor. xxv. 12.) and while custom is not resisted, a necessity arises.” (St. Augustine, Confessions viii. 5.)

Ver. 30. Congregation. The proud or obstinate sinner will take no advice, Proverbs xviii. 3. (Calmet)

Ver. 31. Understand. Greek, “shall devise a parable, and the ear of the hearer is the desire of a wise man.” (Haydock)

Ver. 33. Water, &c. He delights to instruct the attentive. (Calmet) — Resist. Greek, “shall expiate, or obtain pardon for sins,” Daniel iv. 24., and Luke xi. 41. “Alms-deeds are a sort of baptism, which may be often repeated” to advantage. (St. Ambrose, or. Max.) — “When we bestow any thing, it is not of our own, but the gift of Christ. We give bread….He, the poor, renders us the kingdom of heaven.” (St. Jerome in Psalm cxxxiii.) God becomes our debtor. (St. Chrysostom, hom. liii., and lviii.) — Our inheritance is secured. (St. Cyprian, de Op.) — But then charity and repentance must accompany our alms. (St. Augustine, City of God 21. ultra.[last chapter])

Bible Text & Cross-references:

Lessons concerning the honour of parents, and humility, and avoiding curiosity.

1 The sons of wisdom are the church of the just: and their generation, obedience and love.

2 Children, hear the judgment of your father, and so do that you may be saved.

3 For God hath made the father honourable to the children: and seeking the judgment of the mothers, hath confirmed it upon the children.

4 He that loveth God, shall obtain pardon for his sins by prayer, and shall refrain himself from them, and shall be heard in the prayer of days.

5 And he that honoureth his mother, is as one that layeth up a treasure.

6 He that honoureth his father, shall have joy in his own children, and in the day of his prayer he shall be heard.

7 He that honoureth his father, shall enjoy a long life: and he that obeyeth the father, shall be a comfort to his mother.

8 He that feareth the Lord, honoureth his parents, and will serve them as his masters that brought him into the world.

9 *Honour thy father in work and word, and all patience,

10 That a blessing may come upon thee from him, and his blessing may remain in the latter end.

11 *The father’s blessing establisheth the houses of the children: but the mother’s curse rooteth up the foundations.

12 Glory not in the dishonour of thy father: for his shame is no glory to thee.

13 For the glory of a man is from the honour of his father, and a father without honour is the disgrace of the son.

14 Son, support the old age of thy father, and grieve him not in his life:

15 And if his understanding fail, have patience with him, and despise him not when thou art in thy strength: for the relieving of the father shall not be forgotten.

16 For good shall be repaid to thee for the sin of thy mother.

17 And in justice thou shalt be built up, and in the day of affliction thou shalt be remembered: and thy sins shall melt away as the ice in the fair warm weather.

18 Of what an evil fame is he that forsaketh his father: and he is cursed of God that angereth his mother.

19 My son, do thy works in meekness, and thou shalt be beloved above the glory of men.

20 *The greater thou art, the more humble thyself in all things, and thou shalt find grace before God:

21 For great is the power of God alone, and he is honoured by the humble.

22 *Seek not the things that are too high for thee, and search not into things above thy ability: but the things that God hath commanded thee, think on them always, and in many of his works be not curious.

23 For it is not necessary for thee to see with thy eyes those things that are hid.

24 In unnecessary matters be not over-curious, and in many of his works thou shalt not be inquisitive.

25 For many things are shewn to thee above the understanding of men.

26 And the suspicion of them hath deceived many, and hath detained their minds in vanity.

27 A hard heart shall fear evil at the last: and he that loveth danger, shall perish in it.

28 A heart that goeth two ways shall not have success, and the perverse of heart shall be scandalized therein.

29 A wicked heart shall be laden with sorrows, and the sinner will add sin to sin.

30 The congregation of the proud shall not be healed: for the plant of wickedness shall take root in them, and it shall not be perceived.

31 The heart of the wise is understood in wisdom, and a good ear will hear wisdom with all desire.

32 A wise heart, and which hath understanding, will abstain from sins, and in the works of justice shall have success.

33 *Water quencheth a flaming fire, and alms resisteth sins:

34 And God provideth for him that sheweth favour: he remembereth him afterwards, and in the time of his fall he shall find a sure stay.



9: Exodus xx. 12.; Deuteronomy v. 16.; Matthew xv. 4.; Mark vii. 10.; Ephesians vi. 2.

11: Genesis xxvii. 27. and xlix. 2.

20: Philippians ii. 3.

22: Proverbs xxv. 27.

33: Daniel iv. 24.