Ecclesiasticus iv.

Notes & Commentary:

Ver. 1. Alms. Greek, “life,” and of what is necessary to support it. Si non pavisti, occidisti. St. Thomas Aquinas (ii. 2. q. xxxii. 5.) quoting the offices of St. Ambrose, though the sentence is not to be found there. (Calmet) — Christians are not master of what is superfluous, no more than those who have the goods of the Church. (St. Chrysostom) (Cornelius a Lapide) — Turn. Greek, “draw not after thee indigent eyes.” (Haydock) — Make not the poor wait long for relief, 2 Corinthians ix. 7., Romans xii 8., and Proverbs viii. 28. (Calmet) — Qui tarde dat, diu noluit. (Seneca, Ben. i. 1.) — Fames et mora bilem in nasum concitant. (Plaut.)

Ver. 5. For….anger, and behind, &c., is not in Greek. (Haydock) — He thrice repeats the same injunction, Exodus xxii. 22. (Calmet) — Deal not cruelly with the poor; for God will revenge their injuries. (Worthington)

Ver. 7. Of the. Greek, “and bow,” &c. (Haydock) — Submission to magistrates is enforced. (Calmet)

Ver. 8. And…owest, is not in Greek. (Haydock) — People in office must attend to all. (Calmet)

Ver. 15. One. Or “sanctuary.” They shall be honoured like priests, Isaias lxi. 6. Birth, rather than merit, gave a title to the Jewish priests; but those who are wise shall minister in a more glorious temple. (Calmet)

Ver. 18. In temptation, &c. The meaning is, that before wisdom will choose any for her favourites, she will try them by leading them through contradictions, afflictions, and temptations, the usual noviceship of the children of God. (Challoner) — Greek, “for sideways or through crooked paths she shall walk with him at first, (19.) she,” &c. (Haydock) — The narrow path leads to heaven, (Matthew vii. 13.) and to virtue. (Hesiod.)

Ver. 21. To him. And explain why she has treated him so roughly.

Ver. 22. Enemy. Greek, “ruin.” This road leads to eternal misery. (Haydock)

Ver. 23. Time. For all things, Ecclesiastes iii. 1. All depends on the proper season.

Ver. 24. Ashamed, to ask for relief, (ver. 25.; Calmet) or to say the truth, as the martyrs have done. This is not in Greek.

Ver. 25. Sin. Thus to refuse asking for what is necessary to support life, would be criminal. — Grace. When we refrain from doing things truly shameful, chap. xli. (Calmet) — To abhor sin is glorious; but to yield to it, through shamefacedness, or not to reprove it, is vicious. (Worthington)

Ver. 27. Fall. Excuse not his faults, (Calmet) lest thou partake in them.

Ver. 28. Hide, &c., is not in the Alexandrian copy, though inserted by Grabe. (Haydock) — Ostentation is blameable; still we must speak in defence of the truth. (Calmet)

Ver. 29. Tongue. Greek, “by speech, wisdom shall be known, and instruction by the word of the tongue.”

Ver. 30. Lie. Greek, “of thy want of information.” Yet Grabe and the Complutensian edition have lie, &c. (Haydock) — Always yield to the truth, (Calmet) and never tell a lie, but speak the truth at proper times. (Worthington)

Ver. 32. River. Useless resistance is to be avoided; and when it is requisite to oppose the demands of the great, we must do it with reserve, ver. 33. (Calmet)

Ver. 33. Strive. Greek, “unto death strive for the truth, and the Lord God will fight for thee.” (Haydock) — The saints were modest, but intrepid. (Calmet) — All must rather lose their lives than act against justice or truth. (Worthington)

Ver. 34. Works. Perform what thou hast promised.

Bible Text & Cross-references:

An exhortation to works of mercy, and to the love of wisdom.

1 Son, *defraud not the poor of alms, and turn not away thy eyes from the poor.

2 Despise not the hungry soul: and provoke not the poor in his want.

3 Afflict not the heart of the needy, and defer not to give to him that is in distress.

4 Reject not the petition of the afflicted: and turn not away thy face from the needy.

5 Turn not away thy eyes from the poor, for fear of anger: and leave not to them that ask of thee to curse thee behind thy back.

6 For the prayer of him that curseth thee in the bitterness of his soul, shall be heard: for he that made him, will hear him.

7 Make thyself affable to the congregation of the poor, and humble thy soul to the ancient, and bow thy head to a great man.

8 Bow down thy ear cheerfully to the poor, and pay what thou owest, and answer him peaceable words with mildness.

9 Deliver him that suffereth wrong out of the hand of the proud: and be not faint-hearted in thy soul.

10 In judging, be merciful to the fatherless, as a father, and as a husband to their mother:

11 And thou shalt be as the obedient son of the most High, and he will have mercy on thee more than a mother.

12 Wisdom inspireth life into her children, and protecteth them that seek after her, and will go before them in the way of justice.

13 And he that loveth her, loveth life: and they that watch for her, shall embrace her sweetness.

14 They that hold her fast, shall inherit life: and whithersoever she entereth, God will give a blessing.

15 They that serve her, shall be servants to the holy one: and God loveth them that love her.

16 He that hearkeneth to her, shall judge nations: and he that looketh upon her, shall remain secure.

17 If he trust to her, he shall inherit her, and his generation shall be in assurance.

18 For she walketh with him in temptation, and at the first she chooseth him.

19 She will bring upon him fear, and dread, and trial: and she will scourge him with the affliction of her discipline, till she try him by her laws, and trust his soul.

20 Then she will strengthen him, and make a straight way to him, and give him joy,

21 And will disclose her secrets to him, and will heap upon him treasures of knowledge, and understanding of justice.

22 But if he go astray, she will forsake him, and deliver him into the hands of his enemy.

23 Son, observe the time, and fly from evil.

24 For thy soul, be not ashamed to say the truth.

25 For there is a shame that bringeth sin, and there is a shame that bringeth glory and grace.

26 Accept no person against thy own person, nor against thy soul a lie.

27 Reverence not thy neighbour in his fall:

28 And refrain not to speak in the time of salvation. Hide not thy wisdom in her beauty.

29 For by the tongue wisdom is discerned: and understanding, and knowledge, and learning by the word of the wise, and steadfastness in the works of justice.

30 In no wise speak against the truth, but be ashamed of the lie of thy ignorance.

31 Be not ashamed to confess thy sins, *but submit not thyself to every man for sin.

32 Resist not against the face of the mighty, and do not strive against the stream of the river.

33 Strive for justice for thy soul, and even unto death fight for justice, and God will overthrow thy enemies for thee.

34 Be not hasty in thy tongue: and slack, and remiss in thy works.

35 Be not as a lion in thy house, terrifying them of thy household, and oppressing them that are under thee.

36 Let not thy hand be stretched out to receive, and shut when thou shouldst give.



1: Tobias iv. 7.

31: Ecclesiasticus vi. 6.