Sirach chapter 43

The created realm shouts aloud the glory of God: sky, sun, moon, stars, rainbow, lightning, storm, wind, snow, frost, clouds, dew. He is all in all!

 


 

The Book of Sirach is recognized as Deuterocanonical Scripture by the Greek Orthodox, Russian Orthodox, and Catholic Churches

 


 

THE CREATED REALM REFLECTS GOD’S GLORY

 

VERSE 1. The pride of the height is the firmament in its clearness, The appearance of heaven, in the spectacle of its glory.

This verse is fantastic! Would you consider memorizing it? More great verses to memorize from the Book of Sirach and from the entire Bible.

its clearness. The glory of God is evident. It is clear to those who look.

Wisdom 13:1. For truly all men who had no perception of God were vain by nature, and didn’t gain power to know him who exists from the good things that are seen. They didn’t recognize the architect from his works.

Sirach 43:1. The pride of the height is the firmament in its clearness, The appearance of heaven, in the spectacle of its glory.

Romans 1:20. For the invisible things of him since the creation of the world are clearly seen, being perceived through the things that are made, even his everlasting power and divinity, that they may be without excuse.

the spectacle of its glory. God’s glory is not hidden. Rather, it shines forth. It shines forth for us to behold.

 

VERSE 2. The sun when he appears, bringing tidings as he goes forth, Is a marvelous instrument, the work of the Most High:

This verse is fantastic! Would you consider memorizing it? More great verses to memorize from the Book of Sirach and from the entire Bible.

bringing tidings as he goes forth. The sun is respondent at its rising.

the Most High. This name for God seems to have begun after the people returned from their exile in Babylon.

 

VERSE 3. At his noon he dries up the country, And who shall stand against his burning heat?

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he dries up the country. The sun scorches the earth.

 

VERSE 4. A man blowing a furnace is in works of heat, But the sun three times more, burning up the mountains: Breathing out fiery vapours, And sending forth bright beams, he dims the eyes.

This verse is fantastic! Would you consider memorizing it? More great verses to memorize from the Book of Sirach and from the entire Bible.

burning up the mountains. The sun sets the mountains aflame with its rays. It consumes the land.

Lamentations 3:22-23. It is because of the LORD’s loving kindnesses that we are not consumed, because his compassion doesn’t fail. 23 They are new every morning. Great is your faithfulness.

 

IS THE SUN RIDING A HORSE?

 

VERSE 5. Great is the Lord that made him; And at his word he hastens his course.

This verse is fantastic! Would you consider memorizing it? More great verses to memorize from the Book of Sirach and from the entire Bible.

This verse about the majesty of the sun. However, the Catholic translations seem to say something very different:

NABRE translation. Great indeed is the LORD who made it, at whose orders it urges on its steeds.

EXPLORING FURTHER

1. What is a steed? A steed is a spirited horse being ridden, especially for war. So is the sun riding a horse? And why is that horse being urged on?

2. Other translations. We checked seven more translations. They were all very similar to the WEB translation. None of them mentioned a horse. Here they are: Douay-Rheims, Good News Translation, King James Version with Apocrypha, NRSV, RSV, and RSV Catholic Edition.

3. Had the sun been slowing down? Is God commanding the sun to vary the length of the solar orbit? That does not not fit the generally observed reality. Except for that one instance where Joshua commanded the sun to stop (see Joshua 10:12).

4. The rule of context. The previous verse talks about rays and darts. So we wondered if that ties into the interpretation of steeds. Is the word “steed” being used as a metaphor for the rays of the sun, as they dart their way to the earth?

CLARITY

We believe the word “steed” is being used as a metaphor for the rays of the sun, as they dart their way to the earth. The “fiery darts” of the sunlight in the previous verse are riding on race horses that deliver them to the earth.

The distance from earth to sun is 93 million miles. Light travels at a speed of 186,287 miles per second. It takes the sun’s light 8 minutes to reach the earth. That is a very fast race horse!

 

DOES THE MOON GOVERN THE SEASONS?

 

VERSE 6. The moon also is in all things for her season, For a declaration of times, and a sign of the world.

This verse is fantastic! Would you consider memorizing it? More great verses to memorize from the Book of Sirach and from the entire Bible.

NAB translation. The moon, too, that marks the changing times, governing the seasons, their lasting sign.

The NAB translation seems to suggest that the seasons are governed by the moon. However, we know that is not the case.

It turns out that the moon follows different paths across the sky (from moonrise to moonset) based on the season and on its phase.

We suspect the ancients spent a lot more time looking at the sky and were therefore much more familiar with where the moon would be and when it would be there. So, our guess is that the author of Sirach is indicating that an individual season’s lasting sign is the path that the moon follows across the sky. When the seasons change, the path changes.

Who knew studying the Bible could help you learn (and appreciate) astronomy?

Here is a phrase-by-phrase comparison between the two translations:

WEB TRANSLATION NAB TRANSLATION
The moon also The moon, too
is in all things for her season that marks the changing times
For a declaration of times governing the seasons
and a sign of the world their lasting sign

 

VERSE 7. From the moon is the sign of the feast day; A light that wanes when she is come to the full.

This verse is fantastic! Would you consider memorizing it? More great verses to memorize from the Book of Sirach and from the entire Bible.

 

VERSE 8. The month is called after her name, Increasing wonderfully in her changing; An instrument of the army on high, Shining forth in the firmament of heaven;

This verse is fantastic! Would you consider memorizing it? More great verses to memorize from the Book of Sirach and from the entire Bible.

Increasing wonderfully in her changing. The selection of the word “in” is intriguing. It suggests the moon is wonderful because of the changing. Conversely, if it were the word “is,” it would connote the change itself is wonderful.

“IN” HER CHANGING “IS” HER CHANGING
Increasing wonderfully IN her changing Increasing wonderfully IS her changing
The moon is wonderful, as exemplified by the changing The change itself is what is wonderful, and not the moon

 

HOW THE CREATED REALM REFLECTS GOD’S GLORY

 

VERSE 9. The beauty of heaven, the glory of the stars, An ornament giving light in the highest places of the Lord.

This verse is fantastic! Would you consider memorizing it? More great verses to memorize from the Book of Sirach and from the entire Bible.

 

VERSE 10. At the word of the Holy One they will stand in due order, And they will not faint in their watches.

This verse is fantastic! Would you consider memorizing it? More great verses to memorize from the Book of Sirach and from the entire Bible.

 

VERSE 11. Look upon the rainbow, and praise him that made it; Exceeding beautiful in the brightness thereof.

This verse is fantastic! Would you consider memorizing it? More great verses to memorize from the Book of Sirach and from the entire Bible.

 

VERSE 12. It encircles the heaven round about with a circle of glory; The hands of the Most High have stretched it.

This verse is fantastic! Would you consider memorizing it? More great verses to memorize from the Book of Sirach and from the entire Bible.

 

VERSE 13. By his commandment he makes the snow to fall apace, And sends swiftly the lightnings of his judgement.

This verse is fantastic! Would you consider memorizing it? More great verses to memorize from the Book of Sirach and from the entire Bible.

 

VERSE 14. By reason thereof the treasure-houses are opened; And clouds fly forth as fowls.

This verse is fantastic! Would you consider memorizing it? More great verses to memorize from the Book of Sirach and from the entire Bible.

 

VERSE 15. By his mighty power he makes strong the clouds, And the hailstones are broken small:

This verse is fantastic! Would you consider memorizing it? More great verses to memorize from the Book of Sirach and from the entire Bible.

 

VERSE 16. And at his appearing the mountains will be shaken, And at his will the south wind will blow.

This verse is fantastic! Would you consider memorizing it? More great verses to memorize from the Book of Sirach and from the entire Bible.

 

VERSE 17. The voice of his thunder makes the earth to travail; So does the northern storm and the whirlwind: As birds flying down he sprinkles the snow; And as the lighting of the locust is the falling down thereof:

This verse is fantastic! Would you consider memorizing it? More great verses to memorize from the Book of Sirach and from the entire Bible.

 

VERSE 18. The eye will marvel at the beauty of its whiteness, And the heart will be astonished at the raining of it.

This verse is fantastic! Would you consider memorizing it? More great verses to memorize from the Book of Sirach and from the entire Bible.

 

VERSE 19. The hoar frost also he pours on the earth as salt; And when it is congealed, it is as points of thorns.

This verse is fantastic! Would you consider memorizing it? More great verses to memorize from the Book of Sirach and from the entire Bible.

 

VERSE 20. The cold north wind shall blow, And the ice shall be congealed on the water: It shall lodge upon every gathering together of water, And the water shall put on as it were a breastplate.

This verse is fantastic! Would you consider memorizing it? More great verses to memorize from the Book of Sirach and from the entire Bible.

 

VERSE 21. It shall devour the mountains, and burn up the wilderness, And consume the green herb as fire.

This verse is fantastic! Would you consider memorizing it? More great verses to memorize from the Book of Sirach and from the entire Bible.

 

VERSE 22. A mist coming speedily is the healing of all things; A dew coming after heat shall bring cheerfulness.

This verse is fantastic! Would you consider memorizing it? More great verses to memorize from the Book of Sirach and from the entire Bible.

 

VERSE 23. By his counsel he has stilled the deep, And planted islands therein.

NAB translation. His is the plan that calms the deep, and plants the islands in the sea.

This verse is fantastic! Would you consider memorizing it? More great verses to memorize from the Book of Sirach and from the entire Bible.

God gives the gift of Contemplative Prayer to many people. Through this simplest way of praying, God calms one’s soul and gives it deep inner peace.

 

VERSE 24. They that sail on the sea tell of the danger thereof; And when we hear it with our ears, we marvel.

This verse is fantastic! Would you consider memorizing it? More great verses to memorize from the Book of Sirach and from the entire Bible.

 

VERSE 25. Therein be also those strange and wondrous works, Variety of all that has life, the race of sea-monsters.

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VERSE 26. By reason of him his end has success, And by his word all things consist.

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VERSE 27. We may say many things, yet shall we not attain; And the sum of our words is, He is all.

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Lots of preachers would do well to acknowledge this verse. Instead, they drone on and on.

 

VERSE 28. How shall we have strength to glorify him? For he is himself the great one above all his works.

This verse is fantastic! Would you consider memorizing it? More great verses to memorize from the Book of Sirach and from the entire Bible.

How shall we have strength to glorify him? Many people speak as though they have mastery of God. They talk like they know everything. We’d like to show how preposterous that is.

Let’s pretend for a moment that we can represent the totality of God by a number. This is silly, but play along. Let’s pick the number of one hundred trillion: 100,000,000,000,000.

Compared to that number, the sum total of all that God has revealed to us humans throughout all of our history might be a single digit number, say, 7. To us, the number 7 seems like a lot. And it is.

Now let’s compare the numbers. The entire human knowledge of God is 7. But the totality of God is one hundred trillion. Essentially, we know almost nothing. This is not to trivialize the progressive revelation of God. Rather, its to to give glory to God, by showing how far he is beyond our trivial human comprehension.

he is … above all his works. Some people experience God when they go out into nature. We celebrate that. However, God is so far more than just the creation.

 

VERSE 29. The Lord is terrible and exceedingly great; And marvelous is his power.

This verse is fantastic! Would you consider memorizing it? More great verses to memorize from the Book of Sirach and from the entire Bible.

 

VERSE 30. When you glorify the Lord, exalt him as much as you can; For even yet he will exceed: And when you exalt him, put forth your full strength: Be not weary; for you will never attain.

This verse is fantastic! Would you consider memorizing it? More great verses to memorize from the Book of Sirach and from the entire Bible.

 

VERSE 31. Who has seen him, that he may declare him? And who shall magnify him as he is?

This verse is fantastic! Would you consider memorizing it? More great verses to memorize from the Book of Sirach and from the entire Bible.

Sirach 43:31. Who has seen him, that he may declare him? And who shall magnify him as he is?

Romans 11:33. Oh the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and the knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past tracing out!

1 Corinthians 2:11. For who among men knows the things of a man, except the spirit of the man, which is in him? Even so, no one knows the things of God, except God’s Spirit.

 

VERSE 32. Many things are hidden greater than these; For we have seen but a few of his works.

This verse is fantastic! Would you consider memorizing it? More great verses to memorize from the Book of Sirach and from the entire Bible.

 

VERSE 33. For the Lord made all things; And to the godly gave he wisdom.

This verse is fantastic! Would you consider memorizing it? More great verses to memorize from the Book of Sirach and from the entire Bible.

 


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