Simon Son of Onias 50 1The greatest of his brothers and the pride of his people[J] was the High Priest Simon son of Onias, who repaired the Temple 2and laid the foundation for the high double wall and the fortifications of the Temple.[K] 3The reservoir, as big as the bronze tank, was dug[L] while he was in office. 4He made plans to protect his people from attack and fortified the city so that it could withstand a siege. 5How glorious he was when he came out of the Most Holy Place![M] 6He was like the morning star shining through the clouds, like the full moon, 7like the sun shining on the Temple of the Most High, like the rainbow gleaming in glory against the clouds, 8like roses in springtime, like lilies beside a stream, like the cedars of Lebanon in summer, 9like burning incense, like a cup made of hammered gold and decorated with all kinds of jewels, 10like an olive tree loaded with fruit, like a cypress tree towering into the clouds. 11When Simon put on his magnificent robe and went up to the holy altar dressed in perfect splendor, he made the Temple courtyard a majestic sight. 12When the priests handed him the portions of the sacrifice as he stood beside the altar with his assistants circling him like a wreath, he was like a young cedar of Lebanon surrounded by palm trees. 13Those were the descendants of Aaron in their splendid garments, standing before the whole assembly of Israel, holding in their hands the offering made to the Lord. 14When he had finished the service at the altar and had arranged the sacrifice to the Most High, the Almighty, 15he reached for a cup and poured out sweet-smelling wine at the foot of the altar as an offering to the Most High, the universal King. 16Then the priests shouted and blew their trumpets of hammered silver. They made a loud noise that the Most High would hear. 17All the people immediately bowed down with their faces to the ground to worship their Lord, the Almighty, the Most High. 18Then the choir began to sing his praises, and the beautiful music rang out. 19The people kept praying to the merciful Lord Most High until the service of worship had come to a close. 20 Then Simon came down from the altar, raised his hands over the whole assembly of Israel, and reverently pronounced the blessing from the Lord, 21while the people bowed a second time in worship to receive that blessing from the Most High. A Benediction 22Now then, give praise to the God of the universe, who has done great things everywhere, who brings us up[N] from the time we are born, and deals with us mercifully. 23May he give us happiness and allow us to have peace in Israel forever. 24May he continue his mercy to us and rescue us in our time of need. Three Hated Nations 25There are two nations that I detest, and a third that does not even deserve to be called a nation. 26These are the Edomites,[O] the inhabitants of the Philistine cities, and the stupid Samaritans. The Wisdom of Jesus Son of Sirach 27I, Jesus son of Sirach Eleazar[P] of Jerusalem, put all my wisdom into writing this book to provide instruction and knowledge for others. 28May God bless everyone who gives attention to these teachings. Whoever takes them to heart will become wise. 29Whoever lives by them will be strong enough for any occasion, because he will be walking in the light of the Lord.
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