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