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An outline of the Book of Sirach

Written By Franklin V on Wednesday, November 5, 2014 | 6:44 AM

An outline of the Book of Sirach

Ben Sira, the author, was a devout man of wisdom who lived in Jerusalem about 200 BC. The first 43 chapters of the Book provide moral instruction and common sense gained from experience, fitting of Wisdom literature. As with the Book of Job, the author notes the "beginning of wisdom is fear of the Lord." Chapter One on Wisdom, Chapter Six on Friendship and Discipline, and Chapters 25-26 on Wives and Women represent the first section. Chapters 44-50 present a refreshing history of the ancestors, patriarchs, and leaders of Israel. Chapter 51 concludes the Book with a prayer.  


 The Book of Sirach possesses a wealth of varied expressions of wise and foolish behavior reminiscent of the book of Proverbs. Many of its verses have Old Testament antecedents, especially from the book of Proverbs (dozens of related verses) and the Pentateuch, which is comprised of the first five books of the Bible. Portions of Sirach are used today in Catholic Church liturgy.



 1:1-1:30    Praise of Wisdom

 2:1-2:18    Duties toward God

 3:1-3:16    Duties toward Parents
 3:17-3:29   Humility
 3:30-3:31   Alms for the Poor

 4:1-4:10    Duties toward the Poor and the Oppressed
 4:11-4:31   The Rewards of Wisdom

 5:1-6:4     Precepts for Everyday Living

 6:5-6:17    Friendship, False and True
 6:18-6:37   Blessings of Wisdom

 7:1-7:17    Miscellaneous Advice
 7:18-7:36   Relations with Others

 8:1-8:19    Prudence and Common Sense

 9:1-9:9     Advice Concerning Women
 9:10-9:16   Choice of Friends
 9:17-10:5   Concerning Rulers

10:6-10:18   The Sin of Pride
10:19-10:25  Persons Deserving Honour
10:26-10:31  Concerning Humility

11:1-11:6    The Deceptiveness of Appearances
11:7-11:28   Deliberation and Caution
11:29-12:18  Care in Choosing Friends

13:1-14:2    Caution Regarding Associates

14:3-14:19   Responsible Use of Wealth
14:20-15:10  The Happiness of Seeking Wisdom

15:11-15:20  Freedom of Choice

16:1-16:23   God's Punishment of Sinners
16:24-17:24  God's Wisdom Seen in Creation

17:25-17:32  A Call to Repentance

18:1-18:14   The Majesty of God
18:15-18:18  The Right Spirit in Giving Alms
18:19-18:29  The Need of Reflection and Self-Control
18:30-19:3   Self-Control

19:4-19:17   Against Loose Talk
19:20-19:30  True and False Wisdom

20:1-20:8    Silence and Speech
20:9-20:17   Paradoxes
20:18-20:23  Inappropriate Speech
20:24-20:26  Lying
20:27-20:31  Proverbial Sayings

21:1-21:10   Various Sins
21:11-21:28  Wisdom and Foolishness

22:1-22:6    The Idler
22:9-22:18   Wisdom and Folly
22:19-22:26  The Preservation of Friendship
22:27-23:6   A Prayer for Help against Sinning

23:7-23:11   Discipline of the Tongue
23:12-23:15  Foul Language
23:16-23:27  Concerning Sexual Sins

24:1-24:22   The Praise of Wisdom
24:23-24:34  Wisdom and the Law

25:1-25:11   Those Who Are Worthy of Praise
25:13-25:26  Some Extreme Forms of Evil

26:1-26:4    The Joy of a Good Wife
26:5-26:12   The Worst of Evils: A Wicked Wife
26:13-26:27  The Blessing of a Good Wife
26:28        Three Depressing Things
26:29-27:3   The Temptation of Commerce

27:4-27:7    Tests in Life
27:8-27:10   Reward and Retribution
27:11-27:15  Varieties of Speech
27:16-27:21  Betraying Secrets
27:22-27:29  Hypocrisy and Retribution
27:30-28:11  Anger and Vengeance

28:12-28:26  The Evil Tongue

29:1-29:13   On Lending and Borrowing
29:14-29:20  On Guaranteeing Debts
29:21-29:28  Home and Hospitality

30:1-30:17   Concerning Children
30:18-30:25  Concerning Foods

31:1-31:11   Right Attitude towards Riches
31:12-31:24  Table Etiquette
31:25-31:31  Temperance in Drinking Wine

32:1-32:13   Etiquette at a Banquet
32:14-33:6   The Providence of God

33:7-33:19   Differences in Nature and in Humankind
33:20-33:24  The Advantage of Independence
33:25-33:33  The Treatment of Slaves

34:1-34:8    Dreams Mean Nothing
34:9-34:13   Experience as a Teacher
34:14-34:20  Fear the Lord
34:21-34:31  Offering Sacrifices

35:1-35:13   The Law and Sacrifices
35:14-35:26  Divine Justice

36:1-36:22   A Prayer for God's People
36:23-36:31  Concerning Discrimination

37:1-37:6    False Friends
37:7-37:15   Caution in Taking Advice
37:16-37:26  True and False Wisdom
37:27-37:31  Concerning Moderation

38:1-38:15   Concerning Physicians and Health
38:16-38:23  On Mourning for the Dead
38:24-38:34  Trades and Crafts

39:1-39:11   The Activity of the Scribe
39:12-39:35  A Hymn of Praise to God

40:1-40:11   Human Wretchedness
40:12-40:17  Injustice Will Not Prosper
40:18-40:27  The Joys of Life
40:28-40:30  The Disgrace of Begging

41:1-41:4    Concerning Death
41:5-42:8    The Fate of the Wicked

42:9-42:25   The Works of God in Nature

43:1-43:8    The Splendor of the Sun
43:9-43:33   The Glory of the Stars and the Rainbow

44:1-44:15   Hymn in Honour of Our Ancestors
44:16        Enoch
44:17-44:18  Noah
44:19-44:21  Abraham
44:22-44:23  Isaac and Jacob

45:1-45:5    Moses
45:6-45:22   Aaron
45:23-45:26  Phinehas

46:1-46:10   Joshua and Caleb
46:11-46:20  The Judges

47:1-        Nathan
47:2-47:11   David
47:12-47:22  Solomon
47:23-47:25  Rehoboam and Jeroboam

48:1-48:11   Elijah
48:12-48:16  Elisha
48:17-48:22  Hezekiah
48:23-48:25  Isaiah

49:1-49:13   Josiah and Other Worthies
49:14-49:16  Retrospect

50:1-50:21   Simon Son of Onias
50:22-50:24  A Benediction
50:25-50:29  Epilogue

51:1-51:12   Prayer of Jesus Son of Sirach
51:13-51:30  Autobiographical Poem on Wisdom

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