December 09, 2002 Copyright © by United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
- 1 The name JOSIAH is like blended incense, made lasting by a skilled perfumer. Precious is his memory, like honey to the taste, like music at a banquet.
- For he grieved over our betrayals, and destroyed the abominable idols.
- He turned to God with his whole heart, and, though times were evil, he practiced virtue.
- Except for David, Hezekiah and Josiah, they all were wicked; They abandoned the Law of the Most High, these kings of Judah, right to the very end.
- So he gave over their power to others, their glory to a foolish foreign nation
- Who burned the holy city and left its streets desolate, As JEREMIAH had foretold;
- for they had treated him badly who even in the womb had been made a prophet, To root out, pull down, and destroy, and then to build and to plant.
- EZEKIEL beheld the vision and described the different creatures of the chariot;
- He also referred to JOB, who always persevered in the right path.
- Then, too, the TWELVE PROPHETS-- may their bones return to life from their resting place!-- Gave new strength to Jacob and saved him by their faith and hope.
- 2 How can we fittingly praise ZERUBBABEL, who was like a signet ring on God's right hand,
- And Jeshua, Jozadak's son? In their time they built the house of God; They erected the holy temple, destined for everlasting glory.
- Extolled be the memory of NEHEMIAH! He rebuilt our ruined walls, Restored our shattered defenses, and set up gates and bars.
- 3 Few on earth have been made the equal of ENOCH, for he was taken up bodily.
- Was ever a man born like JOSEPH? Even his dead body was provided for.
- Glorious, too, were SHEM and SETH and ENOS; but beyond that of any living being was the splendor of ADAM.
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1 [1-10] The author's praise of King Josiah (Sirach 49:1-3), of the prophets Jeremiah and Ezekiel and likewise the minor prophets (Sirach 49:7-10) derives from their spirit of fidelity to the Lord and his law amid the infidelity of kings and people (Sirach 49:4-6, 10).
2 [11-13] Zerubbabel and Jeshua, in rebuilding the temple, and Nehemiah, the governor, in repairing the walls of the Holy City also restored what these constructions signify, namely, religious worship and civil authority as prescribed in the law.
3 [14-16] The patriarchs here mentioned were glorious because of their spirit of religion, i.e., their profound reverence for God and obedience to him. The splendor of Adam, moreover, was due to his direct origin from God.
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