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Jesus ben Sira, Ben Sira, was the author of the deuterocanonical book Sirach. Ben Sirah, a Jew who had been living in Jerusalemmarker, may have authored the work in Alexandriamarker, Egyptmarker circa 180175 BC, where he is thought to have established a school.

His name

The author's name may have been Shimon (Simon), son of Yeshua (Jesus/Joshua), son of Eleazar, son of Sira.[624548]

In the Greek text, the author is called "Jesus the son of Sirach of Jerusalem." (l.27) "Jesus" is the Anglicized form of the Greek name Ιησους, the equivalent of Hebrew Yeshua` and older Masoretic Hebrew Yehoshua`.

The copy owned by Saadia Gaon, the prominent rabbi, Jewish philosopher, and exegete of the 10th Century CE, had the reading "Shim`on, son of Yeshua`, son of El`azar ben Sira"; and a similar reading occurs in the Hebrew manuscript B.M.Z. Segal, in his commentary on Ben Sira, concluded that long form with Shim`on should be accepted as original and suggested that the common naming of the book "Ben Sira" is because so many people were named Shim`on at the end of the Second Temple, people often used the 'family' name without Shim`on.

The surname Sira may mean 'thorn' [Hebrew (Ecclesiastes 7:6, Hosea 2:6)], 'white of the eye' [Mishnaic Hebrew], or 'boat' [Hebrew, according to one reading of Amos 4:2]. Sira could also be an Aramaized form of a family name ha-qots "the thorn" (Ezra 2:51). The Greek form, Sirach, adds the letter chi similar to Hakel-dama-ch in Acts 1:19.

His life

According to the Greek version, though not according to the Syriac, the author traveled extensively (xxxiv. 11) and was frequently in danger of death (ib. verse 12). In the hymn of chapter li. he speaks of the perils of all sorts from which God had delivered him, although this is probably only a poetic theme in imitation of the Psalms. The calumnies to which he was exposed in the presence of a certain king, supposed to be one of the Ptolemaic dynasty, are mentioned only in the Greek version, being ignored both in the Syriac and in the Hebrew text. The only fact known with certainty, drawn from the text itself, is that Ben Sira was a scholar, and a scribe thoroughly versed in the Law, and especially in the "Books of Wisdom."


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