1It was the High Priest Simon son of Onias who repaired the Temple during his lifetime and in his day fortified the sanctuary. 2He laid the foundations of double depth, the high buttresses of the Temple precincts. 3In his day the pool was excavated, a reservoir as huge as the sea. 4Anxious to save the people from ruin, he fortified the city against siege. 5How splendid he was with the people thronging round him, when he emerged from the curtained shrine, 6like the morning star among the clouds, like the moon at the ful , 7like the sun shining on the Temple of the Most High, like the rainbow gleaming against bril iant clouds, 8like a rose in springtime, like a lily by a spring, like a branch of the incense tree in summer, 9like fire and incense in the censer, like a massive golden vessel encrusted with every kind of preciousstone, 10like an olive tree loaded with fruit, like a cypress soaring to the clouds; 11when he took his ceremonial robe and put on his magnificent ornaments, when he went up to the holyaltar and fil ed the sanctuary precincts with his grandeur; 12when he received the portions from the hands of the priests, himself standing by the altar hearth,crowned with the circle of his brothers, as a cedar of Lebanon is by its foliage, as though surrounded by thetrunks of palm trees. 13When all the sons of Aaron in their glory, with the offerings of the Lord in their hands, stood before thewhole assembly of Israel, 14while he completed the rites at the altars, nobly presenting the offerings to the Almighty, Most High! 15He would reach out his hand to the cup and pour a libation of wine, pouring it at the foot of the altar, afragrance pleasing to the Most High, King of All; 16then the sons of Aaron would shout and blow their metal trumpets, making a mighty sound ring out asa reminder before the Most High; 17and immediately the people al together would fal on their faces to the ground, in adoration of theirLord, the Almighty, God Most High, 18and with the cantors chanting their hymns of praise. Sweet was the melody of al these voices, 19as the people pleaded with the Lord Most High and prayed in the presence of the Merciful, until theservice of the Lord was completed and the ceremony at an end. 20Then he would come down and raise his hands over the whole assembly of the Israelites, to give themthe Lord's blessing from his lips, being privileged to pronounce his name; 21and once again the people would bow low to receive the blessing of the Most High. 22And now bless the God of al things, the doer of great deeds everywhere, who has exalted our daysfrom the womb and has acted merciful y towards us. 23May he grant us cheerful hearts and bring peace in our time, in Israel for ages on ages. 24May his mercy be faithfully with us, may he redeem us in our own times! 25There are two nations that my soul detests, the third is not a nation at al : 26the inhabitants of Mount Seir, the Philistines, and the stupid people living at Shechem. 27Instruction in wisdom and knowledge is what has been written in this book by Jesus son of SiraEleazar of Jerusalem, who has poured a rain of wisdom from his heart. 28Blessed is he who devotes his time to these and grows wise by taking them to heart! 29If he practises them he will be strong enough for anything, since the light of the Lord is his path.
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