High Priest Simon

Simon, Onias’ son, was
a great high priest.[a]
During his life, he repaired the house
and, in his time,
strengthened the temple’s defenses.
He made the foundation
for the courtyard wall,
a high fortification for the
temple enclosure.
In his time, he dug out a storage basin
for water,
a reservoir with a circumference
like a lake’s.
He gave forethought to keeping
his people from disaster,
and he strengthened the city
against sieges.
How glorious he was as the people thronged around him
when he came out from behind
the curtain and left the temple![b]
Like a morning star
in the midst of a cloud,
like the full moon at the time of a feast,
like the sun shining
on the temple of the Most High,
like a rainbow gleaming
in glorious clouds,
like a rose blossom in springtime,
like lilies by streams of water,
like a fresh shoot of the incense tree
in the summertime,
like fire and incense
in an incense burner,
like an object of hammered gold
adorned with all sorts
of precious stones,
10 like an olive tree sprouting fruit,
and like a cypress towering
to the clouds.
11 When he put on his glorious robe
and clothed himself
with perfect splendor,[c]
when he stepped up to the holy altar,
he brought glory to the courts
of the temple.
12 When he received the portions
of the sacrificial animals[d]
from the priests’ hands,
standing beside the altar’s hearth, surrounded by a wreath of brothers,
he was like a new cedar of Lebanon,
and they surrounded him
like palm-tree trunks.
13 All Aaron’s sons were in their glory,
and they held the Lord’s offering
in their hands
in front of the entire assembly
of Israel.
14 When he was finishing his service
at the altar,
after he had arranged an offering
to the Most High, the almighty,
15 he stretched out his hand
for the cup used for drink offerings
and he poured a libation of wine.[e]
He poured it out at the base
of the altar,
a pleasing aroma to the Most High,
the king of all.
16 Then Aaron’s sons cheered;
they blew trumpets
made of hammered metal
and caused a great sound to be heard
as a reminder before the Most High.
17 Then all at once, all the people
put their faces to the ground,
bowing down to worship their Lord,
the almighty, God Most High.
18 The singers, accompanied by harps,
sang praises with their voices;
they made a sweet melody
with a full-bodied sound.
19 The people of the Lord Most High
offered prayers before the merciful one
until the order of the Lord’s service
was completed,
and they finished their
worship duties to him.
20 Then Simon came down
and raised his hands
over the entire assembly
of the Israelites
to give the Lord’s blessing from his lips
and to glorify his name.
21 And they bowed down to worship
a second time,
to receive the blessing
from the Most High.
22 Now bless the God of all
who everywhere does great things,
who raises us up from our birth
and deals mercifully with us.
23 May he give us gladness in our hearts,
and may there be peace in our time,
in Israel as in times past.
24 May he grant us his mercy,
and may he rescue us in our lifetime.[f]


25 My spirit takes offense at two nations,
and the third is not even a nation:
26 those who settled on Samaria’s hills,[g]
the Philistines,
and the foolish people
who dwell in Shechem.
27 Instruction in understanding
and knowledge
were inscribed in this scroll
by Jesus, Sirach’s son and grandson
of Eleazar the Jerusalemite.[h]
He poured forth wisdom from his heart.
28 Favored are those who devote their time
to these things;
when they take them to heart,
they will be wise.
29 Indeed, if they do these things,
they will be up to any task,
because the fear of the Lord
is their path.[i]


  1. Sirach 50:1 Heb Distinguished among his brothers and the glory of his people was the high priest Simon son of Onias.
  2. Sirach 50:5 Heb when he gazed out of the temple
  3. Sirach 50:11 Heb and when he put on splendid clothes
  4. Sirach 50:12 Gk lacks of the sacrificial animals.
  5. Sirach 50:15 LXX blood of the grape
  6. Sirach 50:24 Heb in 50:24 May his kindness to Simon endure, and may he fulfill the covenant of Phineas, so that it won’t be cut off from him or his descendants as long as the heavens last.
  7. Sirach 50:26 Heb the ones settling in Seir
  8. Sirach 50:27 LXX lacks grandson; Heb Jesus, Eleazar’s son and Sirach’s grandson.
  9. Sirach 50:29 LXXb adds and he gave wisdom to the godly. Bless the Lord forever. Amen. Amen.