High Priest Simon

1 Simon, Onias' son, was a great high priest. During his life, he repaired the house and, in his time, strengthened the temple's defenses.
2 He made the foundation for the courtyard wall, a high fortification for the temple enclosure.
3 In his time, he dug out a storage basin for water, a reservoir with a circumference like a lake's.
4 He gave forethought to keeping his people from disaster, and he strengthened the city against sieges.
5 How glorious he was as the people thronged around him when he came out from behind the curtain and left the temple!
6 Like a morning star in the midst of a cloud, like the full moon at the time of a feast,
7 like the sun shining on the temple of the Most High, like a rainbow gleaming in glorious clouds,
8 like a rose blossom in springtime, like lilies by streams of water, like a fresh shoot of the incense tree in the summertime,
9 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, 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 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. 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.

Epilogue

25 My spirit takes offense at two nations, and the third is not even a nation:
26 those who settled on Samaria's hills, 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. 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.