The leader of his brethren and the pride of his people was Simon the high priest, son of Onias, who in his life repaired the house, and in his time fortified the temple.
He laid the foundations for the high double walls, the high retaining walls for the temple enclosure.
In his days a cistern for water was quarried out, a reservoir like the sea in circumference.
He considered how to save his people from ruin, and fortified the city to withstand a seige.
How glorious he was when the people gathered round him as he came out of the inner sanctuary!
Like the morning star among the clouds, like the moon when it is full;
like the sun shining upon the temple of the Most High, and like the rainbow gleaming in glorious clouds;
like roses in the days of the first fruits, like lilies by a spring of water, like a green shoot on Lebanon on a summer day;
like fire and incense in the censer, like a vessel of hammered gold adorned with all kinds of precious stones;
like an olive tree putting forth its fruit, and like a cypress towering in the clouds.
When he put on his glorious robe and clothed himself with superb perfection and went up to the holy altar, he made the court of the sanctuary glorious.
And when he received the portions from the hands of the priests, as he stood by the hearth of the altar with a garland of brethren around him, he was like a young cedar on Lebanon; and they surrounded him like the trunks of palm trees,
all the sons of Aaron in their splendor with the Lord's offering in their hands, before the whole congregation of Israel.
Finishing the service at the altars, and arranging the offering to the Most High, the Almighty,
he reached out his hand to the cup and poured a libation of the blood of the grape; he poured it out at the foot of the altar, a pleasing odor to the Most High, the King of all.
Then the sons of Aaron shouted, they sounded the trumpets of hammered work, they made a great noise to be heard for remembrance before the Most High.
Then all the people together made haste and fell to the ground upon their faces to worship their Lord, the Almighty, God Most High.
And the singers praised him with their voices in sweet and full-toned melody.
And the people besought the Lord Most High in prayer before him who is merciful, till the order of worship of the Lord was ended; so they completed his service.
Then Simon came down, and lifted up his hands over the whole congregation of the sons of Israel, to pronounce the blessing of the Lord with his lips, and to glory in his name;
and they bowed down in worship a second time, to receive the blessing from the Most High.
And now bless the God of all, who in every way does great things; who exalts our days from birth, and deals with us according to his mercy.
May he give us gladness of heart, and grant that peace may be in our days in Israel, as in the days of old.
May he entrust to us his mercy! And let him deliver us in our days!
With two nations my soul is vexed, and the third is no nation:
Those who live on Mount Seir, and the Philistines, and the foolish people that dwell in Shechem.
Instruction in understanding and knowledge I have written in this book, Jesus the son of Sirach, son of Eleazar, of Jerusalem, who out of his heart poured forth wisdom.
Blessed is he who concerns himself with these things, and he who lays them to heart will become wise.
For if he does them, he will be strong for all things, for the light of the Lord is his path.
Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright 1952 [2nd edition, 1971] by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. (Revised Standard Version w/ Apocrypha)