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