The International Jewish Christian Bible Week, which is dedicated mainly to the study of the Hebrew Scriptures, includes two sessions called ‘Texts in Dialogue’, usually devoted to reflection by a Jew and a Christian on a New Testament text, or texts from both the Hebrew and Greek Scriptures. In 2017, when the conference text was Proverbs, Mark Solomon and Veronika Bachmann chose, for the first time, to turn to a deuterocanonical book, the Wisdom of Ben Sira, both as an outgrowth of the Biblical Wisdom books, and a bridge between the testaments.
24 Wisdom will praise herself,
and will glory in the midst of her people.
2 In the assembly of the Most High she will open her mouth,
and in the presence of his host she will glory:
3 “I came forth from the mouth of the Most High,
and covered the earth like a mist.
4 I dwelt in high places,
and my throne was in a pillar of cloud.
5 Alone I have made the circuit of the vault of heaven
and have walked in the depths of the abyss.
6 In the waves of the sea, in the whole earth,
and in every people and nation I have gotten a possession.
7 Among all these I sought a resting place;
I sought in whose territory I might lodge.
8 Then the Creator of all things gave me a commandment,
and the one who created me assigned a place for my tent.
And he said, ‘Make your dwelling in Jacob,
and in Israel receive your inheritance.’
9 From eternity, in the beginning, he created me,
10 In the holy tabernacle I ministered before him,
and so I was established in Zion.
11 In the beloved city likewise he gave me a resting place,
and in Jerusalem was my dominion.
12 So I took root in an honoured people,
in the portion of the Lord, who is their inheritance.
13 I grew tall like a cedar in Lebanon,
and like a cypress on the heights of Hermon.
14 I grew tall like a palm tree in Engedi,
and like rose plants in Jericho;
like a beautiful olive tree in the field,
and like a plane tree I grew tall.
15 Like cassia and camel's thorn I gave forth the aroma of spices,
and like choice myrrh I spread a pleasant odour,
like galbanum, onycha, and stacte,
and like the fragrance of frankincense in the tabernacle.
16 Like a terebinth I spread out my branches,
and my branches are glorious and graceful.
17 Like a vine I caused loveliness to bud,
and my blossoms became glorious and abundant fruit.
19 “Come to me, you who desire me,
and eat your fill of my produce.
20 For the remembrance of me is sweeter than honey,
and my inheritance sweeter than the honeycomb.
21 Those who eat me will hunger for more,
and those who drink me will thirst for more.
22 Whoever obeys me will not be put to shame,
and those who work with my help will not sin.”
23 All this is the book of the covenant of the Most High God,
the law which Moses commanded us
as an inheritance for the congregations of Jacob.
25 It fills men with wisdom, like the Pishon,
and like the Tigris at the time of the first fruits.
26 It makes them full of understanding,
like the Euphrates, and like the Jordan at harvest time.
27 It makes instruction shine forth like light,
like the Gihon at the time of vintage.
28 Just as the first man did not know her perfectly,
29 for her thought is more abundant than the sea,
and her counsel deeper than the great abyss.
30 I went forth like a canal from a river
and like a water channel into a garden.
31 I said, “I will water my orchard
and drench my garden plot”;
and lo, my canal became a river,
and my river became a sea.
32 I will again make instruction shine forth like the dawn,
and I will make it shine afar;
33 I will again pour out teaching like prophecy,
and leave it to all future generations.
34 Observe that I have not labored for myself alone,