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Jesus and Sirach 28:2

By Nissa Annakindt, in Deuterocanonical Books 10 March 2015 · 2,900 views

OT Wisdom (Poetry) Catholic Devotional Gospels Apocrypha
Did Jesus Christ reference Sirach 28:2 in the Sermon on the Mount? Sirach, also called Ecclesiasticus, was written by one Jesus Ben Sirach about two hundred years before Christ. Originally written in Hebrew, it was translated by the author’s grandson into Greek.
It is one of the Deuterocanonical books of the Old Testament— included in the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Old Testament used in the time of Christ, and included in the Christian canon— the official list of books in the Bible, which gave us our New Testament. It was removed from Protestant Bibles after the Reformation.

Here is the quote from Sirach 28:2 in the King James Version:
Forgive thy neighbour the hurt he hath done unto thee, so shall thy sins also be forgiven when thou prayest.

And here is the passage from the Sermon on the Mount that seems to reference it, Matthew 6:12, 14-15, also in the KJV:
And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

It certainly sounds like here Jesus (Christ, not Ben Sirach) was referring to the passage from Sirach just as he referred to other books in the Old Testament. In any case there is no record, either in the Bible or in the writings of the earliest of Church writers, that Jesus ever rejected any of the books of the Septuagint as ‘not really Scripture’. Had He done so, would not that have been passed down by the Apostles to those that they taught, until someone wrote that down, which would have prevented those books being included in the canon of the Bible?

Prayer: Lord God, heavenly Father, grant us the discernment to understand Scripture— all the books of Scripture You have given us— and let us also understand which ancient books are not Scripture. Let us learn from the words both of Christ and of the ancient writer Jesus Ben Sirach how essential it is for us to forgive others if we hope to have Your forgiveness of our own trespasses. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Bible Memory work: Assuming you have already memorized Matthew 6:12 as part of the Lord's Prayer, Matthew 6:14-15 is a worthy passage to commit to memory. If you have memorized these verses already and accept that the book of Sirach is a part of the Bible, you might memorize that.

May the Lord bless and keep all who read this blog post, and grant them wisdom. Amen.
J + M + J

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