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The mountains also and the foundations of the earth shake with trembling when he looks upon them. And no mind will reflect on this. Who will ponder his ways? Like a tempest which no man can see, so most of his works are concealed. Who will announce his acts of justice? Or who will await them? For the covenant is far off." This is what one devoid of understanding thinks; a senseless and misguided man thinks foolishly. Sirach 16:17-2388

This fool is very orthodox in his praise, but he under- stands God's overwhelming transcendence to mean that someone as unimportant as himself will somehow be overlooked by this mighty sovereign. Or, he is a complete sceptic who merely parodies praise but believes not a word.

88 I. Levi, The Hebrew Text of the Book of Ecclesiasticus (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1904), p. 26, suggests several paral- lels with Hebrew scriptures. The most obvious and convincing is v. 18a (Hebrew, 16a) idou o ouranoj kai o ouranoj tou

ouranou=Mymwh ymwv Mymwh Nh and Deut. 10:14 Mymwh ymwv Mymwh [jyhlx hvhyl] Nh and I Kgs. 8:27 Mymwh ymwv Mymwh hnh, the Greek

text in both passages is a very straightforward translation. The remainder of Levi's suggestions are otherwise more in the nature of reminiscences of this doxology than real parallels. Cf. Sir. 16:19a(17a) with Jonah 2:7 and 19b(17b) with Psalm 104:32 and Nah. 1:5. After Sirach 16:19(17) the Hebrew text differs from the Greek, reading: "Indeed he shall not consider me; and my ways, who will understand? If I sin no eye shall see me, or if I lie in all secret who will know? (What) is the work of righteousness? Who will declare it? And hope of What? For I observe a decree."

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