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That they may not spare me in my errors, and that it may not pass by my sins; in order that my mistakes may not be multiplied, and my sins may not abound; then I will not fall before my adversaries, and my enemy will not rejoice over me.

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    Lord, Father and God of my life, do not give me haughty eyes, and remove from me evil desire.

Let neither gluttony nor lust overcome me, and do not surrender me to a shameless soul. Sirach 22:27-23:6

This prayer is modeled after the individual laments of the Psalter. The interesting thing to notice is that the customary role of the enemies has been usurped by parts and actions of Sirach himself.89 Traditional enemies90 are seen in one verse, but Sirach is confident that if God will only deliver him from himself the external foes will present little danger.

Wisdom and the Lord as Enemies

The Lord assumed an enemy stance in earlier wisdom literature, and also does so in Sirach. For Sirach, however, this divine enmity is neither inscrutable (as it was already for Proverbs), nor criminal and unjust (as for Job), nor productive of the malaise which beset Qoheleth. By

89 Mouth, lips and tongue in 22:27; thoughts, mind, errors and sins in 23:2; mistakes and sins in 23:3; eyes in 23:4; evil desire in 23:5; and gluttony, lust and shameless soul in 23:6.

90

Upenantiwn and exqroj in 23:3.

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