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Sirach's experiences, observations and reflections, however, are shaped by a new factor. He is a man of the book(s), devoted to the study of the scriptures.95 His knowledge of God's enmity, against the wicked and on behalf of the righteous, is grounded in two complexes of Jewish writings: praise and historical narrative.

The Lord has cast down the thrones of rulers and has seated the lowly in their place.96 The Lord has plucked up the roots of the nations, and has planted the humble in their place. The Lord has overthrown the lands of nations, and has destroyed them to the foundations of the earth.'' He has removed some of them and destroyed them, and has extinguished the memory of them from the earth. Sirach 10:14-1798

In an assembly of sinners a fire will be kindled, and in a disobedient nation wrath was kindled. He was not propitiated for the ancient giants who revolted in their might. He did not spare the neighbors of Lot, whom he loathed on account of their insolence.100 99

95

See his own characterization of the sage in Sir.

39:1-11.

96 97 98 Cf. I Sam. 2:7-8. Cf. Psalm 44:2. Note also 36(33):12 which appears to be grounded in the same kind of hymnic tradition as well as the formula

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    tapeinwn kai anuywn (=lypwmv Myrm, Levi, p. 9).

99 100 Cf. Gn. 6:4. Cf. Gn. 19:14; Ezek. 16:49.

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