forgives his neighbor may confidently pray for forgiveness of his own sins (28:2). The rhetorical questions in Sirach 28:3-5 presuppose the insight that refusal to forgive a neighbor is a sign that one still "bears a grudge," which is prohibited by the second clause of Leviticus 19:18. How can anyone expect forgiveness, healing, mercy, or expiation and violate the clear expression of God's will? Sirach 28:6 undergirds the admonition to forgiveness with the command to remember death, and be true to the commandments (i.e., Lev. 19:18).
The third implication of Leviticus 19:18, appearing already in Sirach 28:2, is the characterization of the neighbor as one who has done "wrong" (adikhma). This
"neighbor" is thus an "enemy" of the "friends and kinfolk" category. When the implications of the commandment to love the neighbor are brought out (ecagw) then it appears that
even the neighbor-enemy cannot be the object of vengeance or grudges, but must be forgiven.163
Sirach's "midrash" of Leviticus 19:18 anticipates Jesus' extension of the law from love of the neighbor to love of the enemy (Matt. 5:44). Sirach reveals that the commandment includes even the neighbor who has caused some
163 An interesting variant in Sir. 28:7 appears in 307 reading exqr& ("enemy") for plhsion ("neighbor"); J. Ziegler, Sapientia lesu Filii Sirach (Gottingen: Vandenhoeck and Runrecht, 1965).