should not be ashamed which include actions which are either prudent (vv. 3-8a) or just and faithful (vv. 1b-2).
Three points in the poem are particularly important to notice. The last verse of the introduction admonishes,
Therefore show respect for my words: For it is not good to retain every kind of shame, and not everything is confidently esteemed by everyone. Sirach 41:16
The first section is governed by a single command, "Be ashamed" (aisxunesqe) in verse 17, and is closed with a
sentence stating the consequences of obedience:
Then you will show proper shame (aisxunthroj alhqinwj) and will find favor with every man. Sirach 41:23cd
The second section also opens with a command, this time, "Do not he ashamed (mh aisxunq^j, 42:1),179 which
loosely governs the remainder of the poems The closing lines promise that whoever is obedient to the instruction "will be truly instructed (pepaideumenoj alhqinwj),
and will be approved before all men" (42:8cd).
179 The shift from plural in 41:17 (aisxunesqe) to singular in 42:1 (aisxunq^j) is striking. The introduc- tion is addressed to the plural "my children" (tekna) in 41:14. The Hebrew text reads Mynb together with the
plural verb vfmw in 41:14, but shifts to singular wvb
in 41:17; 42:1 is also singular (wvbt). Perhaps this was not composed at one time but in two (or more) efforts?