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The wicked in the cult. Enemies belonging to the fwr-group do, however, appear in contexts which provide

more help in identifying their social locations. As in the earlier mashal literature of Proverbs, so also in Sirach the wicked are occasionally found within the cult.

If one sacrifices from what has been wrongfully obtained, the offering is blemished; the gifts of the lawless are not acceptable. The Most High is not pleased with the offerings of the ungodly, and he is not propitiated for sins by a multitude of sacrifices. Sirach 31(34):18-19

These are the wicked who obtain their sacrifices from the property of the poor or by shorting an employees wages. The passage goes on to accuse them of murder.202

As with sacrifice, so also with praise: A hymn of praise is not fitting on the lips of a sinner, for it has not been sent from the Lord For a hymn of praise should be uttered in wisdom, and the Lord will prosper it. Sirach 15:9-10

Conversely, the Lord will accept favorably a prayer of the humble; he will deliver him and execute judgment on the unmerciful, the nations, the insolent and the unrighteous.203 Related to these enemies within the cult are those who violate the accepted norms of the wise. These are the

202

Sir. 31(34):20-22.

203

32(35):17-21.

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