Job 29:9

Hebrew Bible

7 When I went out to the city gate and secured my seat in the public square, 8 the young men would see me and step aside, and the old men would get up and remain standing; 9 the chief men refrained from talking and covered their mouths with their hands; 10 the voices of the nobles fell silent, and their tongues stuck to the roof of their mouths.

Sirach 13:23

Ben Sira, Ecclesiasticus

22 If the rich person slips, many come to the rescue; he speaks unseemly words, but they justify him. If the humble person slips, they even criticize him; he talks sense, but is not given a hearing. 23 The rich person speaks and all are silent; they extol to the clouds what he says. The poor person speaks and they say, "Who is this fellow?" And should he stumble, they even push him down. 24 Riches are good if they are free from sin; poverty is evil only in the opinion of the ungodly.

 Notes and References

"... Sirach 13:23 declares that when the rich person speaks, “all have been silenced”. Here the sage uses a rare root (“be silent”), occurring in MT as a hapax legomenon; in Deuteronomy 27:9 Moses and the Levitical priests preface their instructions to the people with a call to attention: (“Be silent and hear, O Israel”). In Sirach 13:23, however, the people give their reverent attention, not to Moses’ teaching but to the utterances of an arrogant rich person. Whereas in Job 29:9 the formerly wealthy patriarch had earned a respectful silence from people by his care of the poor (Job 29:12–17), Ben Sira speaks of the awe commanded by the rich person simply by virtue of his powerful economic position ..."

Corley, Jeremy Ben Sira's Teaching on Friendship (pp. 150-151) Brown Judaic Studies 316, 2020

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