Sirach 10:9

Ben Sira, Ecclesiasticus

7 Arrogance is hateful to the Lord and to mortals, and injustice is outrageous to both. 8 Sovereignty passes from nation to nation on account of injustice and insolence and wealth. Nothing is more wicked than one who loves money, for such a person puts his own soul up for sale. 9 How can dust and ashes be proud? Even in life the human body decays. 10 A long illness baffles the physician; the king of today will die tomorrow. 11 For when one is dead he inherits maggots and vermin and worms.

John Chrysostom Homily 29 on Acts


I beseech and entreat you not to think it enough to have invaded the Church, but that you also withdraw hence, having taken somewhat, some medicine, for the curing of your own maladies: and, if not from us, at any rate from the Scriptures, you have the remedies suitable for each. For instance, is any passionate? Let him attend to the Scripture-readings, and he will of a surety find such either in history or exhortation. In exhortation, when it is said, The sway of his fury is his destruction; and, A passionate man is not seemly; and such like: and again, A man full of words shall not prosper; and Christ again, He that is angry with his brother without a cause; and again the Prophet, Be angry, and sin not; and, Cursed be their anger, for it was fierce. And in histories, as when you hear of Pharaoh filled with much wrath, and the Assyrian. Again, is any one taken captive by love of money? Let him hear, that There is not a more wicked thing than a covetous man: for this man sets even his own soul for sale; and how Christ says, You cannot serve God and mammon; and the Apostle, that the love of money is a root of all evils; and the Prophet, If riches flow in, set not your heart upon them; and many other like sayings. And from the histories you hear of Gehazi, Judas, the chief scribes, and that gifts blind the eyes of the wise. Is another proud? Let him hear that God resists the proud; and, Pride is the beginning of sin and, Every one that has a high heart, is impure before the Lord. And in the histories, the devil, and all the rest. In a word, since it is impossible to recount all, let each choose out from the Divine Scriptures the remedies for his own hurts.

 Notes and References

"... The golden age of Greek patristic literature, that is, the fourth and fifth centuries, are no exception as far as the popularity of Sirach. Besides John Chrysostom, nearly all of the most prominent authors of this period cite from Sirach, including, inter alia, Clement of Alexandria, Ambrose, and Augustine. Clement of Alexandria even believed that Sirach had influenced the Greek philosopher Heraclitus (Stromata 2:5). Sirach was also popular with authors such as Tertullian, Origen and Cyprian. Jerome, however, rejected the canonical status of Sirach. The first full commentary on Sirach was only completed in the ninth century by Rabanus Maurus. The citations in John’s homilies are often sporadic proof-texts. But what is interesting is the constant repetition of certain citations, citations that seem to have remained in John’s memory. The homilies on the books of the New Testament come in the guise of a sermonic commentary, with verse-by-verse expositions. But inside these expositions one finds many other citations which were probably quoted from memory and not necessarily from a text. It is therefore problematic to speculate from which text or version a citation originates, since John probably memorized many Sirachic proverbs during his monastic retreat or ministerial period. This obviously does not rule out the possibility that John probably had a written text at his disposal (which he may have read for study and devotion). Some proverbs are cited or alluded to more often than others. The more popular citations, which occur frequently in the homilies, are Sirach 1:22; 5:6; and 18:16-17. Other citations occurring more than once include Sirach 2:4; 3:30; 4:8; 9:9, 13, 15; 10:9, 12-13; 11:3; 13:15; 15:9; 16:3, 12; 18:30; 19:10-11; 21:2; 23:10, 17; 28:3; and 34:23. There are a total of 65 individual verses cited from Sirach in John’s New Testament homilies, only slightly fewer than the 77 verses cited from Proverbs ..."

de Wet, Chris John Chrysostom's Use of the Book of Sirach in his Homilies on the New Testament (pp. 1-6) University of Pretoria, 2010

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