Sirach 3:3

Ben Sira, Ecclesiasticus

1 Listen to me your father, O children; act accordingly, that you may be kept in safety. 2 For the Lord honors a father above his children, and he confirms a mother's right over her children. 3 Those who honor their father atone for sins, 4 and those who respect their mother are like those who lay up treasure. 5 Those who honor their father will have joy in their own children, and when they pray they will be heard.

James 5:20

New Testament

16 So confess your sins to one another and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great effectiveness. 17 Elijah was a human being like us, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain and there was no rain on the land for three years and six months! 18 Then he prayed again, and the sky gave rain and the land sprouted with a harvest. 19 My brothers and sisters, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone turns him back, 20 he should know that the one who turns a sinner back from his wandering path will save that person’s soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.

 Notes and References

"... Since it makes no sense to think James thought believers would never die physically, since it seems unlikely that he is referring in 5:19-20 simply to being healed and saved from physical death, and since life and death in an ultimate sense were the options (Didache 1), it is probable that James sees "save the sinner's soul from death" as referring to eternal death. The Greek text does not say "the sinner's soul" but "his life" and one can conceivably think the "his" is the restorer: that is, by his action of caring for the wanderer the restorer saves his own soul. In fact, there is evidence to support this suggestion, even if it goes against Reforma­tion instincts — something we have seen James do already. God tells Ezekiel that if he does not warn the wicked, both they and he will die; if he warns the wicked, they will not repent but he will save himself (3:16-21; compare 33:9). Dan­iel 4:27 can speak of atoning for sins with deeds of righteousness, and 12:3 can say those who lead many to righteousness will be like the stars. Tobit 4:10 and 12:9 say almsgiving saves one from death (see Sirach 3:30). In fact, Tobit 12:9-10 is so similar to James 5:20 that many think they have to be read together: 'For almsgiving saves from death and purges away every sin. Those who give alms will enjoy a full life, but those who commit sin and do wrong are their own worst enemies.' Sirach 3:3 finds atonement in honoring one's father ... Didache 4:6 approaches the same issue ..."

McKnight, Scot The Letter of James (pp. 457-459) William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2011

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