Sirach 3:30

Ben Sira, Ecclesiasticus

27 A stubborn mind will be burdened by troubles, and the sinner adds sin to sins. 28 When calamity befalls the proud, there is no healing, for an evil plant has taken root in him. 29 The mind of the intelligent appreciates proverbs, and an attentive ear is the desire of the wise. 30 As water extinguishes a blazing fire, so almsgiving atones for sin. 31 Those who repay favors give thought to the future; when they fall they will find support.

Bava Batra 10a

Babylonian Talmud

It is taught in a baraita that Rabbi Yehuda says: Great is charity in that it advances the redemption, as it is stated: “So said the Lord, uphold justice and do charity, for My salvation is near to come, and My righteousness to be revealed” (Isaiah 56:1). He would say: Ten strong entities were created in the world, one stronger than the other. A mountain is strong, but iron, which is stronger, cleaves it. Iron is strong, but fire melts it. Fire is strong, but water extinguishes it. Water is strong, but clouds bear it. Clouds are strong, but wind disperses them. Wind is strong, but the human body withstands it. The human body is strong, but fear breaks it. Fear is strong, but wine dispels it. Wine is strong, but sleep drives it off. And death is stronger than them all, but charity saves a person from death, as it is written: “And charity delivers from death” (Proverbs 10:2, 11:4).

 Notes and References

"... Given that the concept of atoning almsgiving seems to have emerged in Jewish literature of the Hellenistic period, it might justifiably be asked if those Jewish texts from the Second Temple period that first explicitly advocate for the atoning efficacy of merciful deeds for the needy— namely, Daniel 4:27 (Theodotion); LXX Proverbs 15:27; Tobit 12:8-10; and Sirach 3:30 — do so with reference to the so-called prophetic critique of sacrifice. The short answer, which has already been seen in the examination of these texts, is, No. In none of these documents are cult-critical statements from or allusions to Israel’s prophets or other Scriptures employed in order to advance the notion of atoning almsgiving. Daniel, Proverbs, Tobit, and Sirach all esteem the sacrificial cult and the Jerusalem temple, even if some of these texts do occasionally condemn the inappropriate offering of sacrifices ..."

Downs, David J. Alms: Charity, Reward, and Atonement in Early Christianity (pp. 83-101) Baylor University Press, 2016

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