Sirach 30:18

Ben Sira, Ecclesiasticus

16 There is no wealth better than health of body, and no gladness above joy of heart. 17 Death is better than a life of misery, and eternal sleep than chronic sickness. 18 Good things poured out upon a mouth that is closed are like offerings of food placed upon a grave. 19 Of what use to an idol is a sacrifice? For it can neither eat nor smell. So is the one punished by the Lord; 20 he sees with his eyes and groans as a eunuch groans when embracing a girl.

Tobit 4:17


15 And what you hate, do not do to anyone. Do not drink wine to excess or let drunkenness go with you on your way. 16 Give some of your food to the hungry, and some of your clothing to the naked. Give all your surplus as alms, and do not let your eye begrudge your giving of alms. 17 Place your bread on the grave of the righteous, but give none to sinners. 18 Seek advice from every wise person and do not despise any useful counsel. 19 At all times bless the Lord God, and ask him that your ways may be made straight and that all your paths and plans may prosper. For none of the nations has understanding, but the Lord himself will give them good counsel; but if he chooses otherwise, he casts down to deepest Hades. So now, my child, remember these commandments, and do not let them be erased from your heart.

 Notes and References

"... many translations hide the meaning of the phrase. It is clear that a grave offering is meant in the manner that Hellenistic Greeks practiced. In Greek Hellenistic burial practice on the third day after the funeral, food offerings were left at the grave, and again on the ninth day, which was commonly the end of the mourning period. See Kurtz (1971). Ben Sirach 30:18 implies that this was also a Hebrew custom, ‘Dainties set before one who cannot eat are like food offerings placed before a tomb.” See also Deuteronomy 26:14 and Psalm 106:28. We know that offerings of food for the dead were regularly made by the Egyptians. Given the general practices of the time, it seems clear that Tobit is referring to a custom that must have existed among the Hebrews of the time ..."

Littman, Robert J. Tobit: The Book of Tobit in Codex Sinaiticus (p. 93) Brill, 2008

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