Sirach 31:20

Ben Sira, Ecclesiasticus

18 If you are seated among many persons, do not help yourself before they do. 19 How ample a little is for a well-disciplined person! He does not breathe heavily when in bed. 20 Healthy sleep depends on moderate eating; he rises early, and feels fit. The distress of sleeplessness and of nausea and colic are with the glutton. 21 If you are overstuffed with food, get up to vomit, and you will have relief. 22 Listen to me, my child, and do not disregard me, and in the end you will appreciate my words. In everything you do be moderate, and no sickness will overtake you.

John Chrysostom Homily 16 on Acts 1:8


Twofold the war, in the body, and in the soul: twofold the storm: twofold the diseases; not only in this respect, but because they are both incurable, and bring with them great calamities. Not so, frugality: but here is twofold health, twofold the benefits. Sleep of health, we read, is in moderate eating. For everywhere, that which keeps measure is pleasant, that which is beyond measure, ceases to please. For say now: on a little spark put a great pile of fagots, and you will no longer see the fire shining, but much disagreeable smoke. On a very strong and large man lay a burden which exceeds his strength, and you will see him with his burden lying prostrate on the ground. Embark too large a freight in your vessel, and you have ensured a grievous shipwreck.

 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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