Wisdom of Ben Sira 46

Chapter 46

Joshua and Caleb, Heroes of the Conquest[a]

1 Joshua, son of Nun, was a valiant warrior
and the successor of Moses in the prophetic office,
destined to become, as his name implies,[b]
the great savior of God’s chosen people,
to wreak vengeance on the enemies who attacked them
and thus bring Israel into its inheritance.
2 How glorious he was when with uplifted hands
he brandished his sword against cities!
3 Who could withstand him
when he fought the battles of the Lord?
4 Was it not through him that the sun stood still
so that one day was lengthened into two?
5 He called upon the Most High God
when his enemies pressed him on every side,
and the great Lord answered him
with hailstones of mighty power.
6 He overwhelmed that hostile nation in battle
and destroyed his assailants as they fled down the slope,
so that all the nations might know his power
and that he was fighting before the Lord.
For he was a devoted follower of God,
7 in the lifetime of Moses proving his loyalty.
Joshua and Caleb, son of Jephunneh,
stood their ground against the rebellious assembly,
restrained the people from sin,[c]
and silenced their wicked grumbling.
8 As a result, out of the six hundred thousand infantry,
these two alone were spared
to lead the people into their inheritance,
a land flowing with milk and honey.
9 And the strength that the Lord gave to Caleb
remained with him even in his old age;
thus, he was able to invade the hill country
and win possession of it for an inheritance,
10 so that every Israelite might see
how good it is to follow the Lord.

The Judges, Defenders of an Oppressed Israel

11 The Judges too, every one of them by name,
whose hearts did not succumb to idolatry
and who did not turn their backs on the Lord
may their memory be blessed.
12 May their bones send forth new life from the grave,
and may the names of those illustrious men
live again in their children.

Samuel, a Prophet for the People[d]

13 Honored among his people and beloved by his Creator,
pledged in a vow from his mother’s womb,
and consecrated to the Lord in the prophetic office
was Samuel, the judge who offered sacrifice.
At God’s word, he established the monarchy
and anointed rulers of his people.
14 He judged the community according to the law of the Lord,
and the Lord watched over the people of Jacob.
15 By his faithfulness he was proved to be a prophet,
and his words substantiated his trustworthy role as a seer.
16 When his enemies pressed him on every side,
he called upon the Lord, the Mighty One,
offering him a suckling lamb.
17 Then the Lord thundered from heaven,
and made his voice heard with a mighty roar.
18 He routed the leaders of the enemy
and all the rulers of the Philistines.
19 When the time drew near for his eternal sleep,
Samuel bore witness to the Lord and his anointed:
“I have never taken from anyone any property,
not even a pair of shoes.”
And no one could contradict his statement.
20 Even after he had fallen asleep, he prophesied once again,
warning the king of his approaching death.
He raised his voice in prophecy from the depths of the earth
to put an end to the wickedness of the people.


  1. Wisdom of Ben Sira 46:1 The names of Joshua and Caleb are synonymous with bravery and trust in the word of God.
  2. Wisdom of Ben Sira 46:1 As his name implies: in Hebrew, Joshua means “God is savior.”
  3. Wisdom of Ben Sira 46:7 Restrained the people from sin: some early MSS read: “averted God’s wrath from the people.”
  4. Wisdom of Ben Sira 46:13 Hero of the holy war (1 Sam 7) before becoming the founder of the royalty and anointing the first two kings of Israel, Samuel remains a great figure. He was the conscience of the fallen monarch Saul (1 Sam 13:10-14; 28:12-19), and he remains the man of God calling out constantly for integrity.

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