Sirach, CHAPTER 45
PRAISE OF MOSES, AARON, AND PHINEHAS
From him came the man
who would win the favor of all the living:
Dear to God and human beings,
MOSES, whose memory is a blessing.
God made him like the angels in honor,
and strengthened him with fearful powers.
At his words God performed signs
and sustained him in the king’s presence.
He gave him the commandments for his people,
and revealed to him his glory.
Because of his trustworthiness and meekness
God selected him from all flesh;
He let him hear his voice,
and led him into the cloud,
Where he handed over the commandments,
the law of life and understanding,
That he might teach his precepts to Jacob,
his judgments and decrees to Israel.
He also raised up, like Moses in holiness,
his brother AARON, of the tribe of Levi.
He made his office perpetual
and bestowed on him priesthood for his people;
He established him in honor
and crowned him with lofty majesty.
He clothed him in splendid garments,
and adorned him with glorious vestments:
Breeches, tunic, and robe
with pomegranates at the hem
And a rustle of bells round about,
whose pleasing sound at each step
Would make him heard within the sanctuary,
a reminder for the people;
The sacred vestments of gold, violet,
and crimson, worked with embroidery;
The breastpiece for decision, the ephod and cincture
with scarlet yarn, the work of the weaver;
Precious stones with seal engravings
in golden settings, the work of the jeweler,
To commemorate in incised letters
each of the tribes of Israel;
On his turban a diadem of gold,
its plate engraved with the sacred inscription―
Majestic, glorious, renowned for splendor,
a delight to the eyes, supremely beautiful.
Before him, no one had been adorned with these,
nor may they ever be worn by any other
Except his sons and them alone,
generation after generation, for all time.
His grain offering is wholly burnt
as an established offering twice each day;
For Moses ordained him
and anointed him with the holy oil,
In a lasting covenant with him and his family,
as permanent as the heavens,
That he should serve God in the priesthood
and bless the people in his name.
He chose him from all the living
to sacrifice burnt offerings and choice portions,
To burn incense, sweet odor as a memorial,
and to atone for the people of Israel.
He gave to him the laws,
and authority to prescribe and to judge:
To teach precepts to the people,
and judgments to the Israelites.
Strangers rose in anger against him,
grew jealous of him in the desert―
The followers of Dathan and Abiram,
and the band of Korah in their defiance.
When the LORD saw this he became angry,
and destroyed them in his burning wrath.
He brought against them a marvel,
and consumed them in flaming fire.
Then he increased the glory of Aaron
and bestowed upon him his inheritance:
The sacred offerings he allotted to him,
with the showbread as his portion;
The oblations of the LORD are his food,
a gift to him and his descendants.
But he holds no land among the people
nor shares with them their heritage;
For the LORD himself is his portion and inheritance
among the Israelites.
PHINEHAS too, the son of Eleazar,
was the courageous third of his line
When, zealous for the God of all,
he met the crisis of his people
And, at the prompting of his noble heart,
atoned for the children of Israel.
Therefore, on him also God conferred the right,
in a covenant of friendship, to provide for the sanctuary,
So that he and his descendants
should possess the high priesthood forever.
For even his covenant with David,
the son of Jesse of the tribe of Judah,
Was an individual heritage through one son alone;
but the heritage of Aaron is for all his descendants.
So now bless the LORD
who has crowned you with glory!
May he grant you wisdom of heart
to govern his people in justice,
Lest the benefits you confer should be forgotten,
or your authority, throughout all time.