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“Put the nations in fear of you”: Ben Sira and the problem of foreign rule

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Chapter Summary

As one who lived in Jerusalem, Ben Sira was, like other residents of the city, able to feel the effects of the constant tension between the Ptolemies and Seleucids on his everyday world. When one examines the regional politics of Ben Sira's time and then reads his comments about foreign nations, kings and Israel's enemies in the light of those events, Ben Sira's attitude about foreign rule over Israel begins to emerge. Ben Sira's comments about the Gentiles/nations appear at several points in his book. This chapter presents a list contains those passages in which Ben Sira talks about the nations or which need to be considered in any discussion of his attitude toward foreign rule. Ben Sira's basic understanding of foreign rule is essentially consistent with the theological outlook found in the deuteronomic history.

Keywords: Ben Sira; Israel; Jerusalem



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