The Wisdom of Sirach is a Jewish scriptural book that was never accepted into the Talmud though it was written by a credible Jewish scholar named Joshua Ben Sirach. In the 50 chapter of the book of Sirach, it tells the story of Simon the High Priest of Judah. Simon is also known as Simeon the Just or Simon the Righteous. According to the verses that are contained in Sirach 50, Simon was an outstanding High Priest in Judah. He performed his priestly duties with excellence, and he was greatly revered by the people. He made it a point to care for the citizens of Jerusalem. He appears on the Biblical Timeline during the third century BC.
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Historians aren’t sure about the exact period that Simon was high priest. He could have held this office in 310 to 291 B.C. or 300 to 273 B.C. Onias I was also a high priest of Judah and this man was the father of Simon, or his son Onias II could have been his father as well. Once again, records were obscured, and historians just can’t pinpoint the exact dates that he held the office of high priest or his parentage.
What historians remember the most about Simon, was the excellent life that he lived during his time in service. His service to the Jewish people is revered. Simon was interested in the material and spiritual development of his people. He knew that they needed both aspects to survive and thrive in the world. He made it a point to get the best things for his people and to make sure they had plenty to eat and economic prosperity. He also faithfully kept the people’s hearts and minds focused on God. Simon made sure to maintain the city of Jerusalem and the Temple.
According to historians, Simon was the high priest of Judah when Alexander the Great passed through the city. He greeted the Conqueror and showed him the wonders of Judah. More importantly he introduced Alexander the Great to their god Jehovah. Alexander the Great was able to take a tour of the Temple and learn about God. Alexander wasn’t exactly thrilled by the Jews belief system, but he respected them. Simon even revealed to Alexander the prophecies of Daniel and how some of them pertained to his conquest.
The story of Simon and Alexander the Great adds to the confusion about Simon. It seems as if Simon was around 100 years before the arrival of the Hamsorean Dynasty. According to history, he was also living during this period as well. The reality is that there might have been two priests given the same name and had the same personalities but who lived at different time periods. The contradictions and confusion is probably one of the major reasons as to why the Wisdom of Sirach was never canonized in the Talmud.
The Wisdom of Sirach and history also claims that Simon performed various questionable miracles. These miracles might be true, but they seemed to be highly unlikely and they seemed more focused on bringing glory to Simon rather than to God. Simon, the high priest, was a historical figure, but the events of his life might have been exaggerated.
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