Wisdom shall praise herself, and shall glory in the midst of her people. In the congregation of the most High shall she open her mouth, and triumph before his power. I came out of the mouth of the most High, and covered the earth as a cloud. I dwelt in high places, and my throne is in a cloudy pillar. I alone compassed the circuit of heaven, and walked in the bottom of the deep. In the waves of the sea and in all the earth, and in every people and nation, I got a possession. With all these I sought rest: and in whose inheritance shall I abide? So the Creator of all things gave me a commandment, and he that made me caused my tabernacle to rest, and said, Let thy dwelling be in Jacob, and thine inheritance in Israel. He created me from the beginning before the world, and I shall never fail. In the holy tabernacle I served before him; and so was I established in Sion. Likewise in the beloved city he gave me rest, and in Jerusalem was my power. And I took root in an honourable people, even in the portion of the Lord’s inheritance.
(Sir 24:1-12 KJVA)
One of the first things that must be stated is that in Greek, the word sophia is feminine gender; therefore in many translations, all pronouns are translated in the feminine. We can understand this as a primitive way of expressing the economy, as the (not so) lesser Emanation from the One Source. Or, we may dismiss the gender in the translation and simply replace ‘she’ with ‘it’.
Just as in Baruch, Sirach speaks prophetically of the Incarnation of our great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ. Here, instead of the Logos of John, we see the Sophia of the Deuterocanon. Here, as a Word would be described, we see Wisdom coming out of the mouth of the Most High God.
and covered the earth as a cloud
She is pictured here as the creating Force, the channel by which Creation took place. Here also is a remembrance of Genesis 1.2,
The earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the Spirit of God was moving over the face of the waters.
(Gen 1:2 RSVA)
The earth was covered with water until the great continents separated it and formed the Land. If we compare Sirach with Genesis, we see that the writer sees Wisdom as the same attribute as the Spirit of God.
Creator of all things gave me a commandment, and he that made me caused my tabernacle to rest, and said, Let thy dwelling be in Jacob, and thine inheritance in Israel.
Instantly is seen a prophecy of the Incarnation when the Word tabernacled with man. In John 1:14, the same word, σκηνόω, is used to describe the Incarnation (Latin, in the flesh) We see here the command, the moment in time when the generation of the Son, or the Emanation of the Word as the Economy of God, took place. Here, God the Father – meaning Creator, as the Apostles and Apologists understood it – sent forth His Wisdom as a Word from the mouth of the Most Hight, to tabernacle with Man, in the flesh.
Likewise in the beloved city he gave me rest, and in Jerusalem was my power.
Here we are reminded of the awful hour of the Cross of our Lord Christ, the moment when in Jerusalem, separated by days from the adoration of the people who shouts ‘Hosanna!’. We also see the prophecy of the power of God that fell up the Church during the Jewish celebration of Pentecost.
And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost. Now when the centurion saw what was done, he glorified God, saying, Certainly this was a righteous man.
(Luk 23:46-47 KJVA)
And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.
(Luk 24:49 KJVA)
And I took root in an honourable people, even in the portion of the Lord’s inheritance.
We are often reminded that the Incarnation did not end well to the mortal eye, but upon the Resurrection of our Lord, the teachings and sayings, His Spirit, His Church, took firm hold in the hearts and and minds of the Apostles.