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Master Ben Sira taught us at the beginning of his book about the most important spiritual gifts of the old testament, the gifts of wisdom and the fear of God, because these gifts are what link us with God, that is, with a heart of flesh towards the love of God (Agape), and not with a heart of stone that is an enemy of God: "You must be blameless before the LORD your God" Deuteronomy 18:13. Without these spiritual gifts, the law of Moses is simply a dead letter.
When we talk about wisdom we have to keep in mind that wisdom participates in both intelligence and science. Wisdom as science is the knowledge of the correct means to live, but we also say that the sage possesses wisdom in his heart; the gift of wisdom is the love for the truth and the virtue. The gift of fear of the Lord is constancy, firmness, devotion, equanimity and stability.
These gifts are a blessing for those who possess them, the fear of God prolongs the life of man, makes us docile and submissive to the word of God, and is the generator of a very important internal state of well-being, well-being that is transmitted in acts of mercy (compassion, kindness) towards others, that is why the Master of Wisdom told us about the fear of God:
"The fear of the LORD is glory and exultation,
gladness and a festive crown.
The fear of the Lord rejoices the heart,
giving gladness, joy, and long life" Ben Sira 1:11-12.
But then Ben Sira said something else, the man who fears God does not experience the fear of death, this is what is known in the Christian faith as the final perseverance of the saints, examples of this spiritual teaching were Abraham, David and Solomon who departed from this life knowing that they were acting according to God's plan:
"Those who fear the Lord will be happy at the end,
even on the day of death they will be blessed" Ben Sira 1:13.
And with these gifts also comes, as the Bible explains, the prosperity of the human spirit in all its forms, wisdom provides man with everything necessary to live:
"The fullness of wisdom is to fear the Lord;
she inebriates them with her fruits.
Their entire house she fills with choice foods,
their granaries with her produce" Ben Sira 1:16-17.
Wisdom and the fear of God are gifts that come one with the other and that lead us into true spiritual life, the eternal life, that is, the vision of God with the intelligence (God is pure spirit). Whoever seeks these gifts in his heart unfailingly seeks the best.

The book of Ecclesiastes teaches us with simple advice that wisdom consists in always being attentive to small details, to small things that often go unnoticed by ordinary people, many times small mistakes can make the difference and cause big failures: "As dead flies give perfume a bad smell, so a little folly outweighs wisdom and honor" Ecclesiastes 10:1.
Many times perfectionists are seen as people obsessed with their work, but this is not the case; wisdom is precision and accuracy, wisdom is assertiveness. Like that fly that ruins perfume, an old English poem teaches us that a kingdom was lost for a nail. The problem of progressivity means that many times we cannot calculate the consequences of our actions: "For they sow the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind." Hosea 8:7.
And an example of how a little foolishness can ruin a lot of wisdom, was what happened to King Solomon, who had great wisdom and understanding, and with his government his nation, Israel, achieved the greatest achievements in their entire history, but as the Bible relates, he made the mistake, a small mistake compared to his entire career as King, of having many wifes and concubines who, being pagans, twisted his heart and brought the worship of other gods to the promised land: "As Solomon grew old, his wives turned his heart after other gods, and his heart was not fully devoted to the LORD his God, as the heart of David his father had been" 1 Kings 11:4.
Because of a weakness, this King behaved almost like as a person who does not understand reasons: "He followed Astoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, and Molek the detestable god of the Ammonites. So Solomon did evil in the eyes of the LORD" 1 Kings 11:5-6. And this sin brought with it that God turned his back on his successor in the Kingdom, Rehoboam, and thus the definitive division between the kingdoms of Israel and Judah was produced.
The Bible then recommends us with its wisdom, to be attentive to the small to reach the great.

Tobit, in the book that bears his name, was a righteous man who feared God, an Israelite deported by the Assyrians, and like Job, he was put on a test by the Lord: "Now, after I had been deported to the Assyrians and came as captive to Nineveh" Tobit:1:10.
Tobit suffered persecution and led a difficult life due to oppression in Assyria; and when he thought that he had little time to live due to a blindness he had, he called his son Tobiah and gave him a series of wise advices as a farewell and told him: "Seek counsel from every wise person, and do not think lightly of any useful advice" Tobit 4:18.
These tips from Tobit have a similarity to the teachings of the book of Ecclesiastes, Wisdom, and Proverbs. In a few words, what Tobit advised his son is that he has to seek and live with those people who have reached spiritual perfection, that is, the wise men. Because as the saying goes: "Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm" Proverbs 13:20.
Wisdom is not a thing for idiots, madmen, or fools; wisdom is elusive and does not allow itself to be easily trapped, its advices are valuable, it illuminates the mind, heals the soul, and cares for and prolongs life. And about the wisdom Tobit told us: "For no other nations possesses good counsel, but it is the Lord who gives all good things" Tobit 4:19. In other words, wisdom always comes from above and it is God who provides it. Tobit as a good father taught his beloved son that understanding these things with the heart is what makes a person rich before God: "You will have great wealth, if you fear God, avoid all sin, and do what is good before the Lord your God" Tobit 4:21.
Life is full of difficulties and especially unforeseen events, being good is no guarantee that bad things will not happen to you, but he who trusts in the Lord knows that sooner or later he will be blessed, and it is for this certainty that Tobit left his teachings to his son: "For the LORD watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked leads to destruction" Psalm 1:6.

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    The latest version of the tractate in spanish retired from Editorial Dunken on July 11, 2014

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