E.D. Reymond, «Sirach 40,18-27 as ‘T@o=b-Spruch’», Vol. 82 (2001) 84-92
Although the series of comparisons that make up Sirach 40,18-27 are often characterized as ‘better-than’ proverbs or t@o=b-Sprüche, they do not convey a generic idea of degree, but rather express the superiority of items in the specific context of verbs’ semantic fields. This construction emphasizes the tangible benefit of the ‘superior’ elements, a nuance that the more typical t@o=b-Sprüche would not express. In addition, Ben Sira describes each superior item as unambiguously virtuous, implying a connection between righteous behavior and a joyous, satisfying and successful life.
but even more so10, finding11 [treasure12].
19 Child and [city insure] a legacy (lit. will establish a name),
but even more so, finding13 [wisdom].
[Flocks and vineyards allow] a family14 [to flourish],
[but even more so, a devoted wife.]
20 [Wine and strong drink bring joy to the heart (lit. cause the heart to rejoice),]
[but even more so, the love of friends.]
21 [Flute and harp sweeten the song,]
[but even more so, a pure tongue.]
22 [Beauty and (good) form delight the eye15,]
[but even more so, the field’s produce.]
23 [Friend and neighbor16 at (the proper) time17 behave themselves18,]
[but even more so, a prudent wife.]
24 [Brother and helper19 proffer aid20 (in) time(s) of distress,]
[but even more so, righteousness 21 (that) delivers.]
25 [Gold and silver set one on firm ground (lit.: make the foot stand)22,]
[but even more so, good counsel23.]
26 [Wealth and power gladden24 the heart,]
[but even] more so, [the fear of God.]
[Nothing is absent in the fear of the Lord,]
[and] one need not seek support outside of it (lit.: with it).
18A life of plenty9