Additions to Esther. These consist of six long paragraphs inserted in the Septuagint version of Esther in several places, and are thought to be the work of an Egyptian Jew writing around 170 B.C. They are designed to provide the book with a more religious tone, and to make it clear that it was for the sake of their piety that the Jews were delivered from the evil designs of the Gentiles related in the canonical book. These additions were put at the end of the book by Jerome when he made his Latin translation because he accepted only the Hebrew text as canonical.
Wisdom of Solomon. Sometimes called simply Wisdom. This book is a collection of theological and devotional essays first written in Greek by an Alexandrian Jew about 100 B.C., but presented in such a way that they seem to be discourses of king Solomon. The author compares Jewish religion with Greek philosophy, and shows faith to be the highest form of wisdom. The book is edifying and worthy of much respect. It has often been quoted by Christian writers in the past.
Ecclesiasticus, originally called The Wisdom of Jesus son of Sirach, or simply Sirach. Written first in Hebrew about 200 B.C. by a wisdom teacher named Joshua Ben Sirach, and translated into Greek by his grandson around 135 B.C. The book consists mainly of proverbs and other wise sayings about common life, strung together in short discourses or organized in topical sections. It also contains longer discourses about religious life and faith, which are well worth reading. It came to be called Ecclesiasticus (the “churchly” book) because in early times it was often read in church services, being the most highly regarded of the apocryphal books. This book should not be confused with the canonical book of Ecclesiastes.
Baruch. A composite book of five chapters, in which there are exhortations against association with idolatry, celebration of the Law as God’s “wisdom,” and encouragements and promises to faithful Jews, collected together and edited probably about 150 B.C. The material is presented as if by Baruch, the disciple of Jeremiah, during the time of the Babylonian exile.
Epistle of Jeremiah. Often printed as chapter 6 of Baruch, this short work purports to be a letter from Jeremiah to the Jews in exile in Babylon, but this is generally regarded as an imposture, or a mere literary device used by an author writing around 200 B.C. It is essentially a short tract against pagan idolatry, and makes much use of ridicule and sarcasm.
Song of the Three Holy Children (including The Prayer of Azariah). An embellishment of the ordeal of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego recorded in the canonical book of Daniel, designed to be added after verse 23 of the third chapter. It consists of prayers and hymns of the sort which might have been offered to God by the three while in the furnace.
The Story of Susanna. A short story about how two lecherous old men tried to compel a beautiful and pious young wife, Susanna, to lie with them, and then publicly accused her of adultery when she refused. At a trial they give false testimony and she is condemned by the council of elders. But Daniel the prophet is divinely inspired to know the facts of the case, and he exposes the two men in a second trial, after which they are put to death. This story was inserted between chapters 12 and 14 in the Septuagint version of Daniel, and at the beginning of the book in Theodotion’s version.