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The Meanings of "Life" in the Hebrew of Ben Sira


The present note offers further examples where the Hebrew word חיים seems to indicate "maintenance," "livelihood," "manner of living," and "what sustains life." Many dictionaries list this definition of the word, but they usually cite just one passage in which the word has this meaning. The additional examples I provide derive mainly from the Wisdom of Ben Sira and suggest that this nuance to the word was common at least at the time when Ben Sira's work was composed, ca. 180 B.C.E.