The aim of the sages is to make earthly life strong and happy.
II) which seems to be meant as a commendation of the teaching of the sages in general: their words are said to be like goads (inciting to action) and like nails driven in a building (giving firmness to character); they issue from masters of assemblies,3 heads of academies (but not of the Sanhedrin).
The class of sages to whom we owe the Wisdom Books did not arise till a change had come over the national fortunes and life.
The extant writings of the Jewish sages are contained in the books of Job, Proverbs, Psalms, Ben-Sira, Tobit, Ecclesiastes, Wisdom of Solomon, 4th Maccabees, to which may be added the first chapter of Pirke Aboth (a Talmudic tract giving, probably, pre-Christian material).
Nor do the sages go beyond the old position in their ethical theory: they have no philosophical discussion of the basis of the moral life; their standard of good conduct is existing law and custom; their motive for right-doing is individual eudaemonistic, not the good of society, or loyalty to an ideal of righteousness for its own sake, but advantage for one's self.