Wisdom and the fear of the Lord (Sir 1:14-1:20)

“To fear the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.

She is created with the faithful in the womb.

She made an eternal foundation among human beings.

Among their descendants

She will abide faithfully.

To fear the Lord is fullness of wisdom.

She inebriates mortals with her fruits.

She fills their whole house with desirable goods.

She fills their storehouses with her produce.

The fear of the Lord is the crown of wisdom.

She makes peace.

She makes perfect health to flourish.

She rained down knowledge.

She rained down discerning comprehension.

She heightened the glory of those who held her fast.

To fear the Lord is the root of wisdom.

Her branches are a long life.”

After explaining the importance of the fear of the Lord, now Sirach makes a clear connection with wisdom. The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom. The faithful have wisdom from their time in the womb. Wisdom is an eternal foundation that abides faithfully. If you fear God, you are full of wisdom since she inebriates mortals with her fruits. The wise will have desirable goods and produce. The fear of God is the crown of wisdom. She makes peace and brings perfect health. Wisdom brings knowledge and comprehension. Glory will come to those who hold fast to wisdom because their fear of God is the root of wisdom with its branches a long life.

 

The fear of the Lord (Sir 1:11-1:13)

“The fear of the Lord is glory.

The fear of the Lord is exultation.

The fear of the Lord is gladness.

The fear of the Lord is a crown of rejoicing.

The fear of the Lord delights the heart.

The fear of the Lord gives gladness.

The fear of the Lord gives joy.

The fear of the Lord gives long life.

Those who fear the Lord will have a happy end.

On the day of their death

They will be blessed.”

The beginning of wisdom is fear of God. Just like in all the other wisdom literature, everything starts with the fear of the Lord. This fear or reverential respect for God brings glory, exultation, and gladness. There will be a crown of rejoicing that delights the heart. They would experience gladness, joy, a long life, and a happy end to life. Those who fear God will be blessed on their death. Clearly there is a hint of an afterlife.

Yahweh blesses David (Ps 21:3-21:7)

“You meet him with rich blessings.

You set a crown of fine gold on his head.

He asked you for life.

You gave it to him.

You gave him length of days forever and ever.

His glory is great through your help.

You bestow on him splendor and majesty.

You bestow on him blessings forever.

You make him glad with the joy of your presence.

The king trusts in Yahweh.

Through the steadfast love of the Most High

He shall not be moved.”

David was blessed by Yahweh so that this seems like a psalm about David rather than from him. Yahweh gave him rich blessings, a crown of fine gold for his head, as well as a long life. He helped David by bestowing on him splendor and majesty with eternal blessings. Yahweh made David glad in his presence because the king trusted Yahweh. The steadfast love of the most high one will not be moved.

Job thought that he was on top of the world (Job 29:18-29:20)

“Then I thought.

‘I shall die in my nest.

I shall multiply my days like the phoenix sand.

My roots spread out to the waters.

The dew was all night on my branches.

My glory was fresh with me.

My bow was ever new in my hand.’

Everything was wonderful for Job. He expected to die in his bed after a long life. His roots had water to make them grow. The nightly dew covered the branches of his trees. His glory was with him. He had a new bow practically every day for his arrows. Why worry? Everything was great.