Sinners will die (Am 9:9-9:10)

“I will command!

I will shake

The house of Israel

Among all the nations,

As one shakes

With a sieve.

But no pebble

Shall fall

To the ground.

All the sinners

Of my people

Shall die

By the sword.

They say.

‘Evil shall not overtake

Or meet us.’”

Yahweh was going to command and shake the house of Israel among all the countries in the world.  He was going to shake them like a sieve.  However, no pebble would fall to the ground.  All the sinners among his people would die by the sword.  Who were these sinners?  These were the ones who said that evil would not overtake or meet them.

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The test of human speech (Sir 27:4-27:7)

“When a sieve is shaken,

The refuse remains.

Thus a person’s faults appear

When he speaks.

The kiln tests

The potter’s vessels.

Thus the test of a person

Is in his conversation.

The fruit discloses

The cultivation of a tree.

Thus a person’s speech

Discloses the cultivation of his mind.

Do not praise anyone

Before he speaks.

This is the way people are tested.”

When cooking, people often use a sieve to only let the good grains go through. So when a sieve is shaken, the refuse remains. In the same way, when a person speaks, their faults appear. Just as a potter’s work is finished or tested in the furnace kiln, so too human conversation is a test. Just as the fruit of a tree reveals how well the tree was cultivated, so too a person’s speech reveals how his or her mind has been cultivated. Thus you should not praise anyone until they have spoken. Human conversation is how we test each other.