Obedience not revolution (Isa 1:19-1:20)

“‘If you are willing,

If you are obedient,

You shall eat

The goods of the land.

But if you refuse,

If you rebel,

You shall be devoured

By the sword.’

The mouth of Yahweh

Has spoken.”

This oracle of Yahweh was clear, since the mouth of Yahweh had spoken to Isaiah. Obedience meant the good life. Rebellion meant death. Forgiveness could be achieved by being obedient, instead of being rebellious. You had to be willing and obedient to enjoy the good foods of the land. However, if you refused and rebelled, you would fall by the sword.

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The teacher of wisdom (Sir 51:31-51:36)

“Draw near to me!

You!

Who are uneducated!

Lodge in the home of instruction!

Why do you say

That you are lacking in these things?

Why do you endure such great thirst?

I opened my mouth.

I said.

Acquire wisdom for yourselves

Without money.

Put your neck under her yoke.

Let your souls receive instruction.

It is to be found close by.

See with your own eyes.

I have labored but little.

I found for myself much serenity.

Hear but a little of my instruction!

You will acquire silver.

You will gain much gold.”

Now this author or Sirach assumes a teaching mode. He wants the uneducated to come to his house of instruction. If you admit that you are lacking something, then maybe you can learn a thing or two. You have to thirst for knowledge in order to drink from the fountain of knowledge. He wanted them to acquire knowledge without any charges. However, they would have to put their neck under the yoke of wisdom in order to receive this instruction. You can see how much serenity Sirach has achieved. If you listen to a little of his instruction, you will make a lot of money by acquiring silver and gold.

The old foolish king (Eccl 4:13-4:16)

“‘Better is a poor

But wise youth

Than an old

But foolish king,

Who will no longer take advice.’

One can indeed

Come out of prison

To reign,

Even though born poor

In the kingdom.

I saw all the living

That move about

Under the sun.

Follow that youth

Who replaced the king.

There was no end

To all those people

Whom he led.

Yet those who come later

Will not rejoice in him.

Surely this also is vanity.

This is chasing after wind.”

It is better to get rid of an old foolish king who will not take advice. A poor wise young person can be a king, even if he comes out of prison. Qoheleth has seen everything under the sun. He wants you to follow the new young king, who replaced the old king. People will follow him even though they might not rejoice later. After all, this is all vanity and futile. Finding the perfect king is like chasing after wind, never to be achieved.

David wants his enemies put to shame (Ps 35:25-35:26)

“Do not let them say to themselves.

‘Aha, we have our heart’s desire.’

Do not let them say.

‘We have swallowed you up.’

Let all those who rejoice at my calamity

Be put to shame and confusion!

Let those who exalt themselves against me

Be clothed with shame and dishonor!”

David wanted his enemies not to be able to say that they had achieved their heart’s desire. He did not want them to be able to say that they had swallowed up David. Instead, he wanted those who rejoiced at his hardships to be put to shame and confusion. He wanted all those who put him down to be clothed with shame and dishonor. David wanted his enemies shamed.