The lambs among the wolves (Lk 10:3-10:3)

“Go your way!

See!

I am sending you out

As lambs

Into the midst

Of wolves.”

 

ὑπάγετε· ἰδοὺ ἀποστέλλω ὑμᾶς ὡς ἄρνας ἐν μέσῳ λύκων.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that they were to go on their way (ὑπάγετε).  He was going to send them out (ἰδοὺ ἀποστέλλω ὑμᾶς) as lambs (ὡς ἄρνας) in the middle of wolves (ἐν μέσῳ λύκων).  There is something similar in Matthew, chapter 10:16, perhaps indicating a Q source.  This was part of the remarks that Jesus gave as the admonitions to his 12 apostles.  Matthew indicated that Jesus was going to send them out like sheep in the middle of wolves.  Luke did not mention as Matthew had that Jesus told them that they had to be as wise, intelligent, shrewd, or sensible as serpents.  At the same time, they had to be as innocent, simple, unsophisticated, sincere, or blameless, as doves.  This was a tall order.  Here there was a simple statement without any explanation.  Are you more like a lamb or a wolf?

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The discipline of wisdom (Sir 6:18-6:22)

“My child!

From your youth,

Choose discipline.

When you have gray hair,

You will still find wisdom.

Come to her like one who plows.

Come to her like one who sows.

Wait for her good harvest.

When you cultivate her,

You will toil but little.

Soon you will eat of her produce.

She seems very harsh to the undisciplined.

Fools cannot remain with her.

She will be like a heavy stone to test them.

They will not delay in casting her aside.

Wisdom is like her name.

She is not really perceived by many.”

Once again, Sirach has a series of admonitions about wisdom. The young people should choose discipline. Even when they have gray hair, they should still seek wisdom. You have to have the discipline to plow and sow in order to get a good harvest of wisdom. You do not have to work too hard to eat of her products. However, this seems very harsh to the undisciplined since fools cannot remain with her. She seems to be a test like a heavy stone to these foolish undisciplined ones. The name of wisdom implies that only a few, not many people, will actually perceive her.

Trust the Lord (Sir 2:1-2:6)

“My child!

When you come to serve the Lord,

Prepare yourself for testing!

Set your heart right!

Be steadfast!

Do not be impetuous

In time of calamity!

Cling to him!

Do not depart!

Thus your last days may be prosperous.

Accept whatever befalls you!

In times of humiliation,

Be patient!

Gold is tested in the fire.

Those found acceptable

Are tested in the furnace of humiliation.

Trust in him.

He will help you

Make your ways straight.

Hope in him!”

Here we have a series of admonitions about trusting God. If you want to serve the Lord, you will be tested. You need a good heart. You need to be steadfast. You cannot be hasty in times of trouble. You must cling to the Lord and not depart from him. Then you will have prosperous last days. Accept whatever happens to you. Be patient in times of humiliation. Just as gold is tested in a fire, so are you tested in the furnace of humiliation. You must trust in the Lord. He will help you. You have to make straight your ways. Hope in God! Keep hope alive!

The prostitute (Prov 23:27-23:28)

“A prostitute is a deep pit.

An adulteress is a narrow well.

She lies in wait like a robber.

She increases the number of the faithless.”

Once again there is a warning about prostitutes and adulteress women who are trying to lure young men. They are like a deep pit or a narrow well. They will rob you since they lay in wait for you. These evil women are the cause of the increase in the number of the faithless. It is never the fault of the men, only the women. There are no admonitions to young women about males attempting to rape them. Perhaps they were more protected in this society.

The thirty sayings (Prov 22:20-22:21)

“Have I not written for you thirty sayings

Of admonition and knowledge?

They are to show you

What is right and true.

Thus you may give a true answer

To those who sent you.”

These 30 sayings have a certain similarity or loose comparison with the Egyptian Instructions of Amenemope with its 30 chapters from around 1300-1075 BCE. They sayings are about admonitions and knowledge. They intend to show you what is right and true. That way, you can answer anyone who sent you. These sayings are more international in tone.

Listen to instruction (Prov 15:31-15:33)

“The ear that heeds wholesome admonitions

Will lodge among the wise.

Those who ignore instruction

Despise themselves.

But those who heed admonitions

Gain understanding.

The fear of Yahweh is instruction in wisdom.

Humility goes before honor.”

Wise people listen to admonitions, while the ignorant ones ignore instruction. They despise themselves. Those who listen to instruction and admonitions gain a better understanding. After all, the fear of God is the true instruction in wisdom. You should choose humility before honors.