Personal responsibility (Jer 31:29-31:30)

“In those days,

They shall no longer say.

‘The parents have eaten

Sour grapes.

The children’s teeth

Are set on edge.’

But all shall die

For their own sins.

The teeth of everyone

Who eats sour grapes,

Shall be set on edge.”

Yahweh talks about personal responsibility rather than suffering for the sins of your father or parents. Instead of the parents eating sour grapes with the affect on the teeth of their children, now it will affect the parents’ teeth. Yahweh says that everyone will die for their own sins, not the sins of their ancestors. Sometimes, sinning persons were putting the blame on their ancestors, rather than themselves, for what was happening to them. Thus whoever eats sour grapes would find his own teeth affected, not their children.

The artisans (Sir 38:27-38:30)

“Every master artisan

Labors by night

As well as by day.

Those who cut the signets of seals,

Each is diligent

In making a great variety.

They set their heart

On painting a lifelike image.

They are careful

To finish their work.

The smith sits by the anvil.

He is intent on his iron-work.

The breath of the fire

Melts his flesh.

He struggles

With the heat of the furnace.

The sound of the hammer

Deafens his ears.

His eyes are

On the pattern of the object.

He sets his heart

On finishing his handiwork.

He is careful

To complete its decoration.

The potter sits at his work.

He turns the wheel

With his feet.

He is always deeply concerned

Over his products.

He produces them in quantity.

He moulds the clay with his arm.

He makes it pliable with his feet.

He sets his heart

To finish the glazing,

He takes care

In firing the kiln furnace.”

Sirach then explained in detail about the various skilled artists who work day and night to finish their creative works. First, there were those who made the various colorful painted seals as lifelike as possible. Then there were the blacksmiths who worked in iron with a hammer, anvil, and a hot furnace that affected their hands, ears, and eyes. Finally, there was the potter who made lots of different products. He molded the clay with his hands and feet. He finished it off by glazing it in the kiln furnace. All these artisans worked diligently until they completed their products.