The actions of the enemy (Sir 12:16-12:18)

“An enemy speaks sweetly

With his lips.

But in his heart,

He plans to throw you

Into a pit.

An enemy may weep

With tears in his eyes.

But if he finds an opportunity,

He will never have enough of your blood.

If evil comes upon you,

You will find him there ahead of you.

He will pretend to help.

But he will trip you up.

He will shake his head.

He will clap his hands.

He will whisper much.

He will show his true face.”

Beware of the enemy who speaks sweetly, but is actually planning to throw you into a pit. He may weep in front of you, but he is looking for an opportunity to kill you. If something evil happens to you, he will pretend to help. However, he is actually trying to trip you up. He will shake his head, clap his hands, and whisper much until he shows his true face.

Lessons from divine judgment (Wis 12:19-12:22)

“Through such works,

You have taught your people.

The righteous man must be kind.

You filled your children with good hope.

Because you give repentance for sins.

If you punish with such great care,

If you punish with such great indulgence,

The enemies of your servants,

As well as those deserving of death,

You grant them time to give up their wickedness.

You grant them the opportunity to give up their wickedness.

With what strictness

You have judged your children.

Our ancestors gave oaths.

They gave covenants full of good promises!

While chastening us,

You scourge our enemies

Ten thousand times more.

Thus when we judge,

We may meditate upon your goodness.

When we are judged,

We may expect mercy.”

We have to learn something from the actions of God. We learn that the righteous person (τὸν δίκαιον) must be kind (φιλάνθρωπον), just like God. We need to have hope for repentance (μετάνοιαν) just like our sons or children (τοὺς υἱούς σου), when we punish them with care and indulgence. Our enemies deserve death, but we should grant them an opportunity in a time and place (χρόνους καὶ τόπον) to give up their wickedness, just like our children. Our ancestors gave oaths, promises, and covenants. Thus God punishes us, but he punishes our enemies 10,000 times more. When we judge others, we should remember the goodness of God. When we are judged, we expect mercy (ἔλεος).