We all have a general sense of values, to do good, avoid evil, and tell the truth. However, there is a process of moral reasoning. How do we apply this sense of values to concrete situations? An example might be truth in advertising. Quite often there is no outright lie, but rather a shading or emphasis on a certain good side. Our community helps us shape this decision. Your attitude to advertising will be different if you are working in advertising versus working in a consumer advocate group.
“If you are willing,
You can be disciplined.
If you apply yourself.
You will become clever.
If you love to listen,
You will pay attention,
You will become wise.
Stand in the assembly of the elders.
Who is wise?
Attach yourself to such a one.
Be ready to listen to every godly discourse.
Let no wise proverbs escape you.
If you see an intelligent person,
Let your foot wear out his doorstep.
Reflect on the statutes of the Lord.
Meditate at all times on his commandments.
It is he who will give insight to your mind.
Your desire for wisdom will be granted.”
Sirach now gives clear directions on how to be wise. You must go through an apprenticeship, just like a Trump apprentice. However, here it is the wisdom apprentice. If you are willing and disciplined, you can become clever and wise. You have to apply yourself and listen attentively. You should stand in the assembly of the elders. You should attach yourself to an intelligent person who has a godly discourse and wise proverbs. You should rise early. Go wear out his doorstep with your many visits to this wise man. If you reflect on the statutes of the Lord and meditate on his commandments, you will gain insight. Wisdom will be granted to you after your time of trial.
“The words of the wise
Incline your ear!
Hear my words!
Apply your mind to my teaching.
It will be pleasant,
If you keep them within you.
It will be pleasant,
If all of them are ready on your lips.
Your trust may be in Yahweh.
I have made them known to you today,
Now we suddenly switch backs to the words of the wise, rather than the Proverbs of Solomon. Who then is this wise one or wise ones? Some have speculated that these were the wise friends of Solomon. However, the style is reminiscent of the first few chapters in the prologue. The request is that you incline your ears and hear his words. The use of the singular might mean one individual. Quite frankly, we have to say that we do not know who this wise man is. However, you are asked to apply your mind to his teaching. This will go well, that is pleasant, if you keep his words within you, ready on your lips. Basically you must trust Yahweh. The wise man has made it known to you, explicitly you, today. So listen up!