Instructions on shame (Sir 41:14-41:16)

“My children!

Be true to your training!

Be at peace!

What is the value of hidden wisdom?

What is the value of unseen treasure?

Better are those

Who hide their folly,

Than those

Who hide their wisdom.

Therefore show respect for my words!

It is not good

To feel shame

In every circumstance.

Not every kind of abasement

Is to be approved.”

Sirach wants you to respect his words. He wants everyone to be true to their training and at peace. He thought that hidden wisdom and hidden treasures were useless. If there was anything to hide, it should be your folly. Thus it was better to hide folly than wisdom. The same with shame. You should not be ashamed in any circumstances. Not every kind of shaming is approved.

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Enjoy life (Eccl 9:7-9:10)

“‘Go!

Eat your bread

With enjoyment!

Drink your wine

With a merry heart!

God has long ago approved what you do.

Let your garments always be white!

Do not let oil be lacking on your head.

Enjoy life with the wife

Whom you love!’

All the days of your vain life

Are given you

Under the sun.

That is your portion in life.

That is your toil at which you toil

Under the sun.

Whatever your hand finds to do,

Do it with your might.

There is no work in Sheol.

There is no thought in Sheol.

There is no knowledge in Sheol.

There is no wisdom in Sheol.

That is where you are going.”

Qoheleth wants you to enjoy life now. Eat your bread and drink your wine. Enjoy them with a merry heart. God has already approved of what you are doing. Wear white garments with oil in your hair. Enjoy your life with your beloved wife. All the days of your life are in vain. All your work is in vain. Just do the best that you can with all your might. Where you are going, there will be no work, thought, knowledge, or wisdom. You are all headed to Sheol, the shadowy underworld of death.

The good works of Job (Job 29:11-29:17)

“When the ear heard it,

It commended me.

When the eye saw,

It approved.

I delivered the poor who cried.

I helped the orphan who had no helper.

The blessing of the wretched came upon me.

I caused the widow’s heart to sing for joy.

I put on righteousness.

It clothed me.

My justice was like a robe and a turban.

I was eyes to the blind.

I was feet to the lame.

I was a father to the needy.

I championed the cause of the stranger.

I broke the fangs of the unrighteous.

I made them drop their prey from their teeth.”

Job becomes self-righteous as he listed off all his good works. Both ears and eyes approved what he had done. He answered the cry of the poor and the orphan. He blessed the wretched. He brought joy to the widows. He dressed as if he were righteous with a robe and a turban. He was the eyes for the blind and the feet for the lame. He was the father to the needy. He championed the causes of strangers. He made the unrighteous drop their prey. What a great guy! He was almost perfect in all that he did for others.