The dead tyrant (Isa 14:4-14:8)

“How the oppressor has ceased!

How the insolence has ceased!

Yahweh has broken the staff of the wicked.

He has broken the scepter of rulers

That had struck down the peoples in wrath.

With unceasing blows,

This staff ruled the nations in anger.

It had ruled with unrelenting persecution.

The whole earth is at rest.

The whole earth is quiet.

They break forth into singing.

The cypresses exult over you.

The cedars of Lebanon say.

‘Since you were laid low,

No one comes to cut us down.’”

Yahweh has brought about the death of the tyrant who oppressed people with insolence. The staff of this wicked ruler has been broken. While he was in power, this wicked king had struck down people with many blows. He had ruled in anger and persecuted people. Now the whole world is at rest and quiet. They will break into singing. The cypress and cedar trees are happy also, since there will be no cutting wood for more building of huge palaces.

Do not mourn excessively (Sir 38:18-38:23)

“Grief may result in death.

A sorrowful heart

Saps one’s strength.

When a person is taken away,

Sorrow is over.

But the life of the poor

Weighs down the heart.

Do not give your heart

To sorrow!

Drive it away!

Remember your own end.

Do not forget!

There is no coming back.

You do the dead no good.

You injure yourself.

Remember his fate.

Yours is like it.

Yesterday it was his.

Today it is yours.

Me yesterday!

You today!

When the dead is at rest,

Let his remembrance rest also.

Be comforted for him

When his spirit has departed.”

Sirach did not want a long mourning period because grief could lead to the death of the person grieving. A sad heart can sap your strength. When the person was buried, the period of sorrow should end despite the fact that your heart is still heavy. Drive away sorrow and grief. Remember you own life. There is no coming back from the grave. You can’t do anything for the dead. You may injure yourself. Your fate will be the same as his. He was here yesterday and gone today. Your fate may be the same, here today and gone tomorrow. When the dead are at rest, let their remembrance die with them. Their spirit has departed, since we have the Greek idea of body and spirit.