The confession of sins (Dan 9:4-9:6)

“I prayed

To the Lord!

My God!

I made a confession.

I said.

‘O Lord!

Great God!

Awesome God!

You keep the covenant!

You have a steadfast love

With those

Who love you,

With those

Who keep your commandments!

We have sinned!

We have done wrong!

We have acted wickedly!

We have rebelled!

We have turned away

From your commandments,

From your ordinances!

We have not listened

To your servants,

The prophets,

Who spoke

In your name,

To our kings,

To our princes,

To our ancestors,

To all the people

Of the land.’”

Daniel personally prayed to God with this first-person singular confession of sins. However, he quickly reverted to the first-person plural “we” from the singular “I.” God was great and awesome. He had kept his covenant with a steadfast love to those who loved him and kept his commandments. However, they had sinned and done wrong. They had acted wickedly. They had rebelled and turned away from his commandments and ordinances. They had not listened to their prophets, kings, princes, ancestors, or even the people of the land.

Praise for the Divine presence (Sir 43:27-43:33)

“We could say more.

But we could never say enough.

Let the final word be.

‘He is the all.’

Where can we find the strength

To praise him?

He is greater

Than all his works.

Awesome is the Lord.

He is very great.

His power is marvelous.

Glorify the Lord!

Exalt him as much as you can!

He surpasses even that.

When you exalt him,

Summon all your strength.

Do not grow weary!

You cannot praise him enough.

Who has seen him?

Who can describe him?

Who can extol him as he is?

Many things greater

Than these lie hidden.

I have seen

But a few of his works.

The Lord has made all things.

To the godly,

He has given wisdom.”

Sirach assumes the first person plural saying that he or we could say more, but it would never be enough. In fact, Sirach is very close to a pantheistic view when he maintains that the Lord is all things. However, he quickly corrects himself when he says that the Lord is greater than all his works, separating him from his creation. The Lord is awesome, very great, marvelous, and powerful. Where do we get the strength to praise the Lord? We should glorify him and exalt him as much as we can. We should not grow weary because we can never praise God enough. Nobody has seen him or described him. How can we extol him enough? Sirach has related what he has seen, but there are many more hidden things about the Lord, since he is the creator of all things. Luckily, he has given wisdom to the godly, so that they will experience a few of these marvels of the Lord.

Description of the female lover (Song 6:4-6:7)

Male lover

“You are as beautiful as Tirzah.

My love!

You are as comely as Jerusalem.

You are as awesome

As an army with banners.

Turn away your eyes from me.

They disturb me.

Your hair is

Like a flock of goats,

Moving down the slopes of Gilead.

Your teeth are

Like a flock of shorn ewes,

That has come up from the washing.

They all bear twins.

Not one among them is bereaved.

Your cheeks are                               

Like halves of a pomegranate,

Behind your veil.”

Once again we have another poem that is pretty much a repeat of the opening of chapter 4. Here the male lover also proclaims the beauty of his lover. However, he compares her to the two capital cities of Judah and Israel, Tirzah in northern Israel, Jerusalem in southern Judah. In fact, he says that she is awesome like an army with banners. Instead of commending her eyes that were like doves, he wants her to turn her eyes away because they disturb him. He repeats what was in chapter 4 about her hair, teeth, and cheeks. However, he does not repeat what he said earlier in chapter 4 about her lips, mouth, neck, and breasts. Once again he talks about her hair being like a flock of goats coming down the mountain of Gilead. These goats were happy twins, while Gilead was east of the Jordan River. Her teeth were like a flock of young sheep that had just been washed. Her cheeks, although covered with the veil, were like half pomegranates, a fruit that was popular in Babylon.

Hymn of praise to gracious Yahweh (Ps 111:4-111:10)

Het                                                                         

“Yahweh is gracious and merciful.

Tet      

He provides food for those who fear him.

Yod     

He is ever mindful of his covenant.

Kaph  

He has shown his people the power of his works.

Lamed

He gave them the heritage of the nations.

Mem   

The works of his hands are truth and justice.

Nun    

All his precepts are trustworthy.

Samek

They are established forever and ever.

Ain     

They are to be performed with faithfulness and uprightness.

Phe     

He sent redemption to his people.

Cade   

He has commanded his covenant forever.

Qoph  

Holy and awesome is his name!

Resh   

The fear of Yahweh is the beginning of wisdom.

Shin   

All those who practice it have a good understanding.

Tav     

His praise endures forever!”

This short psalm ends by telling Yahweh that he is gracious and merciful. He provides food for those who fear him.  He is ever mindful of his covenant with Israel. He has shown them the power of his works as they are his heritage. His works are true and just. All his precepts are trustworthy as they last forever. They are to be followed with faithfulness and uprightness. He has saved or rescued his people. He has commanded them to follow his covenant forever because he is holy and awesome. This fear of Yahweh is the beginning of wisdom, which is a key element of wisdom literature. Those who follow him will understand this. His praise will last forever.

Yahweh as king (Ps 99:1-99:5)

“Yahweh rules as king.

Let the peoples tremble!

He sits enthroned upon the cherubim.

Let the earth quake!

Yahweh is great in Zion.

He is exalted over all the peoples.

Let them praise your great and awesome name!

Holy is he!

Mighty King!

Lover of justice!

You have established equity.

You have executed justice.

You have executed righteousness in Jacob.

Extol Yahweh!

Our God!

Worship at his footstool!

Holy is he!”

Psalm 99 continues the theme of Yahweh as king. Once again there is no title to this psalm. Yahweh rules as king. The people tremble. He sits enthroned on the angelic cherubim in Zion over all the people. This holy king should be praised because his name is awesome. He is the mighty holy king who loves justice and equity. He has executed justice and righteousness upon the descendants of Jacob. We should extol holy Yahweh as our God when we worship at his footstool. We see the repeated refrain “holy is he.”

Make and perform vows to Yahweh (Ps 76:10-76:12)

“Human wrath serves only to praise you.

You bind the last bit of your wrath around you.

Make vows to Yahweh!

Your God!

Perform them!

Let all who are around him

Bring gifts

To the one who is awesome.

He cuts off the spirit of princes.

He inspires fear in the kings of the earth.”

This psalm ends emphasizing the importance of individual vows to Yahweh. They were to bring gifts and sacrifices to Yahweh. Yahweh was awesome, baby, awesome. He had the princes and the kings of the earth fearful of him.

The power of God (Ps 76:7-76:9)

“But you indeed are awesome!

Who can stand before you?

When once your anger is roused?

From the heavens

You uttered judgment.

The earth feared.

The earth was still.

God rose up to establish judgment.

He wanted to save all the oppressed of the earth.”

Selah

God was awesome! No one could stand before him once his anger was aroused. From heaven he uttered his judgment. Thus the earth feared and was still. God established his judgment. He wanted to save all the oppressed of the earth. This section ends with the musical interlude meditative pause of Selah.