The example of the prophet Micah (Jer 26:17-26:19)

“Some of the elders

Of the land

Arose.

They said

To all the assembled people.

‘Micah of Moresheth prophesied

During the days of King Hezekiah

Of Judah.

He said to all the people

Of Judah.

‘Thus says Yahweh of hosts.

Zion shall be plowed

As a field. Jerusalem shall become

A heap of ruins.

The mountain of the house

Will be a wooded height.’

Did King Hezekiah

Of Judah,

With all Judah,

Put him to death?

Did he not fear Yahweh?

Did he not entreat

The favor of Yahweh?

Did not Yahweh change

His mind

About the disaster

That he had pronounced

Against them?

But we are about

To bring great disaster

On ourselves.’”

Some of the elders reminded the assembly that at the time of King Hezekiah of Judah (716-687 BCE), about a hundred years previously, that the prophet Micah (737-696 BCE) from Moresheth, in southwestern Judah, had made some disturbing prophecies. Micah was considered one of the Minor Prophets with his own biblical book. During his day, he told King Hezekiah that Judah would be plowed like a field, while Jerusalem would become a ruined heap, as found in chapter 3 of Micah. King Hezekiah did not put him to death. Just the opposite, the king feared Yahweh and asked Yahweh for favors. Thus Yahweh changed his mind at that time, since he did not send a disaster to them. This was right after the fall of the Northern Kingdom of Israel in 714 BCE. If they kill Jeremiah, they might bring a great disaster on themselves. Thus a little history lesson helps Jeremiah.

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Job (Sir 49:9-49:9)

“God also

Remembered Job.

He held fast

To all the ways of justice.”

It is fascinating to note that Sirach made mention of Job, who was not even an Israelite, but was the main character in the biblical Book of Job. This would indicate that this book was considered a canonical book by the time of this writing. God remembered Job for his righteousness and his justice. In spite of all his trials, he never turned on God.

Ezekiel (Sir 49:8-49:8)

“It was Ezekiel

Who saw

The vision of glory

That God showed him

Above the chariot

Of the cherubim.”

Sirach once again could refer to the biblical Book of Ezekiel (622-570 BCE), a contemporary of Jeremiah, the 3rd of the 3 major prophets. However, he merely gets one simple sentence. Ezekiel saw a vision of glory with chariots and cherubim.

Jeremiah (Sir 49:6-49:7)

“They set fire

To the chosen city

Of the sanctuary.

They made its streets desolate,

As Jeremiah had foretold.

They had mistreated him.

Even though in the womb,

He had been consecrated

A prophet.

He was to pluck up.

He was to ruin.

He was to destroy.

Likewise,

He was to build.

He was to plant.”

Once again, Sirach could rely on the biblical Book of Jeremiah, the prophet. The prophet Jeremiah (646-574 BCE) lived around the time of the captivity and fall of the Kingdom of Judah (587 BCE). He had foretold that the Temple sanctuary would be destroyed. He predicted that the streets of Jerusalem would be desolate. He was also mistreated by his fellow Israelites, even though he was a prophet from his birth. He uttered oracles about ruining, destroying, building, and planting. He is considered the 2nd of the great prophets after Isaiah.