The blessing of Yahweh (Isa 65:16-65:16)

“Then whoever invokes a blessing

In the land,

They shall bless

By the God of faithfulness.

Whoever takes an oath

In the land,

They shall swear

By the God of faithfulness.

Because the former troubles

Are forgotten.

They are hidden from my sight.”

On the other hand, Yahweh will bless those who were faithful.   They will have the power to bless because of their faithfulness to God. If the faithful take an oath, God will help them because their former troubles were forgotten. They were lost out of sight. Blessings come to the faithful.

Blessing for Egypt and Assyria (Isa 19:24-19:25)

“On that day,

Israel will be the third

With Egypt and Assyria.

Israel will be

A blessing

In the midst of the earth

That Yahweh of hosts has blessed,

Saying.

‘Blessed be Egypt

My people.

Blessed be Assyria

The work of my hands.

Blessed be Israel

My heritage.’”

This oracle of Yahweh, via Isaiah, is one of the few examples of ecumenical universalism. On that special day to come, Israel with be 3rd behind Egypt and Assyria, as a blessing or mediator for the whole earth. Yahweh would bless all three, not just Israel. He wanted Egypt, his own people, and Assyria, with the work of his hands, also blessed. However, Israel was blessed as his heritage. Thus we have a blessing for everybody, not just the Israelites.

The prayer of the high priest Simon (Sir 50:22-50:24)

“Now bless

The God of all!

He works everywhere!

What great wonders!

He fosters our growth

From birth!

He deals with us

According to his mercy!

May he give us

Gladness of heart!

May there be peace

In our days in Israel!

As in the days of old!

May he entrust to us

His mercy!

May he deliver us

In our days!”

Sirach then inserts the prayer of Simon, the high priest. Simon prays that the God of all will bless the Israelites. God works great wonders. This merciful God fosters our growth from birth. He gladdens our heart. May he bring peace to Israel today and deliver Israel from its enemies, as in the old days. Thus it is a simple straightforward prayer for mercy today.

A blessing (Sir 45:26-45:26)

“Bless the Lord!

He has crowned you

With glory.

May the Lord

Grant you wisdom

Of mind!

May you judge his people

With justice!

Thus their prosperity

May not vanish.

Thus their glory

May endure

Throughout all their generations.”

Sirach has this blessing at the end of this long section on Aaron and the Levitical priests. You should bless the Lord because he has crowned you with glory. Then the Lord may grant you wisdom to judge with justice. Thus your prosperity may have a glorious future throughout all generations to come.

When to leave a banquet (Sir 32:10-32:13)

“Lightning travels

Ahead of thunder.

Approval precedes

A modest person.

Leave in good time!

Do not be the last!

Go home quickly!

Do not linger!

Amuse yourself there,

To your heart’s content.

But do not sin

Through proud speech.

But above all,

Bless your Maker

Who fills you With his good gifts.”

Sirach thinks that there is a proper time to leave a banquet. Just as lightening precedes thunder by a few seconds, so too does approval precede a modest person. Do not be the last one to leave a banquet. Do not hang around, but go home quickly. While you are there at the banquet, amuse yourself to your heart’s content, but do not use sinful proud speech. More than anything else, bless your creator who has given you all his good gifts and graces.

Animal worship (Wis 15:18-15:19)

“Moreover,

The enemies of Israel worship

Even the most hateful animals.

Some are worse than all others,

When judged by their lack of intelligence.

Even as animals,

They are not so beautiful in appearance

That one would desire them.

But they have escaped

Both the praise of God

And his blessing.”

This is a stinging attack on animal worship. These animals are at least living. However, they are hateful animals with little intelligence, and not even good looking. No one would desire them. God (τοῦ Θεοῦ) would not praise or bless them.

Four types of sinners (Prov 30:11-30:14)

“There are those who curse their fathers.

They do not bless their mothers.

There are those who are pure in their own eyes.

Yet they are not cleansed of their filthiness.

There are those who have lofty eyes.

They lift their eyelids high.

There are those whose teeth are swords.

Their teeth are like knives.

They want to devour the poor from off the earth.

They want to devour the needy from among men.”

This interlude with Agur concludes as he considers four types of sinners. The first type of sinner is the disrespectful child who curses his father and does not bless his mother. Next are the self satisfied who pretend to be pure but are actually filthy. Thirdly, the arrogant lift their eyes and eye lids high in distain. Finally, there are the avarice ones with their sharp teeth. They want to devour the poor and the needy among us.