Personal lament of Jeremiah (Jer 20:7-20:9)

“Yahweh!

You have enticed me!

I was enticed!

You have overpowered me!

You have prevailed!

I have become a laughingstock

All day long!

Every one mocks me!

Whenever I speak,

I must cry out!

I must shout!

‘Violence!

Destruction!’

The word of Yahweh

Has become for me

A reproach.

It has become

A derision all day long.

If I say.

‘I will not mention him,

I will not speak any more

In his name,’

Then within me

There is something

Like a burning fire

Shut up in my bones.

I am weary

With holding it in.

I cannot.”

Jeremiah seems to blame Yahweh for enticing him into being a prophet in this personal lament. Yahweh has overpowered him so that he cannot prevail. He has become a laughing stock all day long, as everyone mocks him. Every time Jeremiah cries out “violence and destruction” to others, they reproach and deride him, despite the fact that it is the word of God in him. If he tries not to mention Yahweh and not speak about him, then there is something within him like a burning fire in his bones. Jeremiah was tired of holding it in. Thus he has no other option than to shout it out despite everything that happened to him. He can no longer hold it in.

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The sun (Sir 43:1-43: 5)

“The pride of the higher realms

Is the clear vault of the sky.

As glorious to behold

As the sight of the heavens.

The sun,

When it appears,

Proclaims as it rises.

What a marvelous instrument!

It is the work of the Most High.

At noon,

It parches the land.

Who can withstand its burning heat?

A man tending a furnace

Works in burning heat.

But the sun scorches the mountains

Three times as hot.

It breathes out fiery vapors.

Its bright rays

Blind the eyes.

Great is the Lord

Who made it!

At his orders

It hurries on its course.”

Sirach points out the beauty and utility of the sun in the sky. The rising sun proclaims what a marvelous instrument it is of the Most High God. We have all seen the beauty of the rising morning sun as it proclaims the glory of God. At noon, the sun parches the land, scorching the mountains with its burning heat. Sirach says that the sun is 3 times as hot as a blast furnace. That may be true for somewhere along the line as sun rays head to earth, but here on earth, it is not quite as hot as a burning fire. However, it is true that its bright rays can blind you if you look right into the sun. Certainly the Lord, who made the sun, is to be glorified, as we see the sun move around the earth until sunset. Oh, oh, it is the earth moving around the sun, and not the other way around. However, it still is a lovely poetic thought of sunrise and sunset.

Sinners until death (Sir 23:16-23:17)

“Two kinds of individuals

Multiply sins.

A third incurs wrath.

Hot passion blazes

Like a burning fire.

Hot passion

Will not be quenched

Until it burns itself out.

Whoever commits fornication

With his near of kin

Will never cease

Until the fire burns him up.

To a fornicator,

All bread is sweet.

He will never cease

Until he dies.”

Here Sirach is like Proverbs with a numerical proverb that is a little unclear. Some sinners multiply their sins, basically those with sins of passion. However, another kind of sinner incurs the wrath of God. Obviously, fornication is wrong. Hot passion blazes like a burning fire until it is quenched and burns itself out. The big sin is sexual fornication with a relative. Sirach believes that this fornicator will not cease until fire burns him up. Each fornicator believes that all bread is sweet, since they make no distinction on who they get involved with. They will only cease their bad habits at death. This is a strong condemnation of the indiscriminate sexual offender, especially those who get sexually involved with their own family members.