The vanity of pleasure (Eccl 2:1-2:3)

“I said to myself.

‘Come now!

I will make a test of pleasure.

Enjoy yourself!’

But again,

This also was vanity.

I said of laughter.

‘It is mad.’

I said of pleasure.

‘What use is it?’

I searched with my mind

How to cheer my body with wine.

My mind was still guiding me with wisdom.

How am I am to lay hold of folly?

I wanted to see

What was good for mortals

To do under heaven

During the few days of their life.”

Qoheleth was once again talking to himself. He wanted to enjoy pleasure. However, he found that it too was useless and in vain. He laughed, but it was kind of a mad laughter. What was the use of all this pleasure? He tried to cheer his body with wine, even though he was able to maintain the wisdom in his mind. He wanted to enjoy folly and foolishness. What kind of things can mortals do during their short span of life under the heavens?

Be careful of what you do (Prov 25:20-25:22)

“One who sings songs to a heavy heart is

Like vinegar on a wound,

Like a moth in clothing,

Like a worm in wood,

Like one who takes off a garment on a cold day.

If your enemies are hungry,

Give them bread to eat.

If they are thirsty,

Give him water to drink.

You will thus heap coals of fire

On their heads.

Yahweh will reward you.

The north wind produces rain.

A backbiting tongue produces angry looks.”

If someone has a heavy heart, do not try to cheer them up with happy songs. That is like pouring vinegar on a wound or taking someone’s clothes on a cold day. You would be like a moth in clothing or a worm in wood. If your enemies are hungry or thirsty, give them bread and water. This will increase their punishment as you are heaping coal on their heads. Yahweh, on the other hand, will reward you for this. A backbiting tongue produces angry looks just like a north wind produces rain.

Clever ones (Prov 12:23-12:25)

“Whoever is clever

Conceals his knowledge.

But the mind of the fool

Broadcasts folly.

The hand of the diligent will rule.

The lazy will be put to forced labor.

Anxiety weighs down the human heart.

But a good word cheers it up.”

The clever person conceals their knowledge. They do not show off their wisdom. The fools, on the other hand, broadcast their folly. They speak and show how stupid they are. The diligent will rule, while the lazy ones will be forced into labor. Anxiety weights down people, but a good word can cheer people up.

The prayer of Tobit for Jerusalem (Tob 13:9-13:10)

“O Jerusalem,

The holy city,

He afflicted you with the deeds of your hands.

But he will again have mercy on the children of the righteous.

Acknowledge the Lord.

He is good.

Bless the King of the ages.

May his tent be rebuilt in you again with joy.

May he cheer all those within you who are captives.

May he love all those within you who are distressed,

To all generations forever.”

Tobit turned to Jerusalem, the holy city. God Had afflicted them. However, he would have mercy on the children of the righteous, as long as they acknowledged the Lord. God is good and the king of ages. He would rebuild his tent in Jerusalem. He would cheer the captives. He loved those who were distressed. Tobit prayed for the renewal of Jerusalem.