The dead people in the streets (Lam 4:5-4:5)

He

“Those who feasted

On delicacies

Perish

In the streets.

Those who were

Brought up

In purple

Cling

To ash heaps.”

This author points out that there has been a complete reversal of fortunes. Those who feasted on delicate foods are now dead in the streets because of starvation. Those who were brought up with fine purple clothes now cling to ash heaps dead. This verse starts with the Hebrew consonant letter He in this acrostic poem.

The song of the Yahweh’s vineyard (Isa 27:2-27:5)

“On that day,

A pleasant vineyard was there!

Sing of it!

I,

Yahweh,

Am its keeper.

Every moment,

I water it.

I guard it at night.

I guard it during the day,

So that no one can harm it.

I have no wrath.

If it give me thorns,

If it gives me briers,

I will march

To battle against it.

I will burn it up.

Let it cling to me

For protection!

Let it make peace with me!

Let it make peace with me!”

Isaiah uses the symbol of Yahweh’s vineyard to represent what was going to happen to Israel, much like earlier in chapter 5 of this work. However, here, Yahweh is not as mad as he was in the earlier chapter. Using the first person singular for Yahweh, Isaiah said that Yahweh wanted to sing about this pleasant vineyard. Yahweh was careful with this vineyard since he watered it every day. He guarded it night and day so that no one could harm it. He was not angry. However, when the thorns and briers came, he was going to go against this vineyard by burning it down. He wanted the vineyard to cling to him and make peace with him, with a double refrain for peace. Thus we see the obvious connection of Yahweh to the people of Israel.

 

Covenant and the law (Sir 24:23-24:23)

“All this is

In the book of the covenant

Of the Most High God.

This is the law

That Moses commanded us.

It is an inheritance

For the congregations of Jacob.

Do not cease to be strong

In the Lord!

Cling to him!

Thus he may strengthen you.

The Lord Almighty alone is God.

Besides him,

There is no savior.”

Sirach emphasizes the Law of Moses in the book of the covenant for the descendants of Jacob. You should cling to the Lord, the one and only God and savior who gives you strength.

Pride (Sir 10:6-10:13)

“Do not get angry

With your neighbor

For every injury!

Do not resort to acts of insolence!

Arrogance is hateful to the Lord.

Arrogance is hateful to mortals.

Injustice is outrageous to both also.

Sovereignty passes

From nation to nation.

This happens

On account of injustice,

On account of insolence,

On account of wealth.

How can dust be proud?

How can ashes be proud?

Even in life,

The human body decays.

A long illness baffles the physician.

The king of today

Will die tomorrow.

When one is dead,

He inherits

Maggots,

Vermin,

And worms.

The beginning of human pride

Is to forsake the Lord.

The heart has withdrawn

From its Maker.

The beginning of pride

Is sin.

The one who clings to it

Pours out abominations.”

You should not get mad with your neighbor over any perceived injuries. Do not become insolent! Arrogance is hateful to God and humans. Injustice is outrageous to the Lord and your neighbor. Sovereignty passes from one country to another because of injustice, insolence, and wealth. This is not a pretty picture. How can humans made of dust and ashes be proud? Their body will decay no matter what. Sometimes it is a baffling long illness that even physicians do not know how to cure. Even the king of today will be dead and gone tomorrow. When you die, the maggots, the vermin, and the worms will take over your body. Pride starts when you give up on the Lord and Creator. Sin is the beginning of pride. If you cling to it, there will be abominations all over the place.

Trust the Lord (Sir 2:1-2:6)

“My child!

When you come to serve the Lord,

Prepare yourself for testing!

Set your heart right!

Be steadfast!

Do not be impetuous

In time of calamity!

Cling to him!

Do not depart!

Thus your last days may be prosperous.

Accept whatever befalls you!

In times of humiliation,

Be patient!

Gold is tested in the fire.

Those found acceptable

Are tested in the furnace of humiliation.

Trust in him.

He will help you

Make your ways straight.

Hope in him!”

Here we have a series of admonitions about trusting God. If you want to serve the Lord, you will be tested. You need a good heart. You need to be steadfast. You cannot be hasty in times of trouble. You must cling to the Lord and not depart from him. Then you will have prosperous last days. Accept whatever happens to you. Be patient in times of humiliation. Just as gold is tested in a fire, so are you tested in the furnace of humiliation. You must trust in the Lord. He will help you. You have to make straight your ways. Hope in God! Keep hope alive!