Jeremiah speaks to the priests and the people (Jer 27:16-27:18)

“Then I spoke

To the priests,

To all this people,

Saying.

‘Thus says Yahweh!

Do not listen

To the words

Of your prophets

Who are prophesying to you!

Saying.

‘The vessels of Yahweh’s house

Will soon be brought back

From Babylon.’

They are prophesying

A lie to you.

Do not listen to them!

Serve the king of Babylon!

Live!

Why should this city

Become a desolation?

If indeed they are prophets,

If the word of Yahweh

Is with them,

Then let them

Intercede with Yahweh of hosts,

That the vessels

Left in the house of Yahweh,

In the house of the king of Judah,

In Jerusalem,

May not go to Babylon.’”

Jeremiah repeats what he said to the king of Judah earlier in this chapter. Now he speaks to the priests and all the people, as much as that is possible, but the message is the same. They were not to listen to the false lying prophets who were saying not to serve the King of Babylon. Here the question is about the vessels that had been taken to Babylon. Were they coming back? Once again, they were not to listen to these false prophets who were telling them to revolt against the Babylonian king. Rather, they should live and not become a desolation by serving the king of Babylon. If these were true prophets of Yahweh, why not let them intercede with Yahweh to make sure that the vessels left in the Temple, the palace of the king, and in Jerusalem itself not be taken to Babylon.

Do not mourn excessively (Sir 38:18-38:23)

“Grief may result in death.

A sorrowful heart

Saps one’s strength.

When a person is taken away,

Sorrow is over.

But the life of the poor

Weighs down the heart.

Do not give your heart

To sorrow!

Drive it away!

Remember your own end.

Do not forget!

There is no coming back.

You do the dead no good.

You injure yourself.

Remember his fate.

Yours is like it.

Yesterday it was his.

Today it is yours.

Me yesterday!

You today!

When the dead is at rest,

Let his remembrance rest also.

Be comforted for him

When his spirit has departed.”

Sirach did not want a long mourning period because grief could lead to the death of the person grieving. A sad heart can sap your strength. When the person was buried, the period of sorrow should end despite the fact that your heart is still heavy. Drive away sorrow and grief. Remember you own life. There is no coming back from the grave. You can’t do anything for the dead. You may injure yourself. Your fate will be the same as his. He was here yesterday and gone today. Your fate may be the same, here today and gone tomorrow. When the dead are at rest, let their remembrance die with them. Their spirit has departed, since we have the Greek idea of body and spirit.