Be careful with strangers (Sir 11:29-11:34)

“Do not invite everyone

Into your home.

Many are the tricks

Of the crafty.

Like a decoy partridge

In a cage,

So is the mind

Of the proud.

Like spies

They observe your weakness.

They lie in wait.

They turn good into evil.

To worthy actions,

They attach blame.

From a spark of fire,

Many coals are kindled.

A sinner lies in wait

To shed blood.

Beware of scoundrels!

They devise evil.

They may ruin

Your reputation forever.

If you receive strangers

Into your home,

They will stir up trouble

For you.

They will make you

A stranger

To your own family.”

Sirach warns that you should be suspicious and careful about whom you let into your home. Some people are tricky and crafty. These proud spies are like a partridge bird in a cage observing everything, especially your weaknesses. Even back then they had spying devices. They will turn good into evil. They will blame you for the good things that you have done. They are like a spark that starts a roaring fire. These sinners want to hurt you. These evil doers are trying to ruin your reputation. If you let strangers into your house, they will stir up trouble. In the end, you will be like a stranger in your own family. Beware of stranger danger!

Eliphaz has confidence in an almighty God (Job 5:8-5:16)

“As for me,

I would seek God.

I would commit my cause to God.

He does great things.

He does unsearchable marvelous things without number.

He gives rain upon the earth.

He sends waters upon the fields.

He sets on high those who are lowly.

Those who mourn are lifted to safety.

He frustrates the devices of the crafty.

Thus their hands achieve no success.

He takes the wise in their own craftiness.

The schemes of the wily are brought to a quick end.

They meet with darkness in the daytime.

They grope at noonday as in the night.

He saves the needy from the sword of their mouth.

He saves the needy from the hand of the mighty.

Thus the poor have hope.

Injustice shuts its mouth.”

Eliphaz explained his belief about God. This is a universalistic God, not the God of Israel, Yahweh. This indicates the time of the captivity when the God of the universe became prominent among the Israelites in the 6th century BCE. This is a God who does great marvelous innumerable deeds. The classic concept of God had him bring rain to the fields. He also helped those who were lowly and mourning. However, he also frustrated the crafty, the wise, and the wily. They meet with darkness during the day. He also saved the needy, gave hope to the poor, and did away with injustice. Thus this is a powerful God who controls the life of men here on earth. This God gives hope to the poor and those who are suffering injustice.