The strange creatures in the foreign temples (Bar 6:20-6:23)

“The idols are just

Like a beam

In the temple.

It is said

That their hearts

Are eaten away,

When crawling creatures

From the earth

Devour them,

Along with their robes.

They do not notice

When their faces

Have been blackened

By the smoke

Of the temple.

Bats,

Swallows,

Birds,

As well as cats

Alight on their bodies

As well as their heads.

From this

You will know

That they are not gods.

So do not fear them!”

This author elaborates about the conditions that idols have in the foreign temples. They are just like wooden beams in the temple. Their hearts are being eaten away by crawling creatures that devour them along with their precious robes. These false idols do not even notice when their faces become blackened by the smoke in the temple. There are all kinds of creatures all over them. Bats, cats, swallows, and other birds have landed on their heads and bodies. Thus they should know that these are not really gods. Thus, there is nothing to fear from them.

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Not respecting the creative potter (Isa 29:15-29:16)

“Woe to you!

You hide a plan too deep for Yahweh!

Your deeds are in the dark!

You say.

‘Who sees us?

Who knows us?’

You turn things upside down!

Shall the potter be regarded as the clay?

Shall the thing made

Say of its maker?

‘He did not make me.’

Shall the thing formed

Say of the one who formed it?

‘He has no understanding.’”

Yahweh seems to be mad at the leaders of Judah who are attempting to plot with Assyria. They have a hidden dark plan since they seem to say that no one sees them or knows about it. They have things upside down because they are the creatures, not the creators. They are the clay that thinks that they are the potters who mold the clay. They were made by the Creator God as in Genesis, chapter 2. They were the formed, not the formers. Why are they saying that the Creator God does not understand, since they are mere clay?

Problems caused by sinful humans (Sir 40:8-40:11)

“With all human creatures,

With all animal creatures,

But with sinners seven times more,

Come many problems.

There is death.

There is bloodshed.

There is strife.

There is the sword.

There are calamities.

There are famines.

There are afflictions.

There are ruins.

There are plagues.

All these were created

For the wicked.

On their account,

The flood came.

All that is of earth

Returns to earth.

What is from above,

Returns above.”

Sirach points out that all creatures, human and animals, have problems, but the sinners have 7 times as many problems as the non-sinners. What are these problems? They are death, bloodshed, strife, the sword, calamities, famines, ruin, and plagues. The reason that we have all these problems is due to the wicked ones who caused God to send the flood. In other words, we might have been okay except for the sinful humans who brought all these problems to our earthly existence. The things of this earth return to this earth, while the things from above return to above.

Stay with your own kind (Sir 13:15-13:20)

“Every creature loves its like.

Every person loves his neighbor.

All living beings associate

With their own kind.

People stick close to those

Like themselves.

What does a wolf have in common

With a lamb?

No more has a sinner anything in common

With the devout.

What peace is there

Between a hyena and a dog?

What peace is there

Between the rich and the poor?

Wild asses in the wilderness

Are the prey of lions.

Likewise the poor

Are feeding grounds for the rich.

Humility is an abomination

To the proud.

Likewise the poor are an abomination

To the rich.”

Sirach tells us that people and creatures like to stick with their own kind. There is a natural born prejudice to stay with your own kind of people. Everybody usually loves their neighbors. Why else would they live there? A wolf and a lamb have nothing in common, just like the sinner and the devout do not have anything in common. There can never be peace between hyenas and dogs, so too the animosity between rich and poor cannot be bridged. Wild donkeys are the prey of lions, so too are the poor the feeding grounds of the rich. The rich take advantage of the poor. The proud hate the humble, just like the rich hate the poor.

Yahweh controls the seas (Ps 104:24-104:26)

“Yahweh!

How manifold are your works!

In wisdom,

You have made them all.

The earth is full of your creatures.

Yonder is the great wide sea.

Innumerable creeping things are there.

There are living things,

Both small and great.

There go the ships!

There is Leviathan

That you formed to play sport with it.”

The works of Yahweh are marvelous. Yahweh created all these things out of wisdom. The earth is full of all Yahweh’s creatures. Then the psalmist turned to the seas and how great and wide they are. However, he then talked about the innumerable living things, both great and small in the sea. Even today, we are still just beginning to understand all the living creatures in the seas. Of course, there were the ships that transported goods and people around. However, there also was the great sea monster Leviathan. Interesting enough here it is considered some kind of sport rather than a menace as outlined in Job, chapter 41.