Yahweh is incomparable to the weak false idols (Isa 46:5-46:7)

“To whom will you liken me?

Can you make me equal?

Can you compare me?

Do you think that we are all alike?

Those who lavish gold

From the purse,

They hire a goldsmith

To make it into a god.

Those who weigh out silver

On the scales,

They hire a silversmith,

To make it into a god.

Then they fall down.

They worship it.

They lift it to their shoulders.

They carry it.

They set it in its place.

It stands there.

It cannot move

From its place.

If one cries to it,

It does not answer.

It does not save anyone

From trouble.”

Second Isaiah continues with this theme of the useless idols and how incomparable they are to Yahweh. Once again, Yahweh defends himself. How can you say that these false idols and Yahweh are the same? How could you even make a comparison? Then Yahweh repeated his thought about the uselessness of human made idols, even though they are made of lavish gold and silver. After the goldsmith or silversmith has made their idols, they would bow down and worship before it, knowing that they had just made it. Then they would carefully carry the idol on their shoulders to set it in a place where it could not move. If anyone went to cry before this idol, it could not answer or save that person from their troubles.

Yahweh is a universal God (Isa 45:20-45:21)

“Assemble yourselves!

Come together!

You survivors of the nations!

They have no knowledge.

They carry about their wooden idols.

They keep on praying to a god

That cannot save.

Declare!

Present your case!

Let them take counsel together!

Who told this long ago?

Who declared it of old?

Was it not I?

Yahweh?

There is no other god besides me.

I am a righteous God!

I am a Savior!

There is no one besides me.”

Next Second Isaiah has Yahweh proclaim to all the nations that he is the only God. Yahweh wanted all the survivors of the various nations to assemble and come together. They were stupid, since they carry around their wooden idols. They pray to these wooden idols that cannot save them. Let them make their case and counsel together. Who was able to tell about things long ago before they actually happened? Only Yahweh was able to do that. There is no other god besides Yahweh, who is a righteous God who saves. Yahweh defends himself against all these other gods.

Sirach’s qualifications (Sir 33:16-33:18)

“I was the last

To keep vigil.

I was like a gleaner

Following the grape-pickers.

By the blessing of the Lord,

I arrived first.

Like a grape-picker,

I filled my wine press.

Consider that I have not labored

For myself alone.

But I labored

For all who seek instruction.

Hear me!

You!

Who are great among the people!

You!

Leaders of the congregation!

Pay heed!”

This biblical book takes a very personal tone as Sirach defends his position as a teacher. He was the last one to keep the vigil in his congregation. He compared his position to the gleaners who came after the grape-pickers. The mostly poor gleaners picked up the leftover grapes after the good grapes had been picked. However, by the grace of God, Sirach was able to fill up his wine press with all his grapes. In other words, he was not originally a major figure in his religious assembly, but he has progressed. He was not working for himself, but for all those who wanted further instruction about the law. Thus he proclaimed in the assembled congregation that they should listen to him. They should pay attention to him.