Moderation in food (Sir 37:27-37:31)

“My child!

Test yourself

While you live!

See what is bad for you!

Do not give in to it!

Not everything is good

For everyone.

No one enjoys everything.

Do not be greedy

For every delicacy!

Do not eat without restraint!

Overeating brings sickness.

Gluttony leads to nausea.

Many have died of gluttony.

But whoever guards against it,

Prolongs his life.”

Sirach assumes the parental tone again. He warns that we should test ourselves in this life. We should recognize what is bad for us and not give in to it. Not everything is good for everybody. Do not be greedy for delicacies! You have to use restraint. Overeating can lead to illness. Gluttony can lead to stomach aches or even to death. If you guard against over eating, you will prolong your life.

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Difference between Egypt and Israel (Wis 16:1-16:4)

“Therefore those people were deservedly punished

Through such creatures.

They were tormented by a multitude of animals.

Instead of this punishment,

You allowed kindness to your people.

You prepared quails to eat.

This was a delicacy to satisfy

The desire of their appetite.

Thus those people,

When they desired food,

Might lose the least remnant of their appetite.

Thus the odious creatures were sent to them.

Meanwhile your people,

After suffering want a short time,

Might partake of delicacies.

It was necessary

That upon those oppressors

Inescapable want should come.

At the same time

To these others,

It was merely shown

How their enemies were being tormented.”

These last few chapters will continue the parallels between Egypt and Israel, without explicitly mentioning them by name. The Egyptians are referred to as “those people or oppressors (οἱ ἐχθροὶ),” while the Israelites are called “your people (τὸν λαόν σου).” Those people were punished (ἐβασανίζοντο) with a multitude of animals. Odious creatures were sent to them. On the other hand, God showed kindness to his people. He sent quails for them to eat as in Numbers, chapter 11. Thus the Israelites had delicacies, while the Egyptians lost their appetite in their torments.

Be careful who you eat with (Prov 23:6-23:8)

“Do not eat the bread of the stingy.

Do not desire their delicacies.

They are like

A hair in the throat.

They say to you.

‘Eat and drink!’

But they do not mean it.

You will vomit up

The little that you have eaten.

You will waste your pleasant words.”

Be careful who you eat with. Don’t eat the bread of the stingy. Once again there is the admonition to stay away from delicacies. They might get stuck in your throat like a hair. If they tell you to eat and drink, do not do it. They really do not mean it. You will vomit up what little you have eaten. Besides that, you will have wasted your pleasant words.

Good eating manners (Prov 23:1-23:3)

“When you sit down to eat with a ruler,

Observe carefully what is before you.

Put a knife to your throat

If you have a big appetite.

Do not desire the ruler’s delicacies.

They are deceptive foods.”

If you are eating at the table of a ruler, be very observant.   Put a knife to your throat, which means don’t eat everything, if you have a big appetite. Do not eat the delicacies of the ruler, because they are deceptive foods. Be on your best behavior and eat what is given you without complaint.