Yahweh hates divorces (Mal 2:14-2:16)

“You ask.

‘Why does he not?’

Because Yahweh was

A witness

Between you

And the wife of your youth.

You have been faithless

To her.

She is your companion.

She is your wife by covenant.

Did not one God make her?

Both flesh and spirit are his.

What does the one God desire?

Godly offspring.

Thus,

Look to yourselves

Do not let anyone

Be faithless

To the wife of his youth!

I hate divorce.’

Says Yahweh,

The God of Israel.

‘Do not cover

One’s garment

With violence!’

Says Yahweh of hosts.

‘Thus,

Take heed to yourselves!

Do not be faithless!’”

Yahweh warned them that he was a witness to the marriage of an Israelite to the bride of his youth.  If he was not faithful to her, Yahweh would not accept his sacrifices.  The bride of his youth was his companion and wife, since God made her, both flesh and spirit.  God’s desire was offspring.  He reminded the Israelites to look at themselves.  They should be faithful to the bride of their youth.  Yahweh hated divorce.  They should not cover their garment or wife in violence.  They were to remain faithful to God and their wife.

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Jonah wants to die (Jon 4:3-4:3)

“Therefore now,

O Yahweh!

Please take my life

From me!

It is better for me

To die

Than to live!”

Jonah was a little down on himself.  He knew that he had originally refused this mission.  Then he had done it, only to find out that Yahweh had changed his mind about destroying Nineveh.  Now he just wanted to die, since he had no desire to live.  This is a strong suicidal plea.

Yahweh dwells in Jerusalem (Joel 3:17-3:17)

“So,

You shall know

That I am Yahweh!

Your God!

I dwell in Zion!

My holy mountain!

Jerusalem

Shall be holy.

Strangers

Shall never again

Pass through it.”

Yahweh, via Joel, wanted them to understand that Yahweh was their God. He lived in this holy mountain, Zion. Thus, Jerusalem was to be holy. Never again would strangers pass through it. It was a great desire that was not fulfilled.

The proposition (Dan 13:19-13:21)

“When the maids

Had gone out,

The two elders

Got up.

They ran to her.

They said.

Look!

The garden doors

Are shut!

No one can see us!

We are burning

With desire

For you!

Give your consent!

Lie with us!

If you refuse,

We will testify

Against you

That a young man

Was with you.

This was why

You sent your maids away.’”

The two elder judges seized the moment, once the maids were gone. They jumped up from their hiding place and ran over to the bathing Susanna. They made their proposition. They told Susanna that they were burning with desire for her, as if that was a good pitch. They wanted her to consent to have sex with them. They wanted consensual sex rather than rape her. However, they told her that if see did not agree, then they would testify against her. They were going to say that she sent her maids away, so that she could have sex with a non-existent young man. That was the deal, sex with them or be judged by them as committing adultery with someone else. What a strange choice.

The choice of a wife (Sir 36:26-36:31)

“A woman

Will accept any man

As a husband.

But one girl

Is preferable to another.

A woman’s beauty

Lights up a man’s face.

There is nothing

He desires more.

If kindness marks her speech,

If humility marks her speech,

Her husband is more fortunate

Than other men.

He who acquires a wife

Gets his best possession.

She is a helper

Fit for him.

She is a pillar of support.

Where there is no fence,

The property will be plundered.

Where there is no wife,

A man will become a fugitive.

He will be a wanderer.

Who will trust a nimble robber?

He skips from city to city.

Who will trust a man

That has no nest?

He lodges

Wherever night overtakes him.”

Sirach seems to think that women do not care who they marry. However, a man should marry a beautiful woman, because it will light up his face. Then he will not desire anything more. If she is kind and humble in her speech, he will be more fortunate than many other men. She will help him and be a support to him. There is no doubt that a man’s best possession is his wife. Clearly, she is a step above a slave as a possession. It is also a good idea for a man to have a wife because she can act like a fence around him. If he is not married, he will wander around from city to city, like a fugitive. People will think that he is a robber, since he has no home. He will not be trusted because he stays wherever he is when night time comes. Marriage added stability to a community.

Do not depend on your wife (Sir 25:21-25:22)

“Do not be ensnared

By a woman’s beauty!

Do not desire a woman

For her possessions!

There is wrath

When a wife

Supports her husband.

There is impudence

When a wife

Supports her husband.

There is a great disgrace

When a wife

Supports her husband.”

You should not be trapped by a woman’s beauty. You should not desire any woman for her possessions or dowry. Now in something that might seem strange today with stay at home dads, Sirach condemns this behavior. A wife should not support her husband, because that is a rage, disrespectful, and a great disgrace, pure and simple. Of course, that was the common attitude in a male dominated society.

The invitation of wisdom (Sir 24:18-24:22)

“‘I am the mother of beautiful love.

I am the mother of fear.

I am the mother of knowledge.

I am the mother of holy hope.

Being eternal,

I am given to

All my children.

I am given to

Those who are named by him.

Come to me!

You who desire me!

Eat your fill of my fruits!

The memory of me

Is sweeter than honey.

The possession of me

Is sweeter than the honeycomb.

Whoever eats me

Will hunger for more.

Whoever drinks me

Will thirst for more.

Whoever obeys me

Will not be put to shame.

Whoever works with me

Will not sin.’”

Sirach has wisdom extend an invitation to all people to come to her.   Wisdom is the mother of beautiful love, fear, knowledge, and holy hope. She has been given to all her children. She invites all who desire her to come to her. Thus they may eat the full of her fruits. Her memory and the possession of her is sweeter than honey and honeycombs. Anyone who eats and drinks of her will want more. Whoever obeys her will not be put to shame. They will not sin. She is a great female intercessor with God, much like the later Christian Virgin Mary. At the same time, she sometimes has qualities that were later attributed to the Christian Holy Spirit.