Do not go to Egypt (Jer 42:19-42:22)

“Yahweh has said to you.

‘O remnant of Judah!

Do not go to Egypt!’

Be well aware

That I have warned you

Today!

You have made

A fatal mistake!

You yourselves sent me

To Yahweh your God.

Saying.

‘Pray for us

To Yahweh our God!

Whatever Yahweh our God

Says

Tell us!

We will do it.’

So I have told you

Today

But you have not obeyed

The voice

Of Yahweh your God

In anything

That he sent me to tell you.

Be well aware

That you shall die

By the sword,

By famine,

By pestilence

In the place

Where you desire to go,

Where you desire to live.’”

Not only is Yahweh upset, but so is Jeremiah. Yahweh had told Jeremiah what he wanted. This remnant of Judah had gone to Jeremiah to find out God’s will. Now that Jeremiah has pronounced Yahweh’s will, they did not like it. Yahweh’s response was simple. Do not go to Egypt! If they would go, they would make a fatal mistake. Jeremiah has warned them. They had, in fact, asked Jeremiah to intercede with Yahweh, so that they might know what to do. They said that they would do whatever Yahweh wanted. After Jeremiah came back with the words of Yahweh, they would not accept it, since they did not like the response. Suddenly, it was a different situation. Now they wanted to disobey by going to Egypt. Thus as Jeremiah so often remarked, they would die by the famous sword, famine, or pestilence in the land that they desired to go to live, Egypt. There was no ambiguity here.

The environment (Sir 39:28-39:31)

“There are winds.

They have been created

For vengeance.

In their anger,

They can dislodge mountains.

On the day of reckoning,

They will pour out their strength.

They will calm

The anger of their Maker.

Fire has been created

For vengeance.

Hail has been created

For vengeance.

Famine has been created

For vengeance.

Pestilence has been created

For vengeance.

The following delight in doing his bidding.

The fangs of wild animals,

Scorpions,

Vipers,

And the sword that punishes

The ungodly with destruction.

They are always ready

For his service on earth.

When their time comes,

They never disobey his command.”

Sirach says that the environmental follows the command of the Lord. The winds can dislodge mountains with their strength in order to calm the Lord’s wrath. Fire, hail, famine, and pestilence show the vengeance of the Lord. Wild animal fangs, scorpions, vipers, and swords will punish the ungodly. All these things are ready to obey the command of the Lord here on earth when the time comes for destruction, since they never disobey the Lord.

Avoid a spoiled son (Sir 30:7-30:13)

“Whoever spoils his son,

Will bind up his wounds.

You will suffer heartache

At every cry.

An unbroken horse

Turns out stubborn.

An unchecked son

Turns out headstrong.

Pamper a child,

Then he will terrorize you.

Play with him,

Then he will give you grief.

Do not laugh with him,

Lest you have sorrow with him.

In the end

You will gnash your teeth.

Give him no freedom

In his youth.

Do not ignore his errors.

Bow down his neck

In his youth.

Beat his sides

While he is young,

Lest he become stubborn.

He will disobey you.

You will have sorrow of soul

From him.

Discipline your son.

Make his yoke heavy.

Thus you may not be offended

By his shamelessness.”

Once again, Sirach reflects the ideals of his time about the importance of discipline and corporal punishment of children. Above all, do not spoil your son! Otherwise, you will spend a lifetime healing his wounds and suffering heartaches at his every cry. The young boy is compared to a horse that is unbroken, stubborn, and headstrong. If you pamper your son, then he will terrorize you. Do not laugh or play with your son! Otherwise, you will end up gnashing your teeth. Do not give him any freedom when he is young! Do not ignore his mistakes! Beat him up on his sides when he is young! If not, he will become stubborn and disobey you. Then you will have a sorrowful soul. Make his iron collar heavy so that he does not end up shameless. Be tough on those kids!

The Lord’s creation (Sir 16:26-16:30)

“The Lord created his works

From the beginning.

When he made them,

He determined their boundaries.

He arranged his works

In an eternal order.

Their dominion was

For all generations.

They are neither hungry

Nor growing weary.

They do not abandon their tasks.

They do not crowd one another.

They never disobey his word.

The Lord looked upon the earth.

He filled it with his good things.

With all kinds of living beings

He covered its surface.

In to it

They must return.”

Sirach’s concept of creation was as a developed static work. The Lord determined the eternal boundaries of all the created things on earth. Thus there was the domination of certain species over others. Nature does not grow weary or hungry. The things of the earth do not abandon their tasks nor crowd each other out. They never disobey the Lord. He has filled this earth with good living things. However, all these living things will return to the earthly surface since they are not individually eternal.

The hands of the Lord and fear of the Lord (Sir 2:15-2:18)

“Those who fear the Lord

Will not disobey his words.

Those who love him

Will keep his ways.

Those who fear the Lord

Will seek to please him.

Those who love him

Will be filled with his law.

Those who fear the Lord

Will prepare their hearts.

Those who fear the Lord

Will humble themselves before him.

Let us fall into the hands of the Lord.

But let us not fall into the hands of men.

Equal to his majesty is his mercy.

Equal to his name are his works.”

If you fear the Lord, you will not disobey his words. If you love the Lord, you will keep his ways. If you fear the Lord, you will try to please him. Those who love God will be filled with his law. Here we see the combination of law and love, not separated. If you love, you will follow the law. If you fear the Lord, you will prepare your hearts and humble yourselves before the Lord. We should be in the hands of the Lord and not the hands of men. God’s majesty is equal to his mercy. His name and his works are the same.

The reprimands (Sir 1:28-1:30)

“Do not disobey the fear of the Lord!

Do not approach him with a divided mind!

Do not be a hypocrite before others!

Keep watch over your lips!

Do not exalt yourself!

Otherwise you may fall.

You may bring dishonor upon yourself.

The Lord will reveal your secrets.

He will overthrow you

Before the whole congregation.

You did not come

In the fear of the Lord.

Your heart was full of deceit.”

Now we have a series of reprimands. You were not to disobey the fear of the Lord. You should not have a divided mind. You should not be hypocrites. You should watch your lips. You should not exalt yourself. If you fall, you bring dishonor to yourself. The Lord would reveal your secrets. He would overthrow you before the whole congregation. If your heart is deceitful, you did not come with the fear of the Lord.

Fear Yahweh (Prov 24:21-24:22)

“My child!

Fear Yahweh!

Fear the king!

Do not disobey either of them!

Disaster comes from them suddenly.

Who knows the ruin that both can bring?”

You are to fear Yahweh. However, a new element has been added, the king. You are to fear the king just like Yahweh. You are not to disobey either of them. Disaster can come suddenly to you. Either one of them can bring ruin to you. Thus we see the divine right of kings, as the king takes the place of God here on earth. You should listen to both of them equally. You should fear both of them equally, since the king is practically divine.