The golden rule (Mt 7:12-7:12)

“In everything,

Do to others,

As you would

Have them

Do to you.

This is

The Law.

This is

The prophets.”

 

Πάντα οὖν ὅσα ἐὰν θέλητε ἵνα ποιῶσιν ὑμῖν οἱ ἄνθρωποι, οὕτως καὶ ὑμεῖς ποιεῖτε αὐτοῖς· οὗτος γάρ ἐστιν ὁ νόμος καὶ οἱ προφῆται.

 

This saying of Jesus is nearly the same as in Luke, chapter 6:31, indicating a common Q source, except that Luke never mentioned the Law and the prophets.  This saying is often known throughout the world as the philosophical golden rule.  In everything, whatever you wanted other men to do to you (Πάντα οὖν ὅσα ἐὰν θέλητε ἵνα ποιῶσιν ὑμῖν οἱ ἄνθρωποι), you should do to them the same (οὕτως καὶ ὑμεῖς ποιεῖτε αὐτοῖς).  Matthew emphasizes that this already was in the Hebrew scriptures in the Torah, the Law (οὗτος γάρ ἐστιν ὁ νόμος), and among the various Judaic prophets (καὶ οἱ προφῆται).  Pure and simple, treat other people the way that you would want to be treated.

The efficacy of the word of Yahweh (Isa 55:10-55:11)

“As the rain

Comes down from heaven,

As the snow

Comes down from heaven,

They do not return there

Until they have watered the earth.

They make it come forth.

They make it sprout.

They give seed to the sower.

They give bread to the eater.

Thus shall my word

Go out from my mouth.

It shall not return to me empty.

But it shall accomplish

That which I purpose.

It will succeed

In the thing

For which I sent it.”

Second Isaiah emphasizes the importance of the word of Yahweh. Water and snow do not return empty handed to heaven. Apparently, these biblical writers were aware of osmosis. The water and the snow helped bring about germination of the sprouts from the ground. They made the seeds of the sower grow. They assisted in making bread for humans to eat. So too, the word of Yahweh will not come back empty either. His words must accomplish their purpose. His word will be successful in making things grow.

Sin and death come from a woman (Sir 25:24-25:24)

“From a woman

Sin had its beginning.

Because of her,

We all die.”

Sirach emphasizes the idea of the woman committing the first sin. In the original Genesis story in chapter 3, the man and woman ate together, although the serpent spoke to the woman, Eve. Women thus get blamed not only for the entrance of sin into this world, but also for the concept of death. Humans would have been immortal had there not been this female disobedience. Cleary Sirach’s anti-feminism runs rampant in this section.

A woman’s wound (Sir 25:13-25:15)

“Any wound,

But not a wound of the heart!

Any wickedness,

But not the wickedness of a woman!

Any suffering,

But not the suffering

From those who hate!

Any vengeance,

But not the vengeance of enemies!

There is no venom worse

Than a snake’s venom.

There is no wrath worse

Than a woman’s wrath.”

Once again, Sirach emphasizes the male point of view. These powerful females make the poor men suffer. The worst wound is to the heart. The worst wickedness comes from a woman. Hateful suffering is worse than any kind of suffering. The vengeance of enemies is bad. Just like the worse venom is that of a snake, so the worst wrath is that of a woman. Somehow, women do not seem to suffer, only the men, who suffer so much from these evil women.

Covenant and the law (Sir 24:23-24:23)

“All this is

In the book of the covenant

Of the Most High God.

This is the law

That Moses commanded us.

It is an inheritance

For the congregations of Jacob.

Do not cease to be strong

In the Lord!

Cling to him!

Thus he may strengthen you.

The Lord Almighty alone is God.

Besides him,

There is no savior.”

Sirach emphasizes the Law of Moses in the book of the covenant for the descendants of Jacob. You should cling to the Lord, the one and only God and savior who gives you strength.

Yahweh knows all things (Ps 139:1-139:6)

To the choirmaster leader, a psalm of David

“Yahweh!

You have searched me!

You have known me!

You know

When I sit down.

You know

When I rise up.

You discern my thoughts from far away.

You search out my path.

You search out my lying down.

You are acquainted with all my ways.

Yahweh!

Even before a word is on my tongue,

You know it completely.

You hem me in,

Behind and before.

You lay your hand upon me.

Such knowledge is too wonderful for me.

It is so high

That I cannot attain it.”

Psalm 139 is a choral psalm or song of David, as the title indicates. This prayer for deliverance emphasizes the great knowledge of Yahweh. Yahweh truly knew David. He knew when he sat down or rose up. He knew his thoughts from far away. He knew when he was walking or lying down. He knew all about his ways. He knew what he was going to say before David said it, so that David felt hemmed in on all sides. The hand of Yahweh was on him. Yahweh’s knowledge was so wonderfully high that David could not attain it.

The great fraternal life (Ps 133:1-133:3)

A song of ascents.

“How very good it is!

How pleasant it is!

Kindred brothers live together in unity!

It is like the precious oil upon the head.

It runs down upon the beard.

It runs down on the beard of Aaron.

It runs down over the collar of his robes.

It is like the dew of Hermon.

It falls on the mountains of Zion.

For there Yahweh has commanded his blessing,

Life forevermore.”

Psalm 133 is another very short psalm in this series of pilgrimage songs on the ascent to Jerusalem. This wisdom song emphasizes the value of brothers living together in unity. This was like the holy oil that one puts on one’s head. As in the ceremony for the consecration of the Levitical priests, it runs down as on the beard of Aaron and over the collar of his robes. This good fraternal life is like the dew from the mountains of Hermon in Syria. Here the dew falls on Mount Zion. From Mount Zion, Yahweh gives his blessings of life forever. Thus this very short psalm concludes with everlasting life.