Evil comes from the human heart (Mk 7:21-7:23)

“It is from within,

From the human heart,

That evil intentions come.

Fornication,

Theft,

Murder,

Adultery,

Avarice,

Wickedness,

Deceit,

Licentiousness,

Envy,

Slander,

Pride,

And folly,

All these evil things

Come from within.

They defile a person.”

 

ἔσωθεν γὰρ ἐκ τῆς καρδίας τῶν ἀνθρώπων οἱ διαλογισμοὶ οἱ κακοὶ ἐκπορεύονται, πορνεῖαι, κλοπαί, φόνοι,

μοιχεῖαι, πλεονεξίαι, πονηρίαι, δόλος, ἀσέλγεια, ὀφθαλμὸς πονηρός, βλασφημία, ὑπερηφανία, ἀφροσύνη·

πάντα ταῦτα τὰ πονηρὰ ἔσωθεν ἐκπορεύεται καὶ κοινοῖ τὸν ἄνθρωπον.

 

There is something similar to this in Matthew, chapter 15:19-20.  Mark indicated that Jesus said that it is from within the heart of a person (ἔσωθεν γὰρ ἐκ τῆς καρδίας τῶν ἀνθρώπων) that evil or wicked thoughts come forth spreading out (οἱ διαλογισμοὶ οἱ κακοὶ ἐκπορεύονται).  This included such evil things as fornication or pornography (πορνεῖαι), theft (κλοπαί), murders or killings (φόνοι), adulteries (μοιχεῖαι), avarice (πλεονεξίαι), wickedness (πονηρίαι), deceit (δόλος), licentiousness or wanton sensuality (ἀσέλγεια,), envy or the evil eye (ὀφθαλμὸς πονηρός), slander, abusive language, or blasphemy (βλασφημία), pride (ὑπερηφανία), and folly or foolishness (ἀφροσύνη).  This list in Mark was longer and different than the list in Matthew.  All these evil things came from within (πάντα ταῦτα τὰ πονηρὰ ἔσωθεν).  They come forth from the person (ἐκπορεύεται).  They are the things that defile a person (καὶ κοινοῖ τὸν ἄνθρωπον).  You can clearly see what Jesus, his disciples, and the early Christian community considered as sins or defilements that made a person unclean or defiled.

Yahweh was going to deal with Edom (Ezek 35:11-35:13)

“Says Yahweh God!

‘Therefore,

As I live,

I will deal

With you

According to the anger,

According to the envy

That you showed

Because of your hatred

Against them.

I will make myself

Known among you,

When I judge you.

You shall know

That I,

Yahweh,

Have heard

All the abusive speech

That you uttered

Against the mountains

Of Israel.

Saying.

‘They are laid desolate.

They are given us

To devour.’

You magnified yourselves

Against me

With your mouth.

You multiplied

Your words

Against me.

I heard it.”

Yahweh God, via Ezekiel, said that he was going to deal with Edom, Mount Seir. The Edomites, with their anger and envy. had showed their hatred against Israel. Now Yahweh was going to judge the Edomites. They would soon learn who Yahweh was. He had heard all their abusive speech against the mountains of Israel. They had said that Israel was desolate and ready to be devoured. They magnified themselves against Yahweh with their mouths. They multiplied their words against Yahweh, but he had heard them.

 

The misery of the human condition (Sir 40:1-40:5)

“Hard work

Was created for everyone.

A heavy yoke is laid

On the children of Adam.

This begins

From the day they come forth

From their mother’s womb,

Until the day

They return

To the mother of all the living.

They have perplexities.

They have fear of heart.

They have their anxious thoughts

About the day of their death.

Whether one sits on a splendid throne,

Whether one grovels in dust,

Whether one grovels in ashes,

Whether one who wears purple,

Whether one wears a crown,

Whether one is clothed in burlap,

There is anger.

There is envy.

There is trouble.

There is unrest.

There is fear of death.

There is fury.

There is strife.”

Sirach indicates that hard work is for everyone. The children of Adam must wear a heavy yoke on their necks from the day they are born until the day they die. Humans are perplexed, fearful, and anxious about the day of their death. It does not matter whether they sit on a throne with a crown and purple clothing or grovel in dust and ashes wearing burlap, they all have the same troubles of anger, envy, unrest, fury, strife, and of course the fear of death.

Envy (Sir 9:11-9:12)

“Do not envy the success of sinners!

You do not know what their end will be like.

Do not delight in what pleases the ungodly!

Remember that they will not be held guiltless

All their lives.”

You should not envy sinners because you do not know how they will end up. Do not delight with the ungodly because sooner or later they will be found guilty too.

The history of wisdom (Wis 6:22-6:25)

“I will tell you

What wisdom is.

I will tell you

How she came to be.

I will hide no secrets from you.

But I will trace her course

From the beginning of creation.

I will make knowledge of her clear.

I will not pass by the truth.

I will not travel in the company

Of sickly envy.

Envy does not associate with wisdom.

The multitude of the wise

Is the salvation of the world.

A sensible king

Is the stability of any people.

Therefore

Be instructed by my words.

You will profit.”

Assuming the first person singular, probably as King Solomon, this author sets out to tell the developing history of wisdom (σοφία καὶ πῶς ἐγένετο). He was not going to hide any secrets or mysteries (μυστήρια). He was going to trace all of wisdom from the beginning of creation (γενέσεως). He was going to point this out clearly and truthfully. Envy (φθόνῳ) does not associate with wisdom (οὐ κοινωνήσει σοφίᾳ). The multitude of the wise will bring salvation to the world. A sensible king brings stability to the people. Therefore all can be instructed and gain from his words.

The futility of work (Eccl 4:4-4:6)

“Then I saw that all toil

 Comes from one person’s envy of another.

All skill in work

Comes from one person’s envy of another.

This also is vanity.

This is chasing after wind.

‘Fools fold their hands.

Fools consume their own flesh.

Better is a handful with quiet

Than two handfuls with toil

Chasing after wind.’”

Qoheleth saw that everyone worked with skill because of the envy that they had for others. This was useless, like chasing after the wind, never able to catch it. Fools fold their hands and devour themselves. It is much better to be quiet with a little bit of wealth than to toil with two handfuls. All work seems to be futile, like chasing after the unattainable wind.