True and false wisdom (Sir 19:20-19:22)

“The whole of wisdom

Is fear of the Lord.

In all wisdom,

There is the fulfillment

Of the law.

There is knowledge

Of his omnipresence.

When a slave cries

To his master.

‘I will not act

As you wish’

Even if later he does it,

He angers the one

Who supports him.

The knowledge of wickedness

Is not wisdom.

There is not prudence

In the counsel of sinners.”

Sirach reminds us of the difference between true and false wisdom. True and all wisdom starts with the fear of the Lord. True wisdom follows the law, knowing that God is everywhere. Sirach uses a comparison between a slave and us. We should never say to the Lord that we are not going to do something, even if we do it later. We will anger God, the one who supports us. On the other hand, the knowledge of wickedness is not wisdom. There is no prudence among the counsel of sinners.

Yahweh is present everywhere (Ps 139:7-139:12)

“Where can I go from your Spirit?

Where can I flee from your presence?

If I ascend to heaven,

You are there!

If I make my bed in Sheol,

You are there!

If I take the wings of the morning,

If I settle at the farthest limits of the sea,

Even there your hand shall lead me.

Your right hand shall hold me fast.

If I say.

‘Surely the darkness shall cover me.

The light around becomes night.’

Even the darkness is not dark to you.

The night is as bright as the day.

The darkness is as light to you.”

David wanted to know where he could go to avoid the presence of Yahweh. He wanted to know where he could go without Yahweh’s spirit not being there. If he went to heaven, obviously Yahweh would be there. However, he also said that if he went down to Sheol, the underworld of eternal darkness, Yahweh would be there also. If he flew to the farthest place in the sky or the sea, Yahweh would still be there. His hand held him tightly. Even in darkness he could not escape. For Yahweh, there was no difference between day and night, he had infra-red vision to see him whether it was dark or not. Thus the presence of Yahweh was everywhere. He was omnipresent.

Yahweh will protect us (Ps 12:7-12: 8)

“Yahweh!

You will protect us!

You will guard us from this generation forever.

On every side

The wicked prowl.

As vileness is exalted among humankind.”

Now there is a direct appeal to Yahweh. Yahweh will protect the faithful ones and guard them from this wicked generation. These wicked people prowl around as their vileness is exalted everywhere. So ends this short psalm with a confident cry to Yahweh.