Do not pray for them (Jer 7:16-7:16)

As for you!

Do not pray for this people!

Do not raise a cry for them!

Do not raise a prayer for them!

Do not intercede with me!

I do not hear you!”

Yahweh gives Jeremiah a strange command. He does not want Jeremiah to exercise his prophetic function of praying for his people. He does not want him to raise a cry or prayer in their favor. He does not want him to intercede with him because he will not hear him. Yahweh is really mad at Judah.

Value of skilled workers (Sir 38:31-38:34)

“All these workers rely

On their hands.

All are skilful

In their own work.

Without them,

No city can be inhabited.

Wherever they live,

They will not go hungry.

Yet they are not sought out

For the council of the people.

They do not attain eminence

In the public assembly.

They do not sit

In the judge’s seat.

They do understand

The decisions of the courts.

They cannot expound discipline.

They cannot expound judgment.

They are not found using proverbs.

They are not found among the rulers.

But they maintain

The fabric of the world.

Their concern is

For the exercise of their trade.

Their prayer is

In the practice of their trade.”

Sirach emphasizes the importance of skilled manual workers. No inhabitable city can exist without them, so that they will never go hungry. However, they do not serve in the city council or in public assemblies. They are not judges, since they do not understand the decisions of the courts, their discipline, or their judgments. They are never found among the rulers or using proverbs. Yet they maintain the fabric of society. Their concern and prayer is found in the exercise of their skilled manual trades.

The headstrong daughter (Sir 26:10-26:12)

“Keep strict watch

Over a headstrong daughter.

Otherwise when she finds liberty,

She will make use of it.

Be on guard

Against her impudent eye.

Do not be surprised

If she sins against you.

As a thirsty traveler

Opens his mouth to drink

From any water near him,

So she will sit

In front of every tent peg.

She will open her quiver

To the arrow.”

Sirach has some advice on how to handle a headstrong daughter. Notice that there is no mention of a headstrong son. This daughter will try to exercise her freedom. However, the father is warned against this, because she may have an impudent eye. In fact, she may sin not against God, but this father, as if he were God. She is like a thirsty traveler who opens his mouth to drink any kind of water. She will sit in front of the tent by the pegs that hold it down. There she will open her archery quiver so that others may put their arrows into it. This sounds like a sexual allusion. Thus there is a need to keep an eye on all young daughters, so that they do not stray from their father’s wishes.