Silence (Sir 20:1-20:8)

“There is a rebuke

That is untimely.

There is also the person

Who is wise enough to keep silent.

How much better it is to rebuke

Than to fume.

Whoever admits his fault

Will be kept from failure.

Like a eunuch’s lusting

To violate a girl,

Is the person who does right

Under compulsion.

Some people keep silent.

They are thought to be wise.

Others are detested

For being too talkative.

Some people keep silent

Because they have nothing to say.

Others keep silent

Because they know

When to speak.

The wise remain silent

Until the right moment.

But boasting fools

Miss the right moment.

Whoever talks too much

Is detested.

Whoever pretends to authority

Is hated.”

Although some criticisms are at the wrong time, there are people wise enough to keep silent. However, it is much better to criticize than to stay fuming about something. If you admit your faults, you will be kept from future failure. Anyone who is forced to do the right thing is like a castrated male eunuch lusting to violate a young girl. There is no reward for this action. Some people who keep silent are considered wise, while others are detested for talking too much. Some people keep silent because they have nothing to say, while the wise ones are just waiting for the right moment to speak. The boasting fools miss the right moment. Some people do not like those who talk too much, while others hate those who pretend to have authority.

The power of God (Ps 60:1-60:4)

To the choirmaster leader, according to Lily of the Covenant, a Miktam of David, for instruction, when he struggled with Aram-naharaim and with Aram-zobah, and when Joab on his return killed twelve thousand Edomites in the Valley of Salt.

“O God!

You have rejected us!

You have broken our defenses!

You have been angry!

Restore us!

You have caused the land to quake.

You have torn it open.

Repair the cracks in it!

It is tottering.

You have made your people

Suffer hard things.

You have given us wine to drink

That made us reel.

You have set up a banner

For those who fear you.

You want us to rally

To it from the bow.”

Selah

Psalm 60 has one of the longest titles of any of the psalms. As opposed to the earlier individual complaints of David, this is a group lament. Once again it is a choral song to the tune of “Lily of the Covenant,” which will be the tune of Psalm 80 also. According to 2 Samuel, chapter 8, it was David himself who killed the 18,000 Edomites in the Valley of the Salt. This was on an adventure into southern Syria. He actually had been successful but this psalm is more about failure. Somehow God has rejected them, a theme often heard in the later time of captivity. Their defense had been broken. God was angry with them so he wanted God to restore them. They have had a mini earthquake so that there were cracks in the ground. The people had been suffering. Unfortunately, they had been drinking the wrong kind of wine. They wanted to rally around God’s banner out of the distance of bows and arrows. This section ended with a musical interlude meditative pause, Selah.