These gods have no feeling (Bar 6:24-6:26)

“As for the gold

That these idol gods wear

For beauty,

It will not shine

Unless someone

Wipes off the tarnish.

Even when

They were being cast,

They had no feeling.

They are bought

Without regard to cost.

But there is no breath

In them.

Having no feet,

They are carried

On the shoulders of others.

They reveal

To all humans

Their worthlessness.”

This author’s diatribe against the false idols continues with an accusation that these idols have no feelings. They wear gold for beauty, but it will not shine unless someone else wipes off its tarnish. As these idols were cast in an iron furnace, they had no feelings while this was going on. However, money is not a problem with creating these idols. Even so, these expensive idol images have no breath and no feet. They have to be carried on the shoulders of others. Thus they reveal to everyone that they are worthless.

Good banquet manners (Sir 31:12-31:18)

“Are you seated

At the table of the great?

Do not be greedy at it!

Do not say.

‘How much food there is here!’

Remember that a greedy eye

Is a bad thing.

What has been created greedier

Than the eye?

Therefore it sheds tears

For any reason.

Do not reach out your hand

For everything you see!

Do not crowd your neighbor

At the dish!

Judge your neighbor’s feelings

By your own.

In every matter,

Be thoughtful!

Eat what is set before you,

Like a well brought-up person.

Do not chew greedily!

You might give offense.

Be the first to stop eating!

This befits good manners.

Do not be insatiable!

You might give offense.

If you are seated

Among many persons,

Do not help yourself

Before they do.”

When you go to a banquet with great people, do not be greedy. Do not say “wow, this is a lot of food.” Sirach warns that a greedy eye is a bad thing. In fact eyes are the greediest since they also cry. Do not reach out for everything on the table. Don’t crowd your neighbor when you are eating. Be thoughtful of other people’s feelings. Eat like a well breed person. Do not greedily chew your food. Be the first one to stop eating. Don’t keep eating. Let others go before you when you go to get food. Sirach wanted everyone to have good banquet manners.

Friendship (Sir 22:19-22:22)

“Whoever pricks an eye

Brings tears.

Whoever pricks the heart

Makes clear its feelings.

Whoever throws a stone at birds

Scares them away.

Whoever reviles a friend

Destroys a friendship.

Even if you have drawn your sword

Against a friend,

Do not despair.

There is a way back.

If you have opened your mouth

Against your friend,

Do not worry.

Reconciliation is possible.

But your friend will flee

If you have been reviling,

If you have been arrogant,

If you have disclosed his secrets,

If you have dealt a treacherous blow.”

Friendship is tricky. Certain things follow naturally. If you prick your eye you will get a tear in your eye. If you touch someone’s heart, you make your feelings known. If you throw stones at birds, they will scatter. If you revile a friend with abusive language, you will destroy that friendship. If you have drawn a sword or opened your mouth against a friend, don’t despair. There is still a chance for this friendship to be reconciled. However, your friend will leave you if you use abusive arrogant language, disclose their secrets, or try to kill them. These actions are show stoppers. The friendship will die. Your friend will go away and not come back.

God of the whirlwind (Ps 77:16-77:20)

“When the waters saw you!

O God!

When the waters saw you,

They were afraid.

The very deep trembled.

The clouds poured out water.

The skies thundered.

Your arrows flashed on every side.

The crash of your thunder

Was in the whirlwind.

Your lightnings lit up the world.

The earth trembled.

The earth shook.

Your way was through the sea.

Your path was through the mighty waters.

Your footprints were unseen.

You led your people like a flock

By the hand of Moses and Aaron.”

This psalm ends with a remembrance of the power and presence of Yahweh when he was with Moses and Aaron. He recalled the power of God in the storms. He remembered how Yahweh had helped his people get out of Egypt. These themes were captured in this ancient hymn to God. The waters were afraid of God, as if the waters had feelings of trembling before God. The lightnings in the sky were the arrows of Yahweh. The thunder was his voice. The earth trembled, much like the waters. The earth shook. However, he led his people by way of the great sea so that they were no footprints left behind. He led his people like a flock of sheep through the hands of Moses and Aaron. Notice that Aaron is considered the equivalent to Moses here.