The deed is done (Ezek 9:11-9:11)

“Then the man,

Clothed in linen,

With the writing case

At his side,

Brought back word.

He said.

‘I have done

As you commanded me.’”

The man with the writing case at his side said that he was finished with his task of finding people who cared about the terrible situation in Jerusalem. He had marked all those who were to be saved, just as Yahweh had told him to do.

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Wisdom is the best (Sir 40:18-40:21)

“Wealth makes life sweet.

Wages makes life sweet.

But better than either is

The one who finds wisdom.

Children establish one’s name.

Building a city establishes one’s name.

Better than either is

The one who finds wisdom.

Cattle make one prosperous.

Orchards make one prosperous.

But a blameless wife is

Accounted better than either.

Wine gladdens the heart.

Music gladdens the heart.

But the love of wisdom is

Better than either.”

Sirach makes a lot of comparisons in these proverbs. No matter what, wisdom is always better than anything else. It is the best. Certainly having wealth and wages make life sweet. However, finding wisdom is sweeter than both of them. Having children and building a city will establish your name, but the one who finds wisdom is better established. Having cattle and orchards can make you prosperous, but a blameless wife is better than either of them. She is like wisdom. Finally, wine and music gladden the heart, but the love of wisdom is a better heart warmer than either wine or music.

The old foolish king (Eccl 4:13-4:16)

“‘Better is a poor

But wise youth

Than an old

But foolish king,

Who will no longer take advice.’

One can indeed

Come out of prison

To reign,

Even though born poor

In the kingdom.

I saw all the living

That move about

Under the sun.

Follow that youth

Who replaced the king.

There was no end

To all those people

Whom he led.

Yet those who come later

Will not rejoice in him.

Surely this also is vanity.

This is chasing after wind.”

It is better to get rid of an old foolish king who will not take advice. A poor wise young person can be a king, even if he comes out of prison. Qoheleth has seen everything under the sun. He wants you to follow the new young king, who replaced the old king. People will follow him even though they might not rejoice later. After all, this is all vanity and futile. Finding the perfect king is like chasing after wind, never to be achieved.

The good wife (Prov 31:10-31:12)

Aleph

“A good wife,

Who can find her?

She is far more precious

Than jewels.

Bet

The heart of her husband

Trusts in her.

He will have no lack of gain.

Gimel

She does him good.

She does not bring harm,

All the days of her life.”

The Book of Proverbs ends with this Hebrew acrostic or alphabet tribute to the perfect wife. Each verse starts with a different letter of the Hebrew alphabet like some of the Psalms. Finding the perfect wife was like finding wisdom. This has led some to see wisdom as female, so that the Spirit of wisdom is feminine. A good capable wife is hard to find. She, like wisdom, is far more precious than jewels. Her husband can trust her. He will be successful because of her. She brings him good and not harm all the days of her life.