“Whoever flatters a neighbor
Is spreading a net for the neighbor’s feet.
In the transgressions of the evil
There is a snare.
But the righteous sing.
The righteous rejoice.
The righteous know the rights of the poor.
The wicked have no such understanding.”
If you flatter your neighbor, you are setting a trap or net for his feet. In the very transgression of the evil deed, there is a snare trap. The righteous sing and rejoice. They know about the rights of the poor, while the wicked have no understanding of the poor.
“To show partiality is not good.
Yet for a piece of bread
A person may do wrong.
A miser is in a hurry to get rich.
He does not know that loss is sure to come.
Whoever rebukes a person,
Will afterward find more favor
Than one who flatters with the tongue.
Anyone who robs his father or his mother
‘That is no crime,’
Is partner to a thug.
The greedy person stirs up strife.
But whoever trusts in Yahweh
Will be enriched.
Those who trust in their own wits are fools.
But those who walk in wisdom
Come through safely.
Whoever gives to the poor
Will lack nothing.
But one who turns a blind eye
Will get many a curse.
When the wicked prevail,
People go into hiding.
But when the wicked perish,
The righteous increase.”
You should not show partiality in judging others. Sometimes people will do wrong things just for a piece of bread. The misers will hurry to gain wealth but they will lose it in the end. It is better to rebuke people than to flatter them. Anyone who robs his mother or father, and then says that it is not a crime, is already the companion of a common thief. The greedy misers are always stirring up strife and trouble. If you trust in your own wits, you are a fool. Those who walk in wisdom come out safe. If you give to the poor, you will not lack anything. However, if you turn a blind eye to the poor, you will be cursed. Then this section ends with a repeat of what was said earlier in this chapter about when the wicked prevail, then people go into hiding. When the wicked perish, then the righteous increase.
“When he killed them,
They sought him.
They sought God earnestly.
That God was their rock,
That the Most High God was their redeemer.
But they flattered him with their mouths.
They lied to him with their tongues.
Their heart was not steadfast toward him.
They were not true to his covenant.”
After some of the Israelites died in the desert, others claimed to repent. They sought God earnestly as they remembered that God was their rock. The Most High God was their redeemer. They tried to flatter God with their mouths as they lied with their tongues. Their heart was not in it. They were not true to the covenant.
“Judith answered General Holofernes.
‘Accept the words of your slave.
Let your servant speak in your presence.
I will say nothing false to my lord this night.
If you follow out the words of your servant,
God will accomplish something through you.
My lord will not fail to achieve his purposes.
By the life of Nebuchadnezzar, the king of the whole earth,
By the power of him who has sent you
To direct every living being!
Not only do human beings serve him because of you,
But also the animals of the field and the cattle
And the birds of the air will live
Because of your power,
Under Nebuchadnezzar and his entire house.’”
Judith pretends to be the humble slave and servant of General Holofernes. She wants to speak as his servant. She said that she was not going to say anything false. A few of the commentators have pointed out that her words have a double meaning. Certainly on their face, they are meant to flatter the general and his king. She said that God will work through him. She accepted King Nebuchadnezzar as the king of the whole earth, who had the power to direct all humans, even the livestock in the field, as well as the birds in the air. She almost sets him up as the power of the known universe. General Holofernes also got his power from his king.