King Hezekiah reacts to the news about Rabshakeh (Isa 37:1-37:1)

“When King Hezekiah heard this,

He also tore his clothes.

He covered himself with sackcloth.

He went into the house of Yahweh.”

Once again, this is almost word for word from 2 Kings, chapter 19. The 3 envoys of the king reported to him what they had heard. King Hezekiah also tore his clothes. Apparently it was common to tear your clothes whenever you heard bad news. If you were a pessimist, you would need a large wardrobe or you would often wear torn clothes. Here the king also put on sack cloth, the cloth that carried the various vegetables or foods. Being a good king, King Hezekiah (716-687 BCE) went into the house of Yahweh, the temple.

Death (Sir 41:1-41:4)

“O death!

How bitter is the thought of you!

Death is bitter to those

Who live at peace

Among their possessions!

Death is bitter to those

Who have nothing to worry about!

Death is bitter to those

Who are prosperous in everything!

Death is bitter to those

Who still are vigorous enough

To enjoy food!

O death!

How welcome is your sentence?

Death is welcome to those

Who are failing in strength!

Death is welcome to those

Who are worn down by age!

Death is welcome to those

Who are anxious about everything!

Death is welcome to those

Who are contrary!

Death is welcome to those

Who have lost all patience!

Do not fear death’s decree for you!

Remember those who went before you!

Remember those who will come after you!

This is the Lord’s decree for all flesh.

Why then should you reject

The will of the Most High?

Whether life lasts

For ten years,

Or a hundred years,

Or a thousand years,

There are no questions asked

In Hades.”

Sirach has a poem about death. The thought of death is bitter to those who are doing well with a lot of possessions. They are prosperous, without worry, and vigorous enough to enjoy foods. On the other hand, the thought of death is welcomed by those who are not doing as well, the needy, the old, the contrary, those with failing strength, those anxious about everything, and those who have lost all patience. Remember that everybody before you and after you will die also. It does not matter how long your life is, in Hades they do not care if you lived 10 years, or a 100 years or a 1,000 years. It is death, plain and simple.