Wisdom is in the Law of God (Bar 4:1-4:4)

“Wisdom is the book

Of the commandments

Of God.

Wisdom is

The law

That endures forever.

All who hold her fast

Will live.

Those who forsake her

Will die.

Turn!

O Jacob!

Take her!

Walk toward

The shining of her light!

Do not give

Your glory

To another!

Do not give

Your advantages

To an alien people!

Happy are we!

O Israel!

We know

What is pleasing

To God.”

The author of Baruch clearly states that wisdom is the book of the commandments of God, the law that endures forever. There is an equivalency between wisdom and the commandments of God since they are one and the same. Thus the beginning of wisdom is following God’s law. Everyone who holds fast to wisdom will live, while those who forsake her will die. Jacob was to turn and take wisdom. They were to walk towards the shining light of wisdom. They were not to give glory to anyone else. They were not to give their advantages to an alien people. Israel was happy, because they knew what was pleasing to God.

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Yahweh is the fountain of living water (Jer 17:12-17:13)

“O glorious throne,

Exalted from the beginning,

Shrine in our sanctuary!

Yahweh!

O hope of Israel!

All who forsake you

Shall be put to shame.

Those who turn away from you

Shall be recorded

In the underworld.

They have forsaken

The fountain of living water,          

Yahweh!”

This seems to be two verses that were added to Jeremiah, talking about Yahweh. Yahweh was sitting on his glorious throne. He was the hope of Israel, so that he would shine in their sanctuary. Anyone who gave up on Yahweh would be put to shame and thus recorded in the underworld. They have forsaken the fountain of the living water that is Yahweh himself.

Israel brought it on themselves (Jer 2:17-2:19)

“Have you not brought this upon yourself?

You have forsaken Yahweh your God.

He tried to lead you in the way.

What did you gain by going to Egypt?

Why did you try to drink

The waters of the Nile?

What did you gain by going to Assyria?

Why did you try to drink

The waters of the Euphrates?

Your wickedness will punish you.

Your apostates will convict you.

Know!

See!

It is evil!

It is bitter for you

To forsake Yahweh

Your God.

The fear of me is not in you.’

Says Yahweh

God of hosts.”

Jeremiah reminds Israel that they brought all this destruction on themselves by giving up on Yahweh and going their own way. They gained nothing by going to Egypt to drink from the Nile River or from Assyria to drink from the Euphrates River. They will be punished for their wickedness by their own people. They will know and see that it is evil and bitter to forsake Yahweh.  They did not fear Yahweh, the God of hosts.

False tongue (Sir 28:22-28:26)

“A false tongue

Has no power

Over the godly.

They will not be burned

In its flame.

Whoever forsakes the Lord

Will fall into its power.

It will burn among them.

It will not be put out.

It will be sent out against them

Like a lion.

Like a leopard,

It will mangle them.

As you fence in your property

With thorns,

So make a door.

Make a bolt

For your mouth.

As you lock up your silver,

So make balances

For your words.

As you lock up your gold,

So make scales

For your words.

Take care!

Do not err

With your tongue.

Otherwise you will fall victim

To one lying in wait.”

Sirach says that this false tongue does not have any power over the godly. They will not be burned by its flames. However, those who forsake the Lord will fall under the power of these false tongues. The fire will burn in them so that they will not be able to put out this fire. They will feel like they are being attacked by a lion or mauled by a leopard. You need to put a door and a bolt on your mouth just as you fence in your property with thorn bushes to keep you from false speech. You should weigh what you say and balance your words, just as you protect your silver and gold. Do not make mistakes with your tongue by falling victim to those who are waiting to catch you.

Take care of your father (Sir 3:10-3:16)

“Do not glorify yourself

By dishonoring your father.

Your father’s dishonor

Is no glory to you.

The glory of one’ father

Is one’s own glory.

It is a disgrace for children

Not to respect their mother.

My child!

Help your father in his old age!

Do not grieve him

As long as he lives.

Even if his mind fails,

Be patient with him!

Because you have all your faculties

Do not despise him!

Kindness to a father

Will not be forgotten.

Kindness to a father

Will be credited to you against yours sins.

In the day of your distress

It will be remembered in your favor.

Like frost in fair weather,

Your sins will melt away.

Whoever forsakes his father

Is like a blasphemer.

Whoever angers his mother

Is cursed by the Lord.”

Continuing the theme of taking care of parents, you should not consider dishonoring your father as a glory to you. It is a disgrace not to honor your mother also. You should help your father in his old age. You should not bother him. Be patient with him, even if his mind fails and you have all your faculties. The kindness to a father will be credited against your sins. When you are in trouble, it will be remembered in your favor. Like frost melting in sunny weather, your sins will melt away. However, if you forsake your father, that is like a blasphemy. If you anger your mother, you will be cursed by God.

The wicked (Prov 15:8-15:12)

“The sacrifice of the wicked is

An abomination to Yahweh.

But the prayer of the upright is

His delight.

The way of the wicked is

An abomination to Yahweh.

But he loves whoever

Pursues righteousness.

There is severe discipline

For one who forsakes the way.

But one who hates rebuke will die.

Sheol and Abaddon lie open before Yahweh.

How much more the human hearts!

Scoffers do not like to be rebuked.

They will not go to the wise.”

The wicked are so bad that their sacrifice to Yahweh is an abomination. However, the prayer of the upright is delightful to Yahweh. The way of the wicked is an abomination to Yahweh because Yahweh loves righteousness. He rebukes those who forsake his way. However, the wicked do not like to be rebuked. These wicked ones will die and go to Sheol, the shadowy underground world, or Abaddon, the bottomless pit. Those cynic scoffers do not like to be rebuked either. They refuse to go with their human heart in following the wise ones.

Parental wisdom teaching (Prov 4:1-4:9)

“Children!

Listen to a father’s instruction!

Be attentive!

Thus you may gain insight into truth.

I give you good precepts.

Do not forsake my teaching.

When I was a son with my father,

I was tender.

I was my mother’s favorite.

He taught me.

He said to me.

‘Let your heart hold fast my words.

Keep my commandments.

Thus you will live.

Get wisdom!

Get insight!

Do not forget!

Do not turn away from the words of my mouth!

Do not forsake her!

She will keep you.

Love her!

Thus she will guard you.

The beginning of wisdom is this.

Get wisdom!

Whatever else you get,

Get insight!

Prize her highly!

Thus she will exalt you.

She will honor you

If you embrace her.

She will place on your head

A fair garland.

She will bestow on you

A beautiful crown.’”

Once again, we have paternal instruction. This father wanted his children to be attentive so that they could gain some insight. He wanted them not to forget his good teaching, since he was only doing what his father had done to him. He had been the favorite of his mother. He believed that he should follow his father’s words and commands. If they did the same, they would have a good life. In a tautology, he said that the beginning of wisdom is to get wisdom. Wow! They were to get wisdom and insight, first and foremost. They were not to forsake lady wisdom. If they kept her, she would keep them. If they loved wisdom, she would protect them. If they prized her, she would exalt them. If they embraced her, she would honor them. Thus they would have a wonderful Roman garland and a beautiful crown.