“O Lord God!
It is you!
You made the heavens!
You made the earth!
By your great power!
By your outstretched arm!
Nothing is too hard for you!
You show steadfast love
To the thousandth generation.
But you repay
The guilt of parents
Into the laps of their children
O great mighty God!
Your name is Yahweh of hosts!
You are great in counsel!
You are mighty in deeds!
Your eyes are open
To all the ways of mortals!
You reward all
According to their ways,
According to the fruit
Of their doings!”
Jeremiah’s prays to an all powerful God, who has made heaven and earth by his potent outstretched hand. There is nothing too hard for God to do. God’s love lasts over 1,000 generations. However, he repays the guilt of the parents by putting it into the laps of their children, who come after them. Yahweh of hosts is the name of this God, who is great and mighty in deeds. He gives counsel, as his eyes are open to the various ways of mortals. He rewards humans according to their ways and the fruit of their actions.
“Yahweh has a day of vengeance.
He has a year of vindication
For Zion’s cause.
The streams of Edom
Shall be turned into pitch.
Her soil turned into sulfur.
Her land shall become a burning pitch.
Night and day,
It shall not be quenched.
Its smoke shall go up forever.
From generation to generation,
It shall lie waste.
No one shall pass through it forever and ever.”
Isaiah says that Yahweh will have his day of vengeance and a year of vindication for Mount Zion. The water streams of Edom will be turned into oily pitch, while the land will become like sulfur. Thus the whole land will become a burning pitch of fire and brimstone. Both day and night, forever, this fire with its smoke will not go out. For generations to come, this land will lay wasted so that no one will ever pass by there again. Its sounds like some kind of deserted smoking volcano, suffering the same fate as Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis, chapter 19.
“If the great Lord is willing,
He will be filled
With the spirit of understanding.
He will pour forth
Words of wisdom.
He will give thanks
To the Lord in prayer.
The Lord will direct his counsel.
The Lord will direct his knowledge.
He will meditate on his mysteries.
He will show the wisdom
Of what he has learned.
He will glory in the law
Of the Lord’s covenant.
Many will praise
It will never be blotted out.
His memory will not disappear.
His name will live
Through all generations.
Nations will speak of his wisdom.
Will proclaim his praise.
If he lives long,
He will leave a name
Greater than a thousand.
If he goes to rest,
It is enough for him.”
Sirach continues his praise for the wise scribes like himself. Always it is the will of God that brings wisdom and understanding. These scribes will speak words of wisdom and give prayerful thanks to the Lord. The Lord directs their counsel and knowledge, as they meditate on the divine mysteries. These scribes will show their wisdom by glorifying the law and the covenant. However, many will praise these scribes, since their names will not disappear or be blotted out, but remain for generations to come. Many countries and congregations will praise them also. If they live long, their names will be remembered more than 1,000 others. If they die early, that will be okay also.
“A generation goes.
A generation comes.
But the earth remains forever.
The sun rises.
The sun goes down.
The sun hastens to the place
Where it rises.
The wind blows to the south.
The wind goes around to the north.
Round and round goes the wind.
On its circuits
The wind returns.
All streams run to the sea.
But the sea is not full.
They continue to flow
To the place where the streams flow.
There they continue to flow.”
This is a stunning appreciation of creation. Generations of humans come and go, but the earth remains forever in a static flat world concept. The sun rises and sets every day. There was no thought that the earth was moving around a static sun. The wind blew in from the north to south and then around and around again. The wind, as we know, blows in various directions. The streams do run to the sea, and not vice versa. However, the seas never seem to fill up because there is osmosis. No matter what, the streams continue to flow to where they want to go, usually downhill because of gravity. Thus this poetic expression of creation uses the scientific assumptions of its day, not those of the later scientific age.
“Yahweh will reign forever!
For all generations!
This psalm ends where it began with an alleluia, praise Yahweh, the Hebrew “Hallelujah.” Yahweh will rule as the God of Zion forever to all generations.
“All your works shall give thanks to you!
All your faithful shall bless you!
They shall speak of the glory
Of your kingdom.
They shall tell of your power.
They shall make known to all people
Your mighty deeds.
They shall make known
The glorious splendor
Of your kingdom.
Your kingdom is
An everlasting kingdom.
Your dominion endures
Throughout all generations.”
David wanted all the works of Yahweh to give thanks. He wanted all the faithful to bless him. They should speak of the glory and the power of his kingdom. They should tell everybody about his mighty deeds. They should let everyone know about the glorious splendor of his kingdom. Yahweh’s kingdom is everlasting and endures forever through all generations. The next 4 letters of the Hebrew alphabet are found here in italic.
Happy are those who fear Yahweh!
Happy are those who greatly delight in his commandments!
Their descendants will be mighty in the land.
The generation of the upright will be blessed.
Wealth and riches are in their houses.
Their righteousness endures forever.
They rise in the darkness as a light for the upright.
They are gracious, merciful, and righteous.
It is well with those who deal generously and lend.
They conduct their affairs with justice.
The righteous will never be moved.
They will be remembered forever.”
Psalm 112 is a companion psalm to Psalm 111. Even though it is fairly short, it is another line by line acrostic or Hebrew alphabet psalm without any title. Just like the preceding psalm, it also starts with the refrain “Praise Yahweh” or the Alleluia cry, the Hebrew word “Hallelujah.” Although there is a comparison between the righteous and the wicked, the emphasis is mostly on the righteous. The righteous are happy because they fear God. They delight in his commandments. Their descendants will be mighty. The generations of the upright are blessed and happy since their righteousness endures forever. They will have wealth and riches in their houses. They will be the light in the darkness. They are gracious, merciful, and righteous, just like Yahweh. They will be generous and just. They will be remembered because of their righteousness.
“Then the Israelites attached themselves to the Baal of Peor.
They ate sacrifices offered to the dead.
They provoked Yahweh to anger with their doings.
A plague broke out among them.
Then Phinehas stood up.
Then the plague was stopped.
That has been reckoned to him as righteousness
From generation to generation forever.”
Once again Yahweh was angry with the Israelites as they sacrificed to the pagan god Baal at Mount Peor in Numbers, chapter 25. They had sex with the local women and began to worship the local gods of Baal on their way into the Promised Land. This proved Yahweh to anger again, so that a plague broke out among the Israelites. Phinehas, who was the grandson of Aaron, stood up and killed an Israelite who brought a local Midian woman into his family. He also killed her with a sword in front of everybody. With that, the plague that had killed 24,000 Israelites stopped. Thus his name, Phinehas, is still honored for generations. This killing was considered righteousness because of the wicked Israelites.
“O offspring of his servant!
Children of Jacob!
His chosen ones!
He is Yahweh our God!
His judgments are over all the earth.
He is mindful of his covenant forever.
He is mindful of the word that he commanded,
For a thousand generations.
That is the covenant
That he made with Abraham.
He had a sworn promise to Isaac.
He confirmed it to Jacob as a statute.
He has an everlasting covenant with Israel.
‘To you I will give the land of Canaan.
It is as your portion for an inheritance.’”
The people of Israel are offspring of Abraham. They are the children of Jacob. They are the chosen ones. Yahweh is their God. He judges the whole earth. He has made a covenant forever that he does not forget so that it will last 1,000 generations. This is the covenant that he made with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. It was a promise to Isaac and a statute to Jacob. There would be an everlasting covenant with Israel as Jacob became Israel. The land of Canaan will be their inheritance.
“Let this be recorded for a generation to come.
Thus a people yet unborn may praise Yahweh.
He looked down from his holy height.
Yahweh looked at the earth.
He heard the groans of the prisoners.
He set free those who were doomed to die.
Thus the name of Yahweh may be declared in Zion.
His praise may be declared in Jerusalem.
Peoples will gather together to worship Yahweh.
Kingdoms will worship Yahweh.”
This was to be recorded for posterity so that future generations would praise Yahweh. He looked down from heaven, his holy high place, on earth. He heard the groans of the prisoners and those doomed to die. He wanted the name of Yahweh declared on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem. Various people and kingdoms will gather in the future to worship Yahweh.