We have not followed the law (Dan 9:9-9:11)

“To the Lord!

Our God!

Belong mercy!

Belong forgiveness!

We have rebelled

Against him.

We have not obeyed

The voice of Yahweh,

Our God,

By following his laws,

That he set

Before us,

By his servants,

The prophets.

All Israel

Has transgressed

Your law.

They have turned aside

From it.

They refuse

To obey your voice.

Thus,

The curse,

With the oath written

In the law of Moses,

The servant of God,

Has been poured out

Upon us,

Because we have sinned

Against you.”

Daniel asked his Lord God to bring mercy and forgiveness because they had rebelled against him. They had not obeyed the voice of Yahweh, their God. They had not followed his laws that he set before them, through his servant prophets. All Israel had transgressed God’s law, because they turned away from it. They had refused to obey God’s voice. Thus, they ended up with the curse and the oath written in the law of Moses, the servant of God. This curse was poured out on them, because they had sinned against God.

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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.

Futile sacrificial offerings (Isa 1:11-1:13)

“‘What to me

Is the multitude of your sacrifices?’

Says Yahweh.

‘I have had enough

Of burnt offerings

Of rams.

I have had enough

Of burnt offerings

Of the fat of fed beasts.

I do not delight

In the blood of bulls.

I do not delight

In the blood of lambs.

I do not delight

In the blood of goats.

When you come

To appear before me,

Who asked this

From your hand?

Trample my courts no more.

Bringing offerings is futile.

Incense is an abomination to me.’”

In a total rejection of the priestly Levitical Israelite line that stressed the importance and necessity of sacrificial offerings, Yahweh, via Isaiah, seems to call all of the Temple sacrifices useless. Why were there multitudes of sacrifices? Yahweh, the Lord, had had enough of priestly burnt offerings of rams, fatten animals, blood, bulls, lambs, and goats. Who asked you to bring all these animals? Why, of course it was God’s law, the Torah, especially the books of Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers. It was a common theme as late as the wisdom literature. Here is an opposite strain of thought. Yahweh did not want his courts trampled, but that was what the law called for. This is a strong condemnation of incense, which was praised throughout all the other biblical writings because of its sweet smell. What a stunning reversal against the Torah!

Verify what you hear (Sir 19:13-19:17)

“Question a friend!

Perhaps he did not do it.

But if he did anything,

Then he may not do it again.

Question a neighbor!

Perhaps he did not say it.

But if he said it,

Then he may not repeat it.

Question a friend!

Often it is slander.

Do not believe everything you hear.

A person may make a slip

Without intending it.

Who has not sinned with his tongue?

Question your neighbor

Before you threaten him!

Let the law of the Most High

Take its course.

Do not be angry!”

Sirach warns us to verify what you have heard before you take any actions. You should go to the person and ask whether what you have heard is true or not. If a friend has done or said something, check it out to see if he did what you thought he did. Perhaps he will not do it again, if you confront him. Do the same with your neighbor. Here is the famous saying, “do not believe everything you hear.” Sometimes people slip and say something that they did not intend to say. Everyone has had a slip of the tongue. Everyone has sinned with their tongues. Always question people, before you threaten them. Let God’s law take its course. Do not be quick to anger.