The plight of Jerusalem (Jer 4:30-4:31)

“You!

O desolate one!

What do you mean

That you dress in crimson?

Why do you deck yourself

With ornaments of gold?

Why do you enlarge your eyes

With paint?

In vain,

You beautify yourself.

Your lovers despise you.

They seek your life.

I heard a cry

Like a woman in labor.

I heard a cry

Of anguish,

Like one bringing forth

Her first child.

This was the cry

Of the daughter Zion

Gasping for breath.

She was stretching out her hands.

‘Woe is me!

I am fainting

Before killers.’”

Jeremiah took on desolate Jerusalem that put on crimson dresses and golden ornaments. She painted her eyes to make them look larger. She was ready to party, but she beautified herself and gussied up in vain. In fact, her lovers wanted to kill her. Jerusalem was also like a woman in childbirth labor pains, much like a woman giving birth to her first child, which is always more difficult. She was gasping for breath. She stretched out her hands, realizing that she was fainting before her killers. Jerusalem was about to go down also.

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Accept the discipline (Sir 6:23-6:31)

“Listen!

My child!

Accept my judgment!

Do not reject my counsel!

Put your feet into her fetters!

Put your neck into her collar!

Bend your shoulder!

Carry her!

Do not fret under her bonds!

Come to her with all your soul!

Keep her ways with all your might!

Search out!

Seek her!

She will become known to you.

When you get hold of her,

Do not let her go.

For at last,

You will find the rest she gives.

She will be changed into joy for you.

Then her fetters will become for you a strong defense.

Her collar will be a golden ornament.

Her bonds will be a purple cord.

You will wear her like a glorious robe.

You will put her on like a splendid crown.”

Sirach wants the children to listen to him and accept his judgment. They should receive the chains of wisdom around their necks and on their feet in order to accept wisdom. They should carry her, this feminine wisdom, and let her come into their souls. They should seek and search her out. She will become known to them. They should never let her go. Their lives will be changed into joy as the chains will be a defense. They will have golden ornaments around their necks, purple cords, and a splendid crown. Just listen to what he and wisdom are telling them. This almost sounds like a masochistic love for this female wisdom.