Beware of counselors (Sir 37:7-37:9)

“All counselors praise

The counsel that they give.

But some give counsel

In their own interest.

Be wary of a counselor!

Learn first

What is his interest!

He will take thought

For himself.

He may cast the lot

Against you.

He may tell you.

‘Your way is good.’

Then he may stand aside

To see what happens to you.”

Sirach warns that you should be cautious about consultants. They all think that they are giving you good advice. However, they may be giving you advice that helps them rather than you. After all, they are more interested in themselves than you. They may turn against you. They might say that your idea was good, and then step aside to see what happens.

The life of righteousness (Prov 12:26-12:28)

“The righteous gives good advice to friends.

But the way of the wicked leads them astray.

The lazy do not roast their hunted game.

But the diligent obtain precious wealth.

In the path of righteousness

There is life.

In walking its path

There is no death.”

The righteous give good advice to friends, while the wicked give bad advice that leads them astray. The lazy never roast their catch after a hunt. The diligent, on the other hand, will gain wealth. In the path of righteousness there is life, not death. Thus the righteous will live, while the way of the perverse will lead to death.

A description of wisdom (Prov 8:12-8:21)

“I

Wisdom,

I live with prudence.

I attain knowledge.

I attain discretion.

The fear of Yahweh is hatred of evil.

I hate pride.

I hate arrogance.

I hate the way of evil.

I hate perverted speech.         

I have good advice.

I have sound wisdom.

I have insight.

I have strength.

Kings reign by me.

Rulers decree what is just.

Rulers rule by me.

Nobles govern by me.

All who govern rightly rule by me.

I love those who love me.

Those who seek me diligently

Find me.

Riches and honor are with me.

Enduring wealth is with me.

Prosperity is with me.

My fruit is better than gold,

Even fine gold.

My yield is better than choice silver.

I walk in the way of righteousness.

I walk along the paths of justice,

I endow with wealth those who love me.

I fill their treasuries.”

In an interesting use of a literary form, female wisdom describes herself in the first person singular, “I.” She is prudent, knowledgeable, and discreet. As God fearing, she hates evil, pride, arrogance, and perverted speech. On the other hand, she has good advice, sound wisdom, insight, and strength. All the kings, rulers, and nobles govern rightly because of her. She loves those who love her and seek her out diligently. When you have lady wisdom, then you have riches, honor, wealth, and prosperity. The fruit of wisdom is better than fine gold and silver. She walks in the way of righteousness along the paths of justice. Those who love her will be filled with wealth and treasures.

The ironic response of Job (Job 26:1-26:4)

“Then Job answered.

How you have helped one who has no power!

How you have saved the arm that has no strength!

How you have counseled one who has no wisdom!

How you have given much good advice!

With whose help have you uttered words?

Whose spirit has come forth from you?’”

Job was upset again. He asked Bildad where he got his power and strength. How could he counsel someone who has no wisdom? How can you save a useless arm? How could he have good advice? Who helped him come up with his words? Where did his spirit come from? Job is now sarcastic with him.