Eat, drink, and be merry (Lk 12:19-12:19)

“I will say

To my soul!

‘Soul!

You have ample goods

Laid up for many years.

Relax!

Eat!

Drink!

Be merry!’”

 

καὶ ἐρῶ τῇ ψυχῇ μου Ψυχή, ἔχεις πολλὰ ἀγαθὰ κείμενα εἰς ἔτη πολλά· ἀναπαύου, φάγε, πίε, εὐφραίνου.

 

Luke uniquely continued with this story as Jesus indicated that this rich fool said to his soul (καὶ ἐρῶ τῇ ψυχῇ μου).  He spoke to his soul (Ψυχή) to say that he had ample goods laid up for many years (ἔχεις πολλὰ ἀγαθὰ κείμενα εἰς ἔτη πολλά).  Therefore, he would relax (ἀναπαύου), eat (φάγε), drink (πίε), and be merry (εὐφραίνου), the classical saying for indulging yourself with the pleasures of this world.  Thus, this foolish greedy man thought that his abundant resources meant that he no longer had to work hard.  Now he could enjoy an easygoing permissive lifestyle.  He could retire in luxury.  Do you have enough resources to retire to the good life?

The response of Yahweh (Jer 15:11-15:12)

“Yahweh said.

‘Surely I have intervened

In your life for good.

Surely I imposed enemies on you!

I intervened with you

In a time of trouble.

I intervened with you

In a time of distress.

Can iron with bronze

Break iron from the north?’”

Yahweh reminds Jeremiah that he has had a good life. However, Yahweh has given him enemies, yet he was there in his times of trouble and distress. Then Yahweh returned to the theme of how to defeat the invaders from the north. Would a combination of iron and bronze be enough to break the coming iron from the north? Only time will tell.

Judgment day (Sir 11:23-11:28)

“Do not say.

‘What do I need?

What further benefit can be mine?’

Do not say.

‘I have enough.

What harm can come to me now?’

In the day of prosperity,

Adversity is forgotten.

In the day of adversity,

Prosperity is not remembered.

It is easy for the Lord,

On the day of death,

To reward individuals

According to their conduct.

An hour’s misery

Makes one forget past delights.

At the close of one’s life.

One’s deeds are revealed.

Call no one happy

Before his death.

By how he ends,

A person becomes known.”

Sirach warns us about judgment day. Do not say that you need anything. Do not say that you have enough, that no one can hurt you. You have to always remember that in the days of your adversity, you may forget about your days of prosperity. The reverse is also true. At the time of your prosperity, you may forget about the days of your adversity. The Lord can quickly reward people according to their conduct, at the day of their death. Sometimes a little misery makes you forget the great delights that you have enjoyed. All your deeds will be revealed at the time of your death. No one is truly happy before they die. A person will be known by how they came to their death. A good life leads to a good death.

The blessed ones (Wis 3:13-3:15)

“Blessed is the barren woman

Who is undefiled.

She has not entered into a sinful union.

She will have fruit

When God examines souls.

Blessed also is the eunuch

Whose hands have done no lawless deed.

He has not devised wicked things against the Lord.

Special favor will be shown him

For his faithfulness.

There will be a place of great delight

In the temple of the Lord.

The fruit of good labors is renowned.

The root of understanding does not fail.”

This author then praises or calls the barren woman and the eunuch blessed or blissful (μακαρία). Both of these groups of people were considered outcasts of society because of their sterility. These barren women are those who were not defiled. They had not entered into a sinful union. They will bear fruit when their souls would be examined (ἐπισκοπῇ ψυχῶν). The eunuchs should have not done any lawless actions. They will not have devised anything wicked against the Lord (κατὰ τοῦ Κυρίου πονηρά). They will receive special favors because they were faithful. They will have a special place in the Temple of the Lord (ἐν ναῷ Κυρίου θυμηρέστερος). This is a reference to some kind of eternal reward. The fruits of a good life and understanding will not fail.

Immortality (Wis 1:12-1:15)

“Do not invite death

By the error of your life.

Do not bring on destruction

By the works of your hands.

God did not make death.

He does not delight

In the death of the living.

He created all things

So that they might exist.

The generative forces of the world

Are wholesome.

There is no destructive poison in them.

The dominion of Hades is not on earth.

Righteousness is immortal.”

This author states clearly that God did not create death (θάνατον). Man has created death that leads to hell, Sheol, or Hades (Άδης). You invite death by the error of your life. You bring on destruction by your own hands. God does not delight in death. God created living things as a generative wholesome force with no destructive poison in them so that they might exist. The kingdom or dominion of Hades is not on earth. Righteousness, or those who act justly, will make you immortal (δικαιοσύνη γὰρ ἀθάνατός ἐστιν), the opposite of death, not dying. Thus this is a vague immortality, somewhat like the Greek immortality of the soul that comes from a good life.

Riches (Prov 22:1-22:4)

“A good name is to be chosen

Rather than great riches.

Favor is better than silver or gold.

The rich and the poor have this in common.

Yahweh is the maker of them all.

The clever see danger.

They hide.

But the simple go on.

They suffer for it.

The reward for humility is

Riches,

Honor,

Life.

The reward for fear of Yahweh is

Riches,

Honor,

Life.”

Interesting enough, a good name is better than riches. But then these proverbs go on to explain that richness and wealth is a reward for a good life. Favor with God is better than gold and silver. Both the rich and the poor have one thing in common. God made both of them. Now the clever or prudent ones see danger and they hide. However, the simple ones see the same danger, but they keep going on. Thus they suffer this danger. If you are humble, you will have a life of riches and honor. The same goes for those who fear Yahweh. They too will have a rich and honorable life.

Rich and poor (Prov 13:7-13:11)

“Some pretend to be rich.

Yet they have nothing.

Others pretend to be poor,

Yet they have great wealth.

Wealth is a ransom for a person’s life.

But the poor get no threats.

The light of the righteous rejoices.

But the lamp of the wicked goes out.

By insolence

The heedless make strife.

But wisdom is

With those who take advice.

Wealth hastily gotten

Will dwindle.

But those who gather little by little

Will increase it.”

Once again there is a comparison between the rich and the poor. The rich are the righteous, while the poor are the foolish. Some people pretend to be rich when they do not have anything. Others pretend to be poor when they are rich. Those who lead a good life will get riches, while the poor will not get anything. The light of the righteous or a good life will bring them happiness. The wicked will see their light go out because of their insolence and heedless strife or arguing. The wise ones take advice. If you get wealthy too quickly your wealth will dwindle. However, if you gain wealth slowly, a little at a time, your wealth will increase.