The woeful bad situation in Israel (Am 6:4-6:7)

“Woe to those

Who lie on beds

Of ivory!

Woe to those

Who lounge

On their couches!

Woe to those

Who eat lambs

From the flock!

Woe to those

Who eat calves

From the stall!

Woe to those

Who sing idle songs

To the sound of the harp!

Like David,

They improvise

On instruments of music.

Woe to those

Who drink wine

From bowls!

Woe to those

Who anoint themselves

With the finest oils!

But they are not grieved

Over the ruin of Joseph!

Therefore,

They shall now be

The first of those

Who go into exile.

The revelry

Of the loungers

Shall pass away.”

Yahweh, via Amos, pointed out the woeful bad situation in Israel. Those lying on beds of ivory, lounges, or couches would be cursed. Those eating lambs or calves would also be cursed. Even those who sang idle songs on the harp or other improvised instruments would also be cursed. Those who drank wine from bowls or anointed themselves with fine oil would also be cursed. They would not grieve for the ruin of Joseph, that is Israel. Now all these who were lounging around will be the first to be sent into exile. All of these pleasures among the overconfident people in Israel would pass away.

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Yahweh has compassion (Lam 3:31-3:33)

Kaph

“Yahweh will not

Reject forever.

Although he causes grief,

He will have compassion

According to the abundance

Of his steadfast love.

He does not willingly

Afflict anyone.

He does not willingly

Grieve anyone.”

This grieving author talks about the compassion of Yahweh, since Yahweh was not going to reject him forever. Yahweh definitely caused him grief, but he is compassionate with his abundant steadfast love. Then in a strange statement that almost contradicts what was said earlier, this author proclaims that Yahweh does not willingly afflict or grieve anyone. In fact, that had been the main complaint earlier in this poem. These three verses start with the Hebrew consonant letter Kaph in this acrostic poem.

The sufferings in Zion (Lam 1:4-1:4)

Daleth

“The roads to Zion

Mourn.

No one comes

To the appointed feasts.

All her gates

Are desolate.

Her priests

Groan.

Her young girls

Grieve.

Her lot is bitter.”

Zion is another name for Jerusalem. Any and everyone on the roads to Jerusalem are in mourning. No one comes to the feast day celebrations. Her torn down gates are desolate. The few priests, and the young girls left in town, groan and grieve since Jerusalem is a very bitter place. This verse starts with the Hebrew consonant letter Daleth. Each verse after this will use the next letter of the Hebrew alphabet in this acrostic poem.

Good counselors (Sir 37:12-37:15)

“Associate with a godly person!

Associate with

Someone you know

To be a keeper

Of the commandments!

Associate with

Someone who is like minded

With yourself!

Associate with

Someone who will grieve

With you,

If you fail!

Heed the counsel

Of your own heart!

No one is more faithful

To you than it is.

Our own mind sometimes

Keeps us better informed

Than seven watchmen

Sitting high on a watchtower.

But above all,

Pray to the Most High!

Thus he may direct

Your way in truth.”

Sirach has some positive advice on who to associate with, mainly the godly person who keeps the commandments. In other words, seek counsel and give counsel with those who are like minded people. They will grieve with you if you fail. You should follow your heart, since no one is more faithful to you than your own heart. Your mind is better informed than any guards around the tower. However, the most important thing to do is pray to the Most High God so that he can direct your way truthfully. In the end, the best consultation is between you and God.

Sadness (Sir 26:28-26:28)

“At two things,

My heart is grieved.

Because of a third,

Anger comes over me.

The first is

A warrior in want

Through poverty.

The second is

Intelligent men

Who are treated contemptuously.

The third is

A man who turns back

From righteousness to sin.

The Lord will prepare him

For the sword.”

Once again, we have this numerical proverb from Sirach, like in Proverbs. There are 2 things that grieve him, and a 3rd that angers him. He is grieved to see a warrior in poverty and intelligent men treated with contempt. The 3rd thing that really angers him is a righteous man who sins. The Lord will prepare a sword for him.

The prayer of Edna (Tob 10:12-10:12)

“Then Edna said to Tobias.

‘My child and dear brother,

The Lord of heaven bring you back safely,

May I live long enough to see your children

By my daughter Sarah before I die.

In the sight of the Lord,

I entrust my daughter to you

Do nothing to grieve her all the days of your life.

Go in peace, my child.

From now on,

I am your mother

Sarah is your beloved wife.

May we all prosper together

All the days of our lives.’

Then she kissed them both. She saw them safely off.”

Edna, the wife of Raguel, also blessed the new couple in much the same way as her husband Raguel. She wanted the Lord of heaven to bring them home safe. She, too, wanted to live long enough to see children. She did not want Tobias to do anything to grieve her daughter Sarah since she wanted peace. She was now his and her mother, so that all of them could prosper. She then kissed them both and sent them off safely.

 

Tobias has some hesitations (Tob 6:14-6:15)

“Then Tobias said in answer to Raphael.

‘Brother Azariah,

I have heard that she has been married to seven husbands.

Each one died in the bridal chamber.

On the night when they went in to her,

They would die.

I have people saying that it was a demon that killed them.

It does not harm her.

However, it kills anyone who desires to approach her.

Now, since I am the only son my father has,

I am afraid that I may die.

This would bring my father’s and mother’s life down to their grave, Grieving for me.

They have no other son to bury them.’”

I am not sure how Tobias had heard about the 7 dead husbands of Sarah. However, he was fearful that the same thing would happen to him. He too was an only child. If something happened to him, his parents would grieve so much that they might die. There would be no one to bury them since he had died.