The humble poor of Israel (Zeph 3:11-3:13)

“On that day,

You shall not

Be put to shame,

Because of the deeds

By which you have rebelled

Against me.

Then I will remove

From your midst

Your proudly exultant ones.

You shall no longer

Be haughty

On my holy mountain.

I will leave

In the midst of you

A humble people,

A lowly people.

They shall seek refuge

In the name of Yahweh.

The remnant of Israel

Shall do no wrong.

They shall utter no lies.

A deceitful tongue

Shall not be found

In their mouth.

They shall pasture.

They shall lie down.

No one shall make them

Afraid.”

Yahweh, via Zephaniah, said that the Israelites would not be put to shame.  The reason was fairly simple.  Yahweh was going to remove all those rebellious ones that proudly exulted themselves.  Thus, there would be no more haughty ones in their midst.  Instead, all the people left would be humble and lowly people, who took refuge in Yahweh.  These were the remnant of Israel, who would not do anything wrong or utter any lies with a deceitful tongue.  They would be able to lie down in their pastures, since no one was going to make them afraid.

Advertisements

Against human pride (Isa 2:12-2:17)

“Yahweh of hosts has a day.

He is against all that is proud.

He is against all this is lofty.

He is against all that is lifted up.

He is against all that is high.

He is against all the cedars of Lebanon.

He is against all that is lofty.

He is against all that is lifted up.

He is against all the oaks of Bashan.

He is against all the high mountains.

He is against all the lofty hills.

He is against every high tower.

He is against every fortified wall.

He is against all the ships of Tarshish.

He is against all the beautiful crafts.

The haughtiness of people

Shall be humbled.

The pride of everyone

Shall be brought low.

Yahweh alone

Will be exalted

On that day.”

Once again, there will come a day when Yahweh, the Lord, alone will be exalted as in the preceding section. Here Isaiah points out that Yahweh is against the prideful people. In fact, he turns out to be against practically anything that is tall, lofty, or lifted up. He is against the tall cedars of northern Lebanon and the tall oaks of eastern Bashan. Of course, Yahweh was against all the tall places, like high mountains, lofty hills, high towers, and fortified walls. He also was against the ships of Tarshish, the fleet that brought gold and metals to the coastal cities. Yahweh was also against beautiful craft work and haughty people. Everyone would be brought low when Yahweh alone would be exalted on that day to come.

Degenerate children (Sir 22:3-22:8)

“It is a disgrace

To be the father

Of an undisciplined son.

The birth of a daughter

Is a loss.

A sensible daughter

Obtains a husband of her own.

But the daughter

Who acts shamefully

Is a grief to her father.

An impudent daughter

Disgraces her father.

She disgraces her husband.

She is despised by both.

Like music in time of mourning

Is an ill-timed conversation.

But thrashing is wisdom at all times.

Discipline is wisdom at all times.

Children who are brought up

In a good life,

Conceal the lowly birth of their parents.

Children who are disdainfully haughty

Stain the nobility of their kindred.

Children who are boorish

Stain the nobility of their kindred.”

What happens if you have bad kids, degenerate children? Sirach warns that an undisciplined son is a disgrace to his father. Notice that he says that the birth of a daughter is considered to be a loss. The obvious importance of the male son runs throughout all of these biblical writings. A sensible daughter is able to get her own husband. The shameful daughter, however, disgraces both her father and her husband. There is a proper time for everything, but thrashing and disciplining children is wise at all times. Once again, Sirach insists that children should be disciplined all the time. If your children are brought up well, this will conceal the lowly background of you, his or her parents. However, the opposite is also true. Children who are disrespectful, haughty, and boorish stain whatever noble birth the parents and their family may have.

The proud, the lazy, and the wicked (Prov 21:24-21:29)

“The proud and haughty persons

Are named ‘scoffers.’

They act with arrogant pride.

The craving of the lazy person is fatal.

His lazy hands refuse to labor.

All day long the wicked covet.

But the righteous give.

The righteous do not hold back.

The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination.

How much more is it

When brought with evil intent.

A false witness will perish.

But a good listener will testify successfully.

The wicked put on a bold face.

But the upright give thought to their ways.”

The proud and haughty people are scoffers, or ones who mock people. They act with an arrogant pride. The lazy ones, on the other hand, refuse to work so that it is fatal to them. The wicked want more things, but the righteous are generous and do not hold back. Any sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination. It is even worse when they make a sacrifice with an evil intent. The person who gives false testimony will perish. The good listener will testify successfully. The wicked have a bold face, but the upright think before they act.

The strong tower of Yahweh (Prov 18:9-18:12)

“Whoever is slack in his work

Is close kin to a vandal.

The name of Yahweh is a strong tower.

The righteous run into it.

The righteous are safe.

The wealth of the rich is their strong city.

They image wealth like a protective high wall.

Before destruction

One’s heart is haughty.

But humility goes before honor.”

If you are slack in your work, you are like a vandal stealing from your employer. The name of Yahweh is like a strong tower. The righteous run to this tower of Yahweh where they are safe. The rich people live in a strong city. They believe that their wealth is like a protective wall for them. Generally speaking, one’s heart is haughty or proud before the destruction comes. Humility should go before honors.

Pride (Prov 16:18-16:21)

“Pride goes before destruction.

A haughty spirit happens before a fall.

It is better to be of a lowly spirit

Among the poor

Than to divide the spoil

With the proud.

Those who are attentive to a matter will prosper.

Happy are those who trust in Yahweh.

The wise of heart are called perceptive.

Pleasant speech increases persuasiveness.”

Being proud was not a good idea since it led to destruction. A haughty or proud spirit usually came before someone stumbled or fell. It is much better to be a lowly spirit among the poor than to divide up the spoils of victory with the proud people. If you are attentive to small matters you will prosper. If you trust in Yahweh, you will be happy. The wise ones are called perceptive. Pleasant speech will make it easier to be persuasive.

A hymn of praise to Yahweh (Ps 138:4-138:6)

“All the kings of the earth shall praise you!

Yahweh!

They have heard the words of your mouth.

They shall sing of the ways of Yahweh.

Great is the glory of Yahweh.

Even though Yahweh is high,

He regards the lowly.

However he perceives the haughty

From far away.”

All the kings on earth should praise Yahweh. They have heard Yahweh’s words. Therefore they should sing about the ways of Yahweh. Yahweh’s glory is great. Despite his high position, he still regards the lowly. On the other hand, he perceives the haughty or proud of this world from far away.