“Sit in silence!
Go into darkness!
Daughter of the Chaldea!
You shall no more be called
The mistress of kingdoms.
I was angry with my people.
I profaned my heritage.
I gave them into your hand.
You showed them no mercy.
You make your yoke
On the aged.
‘I shall be mistress forever.’
You did not lay these things to heart.
You did not remember their end.”
Yahweh now tells the Chaldean Babylonians to go and sit in silent darkness. They no longer will be called mistress of kingdoms. Yahweh was mad at his own people, so he gave them over to the Babylonians. However, they have not shown any mercy to the Israelites. In fact, they made the work of the elderly harder and heavier. They thought that they would be the mistress of kingdoms forever. They failed to remember their end or to keep things in their own hearts.
“Do not talk much
With a senseless person!
He will despise
Everything about you.
Do not visit
An unintelligent person!
Stay clear of him!
You may have trouble.
You may be spattered
When he shakes himself off.
Then you will find rest.
You will never be wearied
By his lack of sense.
What is heavier than lead?
What is its name
Sand is easier to bear
Than a stupid person.
Salt is easier to bear
Than a stupid person.
A piece of iron is easier to bear
Than a stupid person.”
Sirach warns us to stay away from stupid people. Do not talk to these senseless people. They will despise you for your intelligence. There is a kind of elitism here. He did not want you to visit with unintelligent people. Stay away from them when they shake themselves like animals, because some of their filth might spatter on you. If you stay away from them, you will not be weary of their senseless talk. A fool is heavier to bear than lead. Practically everything is easier to live with than a stupid person. Thus sand, salt, and iron is better than these stupid senseless fools.
“A stone is heavy.
Sand is weighty.
But a fool’s provocation
Is heavier than both.
Wrath is cruel.
Anger is overwhelming.
But who is able to stand before jealousy?”
Stones and sands are heavy and weighty. However, a fool’s provocation is heavier than both. Wrath and anger are cruel and overwhelming, but jealousy is worse than both. Thus we have a comparison between various bad actions like provocation, wrath, anger, and jealousy.
“Then Job answered.
‘O that my distresses were weighed.
May my entire calamity be laid in the balances!
For then it would be heavier than the sand of the sea.
Therefore my words have been rash.
For the arrows of the Almighty Shaddai are planted in me.
My spirit drinks their poison.
The terrors of God are arrayed against me.
Does the wild ass bray over its grass?
Does the ox bellow over its fodder?
Can that which is tasteless be eaten without salt?
Is there any flavor in egg white?
My appetite refuses to touch them.
They are like food that is loathsome to me.’”
Job was not consoled by the remarks of Eliphaz. Job felt that his calamity outweighed anything that had happened to anyone, heavier than the sands of the sea. The arrows of the Almighty Shaddai were in him. He felt like he had drunk poison. The terrors of God were against him. Just as the animals do not complain when they have food, however, all his food was tasteless. Without salt, there was no flavor in his food. He had no appetite because all food was disgusting to him. It was not that he could not eat, but everything was tasteless.