Male adulterer (Sir 23:18-23:21)

“Whoever sins

Against his marriage bed,

Says to himself.

‘Who can see me?

Darkness surrounds me.

The walls hide me.

No one sees me.

Why should I worry?

The Most High

Will not remember my sins.’

His fear is confined

To human eyes.

He does not realize

That the eyes of the Lord

Are ten thousand times

Brighter than the sun.

They look upon

Every aspect of human behavior.

They see into hidden corners.

Before the universe was created,

it was known to him.

So it is since its completion.

This man will be punished

In the streets of the city.

Where he least suspects it,

He will be seized.”

Sirach shows that the male adulterer thinks that no one sees him since it is dark and the walls protect him. Why should he worry? The Most High God will not remember his sins. He is only worried about human eyes catching him. However, he should realize that the eyes of the Lord are 10,000 times brighter than the sun. They see every aspect of human behavior, even the hidden corners. Before the universe was created, God had pre-knowledge of everything. Thus God knows everything. This man will be punished in the city streets at a time when he least suspects it.

The responsibility of humans (Sir 17:8-17:14)

“The Lord put the fear of him

Into human hearts.

He showed them

The majesty of his works.

They will praise

His holy name.

They will proclaim

The grandeur of his works.

He bestowed knowledge

Upon them.

He allotted to them

The law of life.

He established with them

An eternal covenant.

He revealed to them

His decrees.

Their eyes saw

His glorious majesty.

Their ears heard

The glory of his voice.

He said to them.

‘Beware of all evil.’

He gave commandments

To each of them

Concerning their neighbor.”

Sirach believed that the Lord put the fear of hin into human hearts. He showed humans the majesty of his works. However, they had to praise his holy name and proclaim the grandeur of his works because they had knowledge about it. The Lord gave these humans the law of life by an eternal covenant with them. He revealed his decrees to them. Their human eyes saw his glorious majesty. Their ears heard the glory of his voice. They were able to see and hear God. He told them to watch out for evil. He gave them commandments on how they were to treat their neighbors.

Death and the fool (Prov 27:20-27:22)

“Sheol and Abaddon are never satisfied.

Human eyes are never satisfied.

The crucible is for silver.

The furnace is for gold.

A person is tested by being praised.

Crush a fool in a mortar with a pestle.

Crush him along with crushed grain.

But his folly will not be driven out.”

First we have the insatiable appetite of death, Sheol and Abaddon, the shadowy underworld where people go after they die. This is compared to human eyes that are never satisfied, always looking for new things. Both silver and gold have to go through a crucible furnace. But instead as in chapter 17, here it is praise and not Yahweh that tests the humans. You can try to get the folly out of a fool by putting him in mortar or crushed grain. A pestle is some kind of grinding machine. However, it will be to no avail. You cannot drive the foolishness out of a fool.