Saved from death (Sir 51:5-51:9)

“The Lord delivered me

From the deep belly of Hades.

He delivered me

From an unclean tongue.

He delivered me

From lying words.

He delivered me

From the slander

Of an unrighteous tongue                          

To the king.

My soul drew

Near to death.

My life was

On the brink of Hades below.

They surrounded me on every side.

There was no one to help me.

I looked for human assistance.

There was none.

Then I remembered your mercy.

O Lord!

I remembered from of old.

You rescue those

Who wait for you.

You save them

From the hand of their enemies.

I sent up my prayers from the earth.

I begged for rescue from death.”

This author shows how he was near death, when the Lord helped him. He was saved from the belly of hell or Hades, the shadowy underworld after death. He also was saved from the unclean and lying tongues of the unrighteous people who went to the king against him. His soul grew close to death as he was on the brink of hell or the underworld of Hades. He was surrounded on every side, when he realized that human help was not enough. Then he remembered the mercy of the Lord who had rescued and saved others from the hands of their enemies. Thus he sent up prayers from earth to heaven, begging to be rescued from death.

The call to God for help (Ps 60:9-60:12)

“Who will bring me to the fortified city?

Who will lead me to Edom?

Have you not rejected us?

O God!

You do not go out

With our armies!

O God!

O grant us help against the foe!

Human help is worthless!

With God

We shall do valiantly.

It is he

Who will tread down our foes.”

This psalm ends with a call to God for help to continue their battles. They realized that they could not succeed without God’s help, especially against fortified cities and Edom. If God does not go out with their armies, they will not win because human help was worthless. With God, they will fight valiantly so that they can smash their foes.