Have you no answers? (Mk 15:4-15:4)

“Pilate asked him again.

‘Have you no answer?

See how many charges

They bring against you!’”

 

ὁ δὲ Πειλᾶτος πάλιν ἐπηρώτα αὐτὸν λέγων Οὐκ ἀποκρίνῃ οὐδέν; ἴδε πόσα σου κατηγοροῦσιν

 

This is almost word for word in Matthew, chapter 27:12-13.  In Luke, chapter 23:9-10, this dialogue took place before Governor Herod Antipas in Galilee, instead of here before Governor Pontius Pilate in Judea.  Mark said that Pilate asked Jesus again (ὁ δὲ Πειλᾶτος πάλιν ἐπηρώτα αὐτὸν).  Why had he not answered (λέγων Οὐκ ἀποκρίνῃ οὐδέν)?  They have testified with so many charges against Jesus (ἴδε πόσα σου κατηγοροῦσιν).  Pilate may have wondered if Jesus had not heard how many accusations that they had made against him, as indicated in Matthew.  Do you ignore accusations against you?

The role of the prophets and the Nazirites (Am 2:11-2:12)

“I raised up

Some of your children

To be prophets.

I have raised up

Some of your young men

To be Nazirites.

Is it not indeed so?

O people of Israel?’

Says Yahweh.

‘But you made

The Nazirites

Drink wine.

You commanded

The prophets,

Saying.

‘You shall not prophesy.’”

Yahweh, via Amos, said that he had raised up some of their children and young men of Israel to be prophets and Nazirites. The Nazirites took a vow not to drink wine, as explained in Numbers, chapter 6. However, the people of Israel would have none of it. They wanted these Nazirites to drink wine and their prophets to stop prophesizing. In other words, the Israelites wanted to ignore the holy men that Yahweh had sent to them.

Divine justice (Sir 35:13-35:21)

“The Lord is the one

Who repays.

He will repay you sevenfold.

Do not offer him a bribe!

He will not accept it.

Do not rely

On a dishonest sacrifice!

The Lord is the judge.

There is no partiality

With him.

He will not show partiality

To the poor.

He will listen to the prayer

Of one who is wronged.

He will not ignore

The supplication of the orphan.

He will not ignore

The widow

When she pours out her complains.

Do not the tears of the widow

Run down her cheek?

She cries out against those

Who have caused her to fall.

The one whose service

Is pleasing to the Lord

Will be accepted.

His prayer will reach

To the clouds.

The prayer of the humble

Pierces the clouds.

It will not rest

Until it reaches its goal.

It will not desist

Until the Most High responds.

He does justice

For the righteous.

He executes judgment.”

Sirach reminds us that the Lord repays us justly. No bribe or dishonest sacrifice will change his mind. The Lord is a judge without partiality. He listens to the prayer of those who have been wronged. He does not ignore orphans and especially crying widows who are complaining. He does accept the pleasing service of those whose prayers will go up to heaven. The prayers of the humble will pierce the clouds. They will not rest until they reach the Most High God who will respond with a righteous just judgment.

Avoid a spoiled son (Sir 30:7-30:13)

“Whoever spoils his son,

Will bind up his wounds.

You will suffer heartache

At every cry.

An unbroken horse

Turns out stubborn.

An unchecked son

Turns out headstrong.

Pamper a child,

Then he will terrorize you.

Play with him,

Then he will give you grief.

Do not laugh with him,

Lest you have sorrow with him.

In the end

You will gnash your teeth.

Give him no freedom

In his youth.

Do not ignore his errors.

Bow down his neck

In his youth.

Beat his sides

While he is young,

Lest he become stubborn.

He will disobey you.

You will have sorrow of soul

From him.

Discipline your son.

Make his yoke heavy.

Thus you may not be offended

By his shamelessness.”

Once again, Sirach reflects the ideals of his time about the importance of discipline and corporal punishment of children. Above all, do not spoil your son! Otherwise, you will spend a lifetime healing his wounds and suffering heartaches at his every cry. The young boy is compared to a horse that is unbroken, stubborn, and headstrong. If you pamper your son, then he will terrorize you. Do not laugh or play with your son! Otherwise, you will end up gnashing your teeth. Do not give him any freedom when he is young! Do not ignore his mistakes! Beat him up on his sides when he is young! If not, he will become stubborn and disobey you. Then you will have a sorrowful soul. Make his iron collar heavy so that he does not end up shameless. Be tough on those kids!

The wise old sages (Sir 8:8-8:9)

“Do not slight the discourse of the sages.

Busy yourself with their maxims.

Because from them

You will gain discipline.

You will learn how to serve princes.

Do not ignore the discourse of the aged.

They themselves learned from their parents.

From them

You learn how to understand.

You learn how to give an answer

When the need arises.”

Like many of the biblical writings, there is a respect for the past. In particular, there is a great respect for the oral tradition of those with great experience. Therefore you should listen to the maxims and sayings of the wise old sages. You will learn disciple and how to serve the various rulers. Do not ignore the conversations of the old people since they have learned many of these things from their parents. From them, you should learn how to understand and give an answer at the appropriate time.

Listen to instruction (Prov 15:31-15:33)

“The ear that heeds wholesome admonitions

Will lodge among the wise.

Those who ignore instruction

Despise themselves.

But those who heed admonitions

Gain understanding.

The fear of Yahweh is instruction in wisdom.

Humility goes before honor.”

Wise people listen to admonitions, while the ignorant ones ignore instruction. They despise themselves. Those who listen to instruction and admonitions gain a better understanding. After all, the fear of God is the true instruction in wisdom. You should choose humility before honors.

Hope and knowledge (Prov 13:12-13:19)

“Hope deferred

Makes the heart sick.

But a desire fulfilled

Is a tree of life.

Whoever despises the word

Brings destruction on themselves.

But whoever respects the commandment

Will be rewarded.

The teaching of the wise is a fountain of life.

Thus one may avoid the snares of death.

Good sense wins favor.

But the way of the faithless is their ruin.

The clever do all things intelligently.

But the fool displays folly.

A bad messenger brings trouble.

But a faithful envoy brings healing.

Poverty and disgrace come to

Whoever ignores instruction.

But whoever heeds reproof is honored.

A desire realized

Is sweet to the soul.

But to turn away from evil

Is an abomination to fools.”

When hope is deferred, it brings on sickness. However, when a desire is fulfilled, the tree of life grows more. If you despise the word or commandment of God, you will bring on your own destruction. If you respect the commandments, then you will be rewarded. Listen to the teachings of the wise ones because they are fountain of life to help you avoid the snares of death. Good sense will win you favors, while the faithless way leads to ruin. The clever smart ones do everything intelligently, while the fools tend to be foolish. It is better to be a good messenger than a bad messenger because that will bring healing to people. If you ignore instruction, you will end up poor and in disgrace. If you follow instructions, you will be honored. Realizing your dreams and hopes is sweet. The problem is that the evil ones have a hard time turning away from evil since they are so attracted to it.