The eternal kingdom (Dan 2:44-2:45)

“In the days

Of those kings,

The God of heaven

Will set up a kingdom

That shall never be destroyed.

This kingdom

Shall not be left

To another people.

It shall crush

All these kingdoms.

It shall bring them

To an end.

It shall stand forever.

Just as you saw

That a stone was cut

From the mountain,

Not by human hands.

This stone crushed

The iron,

The bronze,

The clay,

The silver,

The gold.

The great God

Has informed

The king

What shall be hereafter.

The dream is certain.

Its interpretation is

Trustworthy.”

Daniel then talked about the fifth and final kingdom, the eternal kingdom, set up by the God of heaven that shall never be destroyed. No other people would inherit this kingdom, since it would crush all the other kingdoms, like the stone in the king’s dream that crushed the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver, and gold kingdoms. The great God in heaven has informed King Nebuchadnezzar about the future. Thus, Daniel concluded that the dream was certain and his interpretation was also trustworthy.

Good counselors (Sir 37:12-37:15)

“Associate with a godly person!

Associate with

Someone you know

To be a keeper

Of the commandments!

Associate with

Someone who is like minded

With yourself!

Associate with

Someone who will grieve

With you,

If you fail!

Heed the counsel

Of your own heart!

No one is more faithful

To you than it is.

Our own mind sometimes

Keeps us better informed

Than seven watchmen

Sitting high on a watchtower.

But above all,

Pray to the Most High!

Thus he may direct

Your way in truth.”

Sirach has some positive advice on who to associate with, mainly the godly person who keeps the commandments. In other words, seek counsel and give counsel with those who are like minded people. They will grieve with you if you fail. You should follow your heart, since no one is more faithful to you than your own heart. Your mind is better informed than any guards around the tower. However, the most important thing to do is pray to the Most High God so that he can direct your way truthfully. In the end, the best consultation is between you and God.

Business transactions (Prov 20:14-20:17)

“‘It is bad.

It is bad.’

Says the buyer.

Then he goes away.

Then he boasts.

There is gold.

There is an abundance of costly stones.

But the lips informed by knowledge

Are a precious jewel.

Take the garment of one

Who has given surety for a stranger.

Seize the pledge

Given as surety for foreigners.

Bread gained by deceit is sweet.

But afterward the mouth will be full of gravel.”

Here we have a series of business transactions. We have already seen the bad scales and measures. Now this is how people complain when they buy something, saying it is bad. However, when they go away they boast about the good bargain they just made. Although there are gold and precious stones, nothing is more precious than lips informed by knowledge. Then there is the problem of pledge and surety for loans. It is not a good idea to lend to strangers, especially if you are the stranger. You seem to be able to take their garments and pledges. Watch out for bread that you get by being deceitful, it may taste sweet at first, but afterwards it will be like a mouthful of gravel.

Simon and Onias (2 Macc 4:1-4:6)

“The previously mentioned Simon, who had informed about the money against his own country, slandered Onias. Simon said that it was Onias who had incited Heliodorus. Onias had been the real cause of the misfortune. Simon dared to designate as a plotter against the government the man who was the benefactor of the city, the protector of his fellow countrymen, and a zealot for the laws. His hatred progressed to such a degree that even murders were committed by one of Simon’s approved agents. Onias recognized that the rivalry was serious. Apollonius son of Menestheus, and governor of Coele-syria and Phoenicia, was intensifying the malice of Simon. So he appealed to the king, not accusing his compatriots but having in view the welfare, both public and private, of all the people. He saw that without the king’s attention public affairs could not again reach a peaceful settlement. Simon would not stop his folly.”

Simon, the one who complained about the money in the Temple treasury, then slandered Onias. He said the Onias was the cause of the problem when he incited Heliodorus to look for the money. Simon was calling the kettle black. He was the one who started the investigation, but he was saying the Onias was the one who started the problem. Some of Simon’s men committed murder. Onias realized that Apollonius, the governor of the area, was siding with Simon. He decided that he would go directly to the king. Otherwise, there was no way to stop Simon. By this time Onias and Heliodorus were good friends, which bothered Simon also.

Judith praises General Holofernes (Jdt 11:8-11:8)

“We have heard of your wisdom and skill.

It is reported throughout the whole world

That you are the best in the whole kingdom,

The most informed,

The most astonishing in military strategy.”

Judith then turned to the general himself. She knew of his wisdom and skill. Everyone knew about it. He was the best in the whole kingdom. He was the most informed and the most astonishing military strategist. Flattery will get you everywhere.