Wise companions (Sir 9:14-9:16)

“As much as you can,

Aim to know your neighbors.

Consult with the wise.

Let your conversation be

With intelligent people.

Let all your discussions be

About the law of the Most High.

Let righteous ones be

Your dinner companions.

Let your glory be

In the fear of the Lord.”

You should get to know your neighbors. You should consult with the wise ones. Your conversations should be with intelligent people about the law of God. Your dinner companions should be righteous people. Your glory should be in your fear of the Lord.

Apprenticeship of wisdom (Sir 6:32-6:37)

“If you are willing,

My child,

You can be disciplined.

If you apply yourself.

You will become clever.

If you love to listen,

You will pay attention,

You will become wise.

Stand in the assembly of the elders.

Who is wise?

Attach yourself to such a one.

Be ready to listen to every godly discourse.

Let no wise proverbs escape you.

If you see an intelligent person,

Rise early.

Visit him.

Let your foot wear out his doorstep.

Reflect on the statutes of the Lord.

Meditate at all times on his commandments.

It is he who will give insight to your mind.

Your desire for wisdom will be granted.”

Sirach now gives clear directions on how to be wise. You must go through an apprenticeship, just like a Trump apprentice. However, here it is the wisdom apprentice. If you are willing and disciplined, you can become clever and wise. You have to apply yourself and listen attentively. You should stand in the assembly of the elders. You should attach yourself to an intelligent person who has a godly discourse and wise proverbs. You should rise early. Go wear out his doorstep with your many visits to this wise man. If you reflect on the statutes of the Lord and meditate on his commandments, you will gain insight. Wisdom will be granted to you after your time of trial.

Almsgiving (Sir 3:29-3:31)

“The mind of the intelligent appreciates proverbs.

An attentive ear is the desire of the wise.

Just as water extinguishes a blazing fire,

So almsgiving atones for sins.

Whoever repays favors

Gives thought to the future.

When they fall,

They will find support.”

Intelligent people appreciate proverbs. You should be wise. You should pay attention with your ears. Like water on a fire, almsgiving, can atone for sins. If you repay people for favors, your reward will go into the future. If anything happens to you, you will find support.

The qualities of wisdom (Wis 7:22-7:23)

“Wisdom is the fashioner of all things.

Wisdom has taught me.

There is in her a spirit that is

Intelligent,

Holy,

Unique,

Manifold,

Subtle,

Mobile,

Clear,

Unpolluted,

Distinct,

Invulnerable,

Loving the good,

Keen,

Irresistible,

Beneficent,

Humane,

Steadfast,

Sure,

Free from anxiety,

All-powerful,

Overseeing all,

Penetrating through all spirits that are intelligent,

Pure,

Altogether subtle.”

Many of the qualities given to the personification of wisdom will be adopted later in the New Testament writings by Paul with his description of the “Spirit” and the Christian Holy Spirit theology. Wisdom fashions all things. It has taught this author.   How do you describe this wisdom spirit? She is an intelligent and Holy Spirit. In some sense, she is the Holy Spirit. She is unique, manifold, subtle, mobile, clear, unpolluted, distinct, and invulnerable. She loves the good, and is keen, irresistible, beneficent, humane, steadfast, sure, and free from anxiety. She is all-powerful, overseeing all, and penetrating through all intelligent spirits. She is also pure and subtle. Thus you can see the comparative descriptions with the Christian Holy Spirit.

Life is a game of chance (Eccl 9:11-9:12)

“Again I saw that under the sun.

The race is not to the swift.

Nor is the battle to the strong.

Nor is bread to the wise.

Nor is riches to the intelligent.

Nor is favor to the skillful.

But time happens to them all.

Chance happens to them all.

No one can anticipate

The time of disaster.

Like fish taken in a cruel net,

Like birds caught in a snare,

So mortals are snared

At a time of calamity.

When it suddenly falls upon them.”

Qoheleth sees human life under the sun like a game of chance. The swiftest runner does not always win the race. The strongest do not always win the battle. The wise do not always have the best food. The intelligent are not always rich. The skillful do not always succeed. Time and chance play a role. No one can predict when disaster will come. Just as fish and birds get stuck in nets and snares, so too mortals get caught when calamity suddenly happens to them.

Just ruler (Prov 28:2-28:5)

“When a land rebels

It has many rulers.

But with an intelligent ruler

There is lasting order.

A ruler who oppresses the poor

Is like a beating rain that leaves no food.

Those who forsake the law

Praise the wicked.

But those who keep the law

Struggle against them.

The evil people

Do not understand justice.

But those who seek Yahweh

Understand it completely.”

The problem with a revolution is that that there are too many leaders and no one ruler. An intelligent ruler will bring lasting order. If you oppress the poor people, you are like a heavy torrential rain that destroys crops. Anyone who forsakes the law praises the wicked ones. Those who keep the law struggle against them. The evil people do not understand justice, while the Yahweh seekers completely understand the law.

Strife (Prov 20:3-20:6)

“It is honorable to refrain from strife.

But every fool is quick to quarrel.

The lazy person does not plow in the autumn season.

Harvest comes.

There is nothing to be found.

The purposes in the human mind are like deep water.

But the intelligent will draw them out.

Many proclaim themselves loyal.

But who can find one worthy of trust?”

The honorable people stay away from arguments and strife, but the fools are quick to start an argument. The lazy person does not plow in the correct season so that when harvest comes, they have nothing to harvest. The human mind is deep, but the intelligent people can draw out the purposes of humans. Many people maintain that they are loyal, but it is hard to find a trustworthy person.

Fear of Yahweh (Prov 19:23-19:25)

“The fear of Yahweh is life indeed.

Filled with the fear of Yahweh,

One rests secure.

Filled with the fear of Yahweh,

One suffers no harm.

The lazy person buries a hand in the dish.

He will not even bring it back to the mouth.

Strike a scoffer.

The simple will learn prudence.

Reprove the intelligent.

They will gain knowledge.”

The fear of God is life itself. If you fear Yahweh, you will always be secure and suffer no harm. Some people are so lazy they do not even feed themselves, but let her hands stay on the dish buried in their food. The simple can learn prudence. The intelligent can gain knowledge. Everything stems from the fear of Yahweh.

The foolish children (Prov 17:21-17:28)

“The one who begets a fool gets trouble.

The parent of a fool has no joy.

A cheerful heart is a good medicine.

But a downcast spirit dries up the bones.

The wicked accept a concealed bribe.

They pervert the ways of justice.

The discerning person looks to wisdom.

But the eyes of a fool look to the ends of the earth.

Foolish children are

A grief to their father.

Foolish children are

Bitterness to her who bore them.

To impose a fine on the innocent

Is not right.

To flog the noble for their integrity

Is not right.

Whoever spares words is knowledgeable.

Whoever is cool in spirit has understanding.

Even fools who keep silent

Are considered wise.

When they closes their lips,

They are deemed intelligent.”

Foolish children are trouble. There is no joy in dealing with them. A cheerful heart is good medicine for you, while a downcast spirit will dry up your bones. The wicked judges, when they accept a concealed bribe, are perverting justice. A discerning person looks for wisdom, but fools try to go to the ends of the earth in search of something or other. Foolish children are a grief to their father and bitterness to their mother. You should not impose a fine on the innocent ones. You should not flog the noblemen for their integrity. If you do not speak too much you give the impression of being knowledgeable. If you appear cool, people assume you understand things. Thus even fools who keep silent are sometimes considered wise. Some people appear to be more intelligent when they never open their mouth or move their lips.

City life (Prov 11:10-11:14)

“When it goes well with the righteous,

The city rejoices.

When the wicked perish

There is jubilation.

By the blessing of the upright,

A city is exalted.

But the city is overthrown

By the mouth of the wicked.

Whoever belittles another

Lacks sense.

But an intelligent person remains silent.

A gossip goes about telling secrets.

But one who is trustworthy in spirit

Keeps a confidence.

Where there is no guidance,

A nation falls.

But in an abundance of counselors

There is safety.”

The city dwellers are happy with the righteous. They rejoice when all goes well with them. However, they are just as happy when the wicked perish. The city dwellers exalt at the blessings of the upright. However, the words of the wicked can overthrow a city. Anyone who belittles another lacks sense because the intelligent person keeps silent. You cannot trust gossips that go about telling secrets because they are not trustworthy. If there is no guidance, a city or country will fall. It is much better when there are many counselors, since they will keep the city or country safe.