“Do not judge!
Then you will not be judged.”
καὶ μὴ κρίνετε, καὶ οὐ μὴ κριθῆτε·
This verse is almost the same as in Matthew, chapter 7:1. Thus, Jesus told his followers not to judge others (καὶ μὴ κρίνετε), so that they would not be judged (καὶ οὐ μὴ κριθῆτε). Jesus said that whatever judgments they made, they would be judged the same way. Do you judge people a lot?
“Blessed are you!
God of our ancestors!
Worthy of praise!
Glorious is your name
You are just
You have done!
All your works
Your ways are right!
All your judgments
This hymn or canticle of Azariah begins with a blessing to God, the God of his ancestors, the Lord, whose glorious name is to be praised forever. God is just to all people. All his ways, works, and judgments are true. Everything he has done is wonderful.
Shall be wholly burned.
This will be done
Twice every day continually.
Moses ordained him.
He anointed Aaron
With holy oil.
It was an everlasting covenant for him.
It was for his descendants
As long as the heavens continue.
They were to minister to the Lord.
They were to serve as priests.
They were to bless his people
In his name.
He chose him out of all the living
To offer sacrifice to the Lord.
He was to offer incense
With a pleasing odor
As a memorial portion,
To make atonement for your people.
In his commandments,
He gave him authority.
He gave him statutes.
He gave him judgments.
He was to teach Jacob the testimonies.
He was to enlighten Israel with his law.”
Sirach says that the sacrifices of Aaron should be completely burned, twice a day, continually. Moses had ordained Aaron and anointed him with oil, as it was indicated in Exodus, chapter 29. The Lord had an everlasting covenant with Aaron and his descendants as long as the heavens existed. They were to be the priests that ministered to the Lord. They were chosen out of all the living in the world to offer this memorial sacrifice with sweet smelling incense in order to make atonement for their people. In fact, Aaron was the brother of Moses. In the Mosaic commandments, the Lord gave Aaron and his descendants’ authority, statutes, and judgments so that they could teach and enlighten Jacob about the Israelite law.
“Inspired decisions are on the lips of a king.
His mouth does not sin in judgment.
Honest balances and scales are Yahweh’s.
All the weights in the bag are his work.
It is an abomination for kings to do evil.
The throne is established by righteousness.
Righteous lips are the delight of a king,
He loves those who speak what is right.
A king’s wrath is a messenger of death.
Whoever is wise will appease it.
In the light of a king’s face
There is life.
His favor is like the clouds
That bring the spring rain.”
This next section follows the medieval concept of the diving right of kings. Thus the king speaks in the name of Yahweh. His decisions are thus inspired by Yahweh. He does not sin in making his judgments. He expects, like Yahweh, to have honest scales and balances, so that there should not be any false weights in bags on the scales. Thus, it is an abomination for a king to do evil because the throne was established by righteousness, which should be the delight of the king. The king loves those who speak correctly and rightly. On the other hand, his wrath is a messenger of death. The wise ones are able to appease his anger. You will have life if the king’s face lights upon you. His favors are like refreshing spring rains.
“You are righteous!
Your judgments are right.
You have appointed your decrees in righteousness.
You have appointed your decrees in all faithfulness.
My zeal consumes me.
Because my foes forget your words.
Your promise is well tried.
Your servant loves it.
I am small.
I am despised.
Yet I do not forget your precepts.
Your righteousness is an everlasting righteousness.
Your law is the truth.
Trouble has come upon me.
Anguish has come upon me,
However your commandments are my delight.
Your decrees are righteous forever.
Give me understanding!
Thus I may live.”
The psalmist declared that Yahweh was righteous. His judgments and decrees were righteous and faithful. The zeal of the psalmist consumed him when he found out that his foes had forgotten the words of Yahweh. He, the servant of Yahweh, loved the decrees. Although he was small and despised, he never forgot the precepts of Yahweh. Yahweh’s righteousness was everlasting because his law was the truth. Even though he was in trouble and anguish, the psalmist delighted in Yahweh’s commandments. All he asked for was understanding, so that he might live. So ends this section on the eighteenth consonant letter of the Hebrew alphabet, Cade.
“I hate the double-minded people.
But I love your law.
You are my hiding place.
You are my shield.
I hope in your word.
Go away from me!
Thus I may keep the commandments of my God.
Uphold me according to your promise!
Thus I may live.
Let me not be put to shame in my hope!
Hold me up!
Thus I may be safe.
I have regard for your statutes continually!
You spurn all who go astray from your statutes.
Their cunning is in vain.
All the wicked of the earth,
You count as dross.
Therefore I love your decrees.
My flesh trembles for fear of you.
I am afraid of your judgments.”
The psalmist did not like those who were double minded since he loved single minded people and the law. He used the law as a shield as he hoped in the word of God. He wanted the evildoers to go away so that he could keep the commandments of God. He wanted God’s promise to sustain his life so that he would not be put to shame. He wanted to be held safe according to the statutes of God. He knew that God spurned those who went astray from the commandments. Their cunning ways were useless and not worth anything. This psalmist, on the other hand, loved the decrees of God. He trembled with fear because he was afraid of God’s judgments. So ends this section on the fifteenth consonant letter of the Hebrew alphabet, Samek.
“Your hands have made me.
You have fashioned me.
Give me understanding!
Thus I may learn your commandments.
Those who fear you
Shall see me.
They shall rejoice,
Because I have hoped in your word.
I know that your judgments are right.
You have humbled me.
Let your steadfast love become my comfort,
According to your promise
To your servant.
Let your mercy come to me.
Thus I may live.
Your law is my delight.
Let the arrogant be put to shame.
They have subverted me with guile.
As for me,
I will meditate on your precepts.
Let those who fear you
Turn to me.
Thus they may know your decrees.
May my heart be blameless in your statutes.
Thus I may not be put to shame.”
Once again, the steadfast love of Yahweh sustains the psalmist’s love for the law. He recognized that Yahweh had made him. He wanted to gain an understanding of the commandments. Those who fear Yahweh would rejoice. He had hoped in the word of God. Yahweh was faithful. His judgments were right. His steadfast love had become a comfort to this psalmist as he had promised. The psalmist delighted in the law as he expected the mercy of God. The arrogant were to be put to shame because the psalmist was going to meditate on the precepts of Yahweh. In fact, he was going to teach others because his heart was blameless. He was not going to be put to shame. So ends this section on the tenth consonant letter of the Hebrew alphabet, Yod.
“The heavens proclaim his righteousness.
All the peoples behold his glory.
All worshipers of images are put to shame.
They make their boast in worthless idols.
All gods bow down before him.
Zion is glad.
The towns of Judah rejoice,
Because of your judgments.
You are most high
Over all the earth.
You are exalted far above all gods.”
The heavens proclaim the righteousness of God. Everybody sees his glory. All the worshipers of false images and worthless idols are put to shame since their gods bow down before Yahweh. Mount Zion and all Judah are glad and rejoice. The judgments of Yahweh are most high over all the earth. Yahweh is exalted over the other gods. This seems like some kind of contest between the various gods where Yahweh is the clear winner.
“Let Mount Zion be glad!
Let the towns of Judah rejoice
Because of your judgments!
Walk about Zion!
Go all around it!
Count its towers!
Consider well its ramparts!
Go through its citadels!
Thus you may tell the next generation
That this is God,
Our God forever and ever.
He will be our guide forever.”
The psalm ends with a demand that the people appreciate Mount Zion. The towns of Judah should rejoice because of God’s judgments. The psalmist wanted everyone to walk all around Mount Zion. He wanted them to count the towers, see the ramparts, and walk through the various fortresses. Then they would be able to tell the next generation about God. This seems to imply that there was some kind of special presence of God at this holy mountain. Normally, they would say the presence of the name of Yahweh, but here it is God directly, who was there eternally, forever and ever as a permanent guide.
“The ways of the wicked prosper at all times.
Your judgments are on high!
They are out of their sight!
As for their foes,
They scoff at them.
They think in their heart.
‘We shall not be moved.
Throughout all generations
We shall not meet adversity.’”
The wicked ones prosper all the time. They think that God’s judgments are on high and out of sight. They scoff at those who oppose them. They think that that no one will touch them from one generation to the next. They believe that they will not meet adversity.