Woe to the laughers! (Lk 6:25-6:25)

“Woe to you

Who are laughing now!

You will mourn

And weep.”

 

οὐαί, οἱ γελῶντες νῦν, ὅτι πενθήσετε καὶ κλαύσετε

 

Luke uniquely indicated that Jesus said that the laughing ones now (οἱ γελῶντες νῦν) would be cursed (οὐαί), using the second person plural.  They would mourn and weep (ὅτι πενθήσετε καὶ κλαύσετε) in the future.  Once again, this unique saying of Luke is the reverse of one of his beatitudes in verse 21, where he indicated that Jesus said that those who were weeping now (οἱ κλαίοντες νῦν) would be blessed, happy or fortunate (μακάριοι) because they would later laugh (ὅτι γελάσετ), using the second person plural.  There is no equivalent to this in Matthew, except for the mourners in chapter 5:4.  Luke has Jesus say the opposite thing about those laughing now, as they would weep later.

Blessed are those who weep (Lk 6:21-6:21)

“Blessed are you

That weep now!

You will laugh.”

 

μακάριοι οἱ κλαίοντες νῦν, ὅτι γελάσετ

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that those who were weeping now (οἱ κλαίοντες νῦν) would be blessed, happy or fortunate (μακάριοι) because they would later laugh (ὅτι γελάσετ), using the second person plural.  There is no equivalent to this in Matthew.  However, in verse 25, Luke has Jesus say the opposite thing about those laughing now.  They would weep later.

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 clever ones (Sir 19:23-19:30)

“There is cleverness

That is detestable.

There is a fool

Who merely lacks wisdom.

Better are the God-fearing

Who lacks understanding

Than the highly intelligent

Who transgresses the law.

There is cleverness

That is exact

But unjust.

There are people

Who abuse favors

To gain a verdict.

There is a villain

Bowed down in mourning.

But inwardly

He is full of deceit.

He hides his face.

He pretends not to hear.

But when no one notices,

He will take advantage of you.

Even if he lacks strength

It does not keep him from sinning.

He will nevertheless do evil

When he finds the opportunity.

A person is known

By his appearance.

A sensible person is known

When first met,

Face to face.

A person’s attire shows what he is.

His hearty laughter shows what he is.

The way he walks shows what he is.”

Sirach then attacks the clever ones with their cleverness, who are really detestable fools who lack wisdom. It is better to be a God fearing person without intelligence than an intelligent transgressor of the law. There are exacting clever people who are unjust. These clever people use the legal system to avoid a bad verdict. They pretend to bow down before you, but there is only deceit in their hearts. They pretend not to hear and not to care, until the right time comes along. Then they take advantage of you. Even if these clever fools are not strong, they will try to do as much evil as they can. They will find any opportunity to be wicked. Look at the appearances of people. See what clothes they are wearing. See how they laugh and walk. Thus you can spot these clever wicked fools.

The bad behavior of the rich (Sir 13:3-13:7)

“A rich person does wrong.

A rich person even adds insults.

A poor person suffers wrong.

A poor person must add apologies.

A rich man will exploit you,

If you can be of use to him.

But if you are in need,

He will forsake you.

If you own something,

He will live with you.

He will drain your resources

Without a qualm.

When he needs you,

He will deceive you.

He will smile at you.

He will encourage you.

He will speak to you kindly.

He will say.

‘What do you need?’

He will embarrass you with his delicacies,

Until he has drained you

Two or three times.

Finally he will laugh at you.

Should he see you afterwards,

He will pass you by.

He will shake his head at you.”

Sirach warns that rich will do bad things to you and then insult you. If a poor person does something wrong, they have to apologize. Not so for the rich. They will exploit you if you can be helpful to them. However, if you need anything, they will leave quickly. The rich will use what you have and thus drain your resources. If the rich need you, they will deceive you with smiles and kindly words. They will encourage you by asking what they can do for you. They will provide embarrassing delicacies, until you are drained a couple of times over. Then they will laugh at you. If you see them later, they will pass you by and shake their heads at you. Do not be fooled by the rich and their false kindness.

 

The death of the unjust (Wis 4:16-4:19)

“The righteous that have died

Will condemn the ungodly that are living.

Youth that is quickly perfected

Will condemn the prolonged old age of the unrighteous.

They will see the end of the wise.

They will not understand

What the Lord purposed for them.

He kept them safe.

The unrighteous will see.

They will have contempt for them.

But the Lord will laugh them to scorn.

After this,

They will become dishonored corpses.

They are an outrage among the dead forever.

He will dash them speechless to the ground.

He will shake them from the foundations.

They will be left utterly dry.

They will be left barren.

They will suffer anguish.

Their memory will perish.”

The righteous (δίκαιος), when they die, condemn the living ungodly ones (ἀσεβεῖς). The perfected youth of the righteous is better than the old age of the unrighteous. The righteous understood the Lord’s purpose. The unrighteous have contempt for the righteous, but the Lord will laugh (ὁ Κύριος ἐκγελάσεται) at the unrighteous in scorn, after they have become dishonored corpses. The Lord will strike them speechless on the ground. They will be left dry, barren, and in anguish as their memory will be wiped out.

Hard working wife (Prov 31:24-31:25)

Samek

“She makes linen garments.

She sells them.

She supplies the merchants with sashes.

Ain

Strength and dignity are her clothing.

She laughs at the time to come.”

Not only does this good wife make fine linen garments for herself, she also sells these sashes to the various merchants. Because she has such strength and dignity, she is not afraid of the future. She can laugh about things to come.

The wicked (Prov 14:9-14:13)

“Fools mock at the guilt offering.

But the upright enjoy God’s favor.

The heart knows its own bitterness.

No stranger shares its joy.

The house of the wicked will be destroyed.

But the tent of the upright will flourish.

There is a way that seems right to a person.

But its end is the way to death.

Even in laughter

The heart is sad.

The end of joy is grief.”

Although the Hebrew text is difficult, it appears that fools do not see any value in the guilt offering. God scorns the wicked people, but he enjoys the upright ones. The heart knows the bitterness that no stranger can share in. The house of the wicked person will be destroyed, but the tent of the upright will be fine. Sometimes we think that we are on the right path but it may actually lead to death. Even when some people laugh, their heart is sad, since the end of their joy leads to grief.

They refuse wisdom (Prov 1:24-1:33)

“I have called.

But you have refused.

I have stretched out my hand.

Yet no one has heeded it.

You have ignored all my counsel.

You would have none of my reproof.

I also will laugh at your calamity.

I will mock you

When panic strikes.

When panic strikes you

Like a storm.

Your calamity comes like a whirlwind.

When distress and anguish comes upon you,

Then they will call upon me.

But I will not answer.

They will seek me diligently.

But they will not find me.

Because they hated knowledge

They did not choose the fear of Yahweh.

They would have none of my counsel.

They despised all my reproof.

Therefore they shall eat the fruit of their way.

They shall be sated with their own devices.

Waywardness kills the simple.

The complacency of fools destroys them.

But those who listens to me

Will be secure.

They will live at ease

Without dread of disaster.”

Wisdom continues to speak in the first person singular. Wisdom called but they refused to listen. Wisdom stretched out her hand but no one heeded her. They ignored all her counsel. They would not accept her criticism. Now the tables were turned. When calamity and panic hit them like a storm, she would then laugh and mock them. When they might be in distress and anguish, they might call on wisdom, like they did Yahweh. However, wisdom was not going to answer. They might seek her, but they will not find her. They have chosen not to fear Yahweh so that wisdom will not come to them. They hate knowledge and do not accept her counsel. They despised her criticism so that they will eat the fruit of their way. They are full of their own devices. Waywardness kills the simple. Complacent fools destroy themselves. However, those who listen to wisdom will be secure, at ease, and without any fear of disaster.

The righteous (Ps 52:6-52:7)

“The righteous will see.

The righteous will fear.

The righteous will laugh at the evildoer.

They say.

‘See the one who would not take refuge in God.

He trusted in abundant riches.

He sought refuge in wealth!”

The righteous one, probably David, would see.  He feared God.  He would laugh saying that the boastful ones had not taken refuge in God, but had trusted in their own abundant wealth.  The righteous, however, trusted in God, not wealth.