Bel versus the living God (Dan 14:4-14:5)

“The king said to him.

‘Why do you

Not worship Bel?’

Daniel answered.

‘Because I do not revere

Idols,

Made with human hands.

But I revere

The living God,

Who created heaven,

Who created earth.

He has dominion

Over all living creatures.’”

King Cyrus and Daniel got into a conversation about Bel, the Babylonian god. The king wanted to know why Daniel did not worship Bel. Daniel explained that he did not worship or revere man made idols. Instead, he revered and worshipped the living God, who created heaven and earth. Thus, his God had dominion over all living creatures.

The movement of the cherubim (Ezek 10:16-10:17)

“When the cherubim moved,

The wheels moved

Beside them.

When the cherubim

Lifted up their wings

To rise up from the earth,

The wheels

At their sides

Did not veer.

When they stopped,

The others stopped.

When they rose up,

The others rose up with them.

The Spirit

Of the living creatures

Was in them.”

Ezekiel said the same thing here about the cherubim that he said about the living creatures in chapter 1. When the cherubim moved, the wheels moved with them. When the cherubim rose from the earth, the wheels also rose. Wherever the cherubim would go, the wheels went with them. However, the Spirit of the living creatures was in the cherubim here.

Creation of humans (Sir 17:1-17:7)

“The Lord created human beings

Out of the earth.

He makes them return to it again.

He gave them a fixed number of days.

He granted them authority

Over everything on the earth.

He endowed them with strength

Like his own.

He made them in his own image.

He put the fear of them

In all living beings.

He gave them dominion

Over beasts.

He gave them dominion

Over birds.

They obtained the use of

The five faculties of the Lord.

As sixth,

He distributed to them the gift of mind.

As seventh,

He gave them reason,

The interpreter of one’s faculties.

He gave them a tongue

He gave them eyes.

He gave them ears.

He gave them discretion to think.

He filled them with knowledge.

He filled them with understanding.

He showed them good and evil.”

Sirach used the first chapter of Genesis in his understanding of the created nature world before the creation of humans, who were superior to all creation. These humans came from the earth and would return to it just like all the other living creatures. These humans had a fixed number of days, but they had authority over everything on earth. Nature was for the use of humans. The Lord created them in his own image and with strength like his. Thus humans were a reflection of God. All living things feared humans, since they had dominion over animals and birds. Using the Stoic interpretation of man, he had 5 faculties, but the Lord added 2 more, the mind and reason that were not in other living things. These humans had tongues, eyes, and ears. They also were able to think. Thus they were filled with knowledge and understanding. The Lord showed them both good and evil. Clearly, Sirach believed that humans were the high point of creation.