God is kind (Lk 6:35-6:35)

“God is kind

To the ungrateful

And the selfish.”

 

ὅτι αὐτὸς χρηστός ἐστιν ἐπὶ τοὺς ἀχαρίστους καὶ πονηρούς.

 

Luke uniquely indicated that Jesus said that the Most-High God is kind (ὅτι αὐτὸς χρηστός ἐστιν), even to the ungrateful (ἐπὶ τοὺς ἀχαρίστους) and the selfish evil ones (καὶ πονηρούς).  The goodness of God extends even to the wicked.  Does that surprise you?

The odd little horn was at war with the holy ones (Dan 7:20-7:22)

“There were ten horns

On its head.

The other horn

Came up.

To make room for it,

Three of them fell out.

This horn had eyes.

It had a mouth

That spoke arrogantly.

It seemed greater

Than the others.

As I looked,

This horn made war

With the holy ones.

It was prevailing

Over them.

Then the Ancient One came.

His judgment was given

For the holy ones

Of the Most High.

The time arrived

When the holy ones

Gained possession

Of the kingdom.”

Rather than dwell on the 4th beast, Daniel took notice of the little horn that came out of its head to replace 3 other horns. This little horn had eyes and an arrogant mouth. Somehow, it seemed greater than the others. Then Daniel saw the little horn start a war with the holy ones. In fact, the little horn was winning, until the Ancient One showed up and proclaimed judgment in favor of the holy ones of the Most High God. Finally, the holy ones gained possession of the kingdom.

Pride led to his downfall (Dan 5:20-5:21)

“But when his heart

Was lifted up,

His spirit

Was hardened.

Thus,

He acted proudly.

He was deposed

From his kingly throne.

His glory

Was stripped

From him.

He was driven

From human society.

His mind was made

Like that of an animal.

His dwelling was

With the wild asses.

He was fed grass

Like an ox.

His body was bathed

With the dew of heaven.

Finally,

He learned

That the Most High God

Has sovereignty

Over the kingdom

Of mortals.

The Most High God

Sets over it

Whomever he will.”

Daniel reminded this King Belshazzar of what had happened in the preceding chapter of this work to his father or grandfather, King Nebuchadnezzar, with his hard-prideful heart. Thus, the Most High God deposed him of his kingly throne and stripped him of his glory. The king was driven from human society, as his mind was like that of an animal, living among wild asses. He ate grass like an ox. He was bathed with a heavenly dew. He finally learned that the Most High God ruled over the kingdom of mortals, because God decides who will be in charge.

Praise for King Nebuchadnezzar (Dan 5:18-5:19)

“‘O king!

The Most High God

Gave your father,

King Nebuchadnezzar,

Kingship,

Greatness,

Glory,

Majesty.

Because of the greatness

That he gave him,

All people,

All nations,

All languages,

Trembled,

As well as feared,

Before him.

He killed those

He wanted to kill.

He kept alive those

He wanted to keep alive.

He honored those

He wanted to honor.

He degraded those

He wanted to degrade.’”

Daniel had high praise for King Nebuchadnezzar, the father or grandfather of King Belshazzar. He mentioned how the Most High God had made his kingdom great, glorious, and majestic. Due to his greatness, the Most High God had the all people, nations, and language groups tremble and fear this king. In fact, King Nebuchadnezzar killed and kept alive whomever he wanted. He honored and degraded whomever he wanted to. In other words, King Nebuchadnezzar was a great powerful king.

The king will lose his kingdom (Dan 4:31-4:32)

“While the words

Were still

In the king’s mouth,

A voice

Came from heaven.

‘O King Nebuchadnezzar!

To you

It is declared!

The kingdom has departed

From you!

You shall be driven away

From human society!

Your dwelling

Shall be with

The animals

Of the field!

You shall be made

To eat grass

Like oxen!

Seven times,

It shall pass

Over you,

Until you have learned

That the Most High

Has sovereignty

Over the kingdoms

Of mortals!

He gives it

To whom he will.’”

While the prideful words were still in the king’s mouth, a voice from heaven told the king that he had lost his kingdom. His punishment was coming. He was going to be driven out from human society. He would live among the wild animals and eat grass like oxen. However, it would pass over him 7 times, until he realized that the Most High God ruled all the human kingdoms. Thus, God was able to give his kingdoms to whomever he wanted.

The blessing of the high priest Simon (Sir 50:20-50:21)

“Then Simon came down.

He raised his hands

Over the whole congregation

Of Israelites.

He pronounced

The blessing of the Lord

With his lips.

He gave glory in his name.

They bowed down

In worship

A second time.

They received

The blessing

From the Most High.”

The high priest Simon then came down and raised his hands over the whole congregation of Israelites. He then pronounced the blessings of the Lord with his lips, as he gave glory to the name of the Lord, Yahweh. This Day of Atonement was one of the few times that the high priest was able to say the name of the Lord, Yahweh, although it is not explicitly stated here. They all bowed down in worship a second time in order to receive the blessing of the Most High God.

Jacob (Sir 44:23-44:23)

“The blessing of all people

Came to rest

On the head of Jacob.

The covenant

Came to rest

On the head of Jacob.

The Most High acknowledged him

With his blessings.

He gave him his inheritance.

He divided his portions.

He distributed them

Among the twelve tribes.”

The stories about Isaac and Jacob can be found in Genesis, chapters 25-36. Thus the blessings and covenant of Abraham and Isaac came to Jacob, the son of Isaac. The Most High God acknowledged and blessed Jacob as he received his inheritance that was divided among the 12 tribes. Sirach has no indication about his 12 sons and their activities.