Nature obeys (Bar 6:60-6:65)

“The sun,

The moon,

The stars

Are bright.

When sent

To do a service,

They are obedient.

So also the lightning.

When it flashes,

It is widely seen.

The wind likewise blows

In every land.

When God commands

The clouds to go

Over the whole world,

They carry out

His command.

The fire sent from above

To consume mountains

Or woods

Does what it is ordered.

But these idols

Are not to be

Compared with them

In appearance

Or power.

Therefore anyone

Must not think

That they are gods.

They are not called gods.

They are not able

Either to decide a case

Or to do good to anyone.

Since you know then

That they are not gods,

Do not fear them!”

This author notes that the sun, the moon, and the stars are bright. However, they do what they are told to do. The same is true about lightning flashes and the wind. It blows wherever God commands it. The clouds go all over the whole world as they carry out God’s commands also. Fire does what it is ordered to do. How can you compare these great works of obedient nature to these false idol gods, since they have no power. They cannot solve cases or do good for any humans. How can you call them gods, since you know that they are not gods? Thus there is no need to fear them.

The upside down side of nature (Wis 19:18-19:21)

“The elements changed places with one another.

As on a harp

The notes vary the nature of the rhythm,

While each note remains the same.

This may be clearly inferred

From the sight of what took place.

The land animals were transformed into water creatures.

The creatures that swim moved over to the land.

Fire even in water retained its normal power.

Water forgot its fire-quenching nature.

On the contrary,

Flames failed to consume

The flesh of perishable creatures

That walked among them.

Nor did they melt the crystalline,

Quick melting kind of heavenly food.”

Now we see what happened in the desert on the way to the Promised Land. Nature was turned upside down. Somehow the rhythm of life had changed. Just like notes on a harp, there was a new sound. The land animals became water creatures, while the water creatures moved to the land. What is this author talking about? Probably this is a reference to some cattle that might have crossed the Red Sea. The water frogs, however, were on land. Water did not quench fire as the fire blazed even in water. The use of water and fire at various times on this journey points to their unique powers. Finally the manna from heaven did not melt. Most of this can be found in chapter 16 of this book.

The lament of the poor (Ps 10:14-10:14)

“But you do see!

Indeed,

You note the trouble and the grief!

You may take it into your hands!

The helpless commit themselves to you.

You have been the helper of the orphans.”

However, Yahweh does see what is going on. He notes the trouble and the grief of the poor and the orphans. Yahweh has to take them into his own hands. The helpless rely on Yahweh because he has been a helper of the orphans. Yahweh always seems to help the weak ones.