God’s creative uniqueness (Sir 33:7-33:13)

“Why is one day

More important than another?

All the daylight in the year

Is from the sun.

By the Lord’s wisdom

They were distinguished.

He appointed

The different seasons.

He appointed

The different festivals.

He exalted some days

He hallowed some days.

He made some days ordinary.

All human beings come

From the ground.

Humankind was created

Out of the dust.

In the fullness of his knowledge

The Lord distinguished them.

He appointed their different ways.

He blessed some.

He exalted some.

He made some holy.

He brought them

Near to himself.

He cursed some.

He brought some low.

He turned them out of their place.

Like clay

In the hand of the potter,

To be molded as he pleases,

We are all in the hands

Of our maker

To be given

Whatever he decides.”

Sirach asks the question why some days are more important than others. After all, the sun shines every day, so what is the difference? Sirach’s response is that the Lord’s wisdom distinguishes between ordinary days and the different seasons. The Lord, not humans, have made holy days and festival days. Using the chapter one story of Genesis, chapter 1, he mentions that all humans come from dust, yet some are better than others. Some were blessed and lifted up. Some were holy and close to God. On the other hand, some were cursed. They are all like clay in the great potter’s hands. He molds them however he pleases and whatever way he decides. This is a very deterministic view of humans since everything is controlled by God.

Mordecai sends the decree to Queen Esther (Esth 4:6-4:8)

“Hachratheus went out to Mordecai in the open square of the city in front of the king’s gate. Mordecai told him all that had happened. He said that Haman had promised to pay ten thousand talents into the royal treasury to bring about the destruction of the Jews. He also gave him a copy of what had been posted in Susa for their destruction. He wanted him to show it to Queen Esther. He told him to charge her to go in to the king. He wanted her to plead for his favor in behalf of her people. He said.

‘Remember the days when you were an ordinary person.

You were brought up under my care.

Haman, who stands next to the king,

He has spoken against us.

He demands our death.

Call upon the Lord!

Then speak to the king on our behalf.

Save us from death!’”

Once again there is a discrepancy between the Hebrew text that does not have the small speech of Mordecai that is found in the Greek text only. The name of the eunuch is slightly different in the Greek text also. However, the idea is about the same. Mordecai gave the decree to the eunuch. He told him that Haman was behind this move to extinguish the Jews in the Persian kingdom. He wanted him to show this decree to Queen Esther. He also wanted Queen Esther to intercede with the king to stop this destruction. In the small soliloquy, Mordecai reminded the queen that she was once an ordinary young girl under his care. He wanted here to be aware that Haman was behind all that was happening since he was calling for their death. He wanted her to pray to God and then speak to the king. Somehow Mordecai does not feel that he is the right one to present this petition to the king.