Destroy the enemies (Lam 3:64-3:66)

Taw

“Pay them back

For their deeds!

O Yahweh!

According to the work

Of their hands,

Give them anguish

Of heart!

May your curse

Be on them!

Pursue them

In anger!

Destroy them

From under Yahweh’s heavens!”

This personal lament ends with a plea to Yahweh to destroy his enemies. This author was very clear. He wanted his enemies paid back for what they had done. Yahweh was to use his own hands and his own anger. They were to receive an anguished heart. They should be cursed, pursued, and destroyed. They should be wiped out from under God’s heavens. These three verses start with the final Hebrew consonant letter Taw, since this is the last section of this acrostic poem.

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The use of wine (Sir 31:25-31:31)

“Do not try to prove your strength

By drinking wine.

Wine has destroyed many people.

As the furnace tests

The work of the smith,

So wine tests hearts

When the insolent quarrel.

Wine is very life to human beings,

If you drink it in moderation.

What is life to one

Who is without wine?

It has been created

To make people happy.

Wine drunk at the proper time,

Is rejoicing to the heart.

Wine drunk in moderation

Brings gladness to the soul.

Wine drunk to excess

Leads to bitterness of spirit,

Leads to quarrels,

Leads to stumbling.

Drunkenness increases

The anger of a fool

To his own hurt.

It reduces his strength.

It adds wounds.

Do not reprove your neighbor

At a banquet of wine.

Do not despise him

In his merrymaking.

Speak no word of reproach to him.

Do not distress him

By making demands of him.”

Sirach warns that you should not try to show how strong you are by drinking wine since it has destroyed many people. Just as a furnace tests the iron work of a blacksmith, so too wine tests insolent people when they quarrel. However, wine does have a good purpose. It is life itself when taken in moderation. Without wine, our lives would not be happy. Wine at the proper time and in moderation rejoices and gladdens the heart and the soul. On the other hand, over indulging in wine can lead to a bitter spirit, quarrels, and stumbling around. The fool who drinks excessively increases his own anger to his own detriment. Drunkards lose their strength and sometimes get wounded. If you are at a banquet with wine, do not pick an argument with your neighbor. Do not dislike him for having a good time. Do not criticize him or ask him for anything. It is not the right time.