Public conduct (Sir 7:4-7:7)

“Do not seek from the Lord a high office!

Do not seek the seat of honor from the king!

Do not assert your righteousness before the Lord!

Do not display your wisdom before the king!

Do not seek to become a judge!

You may be unable to root out injustice.

You may be partial to the powerful.

You may mar your integrity.

Commit no offense against the public!

Do not disgrace yourself among the people!”

Sirach then gave some instructions on how to conduct yourself in public places. First, you should not seek a high office or a seat of honor from the king. Second, do not claim to be righteous before the Lord. Third, do not display your wisdom before the king. Fourth, you should not seek to become a judge because you may not be able to get rid of evil injustice. You might be partial to the powerful people and mar your own integrity. Finally, do not commit any offense against the people so that you do not end up in disgrace.

The wicked (Prov 24:23-24:26)

“These also are sayings of the wise.

Partiality in judging is not good.

He who says to the wicked,

‘You are innocent’

Will be cursed by their people.

They will be abhorred by the nations.

But those who rebuke the wicked

Will have delight.

They will have a good blessing come upon them.

Whoever gives an honest answer,

Gives a kiss on the lips.”

Apparently this is another small collection of wise sayings that was not associated with the preceding collection. This section seems to be aimed at judges and how they judge people since they should not be partial. In particular, they should not let the wicked go free. They will be cursed by their own people. Furthermore, in an international outlook, other nations will also abhor them. However, if they judge correctly against the wicked ones, they will delight in this life with blessings coming to them. An honest answer is like giving a kiss on the lips.

God with his council (Ps 82:1-82:2)

A psalm of Asaph

“God has taken his place in the divine council.

In the midst of the gods he holds judgment.

‘How long will you judge unjustly?

How long will you show partiality to the wicked?’”

Selah

Psalm 82 is simply one in the series of psalms of Asaph, the Temple singer. The ancient Near East believed that the world was ruled by a series of gods, which was also the Greek and Roman concepts of divinity. Here God sits with his council, sometimes referred to as the angels. Speaking in God’s name was the Temple priest or prophet. God’s judgment questions were clear. Why were they judging unjustly? Why were they partial to the wicked ones? This section ends once again with the musical meditative interlude pause of Selah.