The hypocrite (Sir 27:22-27:24)

“Whoever winks his eye

Plots mischief.

Those how know him

Will keep their distance.

In your presence,

His mouth is all sweetness.

He admires your words.

But later

He will twist his speech.

With your own words,

He will trip you up.

I have hated many things.

But I have hated him

Above all.

Even the Lord hates him.”

Sirach warns us about hypocrites. You can tell a hypocrite because he is always winking his eye, as he is plotting some mischief. Once you know who they are, keep your distance. When they are with you, they have pleasant sweet words for you. They admire your speech. However, they will later twist your words and trip you up. Sirach hates many things, but he really hates these hypocrites even more than the ungodly. He then tries to speak for God, saying that even the Lord hates hyprocrites.

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The effect of the female lover (Song 7:6-7:9)

Male lover

“How fair you are!

How pleasant you are!

O loved one!

Delectable maiden!

You are stately as a palm tree.

Your breasts are like its clusters.

I say

I will climb the palm tree.

I will lay hold of its branches.

O may your breasts be

Like clusters of the vine!

The scent of your breath is like apples.

Your kisses are

Like the best wine

That goes down smoothly.

They glide over my lips and teeth.”

What has been the effect of this female lover on the male lover? We find that he saw her as fair, pleasant, and delectable. She appeared stately as a palm tree. Then he went into an elaborate description of her breasts that were like clusters of a palm tree, not like gazelles or fawns. He wanted to climb this palm tree and grab hold of its branches, her breasts. He wanted her breasts to be like clusters in a vineyard. Then he went on to talk about her apple scented breath. He proclaimed that her kisses were sweeter than wine. They were in fact the best wine that went done smoothly over his lips and teeth. Certainly this was a vivid graphic description of how he perceived his lover.

Wisdom and knowledge (Prov 24:3-24:7)

“By wisdom

A house is built.

By understanding

The house is established.

By knowledge

The rooms are filled

With all precious and pleasant riches.

Wise warriors are mightier

Than strong ones.

Those who have knowledge are mightier

Than those who have strength.

By wise guidance

You can wage your war.

In an abundance of counselors

There is victory.

Wisdom is too high for fools.

At the gate

They do not open their mouths.”

You need wisdom and understanding to build a house. You need knowledge so that you can fill up the rooms with precious and pleasant rich items. The wise knowledgeable warrior is mightier than the physically strong warrior. You need wise guidance to wage a war. The more counselors you have, the greater the possibility of victory. Fools think that wisdom is too high and foolish. Thus at the meetings at the gate, they say nothing.

The wise one speaks (Prov 22:17-22:19)

“The words of the wise

Incline your ear!

Hear my words!

Apply your mind to my teaching.

It will be pleasant,

If you keep them within you.

It will be pleasant,

If all of them are ready on your lips.

Your trust may be in Yahweh.

I have made them known to you today,

Yes,

To you.”

Now we suddenly switch backs to the words of the wise, rather than the Proverbs of Solomon. Who then is this wise one or wise ones? Some have speculated that these were the wise friends of Solomon. However, the style is reminiscent of the first few chapters in the prologue. The request is that you incline your ears and hear his words. The use of the singular might mean one individual. Quite frankly, we have to say that we do not know who this wise man is. However, you are asked to apply your mind to his teaching. This will go well, that is pleasant, if you keep his words within you, ready on your lips. Basically you must trust Yahweh. The wise man has made it known to you, explicitly you, today. So listen up!

The pleasant words (Prov 16:22-16:26)

“Wisdom is a fountain of life

To whoever has it.

But folly is the punishment of fools.

The mind of the wise

Makes their speech judicious.

The mind of the wise

Adds persuasiveness to their lips.

Pleasant words are like

A honeycomb.

Pleasant words are like

Sweetness to the soul.

Pleasant words are like

Health to the body.

Sometimes there is a way

That seems to be right.

But in the end

It is the way to death.

The appetite of workers works for them.

Their hunger urges them on.”

The fountain of life is wisdom. On the other hand, the punishment for fools is their own folly. The wise person will have judicious speech and persuasive lips. Their words are pleasant like a honeycomb. Theses pleasant words add sweetness to the soul and health to the body. You have to watch out for the way that seems like it is right, but actually is the way to death. If workers are hungry they will work harder.

The foolish woman (Prov 9:13-9:18)

“The foolish woman is loud.

She is ignorant.

She knows nothing.

She sits at the door of her house.

She takes a seat at the high places of the town.

She calls to those who pass by.

They go straight on their way.

‘You who are simple,

Turn in here!’

To those without sense,

She says.

‘Stolen water is sweet.

Bread eaten in secret is pleasant.’

But they do not know that the dead are there.

Her guests are in the depths of Sheol.”

Now we are back to the foolish woman. She is the loud, ignorant, and stupid woman who sits at her door or at the high places in town. She tries to get those passing by her to turn into her house. However, they go straight past her. Her sales pitch is that stolen water is sweet and bread eaten in secret is pleasant. This is a subtle form of seduction. Thus this first introduction to the proverbs ends with this admonition to avoid the evil ladies, as if men had nothing to do with it, as if men were not interested in sex without this enticement.

Wisdom and happiness (Prov 3:13-3:18)

“Happy are those who find wisdom!

Happy are those who get understanding!

Her income is better than silver.

Her revenue is better than gold.

She is more precious than jewels.

Nothing you desire can compare with her.

Long life is in her right hand.

In her left hand are riches.

In her left hand is honor.

Her ways are ways of pleasantness.

All her paths are peace.

All her paths are happiness.

She is a tree of life

To those who lay hold of her.

Those who hold her fast are called happy.”

You will be happy if you find wisdom. You will be happy because you have an intelligent understanding of life. The personification of wisdom is female not male. Her profit, income, or revenue is greater than silver, gold, or jewels. Nothing can compare to lady wisdom. In her right hand is a long life. In her left hand are riches and honor. Her ways are pleasant. All her paths are peaceful and happy. She is the tree of life. Once you can get hold of her, you will be happy.